Why Do My Competitors’ Sites Rank Higher Than Mine?

It’s the million dollar question – why are your competitors’ sites ranking better on the search engines? The answer is nearly always one of the following:

1) Their website is more relevant.

They have more content on their site about the given keyword for which they are beating you on the SERP. Or maybe their content is fresher than yours.

How to beat the competition: Add lots of your own fresh, relevant, quality content. Consider blogging or updating your news and events at least once a week.

2) Their website is more popular or authoritative.

Google determines who is the most popular or authoritative based on the links pointing to a website from other websites. If your competitors have either more links or better links, then it’s pretty likely that their going to outrank your site. Period.

How to beat the competition: Generate content worth linking to and actively engage in growing your backlinks. [Learn more about link building for better ranking.]

3) Their website is more reputable.

Online reputation is more important than ever. Reviews and social signals tell the search engines who is being talked about online.

How to best the competition: Pay attention to your online reviews (on sites like Google Maps and Yelp). Monitor and participate in conversations about your busieness on sites like facebook and twitter. 

4) Your competitor is manipulating their backlink portfolio better.

In other words, they are actively building links on relevant, quality sites. They are mixing up their anchor text and they are drawing upon a variety of sources for their links. If you’re just sitting back and hoping that other websites choose to link to your site, you’re missing out on anchor text strategies that will help you rank better for certain keywords.

How to beat the competition: Build links on web 2.0 sites, in directories, on blogs and in forums. Use an infographic as link bait. Look for linking opportunities in social media. Pay attention to your backlink portfolio and work on your backlink anchor text.

5) Your competitor is using black hat SEO strategies or spam.

It may not be fair, but some websites take advantage of black hat strategies that fool search engines into seeing their sites as more popular than they really are.

How to beat the competition: It may be hard to win the race if you’re unwilling to exceed the speed limit a little. But the combination of good onsite SEO, fresh, relevant content and good quality (and quantity of) links can beat black hat strategies.

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. If you’re looking at your competitors and you don’t believe they should outrank you just because you think you’re better than they are, remember that you have to play by the search engines’ rules.

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