“What continues to plague search marketers is the adherence to old-think issues: ‘Content is too hard to create.’ ‘Links are too hard to build organically.’ This type of focus blinds you . . .” – Duane Forrester, VP of industry insights at Yext
The purpose of marketing is not merely to display the value of your brand and its offerings; it also serves to set your company apart from all competitors within the industry.
There are a variety of tactics, strategies and ploys to achieving this goal; one of the most prosperous, however, is to outrank them on Google.
Any marketer can tell you that obtaining meaningful rankings on Google is essentially the new age version of striking gold; ridiculously hard to do, but oh so worth it when it does.
While snagging that No. 1 slot on Google might feel like a fool’s errand at times, it is completely possible.
If you are tired of playing second fiddle to your rivals in the SERPs, then get ready to buckle down and apply these methods so you can outrank your competitors.
1. Fill the Content Void with Epic Materials
You might be wondering, “What content void? Content is everywhere!”
While that certainly is true, there are a myriad of articles, blogs, and other consumables that are merely carbon copies of pieces that came before them.
What this means is that you need to find the aspects that are neglected and create insanely valuable and wholly comprehensive content the fills in the content gap.
Since pretty much all SEO experts agree that great content creation is a must, this task can be extremely fruitful when executed correctly.
The first step in this process is to identify the keywords you want to rank for. I recommend targeting long-tailed phrases as these have been gaining authority for some time now.
Next, take those phrases and plug them into BuzzSumo. The tool will then return a list of the top ranked content around the selected terms; dig through these and establish nuances or topics that people are failing to cover.
This is the content you need to be creating.
Before you start writing materials, however, be sure that your content targets the user’s intent. Why are users visiting this page? What are they looking to gain? This should be the heart of your content.
If you honestly cannot find content gaps to fill, dig through various articles that are ranking for your desired keywords to determine how you can create a better piece. There is always room for improvement.
This not only means going deeper into the topic to provide a more holistic view, but it also means making it look better. You can do this with relevant images or gifs or a table of contents that allows visitors to easily navigate the piece.
And, of course, don’t neglect the SEO optimization process for content.
2. Earn Backlinks like a Boss
Earning backlinks can be a tedious and frustrating process, but it is a necessity.
That said, the first step to earning links that will help you leapfrog competitors is to find out where their links are coming from. To do this, you can use various SEO tools like Majestic or Ahrefs.
Use tools like these to make a list of articles that linked to your competition’s webpages. With that list in hand, begin conducting email outreach. You can write your own emails for this, or you can use this handy outreach template from Neil Patel.
Keep in mind that if you are going to be reaching out to any major publications or websites, you should at least get on their radar first; do this by commenting on posts and sharing their materials.
3. Increase Your Site Speed
Speed is a key factor for ranking. If users have to wait too long for a site to load, they are sure to abandon it; this is something that Google doesn’t take lightly.
In fact, a single second delay could cause you to lose a significant amount of visitors; 53 percent of mobile users will jump ship after just three seconds.
Using tools like GTmetrix, you can identify any aspect of your site that is un-optimized and causing delays.
You can also do this using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
4. Bolster Your Social Media Activity
Social media activity has no direct impact on your SEO efforts, but it is a powerful tool when it comes to driving traffic; that can have a profound impact on your rankings.
The first thing you need to do (if you haven’t already) to ensure this strategy is supporting your push is identify your target audience and on which network(s) they live.
Assuming you already know this information, the next thing to do is establish a posting schedule. The only way to increase your social visibility and traffic is by posting frequently and consistently. You can easily set up a posting schedule with tools like Buffer, AgoraPulse, and similar platforms.
It is also wise to promote your best content with Facebook Ads. These can be extremely effective due to their refined targeting abilities. It’s also not a bad idea to implement a PPC strategy on Google as both of these advertising methods can lead to higher rankings.
You can also increase your reach by making it easier for people to share your content. Do this by adding social sharing buttons to your website. If you choose to implement these, be sure that you don’t add buttons for every social network as that can be annoying to users. Also, verify that the buttons are responsive; if they cover part of the content on mobile, users will find another source.
Another way to increase your shares is by using plugins that engender tweeting of phrases within your materials. Tools like Click to Tweet from CoSchedule are easy to use and can provide you with a nice bump in traffic.
There’s no two ways about it: SEO is a lot of hard work and requires a significant commitment. But so did starting your business; and that’s what you’re fighting for. Beating your competitors in the SERPs isn’t just about pulling in more traffic; it’s about the survival of your business.
Begin implementing these steps today, stay diligent and, in time, you will begin crawling your way to being top dog in your niche.