06 Sep Why does Google Rank My Competition Higher?
When you’re looking for new information, say on a product or service you’re thinking about purchasing, where do you turn? Most likely you get your phone out or open up your favorite desktop browser and go to Google. From there, you type in a keyword, phrase, or question and Google provides you a list of webpages with information relevant to whatever you searched for.
Did you know, though, that over 50% of searchers will click on one of the top 5 links without scrolling down to see the rest of their options?
For business owners, that means, if your competition is ranking higher than you, your target audience probably isn’t even seeing your link, which is exactly why you’re here. You want to know why your competition ranks higher than you and you want to know what you can do about it.
We have answers to both of those questions.
SEO Factors That Affect Google Rankings
One of the biggest reasons why your competition is ranking higher on Google is that they’re probably providing content comprehensiveness to your target audience. That’s not to say your content isn’t comprehensive because it very well could be. Content comprehensiveness actually goes much deeper than just writing a thorough blog post. It’s about going deeper into the subject matter, being a trustworthy source, and providing real value to your audience.
Content comprehensiveness is actually the reason you see so many marketing articles out there about the length of a web page or blog post. Creating longer pages and posts with more content often leads to content comprehensiveness because you provide more opportunities to include all of the information your target audience is looking for.
Key take away: Provide in-depth content that adds real value to your audience or the conversation at large.
3 Steps to Creating Content Comprehensiveness
Content comprehensiveness is more than just a long form blog post. To achieve content comprehensiveness, follow these three steps:
1.Identify all of the questions- This is a big task. We get it. But, it’ll pay off in the long run to think of all the questions, both explicit and implicit that your target audience might have around one subject. In some cases, you might have to go back to your buyer personas and think about all of the questions each segment of your audience might have.
2. Gather information your competition cannot/would not get- This isn’t as complicated as it might seem, but it could take some time to pull all of the resources together. Think about any proprietary information you might have, ask your audience to participate in polls or give opinions, and check out aggregated metrics. If you can provide something your competition doesn’t, then you have a chance to edge them out.
3. Assemble the content in a format that the competition won’t use- If your competition is only offering blog posts, then it’s time to think outside of the box. Long-form guides might require a lot of legwork, but they provide valuable information that your audience is looking for. Make content visual and interactive to increase engagement. Offer the content as a free download or even as a non-transactional download.
One of the most basic, yet important aspects of ranking on Google is keyword targeting. You have to know what words and phrases your target audience is using when they search for answers and solutions. Knowing what search terms they’re using is only half the battle, though. After identifying those keywords and phrases, you have to start adding them to your content.
Blog posts are great places for this SEO tactic. You can make the focus of a single blog post one of your keywords or phrases and write an entire post based around it. However, your blog posts aren’t the only place you should be using keyword targeting. In fact, your entire website needs to use keyword targeting. Picking out a keyword for each page on your site, you should optimize the pages for specific keywords that are relevant to your business, the page, and your target audience.
Key take away: Keywords should be part of every page/post’s strategy. Also, notice how we used “keywords and phrases?” Don’t forget about long-tail keywords (keyword phrases made up of multiple words).
When was the last time you read the content on your website? How about your blog posts? Are they engaging enough to make you want to keep reading or do you immediately want to bounce back to the previous page? Take a few minutes and see how long it take for you to want to leave. Why? Because Google is tracking users and seeing how long it takes them to jump (bounce) back to the search page.
If your bounce rate is high, then there’s a good chance that your competition has a higher Google ranking than you. Google, in all their infinite wisdom, is on a mission to provide searchers with the best, most relevant content to their search. If they notice that most people click on your page and then immediately bounce back to the search page, then they’ll knock your page down a peg or two on the totem pole.
Another major factor Google uses to rank searcher satisfaction is the click through rate on your links. If the click through rate is low, then Google believes you aren’t providing valuable content to searchers. High click through rate, to Google, indicates more satisfied searchers. How do you get that click through rate up? Create enticing meta descriptions and make sure your link text is engaging enough to make searchers want to click on it.
Key take away: Google is watching how searchers interact with your links and pages, so you need to be paying attention, too.
Uniqueness of Content
Who are you writing content for? Yourself, Google, or your target audience? If you’re writing it for yourself, then there’s a good chance no one else is reading it. If you’re writing for the Google Bots, then they’re probably already onto your scheme and are lowering your rankings as we speak. If you’re writing it for your target audience, then you’re on the right track.
Google looks for original, unique content that provides value to searchers. Companies creating that original, unique content are rewarded with higher Google rankings. This is really one of the first (and most basic) steps in SEO. Without original content, you have nothing to add keywords to, you can’t satisfy searchers, and there’s no content comprehensiveness happening.
During the reign of Black Hat SEO, content wasn’t all that unique. Companies were stealing blog posts and paying for backlinks. This created a horrible experience for searchers and Google put a stop to it by lowering rankings of companies that took part in the practice.
Key take away: Create unique content that your audience is looking for.
This one can be a little tricky to put into practice. Domain authority is like this invisible force controlling much of the Internet and search results. Basically domain authority comes down to the trustworthiness and authority that your website brings to the table. How do you control that let alone increase it? There’s really only two things you can do for this one.
1). Be ultra relevant to your specific subject area or industry. This means your url, your content, your keywords, and everything you put out there needs to be relevant to your industry and your industry audience.
2). Build quality backlinks. We aren’t suggesting you start paying some basement dwelling blog writer to start churning out random blog posts with links to your content. We’re suggesting you create share-worthy content that everyone and their brother wants to link to. The more shares, the more Google thinks highly of you and your content (which means better rankings).
Other things that factor into domain authority include link structure, internal linking, and the user experience and design.
Key take away: Be sure you’re providing ultra relevant information that your target audience will want to share.
One thing you need to constantly be thinking about is on-page SEO. We’ve already alluded to this and much of what we’ve discussed in the above sections points to building this tactic up, but it’s important to talk about it more in depth.
On-page SEO is what you do for each page to help increase its rank on Google. The better the on-page SEO the better the ranking on Google. What goes into on-page SEO? Here’s a list of some of the factors that play into this SEO tactic:
- Load Speed
- Title Tags, H Tags, Meta Tags
- URL Structure
- Meta Descriptions
- Anchor Text
Key take away: SEO is about more than fitting a keyword into your content. You have to constantly be thinking about all of these little details and how they connect to one another.
Improving your SEO and Google ranking.
SEO isn’t a one time thing. Sure, your pages might have been optimized when your site launched, but how long ago was that? SEO is constantly changing. Google updates what they’re looking for. Your competition is always updating their tactics and you should be too.
It can be a lot to learn and a lot to handle on your own. You need a strategy and a team to implement that strategy. You need the digital marketers, writers, and designers at Iconic Digital to help you create that strategy and set it in motion.
What are you waiting for? Let’s talk!