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Conducting an SEO competitor analysis is one of the best ways to recognize what gaps your website has and how to block them. Here are the top 5 reasons your SEO competitors are outranking you.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in; you’ll always compete with others to get that number one spot on Google. But sometimes, it can seem like your competitors always come out on top, no matter what you try.
You’re pushing out high-quality content every other day, engaging with followers on social media, and your site is getting plenty of hits. For whatever reason, though, you can’t seem to overtake them in the rankings. So, what’s going wrong?
1. Using the Right SEO Tools
Having the right arsenal of SEO tools is crucial to swinging the search rankings in your favor. The question is, though, what tools are “the right tools”?
A good place to start is the Google Keyword Planner. It’s free to use, helps you pinpoint which keywords are worth targeting, and if you intend on moving towards paid ads, it’s worth mentioning that this is the tool that a Google Ads agency would use. Since the tool also displays the low and high bid ranges, it’s useful in several online marketing environments.
Another fantastic SEO tool for checking on your competitors is Spyfu. With this tool, you’re able to view the following:
- All of the keywords your competitor is ranking for
- How much traffic is each keyword getting on their website?
- Where their
- backlinks are hosted
Like the previous tool, this is also useful for PPC purposes too. Once you’ve used Spyfu to gather some data on your competitors, you can start analyzing their strengths and weaknesses for your own benefit and then adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.
Additionally, use competitors' research tools to know what your competitors are doing.
2. Targeting the Right Keywords
SEO campaigns are built on targeting the best keywords possible. If your campaign doesn’t focus on keywords with a good balance of traffic and ranking difficulty, you’ll struggle.
Both tools in the previous section can be used for keyword research. With Google’s Keyword Planner, you can enter a few generic keywords that are relevant to your industry. In return, you’ll see a breakdown of keywords, how competitive it is to rank highly for them, and their average monthly searches.
Given that this is a free SEO tool, there’s no reason not to check it out and perfect your keyword strategy.
Recommended: Competitive Analysis for Impressive SEO Results
3. Making Small Optimizations
Small website optimizations won’t impact your rankings as much as you might like, but when you’re constantly being pushed down by your competitors, the little things make all the difference. A few important but minor aspects of your website that factor into your rankings include:
- Page load speed. Having a slow website is bad for multiple reasons. Not only do search engines penalize your rankings, but it dissuades visitors from sticking around. Large images commonly cause slow loading, so optimizing any image you use is important – blog post headers, team headshots, everything!
Of course, there are plenty of other causes. You can use Pingdom, which scans your website to determine which elements impact the load speed most.
- Broken links. Broken links can be straightforward to miss. Maybe you linked a blog post on another website, which they removed, or you migrated your website, and the URL management system glitched. Nonetheless, it’s important to monitor your site and replace/remove broken links quickly.
- Unoptimized images. Every image should have metadata, an alt tag, be scaled appropriately and have a reasonable file size. With image compression tools, you can reduce the image’s file size without compromising quality. Considering how many images most sites have on them, this is a good habit to develop early on.
- Mobile responsiveness. Depending on which platform you run your website on (e.g., WordPress or Shopify), you shouldn’t have any problem ensuring your website is responsive. Most themes are developed with this feature built-in. But, if you change the theme’s code while designing your website, this can affect the responsiveness.
If you’re unsure how to check if your website is mobile responsive, use Google’s Mobile Friendly test. This will scan your website, show you how it appears on a mobile device, and give you feedback on improving your site for mobile.
Fixing these smaller problems with your website will support your rankings rather than holding them back.
4. Having a Backlink Strategy
It’s easy to forget about backlinks, and many prefer not to focus on gaining them. Getting your hands on high-quality backlinks can seem tedious and put a small dent in your wallet, but after you grab a few of them, you’re golden.
Building backlinks aren’t easy, and there are a few ways of doing so. It’s worth noting though that a single high-quality backlink (on a somewhat reputable site) will have a significantly bigger impact on your SEO campaign than hundreds of low-quality backlinks.
So, how do you get backlinks, and what websites do you want to have backlinks on?
One method would be to use a web scraping tool and get a list of your competitor’s backlinks. With this list, you’ll see which sites are willing to host a backlink, contact them, and discuss the terms with them. Alternatively, you can search Google for sites relevant to your industry and contact them instead.
5. Revisiting and Updating Content
The phrase “content is key” is popular in the online marketing community, and it’s true. Publishing high-quality content is an important part of any SEO campaign. Not only do search engines monitor your website’s content, but an active blog shows potential customers that you take the time to write and publish relevant information.
Updating an old blog post furthers this point. It shows that after you’ve written a blog, spruced it up, and shared it on social media, you didn’t put it to the back of your mind and forget about it. Instead, you’ve updated any outdated points you made or added to the post to make it more informative.
Scraping old content and writing a newer version can be tempting, especially when your main focus is SEO. But abandoning content can help your rankings too, and if your competitors are revisiting their old blog posts and improving them, this will boost them on Google.
SEO isn’t static by any means – Google makes minor changes to its algorithm daily while pushing out major updates every few months on top of adjusting your SEO strategy to reflect these updates, you also need to consider what your competitors are doing.
You're at a disadvantage without informing yourself on how your competitors are ranking and what they’re doing (I’ll let you in on a secret: they’re watching you, too!).
So, consider the reasons we’ve delved into above and start observing what those around you are doing.
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