For e-commerce brands, ranking highly on Google is hugely important. Where a site appears in search can make all the difference between boom or bust.
So it’s little wonder that brands invest highly in SEO. After all, it’s no good having a fancy website if nobody can find it.
One question we hear often is how come competitor X is ranking above me in search for my keywords? It can be really perplexing for business owners and marketing managers if they see a competitor being ranked higher than them, particularly if they know that competitor is selling an inferior product or service.
So why is this inferior competitor getting more love from Google? If it’s ranking above you it’s probably better optimised than your site is. But what does that mean?
Well, it can mean a number of things. For starters the website may be bigger and better than yours. It may have tons more pages than your site does and those pages might be crammed full of useful, relevant and well written copy. It may have better structure and the pages may link together well. It might have more images than you do and those images might all be tagged with relevant keywords.
The good news is that getting factors like this right is all within your own control. Everything on your own site can easily be improved. New pages can be added, new content written and created. Tags and descriptions all improved and new internal links created. All of these things can be labelled on-site SEO.
Another reason why a site might be outranking your own is due to off-site SEO. These are the optimising factors which are less easy to control. Usually if a site is appearing above you in search and you feel yours is a match or better in terms of content then chances are it will have a better backlink profile than your site does. What this means is more sites are linking to it and those sites have higher authority than the ones linking to you.
Adding high authority backlinks should therefore be at the top of your to-do list if you want to leap frog those pesky competitors and claim your rightful spot at the top of those SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). That will mean engaging in some form of outreach strategy.
First you should use a tool such as Ahrefs or SEM Rush to let you take a look under the bonnet at your backlink profile and those of your competitors. By taking a look at which sites are linking to you and, more importantly, which sites are ignoring you but linking to your competitors instead, you can begin to start drawing up a target list - a spreadsheet of sites you’d like to link to you.
Once your targets have been identified you can start to reach out and request links. You will find that most sites won’t link just because you have asked nicely - although some might! More likely you will have to offer them some content to link to which is relevant to their site users.
This kind of outreach is a daily activity at Motive and other digital PR agencies. We create content for clients which also appeals to media sites and encourage them to publish it with a link to the client’s website. Media sites are powerful when it comes to links as they usually have very high authority.
So how many links does a site need to boss its niche in search? Well it varies on how competitive that niche is but I wrote a post a couple of months back when I did some investigating and concluded that 1,000 links was a nice number for a new website to aim for.
It does also depend on how many of those links are follow or no follow links. Click here for an explanation.
Of course if all this outreach sounds like an arduous task you can always get in touch to talk to us about how we could do it for you. Please also check out our Greatest Hits document which reveals how one item of content can generate more than 100 high authority links.