6 Things Your Competitors Are Doing to Outrank You


When things look bleak, nothing’s better than an underdog’s success story. That is, unless it’s your story—and you’re living the chapter when you’re still the underdog.

Rising to the top of the SEO heap is seriously competitive business. According to SEO Book, a #5 Google ranking for a keyword can mean 6,000 visitors/month—and 8.5x (about 50,000 visitors/month) for a #1 spot. That can mean revenue, consumer recognition, and more.

So why are your competitors outranking you? They’ve probably gotten savvy about SEO. Here’s what they probably know and do:

1. They’re aware of penalties for outdated techniques

Beware the outmoded strategies that will dock you points! There are many ways to rack up penalties with outmoded SEO, as QuickSprout points out:

  1. Unbalanced combo of techniques (backlinks, content, etc.)
  2. More links—instead of better links
  3. Keyword stuffing

Those are just a few to get you started. Employing a true SEO expert to audit your site will get you up to speed. To get an idea of the expertise needed, check out Noah Kagan’s audit of KISSmetrics’ site.

2. They understand the latest rules

Not only do you need to avoid the no-no’s, but you also need to engage the ways to get positive points. Keeping up with the latest edition of Google’s rules is key. First, to understand the latest rules, you need to know the basics of SEO, including on-page optimization and link building techniques like broken link building.

Recent rules (as of this post’s publication) can be found in the following resources:

3. They keep people on their site

So you’ve gotten people onto your site! While visitors are key, it’s how long you keep them—and get them to convert (meet the goal, like contact you)—that counts.

The longer visitors stay on your site, the better you’ll rank. Long page visits demonstrates to search engines that you’re legit. (The logic: Why would visitors stick around if they hit an irrelevant or scammy site?)

4. They know their audience

If you craft thorough buyer personas, you can answer this question: Who’s going to want to stay on my site? These are the people that you want visiting and racking up on-page time for your SEO ranking. And more conversions and sales leads wouldn’t hurt, eh? Learn more about personas from Moz, Buffer, and UXMag.

5. They get big-time social sharing

Depending on the uptake of your blog content (or another link to your site) on social media channels, you can get a ranking bump. From Moz’s experience, social sharing can make a difference—if the social sharing is substantial.

Is it time to revamp your social strategy? You need to know what channels are best for your business and where your audience is. Those persona exercises will help, and so will resources like Inc.’s advice.

6. They have evergreen content

Go-to content pays big dividends. Social sharing helps, and evergreen content—like always-relevant blog posts—gives something to keep sharing, no matter the season.

Can you brainstorm creative ways to have your content become evergreen? See this Search Engine Journal article for ideas, like: A useful interactive, long-form content walk-through of an important concept in your industry? An FAQ? Resource lists?

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