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6 Tips to Improve your SEO with Authoritative Competitor Intelligence

By Derek Janis on October 3rd, 2014

You’ve discovered the value of keywords and phrases. You’ve even learned the value of tracking your results and seeing where your website is showing up on various search engines. So, how come your competitors are getting better results than you? It’s likely because you’re not gathering the right kind of intelligence on your competitors.

1. Increase the Usability of Your Site

Google takes many factors into consideration when ranking sites. While you may have fully optimized content, your competitors may have embraced other factors you’ve overlooked. This includes unique features such as a custom error page to ease the frustration of server issues and convince visitors to try again. Some factors to consider when looking to boost the usability of your website include:

  • User-friendly site navigation
  • Browser compatibility
  • Mobile-friendly content
  • 
Page load time
  • 
Removing broken links

2. Take a Closer Look at Keyword Consistency

Dive deeper than just looking at what keywords your competitors are using. Take a look at where keywords are placed. You’re going to get different results from keywords placed in subheadings and photo captions as opposed to keywords buried within lots of text. Compare your competitors’ keyword placement with what you’re doing on your site. You may be missing out on some prime keyword opportunities.

3. Determine What Technology Is Behind Your Competitors’ Sites

A not-so-obvious reason why your competitors may be ranking higher than you is the technology behind your site. Determine what content management system your competitors used to build their site. If your hosting server isn’t dependable, this impacts the experience visitors have when coming to your site and, in turn, affects your rankings on search engines. Sites using cloud-based technology, for example, tend to perform better.

4. Build Yourself a Niche With Your Backlinks

While there are some obvious choices when it comes to building links from other sites such as blogs with related content and business directories , your competitors may be trying to carve out a niche from other sources. All you have to do to check the backlinks of a site is type in “site:www.[site name].com” in your Google search bar and you’ll see all the pages linking to that site. You’ll still need to do things such as compare traffic volume, but at least you’ll get an idea of what audiences your competitors are trying to reach.

5. Embrace Rich Snippets

No matter how attractive your content is to your visitors, it may not be all that impressive to the search engine “spiders” responsible for ranking your site. The solution is rich snippets. There are certain things within your content that search engines can’t distinguish. If, for instance, you say “Come see us at our Athens location,” search engines can’t tell whether you mean Athens, Greece or Athens, Georgia. To help explain that you’re referring to your new restaurant location in Athens, Georgia, you’ll need to add some code to your snippet.

6. Adjust or Expand Your Social Media Reach

How well you incorporate your social media platforms into the promotion of your website is a contributing factor to how you rank. Take a look at what social sites your competitors are using and, more importantly, how much engagement they have on each site and how many mentions they’re getting. On a related note, delete any social pages you’re not using to further boost your rankings.

Finally, track all your research on your competitors by creating a spreadsheet. This will allow you to compare your competitors’ approach to reaching the same consumers you’re trying to reach. While this doesn’t mean you should copy what your competitors are doing, knowing what they’re strategies are can help you put together a better online marketing strategy.

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