SEO takes time! Not everyone has the patience for it. However, reaching the top spot of Google becomes easier and quicker if you learn from others. Or, as we call it in digital marketing, steal search traffic from your competition.
Doing research for this article, I came across someone comparing digital marketing and business growth strategies to an episode of Game of Thrones. And even though no one’s killing people or yelling Dracarys to get in the number 1 position of the SERP, it is quite a battlefield.
Luckily for small businesses, in Game of Thrones, it’s not about who has big armies and dragons but who’s the smartest. So read this guide to learn how you can steal search traffic from your competition without violence!
Quick Search traffic recap
Among the many ways a person can land on your site, searching for something in Google or another search engine is the main one. That’s why people in digital marketing worry so much about SEO (Search engine optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
Search traffic refers to visitors that click either on the organic results or the paid results of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Other types of traffic include direct traffic (when someone goes straight to your site) and referral traffic (when someone finds a link to your site on another website).
Just to make it clear, we are not committing any illegal activities here, so don’t worry. It’s just a figure of speech, as the ethical bribe. When we say “steal” traffic from your competition, we mean ranking better than them so when people search their keyword, they find you instead.
What you do is pay more attention to your competition and apply techniques to win their traffic. Getting this information can be done by a simple Google search. But to get a real insight into your competitors’ good practices, a tool is required. In this post, we’ll mention some free tools.
How to steal search traffic from your competition: A Guide
Step 1: Identify your competition
First off, think of your competitors. You probably already have a good idea of who they are.
But maybe you don’t. It seems easy, however, it can be tricky sometimes.
Some would say your competition is anyone selling a similar product or service to yours. But what if your product or service is new in the market?
A golden rule is to think not about what the company provides but rather what problem they solve. Companies that don’t do the same as you might still be considered a direct substitute for what you solve. So put yourself in the shoes of consumers and try to find those companies.
For example, if you offer french lessons, your competition will naturally be other people offering french lessons. But you should also consider institutions of higher learning like colleges and other educational establishments.
There are a number of different ways to find your competitors. Begin with a simple google search for your targeted keyword and find the top 20 results – these are your competitors.
Step 2: Find out their keywords
Usually, the companies you’re competing with online target the same keyword as you. To be sure of their keywords, though, you can use some free tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush.
Many people think Google Ads is just to run paid ads, but their Keyword Planner tool can also help you discover the keywords of your competition. Once you enter their URL, the Keyword Planner will show you their top keywords and new keyword ideas.
List relevant keywords you aren’t ranking for already, and target them in your future content or add them in your previous posts. Make sure you select the keywords that have a lot of traffic and create stunning content to get that traffic.
Another nice tool to find your competition’s keywords is SEMrush.
Apart from showing their keywords, SEMrush will give you a list of all the companies you compete with, their competition level, and other competitor analyses that will be useful for later.
Or, use SimilarWeb. A competitive analysis tool built to outrank your competition by studying their SEO advantages. We have a detailed tutorial on how to get more traffic to your blog using SimilarWeb.
Step 3: Create better content
Probably the hardest part of this process is to carve amazing content. If you target the same keywords as your competitors without showing anything truly valuable, not only will you fail in stealing their traffic, they will eclipse you.
So how do you create better content?
Whatever you do needs to be:
- Longer and more informative. Long blog posts perform better than shorter ones and informational intent represents 80% of search queries.
- Friendly. Your content should be less like a lecture and more like a chat with friends. Examples and jokes are welcome.
- Up-to-date. It’s not necessary you constantly create new content, updating old posts works just as well.
- Better-looking. Maybe your competence doesn’t use enough images or has an ugly design. Make sure yours is more attractive.
- Optimized for the keyword. Don’t forget to include the same keyword as your competitor in your H1 tag, meta description, and inside the text so Google understands what your content is about.
Basically, spot what your competition is doing very well so you can do it better.
Whatever they are doing right, you need to do it. So for example, if they are sharing great graphics and their traffic’s responding positively to that, work harder on your images and videos. It’s not about copying your competition but critically understanding why they are thriving so you can thrive too.
Step 4: Be faster
Google pays a lot of attention to site speed. So you should too. In mid-June this year, Google will gradually start using page experience as part of their ranking systems. The update will consider many UX Signals, one of them being speed.
Checking your competition speed is as easy as going to Google’s Page Speed Insights and entering their web page URL. The page will analyze both their desktop and mobile speed. Once you know their score, try to outperform it.
The fastest way to improve speed is by compressing images. A great plugin for the job is WP Smush which helps you reduce image size as soon as they are uploaded.
Cache mechanisms also help speed up your site. To find the plugin that most suits you, head to our post and choose from the Best Cache Plugins.
Step 5: Steal high-quality links
After you create better content for their keywords and make sure your site is faster than your competition’s, it’s time to also show others you are the best.
One way of doing so is reaching out to those already admiring and mentioning your competition.
What I mean is emailing web owners that previously linked to your competition’s content and showing them yours, which at this point is better than your competition’s. All right, let me break it down for you.
First, you want to find the page that is linking your competition. So you will:
- Identify their backlinks with a tool like Semrush. Simply enter your competition’s URL, go to backlinks, and then to referring domains.
- Select a domain with a high score.
- Click on the number under the backlink column to see the exact page the link is coming from.
Now you’ll email this website to let them know your content has more value. When you do this, make sure you sound less like a critic and more like a genuine person wanting to help. “Hey, I love this piece you linked but I created something more in-depth and updated on this topic. You might want to mention it on your page”. That sort of email.
This way the web will change the link to lead users to your content instead of your competence’s. That’s how you’ll increase your referral traffic and thus your ranking, which directly impacts your search traffic.
Having great backlinks is also one of the things that increase your domain authority.
To see your page domain authority and don’t pay a thing, download MozBar for Chrome. Once you turn it on, you’ll see the score of each page in a dark bar. I recommend not to obsess over numbers, though. It’s better to grow slowly and steadily rather than driving yourself crazy. If Google itself hasn’t a perfect score, what us, mere mortals, can expect?
Step 6: Use paid ads
While stealing the high-quality backlinks of your competition will improve your ranking in the SERP and help you steal their search traffic, paid ads will do more direct work.
Yes, the magic word of Google Ads will help you here.
But we’re not talking about regular ads. No. We’re talking about conquesting ads like this one:
As you can see, Sendinblue and Active Campaign target competitor keywords so even though I searched specifically for Mailchimp, the first site that I see is Sendinblue’s. Moreover, if I clicked on the ad, I’ll land on a comparison page with a comparison chart between the two brands to convince me why Sendinblue is much better than Mailchimp.
So that’s pretty much what you’ll do in your campaign. Use keywords related to your competition in your ads. And tailor ad copy and landing page to be a comparison of your brand and your competitor, explaining your value proposition over the other.
However, keep in mind that conquesting campaigns demand well-tailored messages, targeting, and smart marketing. They are also expensive and have the potential to provoke retaliation. So beware of starting a bidding war.
In this post, we saw which steps you need to follow to steal search traffic from your competition:
- Know who your competition is and which keywords they use.
- Make sure you’re better than them in the content, design, and speed of your site.
- Get noticed by their traffic stealing their backlinks and placing conquesting ads.
We also found out that digital marketing is like a fantasy novel’s battlefield.
So be safe while you embark on the adventure of conquesting the search traffic of your competition.