Search rankings directly affect the quality and amount of organic traffic that websites receive. As a business owner, you should optimize your website to rank high on Google for your target keywords. If a competitor’s website outranks your site, you may struggle to attract high-quality search traffic, resulting in fewer sales or conversions. You can beat your competitors on Google, however, by following these eight tips.
Optimize the Design
An active search engine optimization (SEO) strategy requires the right web design. Your site should have a responsive design that scales up or down depending on the visitor’s device. It should also feature a proper navigation hierarchy that allows visitors to access any page in just three or fewer clicks. Using an optimized web design such as this promotes a better user experience, which search engines analyze in their ranking algorithms.
Build Authoritative Backlinks
A portfolio of authoritative backlinks is a defining characteristic of successful, high-ranking websites. Assuming they’re from relevant, trusted websites, each backlink signals popularity. Therefore, Google is more likely to rank websites with many backlinks at the top of the results page than websites with few or no backlinks. To outrank your competitors, acquire backlinks from other high-quality websites related to your business. Also, focus on inbound link acquisition tactics, such as content market, to achieve the best results. Buying backlinks or using software to automatically create them only increases the risk of a Google penalty that lowers your rankings.
Size Up the Competition
The secret to outranking your competitors on Google is to perform better SEO. If a competitor’s website has more backlinks or higher-quality backlinks than your site, Google may reward it with higher rankings. To see how many backlinks a competitor’s site has, perform a competitor analysis. This tactic involves comparing your website’s ranking factors, including backlinks, to your competitors’ ranking factors. Pay attention to the total number of backlinks your competitor’s website has as well as the authority of the websites on which those links are displayed.
Check Website for Broken Links
Functional internal links are essential to your website’s success on Google. When a visitor wants to access another page on your site, he or she will click the linked image or text. And when visitors click a link, they expect your site to load the appropriate page. This doesn’t always happen, though. If your website has a link with an improperly formatted URL, visitors will see an error page after clicking it. In addition to hurting your site’s usability, broken links such as this can restrict your search rankings.
Stay ahead of your competitors by checking your website for broken links. You can do this by manually testing all links on your site to ensure they load, or you can automatically scan your site for broken links using a tool like the W3C Link Checker.
Make Your Website Faster
Part of Google’s success in the search engine market is attributed to the quality of its search results. Google provides the most optimized and relevant results of any search engine. While other search engines like Yahoo and Ask.com pay little attention to site speed, Google emphasizes this signal in its ranking algorithm to provide users with a better experience. The company first confirmed the use of speed in search rankings in 2010. In 2018, Google announced that it was rolling out site speed for mobile search rankings as well. To beat your competitors on Google, optimize your website so that it’s faster than their sites.
You can make your website faster by reducing the file size of its pages. Consolidating CSS and using smaller, web-optimized images, for example, reduces the file size of the respective web page. And because smaller pages require less bandwidth to load than larger pages, they’ll speed up your website while making it more Google-friendly in the process.
Publish Better Content
Like backlinks, you should compare your website’s content to your competitors’ content. If you publish better content, you’ll have a higher chance of outranking them. A study published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that websites with content-rich blogs have more than four times the number of indexed pages in the search results than their counterparts without a blog. Whether you use a blog or traditional website format, though, you should publish content that’s longer, more relevant and in-depth than your competitors.
Update Your Content
Publishing better content than your competitors is only half the battle. You must also update that content regularly to keep it fresh and relevant. If you haven’t updated an article or blog post in a year or longer, Google may assume that it’s no longer relevant. When this occurs, Google will rank other websites with newer content higher than your site. To prevent this from happening, update your content on a regular basis by adding new information, modifying existing information, replacing images and adding new links.
Track Rankings With Google Search Console
You can get a general idea of your website’s search rankings by typing your target keywords into Google.com and looking for your site in the results. If you’re serious about beating your competitors, though, you’ll need to track site’s search rankings on Google each day, and doing this manually is a time-consuming process that prevents you from performing other SEO processes. Thankfully, the Google Search Console can provide you with detailed information about your website’s search rankings, including the keywords and placements for which it ranks. Furthermore, it reveals the number of impressions and clicks your site has generated for its keywords.
It’s frustrating when a direct competitor of your business outranks you on Google. With a higher ranking, that website will attract more visitors and achieve more recognition. Rather than throwing in the towel and accepting a lower ranking, though, you should proactively optimize your website so that Google will reward it with a higher ranking.