Have you ever been in awe of how well your competition ranks in Google? Well, now you can use that to your advantage to outrank them.
Part of good content marketing is looking at what your competitors are doing well and do it better. It’s really inefficient to randomly throw something out there for Google to rank and hope it ranks high in SERPs.
What works better is simply looking what what’s ranking, and create better content to outrank it. Better yet, you can steal your competitor’s backlinks with better content, and outrank them on Google even more.
Today I’m going to share a process that will allow you to see what’s ranking well on Google for your niche, create better content, steal your competitor’s backlinks and outrank their content organically. I just want to say that this does take some time and effort but it’s well worth it, especially if this is something you implement and continually follow for months.
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Google Your Keyword
The first part of this process is finding out who’s ranking for the keywords you want to rank for.
If you don’t know what you should be ranking for, or what keywords to go after, I recommend starting with long-tail keywords. These are generally longer keyword phrases that have less competition, get a decent amount of search traffic, and will be easier to rank for.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner to start getting some ideas of the keywords you should be ranking for.
I keep it really simple. I simply put myself into my target audience’s shoes and think about what they might search on Google.
For example, if I’m selling guitars and I’m putting together a blog for my guitar store to attract new customers, I might look at what shows up when someone searches “best guitar for beginners”.
As you can see, the number one result is an article from 2014 on Musician’s Friend blog, a guitar shop.
Let’s take a look at the actual content to see what we’re up against.
Kick Your Competition’s Butt
To put it simply, you need to create a much better, detailed and up-to-date version of what’s ranking on the first page. I like to look at the top 3 results that are articles.
Get the word count of the top articles. This article on “The Best Guitars for Beginners” is over 4000 words. So, my article would need to be at least 5000 words. How I came to this number is I simply need to have a larger wordcount by a significant amount. If the top article for you is 1000 words, do 2000. If it’s 10,000 you might need to do 20,000 to get noticed.
The people that wrote this article also know what they’re doing. Not only is it great helpful content, it contains a table of contents and lots of embedded media including images and videos. I would need to out-do them by having my own table of contents, and more videos and images in the article, maybe even a few embedded audio clips.
This article was also updated in 2016. So while the Google listing says 2014 (the original publishing date of the article) they’re updating it to keep the content fresh!
This is going to be difficult to outrank but I’m showing you the worst case scenario. Most articles you see, depending on your niche, will be less detailed and shorter than this one. Even still, I have a lot of confidence that I could out-do it. Especially since I would have a fresher original publishing date.
Check Your Competition’s Backlinks
Once you put together a piece of content that’s vastly superior than the competition’s, it’s time to steal their backlinks.
The idea here is that you’re going to see who’s linking to the competition’s article, and get them to link to your updated and better article.
Head over to Open Link Profiler and check the backlinks for the top few articles.
We can see that this article I scouted earlier has plenty of backlinks and websites I can reach out to with my improved version.
This gives us a short list of websites we will contact. Put them into a spreadsheet.
Consider how these websites are linking back to the article to see if it makes sense for you to reach out to them. If they’re linking out to the article as a resource, then it makes sense to contact them since you have an updated and improved version.
You want to find sites that link out to your competitor’s article naturally. Those are the sites more likely to update their link with your article.
For example, I clicked each article linking to my competitor’s article to see how they we’re linking to it. I could see that the fourth article above, by Stereo Stickman, linked to the Musician’s Friend article as an additional resource.
It’s very likely that if I reached out to the owner of this website with my updated and better version, they would link out to my article and add it as an additional resource.
Now that you have a list of websites to reach out to, and you know which ones link out to your competitor’s naturally, it’s time to contact them.
The long way to do this is to find the contact pages and contact emails of all the websites linking out to your competitor’s article, and email them with something similar to this:
“I just wrote a similar article to X, which you include as a resource on Y. It’s like X but it’s more detailed and up to date. I think your readers would find it much more helpful!”
There are tools you can use to help automate the outreach process, as well as automate follow-up emails. Ninja Outreach and Connector are two tools I use and recommend.
Follow-ups are a big part of this. Most people you contact don’t respond to the first email they receive. Most people will see the email as spam or automated. The follow-up lets them know you’re serious and that it’s a personalized email sent just to them.
Also, it’s important to note that you might have to contact 100 websites linking to your competitor for 5 of them to actually update their link with your article.
This takes a lot of work and could be a process worth outsourcing. However, remember that taking backlinks away from your competitors is huge. Google still looks at backlinks as a ranking signal so if you’re looking for traction, this is a great way to get it.
This is a devious and clever way to take what your competitors are doing right, and use it against them.
As I mentioned earlier, it does take work. This is not an easy thing to do, that’s why everyone isn’t doing it. But it’s very much worth it. Not only are you creating much more valuable content, you’re getting other sites to link to it.
Let me know if you have any questions about this process. Feel free to leave a comment below. I read and respond to everyone.