Competitors for your products and services you know very well. But, do you know who your search competition is? Do you know who could knock you down from your rankings for Google’s SERPs? Do you know who might just steal all your traffic? Search is a very unique channel and barrier to entry is very low. They just need a website – better optimized than yours. New competitors are always ready to sneak up and bump you off the first page. Even if you know who your competitors are – it is really important to understand which brands, websites and audience you are competing with for attention – online. In this way, you can position yourself to win.
Traditional – known competition
Known competitors are a good place to start from. You will notice that these are the ones who are competing with you for your top keywords too. SEO tools such as Ahrefs, Moz or SEM Rush will help you understand your competitor keyword rankings. It is a good idea to use these tools to build a list of competitor keywords and their rankings. Understand whether they are using the same terms as you are. Are they using paid search? Check whether they are beating you for critical searches – if yes what are they doing differently? What are the potential opportunities? You won’t truly know your competition unless you analyse their keywords. Analysis goes beyond simply negotiating which position they are in for a given keyword. Pay attention to all the possibilities and all the websites using similar keywords – if your audience is relevant – you might have uncovered more competition for yourself!
Did you notice some new websites that rank consistently for your keywords? Do media sites and news publications always on top? Do government sites take up top spots? Who ever it is that ranks above you for SERPs – are your competition. These are termed as SERP competitors. You will need to analyse why they are beating you to the top. You can check out their content structure, number of referring domains, keyword focus and optimization. You can then optimize your web pages better.
You need to be better
The nature of search is never ending and hence the competition is volatile too. Apart from your regular traditional competitors – online is a different game altogether. If your website is new, your primary competitors are there too and you should optimize for both on-page and off page for all the highly competitive terms. But, you should also search for opportunities to compete for specific, long-tail search rankings.
To sum it up…
There’s no business without competition. Before you think about overcoming the competition – it is essential to identify who the competition is. In search it’s always not that obvious and it’s not always consistent too. Apart from traditional competitors, make sure that you analyse who your search competitors are – and then identify ways to beat them!
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