How to Outrank Your Competitors on Google and Dominate the SERPs
With Google accounting for more than 90 percent of the global search engine market, according to StatCounter, it's essential that you optimize your business's website to rank high in Google's search results. The higher it ranks, the more traffic it will receive. But what if your site ranks below a competitor's website? Assuming it's still on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs), it will likely attract some traffic, but your competitor's website will receive most of the clicks for the targeted keyword. So, how can you outrank your competitors on Google and dominate the SERPs?
Optimize layout for a positive UX
Start by optimizing your website's layout to create a positive user experience (UX). According to Adobe's State of Content Report, 38 percent of visitors will leave a site if it has an unattractive or otherwise poorly designed layout, and if they continue to do so, then Google will take notice by ranking it lower than your competitors' websites. To optimize your site for a positive UX, use responsive design with clearly defined, recognizable navigation links.
Create longer pieces of content
During the early days of Google, it was relatively easy to rank a 500-word web page by merely building backlinks. Google has since changed the way in which it ranks web pages, however, by emphasizing content length and quality. When browsing Google's search results, you'll probably discover that most of the top-ranking web pages contain thousands of words of text. A SerpIQ study, for example, found that the average length of the top 10 web pages on Google was over 2,500 words. To outrank your competitors, create long, content-rich web pages that are relevant to your visitors' interests.
Include more than just text in the content
While the bulk of your web pages' content should consist of text, it's important to include other elements like links, images, and videos. Some webmasters have a linear mindset regarding their website's content creation strategy, believing that text is the only type of content. But content comes in many different forms, only one of which is text. You can make your website more useful and valuable to visitors by adding non-text elements to your content. That includes internal links to other pages on your site, external links to other websites, relevant images, and videos.
When adding images to your website's content, optimize them for Google by giving them a relevant file name and alt text attribute. An image's file name and alt text won't affect how it displays on your website. They may, however, influence your website's search rankings. Google analyzes image file names and alt text to identify their context. Unlike writing, Google can't easily read images to determine what they are about, so it relies on information provided by the image's file name and alt text attribute. By taking the time to give your pictures a relevant file name and alt text that describes what they are about, you'll help Google to understand your website's content better, which often translates to higher rankings.
Build backlinks with guest blogging
Google has been tight-lipped regarding the exact formula it uses to rank websites. From Google's perspective, this makes sense because revealing its ranking formula would allow webmasters to manipulate their website's rankings. In 2016, though, Google confirmed that content and backlinks are the two most important ranking factors. Although there are many ways to build backlinks, guest blogging is arguably the most effective. With guest blogging, you write blog posts and articles that get published on other websites. You typically aren't paid for writing this content, but most sites that accept guest blog posts allow you to include a backlink to your website. When published on a relevant, trusted website, these contextual backlinks can help you outrank your competitors on Google.
Build backlinks with authoritative profiles
You can also build high-quality backlinks to your website using authoritative profiles. That involves creating a user profile on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., and adding a backlink to your website. Of course, you'll want to create an active presence on these websites by completing your profile and publishing new content. As your profiles gain recognition, the backlinks will boost your website's rankings on Google.
Target more keywords
If you're struggling to outrank a competitor's website on Google, perhaps you should target more keywords. Short-tail keywords consisting of just one or two common words generate a substantial amount of searches, but they also have stiff competition. Expanding your search engine optimization (SEO) to target both short- and long-tail keywords will improve your website's visibility on Google. A competitor may still outrank your site for some keywords. For other keywords, though, your website may appear at the top of Google's SERPs.
Aim for featured snippets
Even if a competitor continues to rank in the first organic position on Google for one of your website's target keywords, you can outrank them by optimizing your site for featured snippets. Featured snippets are individual listings with that appear above all organic search listings. Because of this, they usually attract more clicks than standard organic listings. With that said, Google doesn't display a featured snippet for all search queries. They typically appear for question queries including who, what, when, where and how. Therefore, you should create new web pages based around common questions about your online business.
Avoid black-hat SEO tactics
While the allure of easily ranking for a highly competitive keyword using a black-hat SEO may sound tempting, you should avoid using black-hat techniques on your website. Black-hat SEO refers to manipulative tactics intended to artificially increase a website's search rankings, including keyword stuffing, cloaking, and link spam. They aren't necessarily illegal, but they are frowned upon by search engines. If Google catches you using a black-hat SEO tactic, it may lower your website's rankings or remove your site from its SERPs altogether.
It's normal for your website's search rankings on Google to fluctuate over time. It may rank in the first position one month and drop to the second or third position the following month. By continuing to optimize your website, however, you'll gain ground on your competitors and dominate the SERPs.