Effective marketing isn’t just about showing the value of your business. It’s also about distinguishing yourself from your competitors, and helping buyers to confidently choose you over your competitors. There are many ways to stand out above your competition, but one of the most successful ways of doing so is to literally get above them on search engine results pages, on Google in particular. In this post we’ll go over the three main channels for outranking your competitors on Google, so you can get a leg up on your competitors.
Related: 6 Ways to Google’s First Page
Getting on the first page of Google is one of the best things you can do for your business—aside from outranking your competitors there as well. Yet in order to outrank your competitors on Google, you must first understand the layout of Google search results. When a user types a query into the search bar, three different types of results show up: paid, organic, and local results:
• Paid search results are those which show up at the very top and very bottom of your results.
• Organic search results appear in between paid results.
• Local search results appear between the top paid results and organic results.
Your best bet in outranking your competitors on Google is in using all three channels.
Related: Staying 3 Steps Ahead: Winning in Online Search
Outranking your competitors on Google is most effective when it occurs on the first page of results. Why? Let’s take a look at the stats: Only 10% of users actually look past the first page of results for their search. In addition, the top three organic results on a results page capture 61.5% of clicks.
This means that if you are result #4 and your competitor is in the top three results, they are getting anywhere from 3-25% more clicks than you, at the bare minimum. To outrank your competitors on Google, you must stay on top of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s not just a matter of doing a run through of your website and doing your basic SEO practices once. You need to:
• Consistently add fresh, quality content optimized for search (which is why you should have a business blog).
• Update homepage and product pages as needed.
• Work on getting more high-quality backlinks to your site.
While the first page is the most important, it’s also important to pay attention to the specific pages on which you are striving to outrank your competitors. Getting more clicks to your website than them will help to improve your SEO over theirs, and will help with brand awareness. Ultimately, however, you want to focus on outranking your competitors on Google for search terms that bring new customers—and not just visitors—to your site. To rank on the right pages, be sure to:
• Use local keywords.
• Perform keyword research for your industry/target audience.
• Check your website analytics to see which terms are bringing visitors to your site.
Outranking your competitors on the right pages of Google will help with an increase in qualified traffic, but this doesn’t necessitate more customers. Your website must be optimized for conversion if you want to benefit from outranking your competitors, and if you want to further outrank them. To optimize your website for conversion, be sure to implement such best practices as:
• Product or service-specific landing pages.
• Call to action phrases and buttons.
• Simple and intuitive navigation.
Improving your organic rankings yields great results over the long run, but is also a long-term strategy. Paid search ads, or SEM campaigns, are a great way to get some visibility fast while you’re building up your organic repertoire.
As mentioned above, the top three results of Google searches get 61.5% of clicks. However, the top three organic results are not physically the top three results of a Google search results page. At the very top and very bottom are paid listings: those which are relevant to a search but whose position was purchased through pay-per-click advertising (aka search engine marketing).
While organic results the most sustainable route to success on Google, there is something to be said about the very first result you see in a list. Use SEM to get your business at the top of Google and to secure the spotlight.
It’s important to note that SEM campaigns aren’t a matter of tossing in your money and then waiting to show up first. Paid search results are determined by a similar algorithm as organic search, but with monetary factors involved as well. In order to outrank your competitors on Google through paid search advertising, you must be SEM savvy. This means knowing how to adjust the multiple factors that affect SEM success, including:
• Budget: daily budget, campaign budget, cost per click, cost per lead
• Targeting: who and where your audience is located
• Content: keywords, negative keywords, ad copy, landing page copy.
Check out this post for more savvy SEM tips.
What a lot of businesses don’t realize is that search engine optimization on Google involves Google Maps too. If you have a Google My Business account, Google will use its data on your business and its pages to rank you in its local results. This is especially important for local businesses—not just to help you get noticed above other local competitors, but also to help your target audience members find you over national/franchise competitors.
To outrank your competitors on Google Maps, make sure to:
• Create a Google My Business account
• Keep your Google listing up to date, accurate, and consistent
• Use a local phone number
• Embed the Google maps location of your business on oyur website contact us page
• Encourage reviews- the more buzz there is about yourbusiness, the higher you will rank.
• Add photos to make your listing more attractive to users
In addition to optimizing your organic, paid, and maps listings on Google, be sure to get your business listed in online directories and review sites. The greater your online presence and the more positive reviews you can get from customers, the more Google will recognize that it can trust you. Trust is a huge factor in Google rankings, so do make use of online business directories to get the extra advantage over your competitors. These include but are not limited to:
• Bing Local
• Yahoo Local
• Angie’s List
Buyers today have so many businesses to choose from and so much access to online research. Become the choice that stands out to them and capitalize on their online usage to get ahead and stay ahead of your competition.