SEO can be a cutthroat race to the top. Even if you have no personal beef with a competitor SEO, the fact remains that you’re still fighting to get a higher ranking, especially locally. When you approach things from this perspective, it seems like you might want nothing to do with the other people in your industry.
However, this is actually a very poor mindset to have. Great tacticians always say to know your enemy, and while you might not literally be at war with your competition, understanding what they do and how they do it is vital in being able to “beat” them as a business. Within the realm of SEO, you can learn a lot about how to better market your organization and be seen by more people if you take some hints from others in the industry.
If you’re wondering how to use competitors to your advantage, check out this how-to guide for making competitor SEO work for you.
Table of Contents
Understand the Competitor SEO Trends
One of the most illuminating things you can discover from your competitors is the general SEO trends related to a particular topic. You can also tell if the timing is right for a topic you intend to post. If something is hot, chances are there will be plenty of people posting about it.
As such, finding subjects to write about for your blog gets a lot easier when you have examples of what gets clicks. This also works in reverse, as finding the competitor SEO blogs that aren’t taking off is a good indicator of subjects you might want to hold back on for the time being. While you can always analyze the trends on search engines themselves, it can be useful to see what real people are shaping their content around to pick out what works best.
Check the Meta Tags
By inspecting a competitor’s blog, you’ll be able to gain valuable insight into what sort of keywords and meta-tags might be of most use for you. In many ways, these factors are more important to ranking high in a search engine than any other aspect of a blog post.
Understanding the right keywords to use and how to tag your posts are necessary for catching the algorithm’s attention. A keen eye and sharp mind can identify keywords and tags in the successful posts of your competitors. Even barely related articles or organizations can be an aid here, so don’t be afraid to cast a wide net when you’re looking into metadata.
Find Material for a Skyscraper
The process of ‘skyscraping’ refers to taking the subject or general content of an existing blog and using it as a base for crafting something new and more robust. For example, if someone were to write a blog about different styles of tire treads, you could use that as a base for also talking about styles of tires as well as their history, the manufacturers behind them, and many other assorted topics that help flesh out and improve on the original idea.
Competitors’ blogs are prime skyscraper fodder for obvious reasons, so don’t be afraid to browse a bit. Not only do you have a good basis for your own content (especially if something is proving to be fairly successful), but you might even learn some neat facts.
Find Their Strengths
For most of your potential customers, a big deciding factor for whether or not they’ll shop with you is what you can offer them. Whether that’s proximity, good service, the right selection of products, or something else entirely, you must be able to offer something desirable to those who might become patrons. One means of improving your business is to figure out your weaknesses, and one way to figure out your weaknesses is by identifying your competitors’ strengths.
Browsing their blogs and websites can give you a good idea of what a competitor might be able to offer a customer that you can’t. This is important information to take with you as you assess your organization and what you do, giving you the necessary information to decide how to run your business online and offline in the future. While you shouldn’t set out to completely change yourself just to match one aspect of a competitor SEO, learning from another’s success is always an asset.
Assess Their Worth
This is more about finding who to learn from than how, but assessing the worth of a competitor SEO is a valuable skill to have all the same. In short, this means identifying what your competitor is doing on their blog and how well they’re doing it to figure out if it’s worth it to learn from them.
An easy way to tell how much you have to take from someone is to check their traffic. You’re probably not going to turn up much value if you try to copy from someone who’s doing worse in the rankings and traffic than you already are. Similarly, someone with tons of traffic from places that aren’t your key markets might have some valuable tips on optimization and keyword usage. Still, their techniques will likely need to be modified to fit appropriately in your specific area.
Look at the Links
Taking a look at both the links a competitor uses and who links to them can tell you a lot about how they’re ranking as high as they are. You can learn a lot this way, including who tends to link to your type of content, what kinds of links readers are most likely to click, and how keyword usage affects the number of backlinks your content could be getting.
In the best circumstances, you might even be able to reach out to some of the sites linking to a competitor and get them to link to you. This will expand your reach and build valuable relationships with outside parties that will majorly boost your search engine rankings with frequent backlinks to your page.
Though you might be in competition with each other, learning from others in your industry is a major key to success. Try out some of these strategies as you observe your competitors so that you can beat them out in the SEO rankings going forward. If you think you could use some help with this or other aspects of digital marketing, Diving Bell Creative is here and happy to help.