- Published: Apr 22, 2020
- Last Updated: Dec 5, 2023
- 10 min. read
Trevin ShireyVP of Marketing
- Trevin serves as the VP of Marketing at WebFX. He has worked on over 450 marketing campaigns and has been building websites for over 25 years. His work has been featured by Search Engine Land, USA Today, Fast Company and Inc.
Frustrated that your competitors rank higher in search? Don’t pull your hair out just yet! In this article, we’ll cover seven tried and true techniques to get your pages to outrank your competition.
Keep reading to get answers to the question, “why are my competitors ranking higher on Google?” and learn how you can outrank competitors in search. For more Google ranking tips and tricks, sign up for our newsletter, Revenue Weekly!
Why are my competitors ranking higher on Google?
There are a variety of reasons why your competitors rank higher on Google. The biggest factor contributing to your ranking is how you optimize your pages for search engines.
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays the most significant role in how search engines rank your pages.
Search engines like Google look at a wide range of factors when determining your ranking. If Google decides to rank your competitors higher in search (which you can verify via Google position check tools), it’s often because your competition in search has:
- Content that fits the user’s search intent better
- Higher quality content
- Pages with a better backlink profile
- A site with a better user experience
If your competitors rank higher, they may be outperforming you in these different areas.
7 strategies to outrank competitors in search
Now that you know how your site could be lacking when it comes to ranking power, what can you do about it? Let’s dive in and start talking about how you can optimize for these factors to outrank your competition.
1. Optimize for more relevant keywords
Google uses keywords to determine the relevance of your page. Keywords help your pages show up in related search queries. For example, if one of your products is duvet covers, you would target keywords that users type into search bars related to duvet covers, such as “queen-sized duvet covers,” “what is a duvet,” and “duvet covers [your brand].” You can get your content ranking higher than your competition in search by spending some time to research those keywords using tools like LSIGraph.
Once you have your keyword selected, you can integrate your targeted and related keywords on to your page to help you rank.
How keyword optimization helps you outrank competitors
So, how will choosing relevant keywords help you outrank your competition?
- You’ll produce more relevant and engaging content: When you optimize for relevant keywords, you help your business create more pertinent and engaging content. You’ll reach more interested leads and provide them with pertinent content, which will keep them on your page longer and improve ranking.
- You’ll appear in more searches for related keywords: Keyword optimization helps you rank for related keywords. If your competition isn’t optimizing for those keywords, it gives you a prime opportunity to get an edge over your competition and drive more relevant traffic to your page.
- You’ll be able to keep an eye on your competition: As you’re optimizing for relevant keywords, you can see which keywords your competition ranks for, too. Keyword Explorer from Ahrefs, for example, allows you to see who’s ranking for keywords and why their pages rank for those key terms.
2. Craft content centering on search intent
Content that ranks high in search answers your audience’s burning questions. If your competitors rank higher, they likely answer those questions and fulfill the keyword’s search intent better. When you create content, you’ll want to focus on topics that match user search intent and answer their questions quickly and succinctly.
You’ll want to provide content that is in-depth and informative, so your audience gets all the answers they need for their query.
How creating quality content helps you outrank your competitors
- You provide your audience with all the information they need: when users have more information, they stay on the page longer (increased dwell time), which can help you outrank competitors.
- You boost traffic on your site: Boosting traffic on your site sends a positive signal to Google that can help you outrank the competition.
- You establish yourself as an authority: Being a trusted authority makes people more likely to choose your site and visit your pages, leading to people seeking you out when they conduct searches since they trust your information.
3. Improve your page structure
You can improve your rank in search by optimizing your content for better structure, scannability, and usability. Improving page structure can be as simple as adding images in content or using bullet-point lists to break up your text. There are also other optimizations you can do to improve page structure and help your business outrank your competition.
Let’s look at the three biggest ways to improve page structure: Title tags Title tags are the titles that your audience sees in search. You want a catchy title to draw your audience’s attention, but you also want your audience to know the context of your page. To have a compelling title tag, place your core keyword at the beginning and stick within the 60 character limit.
Meta descriptions Meta descriptions are short synopses of your content. They appear in search underneath your title tags. For the same reasons as title tags, place your keywords near the beginning and keep your meta descriptions under 160 characters.
URL structure You need clear and informative URLs because if you have a complex string of letters and numbers for your URL, it won’t tell users what to expect on your page. To help users understand the context of your page, simplify your URLs, and make them clear, like . How optimizing page structure helps you outrank competitors
- Your pages become more SEO friendly: Following these practices can help you create a page that’s more friendly for search engines. If your competitors don’t have an SEO-friendly site, you’ll outrank them.
