All is fair in love and SEO.
Ranking for a profitable keyword phrase can quickly become a dog fight, and the SEO battle between two rivals can get heated and ugly in a hurry.
Okay, maybe that’s overly dramatic, but you get the idea.
When you’re battling for search ranking supremacy, it can get dirty, and nothing is off limits.
You need to devise a winning strategy to not only outrank the competition but maintain your position.
One technique I’ve found to be incredibly effective for gaining the upper hand in the SEO battle is to identify your competition’s best-performing page and outrank it.
If they’re bringing in a large volume of leads ultimately resulting in conversions, you know you’ll be in good shape if you can usurp them.
HubSpot even found that “search traffic has the highest lead-to-customer conversion rate of all channels.”
Dominate the search results, and reap the rewards.
But how exactly do you do this?
Here’s a step-by-step formula I’ve come up with.
1. Get their SEO stats
The first thing you’ll want to do is learn as much as possible about your competitor’s best-performing page.
For instance, you’ll want to find out:
- Where their backlinks are coming from
- The types of content they’re publishing
- Nofollow and dofollow links
- H1, H2, and H3 tags
- Hyperlink anchors
How do you obtain this information?
You simply type in a site domain, and these tools will generate a wealth of helpful data you can use to thoroughly analyze the competition.
More specifically, they will provide answers to the first three factors I mentioned above: backlinks, types of content, and links.
As for the last three factors—titles, tags, and hyperlink anchors—check out their best-performing page to find this information directly.
2. Check for technical issues
Another thing I like about SEO PowerSuite is that they have a tool called “WebSite Auditor.”
This lets you quickly analyze any technical issues a particular page may have such as indexing or crawlability problems, coding glitches, and overall site structure.
Why is this important?
If you know for a fact there’s an obvious technical SEO issue and use this knowledge to your advantage, you stand a very good chance of outranking your competitor.
In other words, you’ll know what their weakness is. By ensuring that your site is free of these errors, you are giving yourself a good chance of eclipsing your competition in the search rankings.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
Notice that this site has issues with crawlability and is lacking an XML sitemap.
After analyzing your competitor’s SEO stats and technical issues, you should have a pretty clear idea of what you’re up against.
More importantly, you’ll know precisely what you need to do in order to outrank them.
3. Do what your competition is doing—but better
I’ve talked about a concept known as the skyscraper technique before.
This is a term coined by Brian Dean from Backlinko. The technique is designed to dramatically boost your search traffic.
At its base level, this technique revolves around pinpointing a piece of link-worthy content a competitor has created, improving upon it, and connecting with influencers to promote it.
To take advantage of the skyscraper technique, you’ll first need to examine your competitor’s top backlinks.
Ask yourself which pieces of content appear to be having the biggest impact on their rankings.
Once it’s clear which specific pieces of content are boosting their SEO, you’ll want to create content that’s even better.
But how exactly do you go about this?
Next are a few techniques to help you achieve that goal.
4. Create more in-depth content
As you probably already know, I’m a proponent of long content.
Numerous studies have shown that content with a higher word count consistently outperforms content with a lower word count.
Here’s a graph that illustrates this perfectly:
As you can see, the average word count for the number one spot in search rankings is 2,416.
Notice that it’s not 500, 750, or even 1,000 words. In order for content to rank highly, it needs to be well over 2,000 words.
Furthermore, you’re more likely to get more social shares by going this route:
This graph clearly shows that content exceeding 1,500 words is far more likely to result in a higher number of social shares, especially on Twitter.
If the bulk of your competitor’s content is much shorter, simply creating longer, more in-depth content can put you well on your way to outranking them.
If you can create something epic on a particular topic, blowing competition’s mediocre content out of the water, this is definitely going to work to your advantage.
Just make sure you’re genuinely adding value and not merely eating up your word count.
5. Be visual-centric
I probably don’t need to tell you about the power of visual content, but I will anyway.
Since humans are inherently visual creatures, we’re more apt to respond to content with plenty of pictures, graphs, charts, etc. than to text-based content.
In fact, “content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without relevant images.”
If your competition is slacking on visuals, this presents a great opportunity for you.
Incorporating plenty of relevant images throughout your content will likely result in more traffic, more engagement, more shares, and, ultimately, a higher ranking within search results.
I also suggest experimenting with infographics.
This type of media has proven to be tremendously powerful and can optimize the user experience.
If your competition is limiting itself to more traditional and, quite frankly, boring text-based content, presenting information through an infographic can most definitely give you an edge.
For more on how to create infographics, I recommend checking out this list of free infographic tools.
6. Make your content easier to digest
It’s also important to understand how the modern person reads digital content.
Hardly anyone reads an article in its entirety. They simply scan and check out a few key points that appeal most to them.
In order for your content to truly resonate, it needs to be scannable and snackable.
If you’re taking an old school approach, your content is likely to miss its mark.
But if it’s easily digestible, your content will have a maximum impact and could very well outperform your competition’s content.
Here are a few fundamental techniques for creating content with the modern reader in mind:
- Use short paragraphs
- Use plenty of H1, H2, and H3 headers
- Use bullets to create lists
7. Outperform competitor from a technical standpoint
Remember when I talked about identifying technical issues on your competitor’s website?
The final step to this process is making sure that your website doesn’t have the same issues and glitches.
For example, maybe your competitor’s site is lacking an XML sitemap.
This is problematic because it makes it more difficult for search engine bots to crawl their site.
Simply taking the time to create an XML sitemap for your website will give you an advantage.
Just identify any technical issues your competitor’s site has, and ensure you’re not making the same mistakes.
Besides this, there are two more ways to outperform the competition.
8. Speed up your site
One is to make your site quicker than their site.
It’s been documented that Google takes into account a site’s load time when determining rankings.
And while it’s not as big of a factor as, say, backlinks, site speed definitely plays a role.
Not to mention that it will directly impact the user experience and the length of time visitors stay on your site.
In fact, a one-second delay can have an adverse impact on pageviews, customer satisfaction, and your overall conversion rate:
Although I don’t have time to discuss all the details here, check out this article I wrote on how to make your site insanely fast.
9. Create content that’s more mobile-friendly than the competition’s
I’m sure you know just how big of a deal it is to be mobile-friendly in this day and age.
If Google’s “mobilegeddon” has taught us anything, it’s that we sure as heck had better be on board.
And if there’s anything less than a stellar user experience from a mobile perspective, we’ll be in trouble.
That’s why my final recommendation for outranking the competition is to make your content more mobile-friendly than theirs.
This all starts with using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test if you haven’t done so already.
Within seconds, Google will let you know how your site is doing in this area and will provide suggestions on how to improve.
But I recommend taking it one step further and making it a point to create mobile-friendly content, which I cover in detail in this article.
This too can give you the necessary edge to surpass the competition.
To outdo your competition, you’ll want to check out their SEO stats and identify the content that’s providing them with the best backlinks.
From there, you’ll want to improve upon that content by using a few proven techniques.
Finally, it’s important to optimize your site from a technical standpoint.
By following this formula, you stand a good chance of outranking your competition’s best-performing page and ultimately cashing in on quality organic traffic.
Can you think of any other tactics that can help you beat the competition?