No, this is not an article on the art of war. Rather, we’re about to reveal how, through a carefully executed SEO strategy, you can use your strongest competitors’ strengths to perform better than they do.
Wait? What did we just say? Yes, you heard that right. We’re not about to exploit their weaknesses — that would be too easy. We’re looking to their strengths as fodder to outrank them.
And don’t let those feelings of guilt come knocking. Essentially, by using their best attributes to rank higher than they do, you are paying them a well-earned compliment (and surging ahead of them in the process.)
Have we piqued your interest? Let’s dive in.
The Importance of Competitor Research for SEO
Of course, there’s no way you’ll even be able to identify who your competitors are if you don’t do the necessary research. In fact, competitor research should be one of your very first tasks when it comes to implementing your SEO strategy.
While understanding your competitors is instrumental to any marketing endeavour, when it comes to SEO, it couldn’t be more pressing. Not only does it give you a clear idea of the business landscape you are in, but it also allows you to pinpoint strategies that are working — as well as the ones that are falling flat. These findings can quickly help you construct a blueprint for your own way forward that is well informed by the current climate. (Sounds a whole lot better than shooting in the dark, doesn’t it?)
If you haven’t gone down the path of competitor research yet, here are the stepping stones to help you on your journey.
- STEP 1: Unmask your competitors using a tool like SEMRush. Within a matter of moments, by simply entering your domain name, you will have a full report of who’s batting on your turf.
- STEP 2: Discover what keywords they’re ranking for. Yes, that’s one of the many delicious perks of the internet — all of that information is right there for you to see. Again, using a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs will make this task very easy.
- STEP 3: Analyze their site construction. Yup, get right in there and find out how they’ve put their puzzle together.
Luckily, fabulous investigative tools are hopping onto the market faster than you can say “Number 1 on Google,” meaning you are far from alone when it comes to your sleuthing.
Just to whet your appetite, here are three tasty morsels that can help your research:
- SE Ranking monitors the search rankings for up to five of your competitors.
- SpyFu is like a digital Sherlock Holmes — if every mystery he ever solved had to do with your competitors’ keywords. Easily download their highest ranking keywords so that you can begin to plot your overthrow.
- Monitor Backlinks — um, we’re guessing you can get the purpose of this tool from its loud-and-proud name. This new-ish tool is proving an asset to anyone on the hunt for the perfect backlink strategy.
Have fun with your new toys!
How to win.
Once you have done your basic research, it’s time to get going on your pathway to search engine domination. Mwahahahahahaha
This is how to use your competitors’ strengths against them so that you can outrank them.
1. Window shop for content ideas
You know the saying, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — and now is the time to lay on the charm. Particularly if your digital marketing strategy is fresh out of the box, you are going to need to create oodles of content to drive your SEO campaign. By browsing your competitors’ sites for content that ranks in the upper echelons, you will get ideas for how to construct your own. Who knows what ideas their ideas might spark in you?
(I’m sure we don’t have to tell you that under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever should you ever, ever plagiarize. That’s boring. And illegal. But getting inspired by the ideas of others? People have been doing that as long as we’ve been people.)
2. Woo their followers
Yes, woo their followers like you’re the pied piper and it’s time to play your song. Where is the best place to find these groupies? In the most communal corners of the internet, of course. You guessed it — social media. By finding their followers, you will know who you should be reaching out to with your own content. Look at that! Your customer avatars are transformed into living, breathing human beings.
3. Browse their links
If your competitors are particularly good link builders, you can learn a lot from their strategies. By using a tool like Monitor Backlinks, you can quickly identify how far their network of links goes. From this point, you can decide whether to imitate their structure or create your own based on what you feel has worked best for them.
4. Become their friends
We thought that one might confuse you. Look, competitors is no longer a swear word in the business world. In fact, in the world of SEO, a competitor can quickly become more ally than foe. Now this methodology won’t work for everyone, but in specific cases, you might want to create a direct relationship with them when it comes to your content strategy. Perhaps you can come to an agreement where you guest post for each other, simultaneously growing your respective reach.
Look, before you start to think we’ve gone all soft on you, know that you can also use their weaknesses against them. By monitoring their strategy implementation, you can give yourself the gift of somebody else’s hindsight and ensure that you do not repeat their mistakes.
You’ll never believe this, but competitor sleuthing is one of the fun activities that gets us out of bed in the mornings. So if you’re looking to gain more insight into your own SEO strategy, why not have a free strategy review call with us today?
We’ll get our team on board with your team, as we work toward Search Engine domination. (Just one more evil laugh, I promise — Mwahahahahahaha)