6 Steps to Find Your SEO Competitors and Outrank Them
February 7th 2022 | By Emma Grant
If you want to occupy the top spots in the search engine results pages, you’re going to need to find a strategy to outrank your competitors. This means getting to grips with SEO competitive analysis. It’s the only way you’ll truly who your SEO competitors are, why they are outranking you and what you can do about it.
Studying what your competitors are doing is the only way to build the best possible product or service offering. Let’s take a look at how to identify competitors, how they are ranking and what you can do to outrank them.
Step 1: Identify your SEO competitors
You’ll no doubt already have identified who your brand competitors are, but do you know your SEO opposition? They won’t always be the same. Sometimes you’ll have a number of rivals who you’ll be up against for the top spots in the SERPs, who you may not have considered direct competitors.
Your SEO competitors are the ones who are ranking on Page 1 of the search results for the keywords you are targeting, regardless of whether they are your brand competitors.
The good news is that it’s easy to find out who these competitors are. All you have to do is enter your target keywords into Google, and note which domains are ranking on the first page of the results. Alternatively, you can use a competitor analysis tool.
It’s important to make yourself aware of the type of content that’s ranking well for your target keywords, as you’ll want to match the strategy. So for example if your SEO competitors are ranking for video or long-form guides, that’s what you’ll need to aim for. Also pay attention to competitors who are occupying the featured snippets (position zero), and the top spots in the Google Map Pack.
Step 2: Assess keyword difficulty
It’s vital that you look at how difficult it’s going to be to outrank SEO competitors. Whilst some keywords will be fairly easy to nail, others could demand huge resources and budget, making them unviable to target.
Your chosen competitor analysis tool will help you review the overall domain strength of your SEO rivals. What you are looking for are opportunities to outrank SEO competitors. These will arise where there are weaknesses in the likes of backlinks, social signals and traffic volume.
All in all, you’ll want to target competitors with lower overall scores, who are ranking well for niche keywords.
Step 3: Identify keyword opportunities
‘Term frequency-inverse document frequency analysis’ (TF-IDF analysis) can help you discover low competition keywords and optimise your website content with the phrases your competitors are ranking for.
The ‘TF’ part of TF-IDF analysis measures how often a keyword appears on a web page. The ‘IDF’ part is all about how often a keyword is expected to appear on a page. This analysis will often reveal that the majority of web pages that are ranking for your target keywords actually share a number of similar keywords and phrases. These are known as semantic keywords, which are very important for SEO.
If you’re not already targeting those terms, you’ll need to add them to existing relevant pages, or create new pages around them.
Step 4: Review on-page SEO strategies
You can use your competitive analysis tool to discover how your rivals are optimised for on-page SEO. Pay attention to how regularly they are posting new content, what types of content that is, and which keywords they’re targeting. Look closely at word count and video length, depth of detail and topical relevance, because all of these are important to Google.
It’s also good to look at the Meta tags being used, the structure of the content and internal linking strategies. These will set a precedent for your own on-page SEO strategies.
Step 5: Analyse off-page SEO strength
Off-page SEO plays a vital role in any organic search campaign, so it’s important to look at how your competitors are doing in this respect. One area you’ll need to analyse is backlinks.
By reviewing where the competition is getting its backlinks from, you can use the information to build your own back linking strategy. You’re going to need a competitor analysis tool for this, however, as you won’t be able to do it manually.
It’s also worth looking at how your competitors are using social media. With a good social listening tool, you can track mentions on social platforms, new sites, blogs and forums, etc. You’ll also be able to see which platforms your competitors are using, how often they post, how they engage with their followers, and the types of content that get them the most engagement. It’s also possible to track user reviews and PR. This is very powerful intel, because it reveals what your competitors’ customers like about their offering.
Step 6: Evaluate technical SEO
User experience (UX) plays a crucial role when it comes to ranking well in the search results. Nearly all the major Google algorithm updates in recent times have been UX-focused, with the likes of page loading speed and mobile responsiveness proving essential ranking factors.
This is why it’s vital to check out how your SEO competitors are doing on the technical SEO front. If your site is slower, more difficult to navigate or doesn’t work well on mobile, but competitor sites are ticking all the boxes, then you’ll need to polish up in all these areas. You’ll also be well advised to optimise your sitemap for improved crawlability.
Looking to outrank SEO competitors? Figment can help.
If you are keen to outrank your competitors in the SEO playing field and occupy those coveted Google top spots in the search engine results pages, Figment can help.
At Figment, we’ve been helping local businesses boost their online visibility through customised SEO strategies for many years. We are specialists in fully managed organic SEO campaigns provided on a done-for-you basis, so that you never have to worry about a thing.
Looking to enhance your online visibility? You are welcome to get in touch to discuss how we can make a difference to your business.