- You increase content’s accessibility: If your content is easier to find, you drive more traffic to your page, and it helps you outrank competition if people can access your content and find it more informative.
- You improve the user experience: Making content readable and easy to digest provides a better UX, so users spend more time on your page, increasing dwell time and rankings.
4. Build a backlink strategy
If your content fits the user search intent and is optimized for search engines, but your competitors rank higher still, then they may have a better backlink profile than you. Backlinks are links that occur when other sites link to your content from their pages. If your competitors have more backlinks, they’re more likely to rank higher in search.
When you receive backlinks, they act as endorsements to search engines and users. Like any endorsement, however, the more authority the giver has, the more weight that endorsement gets. If you have more authoritative backlinks in your profile, you’ll outrank competitors.
How backlinking helps you outrank competitors
- You drive more relevant traffic to your site: Industry authority sites linking to your content generate more relevant traffic, which means an increase in dwell time and ranking.
- You raise your content’s rank: A better backlink profile can lead to higher rankings than the competition.
- You increase trust and authority: People trust your information and spend more time on your page, which leads to increased dwell time. Increased dwell time tells Google your page is relevant to the search query, which will lead to an increase in ranking.
5. Use responsive design
Responsive design is a web design technique that automatically formats your website to the user’s device. You need a responsive design because over half of the Internet traffic today comes from mobile. When you use a responsive design, your site will adapt to whatever device a user uses.
It allows you to create a more mobile-friendly website with thumb-friendly scrolling and scaled images. Google also now indexes sites by their mobile version, so if you aren’t ranking as high as you’d like, it could be because you’re neglecting responsive design for your site.
How responsive design helps you outrank your competitors
- You comply with mobile-first indexing: By integrating responsive design, you’ll comply with mobile-first indexing, which will help you outrank your non-responsive competitors’ sites.
- You improve your site’s accessibility: When people can read content on any device, it makes them more likely to engage with your content. Increased engagement will help improve ranking.
- You boost your site’s user experience: A better experience on all devices means happy visitors, which translates into more engagement and time spent on your website.
6. Boost page speed
Page speed is essential when it comes to outranking competition in search. Not only is page speed a ranking factor for Google, but your visitors will also bounce more often if your page speed is slow. In fact, 53% of visitors will leave your site if your page takes more than three seconds to load.
To improve the speed of your site, use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to help you see why your site loads slowly. This tool will offer suggestions for how to speed up your site. If you aren’t sure how you can take those suggestions and put them into action, you can invest in page speed services from a digital marketing company.
How a fast loading website helps you outrank your competitors
- You enhance your site’s accessibility: Your page loads fast enough for your visitors to access your information instantly, increasing dwell time and letting you rank higher than the competitors with slow-loading pages.
- You decrease your page’s bounce rate: People will stay on your page longer since they can access your content faster. As a result, people will spend longer amounts of time on your site.
- You improve your audience’s experience: People don’t have to wait long for pages to load when they navigate around your site, making them more likely to remain on your page and browse your website.
7. Secure your website
A secure site is essential to outranking competitors because information security is a significant concern of both search engines and users. With so much data filling the Internet, protecting your customers’ information becomes paramount to crafting a good relationship with your customer base. If your site is not secure, not only will your competitors rank higher, but you’ll see more visitors leave your site in favor of your competitors’ sites.
You’ll need to encrypt your customer’s information to keep it safe from those with malicious intent. Encrypting data requires a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate for your site, which adds HTTPS to your domain name.
How a secure site helps you outrank your competitors
- You protect your customer’s information: Having a secure site is a ranking factor for Google because safe data improves user experience. As a result, having a secure site allows you to outrank competitors that don’t have an SSL certificate.
- Your customers feel safe: Your audience’s data gets encrypted due to your SSL certificate, which makes them feel more comfortable to browse on your site or shop. It can lead to higher engagement and more sales for your business.
- You lower your page’s bounce rate: Your visitors are more confident in continuing to dwell on your site when it’s secure.
WebFX can help boost your ranking in search!
Now that you have answers to “why are my competitors ranking higher on Google” and know how to outrank competitors in search, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice! As a digital marketing agency, WebFX is the best at helping boost your business above your competition in search. Our SEO services are top of the line.
Trevin serves as the VP of Marketing at WebFX. He has worked on over 450 marketing campaigns and has been building websites for over 25 years. His work has been featured by Search Engine Land, USA Today, Fast Company and Inc.
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