SEO tips: what should you be learning from your competitors?

Are your niche competitors stealing a march on you? Are they outranking you on the search engines because their digital marketing strategy is more effective than yours? Do you feel they are ruining and undermining all the hard work and effort you’ve put into your own SEO efforts? If you do, then don’t worry. In the digital age, competition no longer means that all is lost. In fact, online competitors can be a useful resource for your business, particularly when it comes to improving your business’ SEO. How can that be so? Well, here are several reasons you might want to consider.

Fresh ideas and new inspiration

If your business has been blogging for a while, then it’s inevitable that inspiration will eventually dry up. That’s particularly true if you work in a niche market, or if your industry isn’t especially dynamic or fast-moving. Having a competitor can be helpful. They can give you new ideas for blogs, though lifting content directly from them is definitely a non-starter. However, there’s no reason why you can’t use the ideas they’ve generated and then put your own spin on their thoughts. Use their ideas for inspiration and mould them to fit in with your own strategy. Look at the topics they’ve covered and see if they’ve missed anything. What else could you write about that they haven’t covered?

Linking

Links may no longer have the cache they once did, but they are still useful for SEO. If you can target your links selectively, particularly those with high authority, then these will improve your search rankings. How can you find such links? Well, use a link research tool and see what other sites are linking to your competitors. Rather than using this information for replicating your competitors’ strategy, use it to inform your own unique marketing campaign instead. In effect, use the information to do what your competitors are doing, but do it better.

Building your online audience

What drives social media marketing? Well, it’s the audience. All your social efforts should be targeted towards increasing and building a decent following of customers, vendors and partners. That’s exactly the strategy your competitors will also be following. So look for the overlap which will inevitably exist. These followers have already shown that they are interested in your industry, so reach out to them with your own content.

Differentiate your brand

The driving factors that underpin any SEO strategy are publishing lots of content, optimising the website and engaging on social media. Once you’ve done this, all the information will be publicly accessible. Your competitors will have followed the same path as you. Monitor any accessible information about your competitors and use it to differentiate your brand. Find out who their target audience is, establish where their niche markets lie and analyse their principle digital strategies. Use this information to inform your own strategy, and make your own brand a unique and more- appealing competitor for your shared audience.

Target their weaknesses

Even the strongest competitor will have weaknesses. Their keywords might rank well on a national level, but show signs of weakness locally. Look for poor local reviews, and if you find them ramp up your own local SEO efforts accordingly. They might be strong on Facebook and Twitter, but they might only have a token presence on LinkedIn. So put your efforts into that and try to exploit the opportunity. If you want to improve your rankings and the overall performance of your business, then direct your efforts at the areas where your competitors are weakest.

Guest blogging to build relationships

Just because someone’s a competitor, doesn’t mean you can work with them for mutual benefit. Ask them if they’d like to do a guest blog for own website, and hopefully they might offer you one on theirs in return. It will be mutually beneficial in the longer term and might open up opportunities for guest blogging on other industry sources.

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