Competition is a good thing.
If lots of people are competing against you for a spot in Google’s top 10, it means that the search term in question has the potential to generate a lot of money.
Why do you think so many top brands go after the key phrase “increase sales online?”
It’s because the keyword is profitable.
If you know how to create high-value content and build relevant contextual links, your content page will outperform your competitors’ pages.
And when that happens, you’ll see an increase in organic traffic and search rankings. Your conversion rate will skyrocket, as well, because search traffic has the highest lead-to-customer conversion rate of all channels.
Content marketing may seem like a buzzword, but brands of all sizes are using it to get more customers.
Case studies proving this are all over the web, including these 4 startups that generated millions of dollars through inbound marketing.
Remember that inbound marketing all boils down to creating useful and engaging content, solving problems for the target audience, and then building relationships with those users along the way.
But you need to embrace content marketing fully. Don’t do it with a half-baked approach, and don’t expect miracles — you need to work consistently over time for similar results.
After reading this in-depth article, you may not rank at #1 for your major keyword, but you’ll uncover other hidden opportunities to get more organic traffic, improve your click-through rate, and increase your revenue.
And using these tactics consistently over time can help you create content that outranks your competitor’s content.
Let’s get started:
1. Analyze your competitors.
There’s no real secret to SEO. If you want to rank better in search engine results, you need to create the right content and promote it in the right ways. After all, the web is powered by content.
The good news is that both B2B and B2C companies that integrate content into their marketing mix get positive results. According to HubSpot, companies that blog generate 55% more website visitors than companies without blogs.
You should become passionate about producing new content. Around 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.
But content creation is just the beginning. You also have to promote your content.
Before you do that, however, you need to study your competitors. Some of the questions you need to answer are:
What keywords are they ranking highly for?
Where did they get their backlinks from?
Which anchor texts are they using (such as exact match keywords, partial match, generic, branded, etc)?
What type(s) of content do they publish (articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.)?
To analyze your competitors, you can use Ahrefs.
When you’re logged into your account, simply click on the SITE EXPLORER tab, and enter the URL for one of your competitor’s pages. Then click on the “search” button.
The first thing you’ll notice here is that the Shopify page we analyzed above has generated 120 backlinks from 8 referring domains. This means that at least one site linked back to the page several times.
The next thing you want to check is the anchor text distribution.
Simply scroll down and you’ll see this:
Considering the current state of SEO – which revolves around users and brand visibility – it’s possible to improve your link value by using more branded keywords in your anchor texts, instead of exact match keywords.
When you look at the link profile, ask yourself this question:
Out of the 120 backlinks that the page has generated, how many of them are dofollow?
Remember that dofollow links pass SEO value and influence search rankings. Nofollow links don’t pass any SEO value.
That doesn’t mean that nofollow links are bad. It just means that you need more dofollow links if you want to get more organic users.
Shopify’s blog page has about 6% dofollow links. This means that only 7 links out of the 120 actually pass SEO value.
Does this mean that if you get 10 – 15 dofollow backlinks, you’ll outrank this particular page? Quite possibly.
However, other factors such as page authority, domain authority, link quality, and link type (e.g., editorial, sitewide) also matter.
Now that you’ve analyzed your competition, it’s time to dive into content creation.
2. Use the skyscraper technique, but improve your domain authorit
I’ve shared the step-by-step method for creating content that converts users into customers. So I’m not going to repeat that here.
You should be familiar with the skyscraper technique by now. If you’re not, you can learn all about it from Brian Dean himself.
This is the same content creation technique that helped Brian to increase his organic traffic by 110% in 14 days. That’s remarkable!
Here’s the summary of the Skyscraper Technique:
Find some piece of link-worthy, relevant content.
Make something even better than that piece of content.
Reach out to the right people to promote it.
Trust me, this content creation technique works. I’ve personally used it to generate a lot of traffic to my site.
But the truth is that if you’re just starting out, or your blog barely has any form of authority, you’ll probably struggle to rank for any specific keyword – no matter how high your “skyscraper” may be.
Remember that your competitors may well have also discovered the technique. They could create a better piece content than yours, and get more search visitors as a result.
What would make the difference in results between you and your competition? Simple: domain authority.
So, while I encourage you to find a link-worthy piece of content that you can make better, you should simultaneously work on increasing your domain autho
According to Ross Hudgens of Siege Media:
If you’re starting from scratch and going against CNN, The New York Times and Business Insider, 40 links to a single page won’t be enough. You’ll need more combined authority in order to outpace them, even if their pages don’t stack up to yours.
