Outranking a particular targeted competitor on Google is a fairly common request from potential clients, i’m going to show you how we approach it and how we can help if you’re in the same situation.
Understanding how Google works
The first step to outranking a competitor is to understand how and why Google likes and ranks them well in the first place.
Let’s pretend for one moment that you’re a solicitor in Cambridge.
You’re going to be up against these guys as competition >>
The aim here would be to outrank the first real solicitor, Barr Ellison.
Assuming all is well with your website and you’re happy customers are going to convert when they click through, the second step is to check out their back-links, the most important part of any SEO campaign.
For this you’re going to need a back link checker, there’s loads online, personally I like Moz’s OSE, you can see a percentage of the full details for free.
This is what Moz will show you:
If you’re not experienced in SEO, these metrics are essentially the headline facts behind Google’s love (or hate) for a website.
The Domain Authority and Page Authority are effectively a grade out of 100 as to how good your website and the particular page is, an average is around 30-40 for most.
Page Link Metrics are the gold dust all us SEO bods are mining for, links act like votes to show search engines how popular your website is, broadly the more you have the better you rank, all else being equal.
Last up are the Social Metrics, Google uses these to gauge the popularity of the brand, though nowhere near as important as Link Metrics, these play a good part of a rounded SEO function.
Be a Sheep, where possible
The next step to outranking them is to copy theres and everyone else ranking on the first page back-links.
Take the top 10 websites, run it through a back link checker, download as an excel file and pool all of those links.
One by one go through each link and try and steal it, you could get very technical here if you understand more advanced tactics but for this article all you’re looking for are sponsorships, comments, guest posts etc that you can replicate.
Barr & Ellison has a fairly decent list of links, starting picking through and spotting some targets.
Start with building easy links like this: http://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/cambridgeuk/sect4.htm and http://www.directory.internetbusiness.co.uk/dir/211/40.php
Then you can target links that require some outreach like these: http://hoohaah.co.uk/results/hatfield-forest-5k-10k-run/hatfield-forest-2015-10k-results/ and http://www.colc.co.uk/about/database.html
It’s not easy setting up links, but the benefits are huge so take the time, do it right.
Worst case scenario get someone on fiverr to find and source the links that are possible for you, for only a few dollars you’ll get a list of hundreds.
Rinse and repeat the process across the top ten websites and your link profile will be looking great.
Remember this is the first step, you’re creating a back link profile that Google already likes but maxing it out by sending all the same links to your website, always a winner.
The important bit
The next and final step is to add a small amount of very high quality links that none of your competitors have, preferably that they couldn’t get if they tried.
You’re looking for links from high profile clients, maybe they have a partners page or you can create a press release about them, ask them to put it on there blog, with a link back to you in it.
You could look at high quality PR, listing on places like Dmoz which is rare in this market, maybe create a Wikipedia page and sponsor some local charities events (just make sure they have a website first).
From there you’ll see your rankings gradually rising, it will probably take a week to start seeing some movement but it will come, keep an eye.
Don’t forget that this is only half a strategy, to maintain rankings, continue to grow and to make your work seem natural (to avoid a penalty) you need to continue building links, maybe this is where we can help.