3. Add content types your competitors have
Without a doubt, interactive content converts 2x better than static. If you find that your competitor’s page contains written content only, that’s a big edge that you can capitalize on.
One of the reasons why my infographics outperform other competitors who publish original infographics is that I add written content to the page.
I know that written content appeals to Google more than images. See one of my infographics on the KISSmetric’s blog:
By doing this, I’ve optimized the infographic page to appeal to both users and search engines.
If you want to take your user’s experience to the next level and increase the perceived value of your content, you should embed videos or SlideShare presentations.
Anna Hoffman, the founder of Traffic Generation Cafe, knows that in order to provide a memorable experience for users, different types of content are a must.
So whenever she creates a new post, she will embed video, SlideShare presentations, images, screenshots, and other visual assets.
If you’ve been following my blogs for quite some time now, you’ll notice that I use a lot of visuals in my posts.
Here’s the core reason: I want more people to share my posts.
Images are processed 60,000x faster than written text. And 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.
This also means that more people will share the post, because they can’t resist relevant and informative visual elements.
According to Buffer, tweets with images get 150% more retweets.
For this singular reason, if you want more people to retweet your post or link when you share it on Twitter, then you need to add some visual elements.
4. Create a better headline, and make your content easi
er to read.
By now, you already know that better headlines will help amplify your content. When I became serious about blogging, Copyblogger helped me master the art of headline writing.
Brian Clark is a master copywriter. He crafts headlines that compel you to keep reading.
These days, the Copyblogger blog is being managed by a team of creative content writers – but the captivating headlines are still there:
The first thing you should probably do is search for your keyword in Google. Then study the first five search results.
When I searched for “email subject line tips,” here are the organic results:
These are some great headlines.
Let’s see if we can make something better for each of them.
Best Practices for Email Subject Lines
7 Best Practices for Writing Email Subject Lines
19 Quick Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Subject Lines
Email Subject Lines: 19 Snackable Tips for Improving Open Rates
17 Tips for Writing an Excellent Email Subject Line
How to Write a Powerful and Excellent Email Subject Line
You can also use Buzzsumo to find headlines that generated substantial social shares. Then rewrite, model, or tweak your content headline accordingly.
5. Make your content pages insanely fast.
Search users like speed. Sadly, 40% of people will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
On the other hand, a faster loading page helps boost search engine rankings. Remember as well that every extra second your site takes to load will cause a 7% decrease in your conversion rate. Yes, it’s that serious!
In my experience, I’ve found that content pages that rank highly in Google results have the smallest maximum image file size.
This refers to the size of your images, and the space on the database where those images will be stored. If the image file size is large, it’ll slow down the site.
Generally, page loading speed affects search performance. When Google ranks slow sites, search users often switch to other search sites like Bing and DuckDuckGo.
If your page is fast, it can outrank a slower page, even if that page has better content.
Google wants users to find what they’re looking for. In fact, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google, they had a definite mission:
These founders were concerned about making an impact by helping people find information on the web easily – and quickly.
The harsh truth is that Google hates slow-loading sites. You’ve got to make your site insanely fast.
There are several ways to speed up your page load time. However, here’s the summary:
Spread your static content with CDNs.
Enable HTTP keep-alive response headers. See how to do it here and here.
Combine images with CSS sprites.
You can’t afford to have web pages that load slowly. No matter how useful your content might be, you’ll struggle to outrank your competitors. But if you speed up your pages, every other effort will pay off in a big way.
I didn’t mention content length, but you should know by now that long-form content outperforms short articles on all levels.
When you’re creating content, remember that users are willing to tackle a long article if they’ll get sufficient value out of reading it.
A few more tips to help you create better content that outperforms your competitor’s content in search rankings:
Target long-tail keywords in your title.
Make your URL user- and search-friendly (e.g., http://yoursite.com/b2b-list-building).
Make your content more shareable.
Link out to authority blogs that are relevant to your topic.
Have a better page design (like the design on Advanced Guide To SEO).
Reach out to influencers.
These quick tips can help you create and promote your content to get maximum results.
Remember that you don’t have to publish new posts every day. Sure, you should write new posts every day, because it helps you become a better writer.
But don’t publish new posts everyday if that’s too much — and it is definitely hard work. You can publish once or twice per week. Then spend more time promoting the content.
That’s why it’s called “content marketing.”
This simple formula sums it up:
Content + Marketing (promotion) = Results