Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain

by · December 30, 20132 comments

You’ve invested a lot of time and money into digital marketing, but your competitor is still appearing higher than you in the SERPs. One of the biggest advantages (and a major pitfall) of SEO services is that they are available to everyone, and so as your SEO Company fights to get you higher rankings with excellent content, link building and keyword research, so will theirs.

Analysis of how people use Google has shown that the majority of users click one of the top results rather than searching further, so if you’re not ranking highly you could be losing potential traffic, even if you’re the best at what you do.

Domain Authority

Regular competitor analysis is a great way to understand how to improve your SEO efforts. There are plenty of useful tools available, but without knowing what to look for you won’t get far.

It is quick and easy to research which sites are ranking best for keywords. Begin by visiting Google (start there, but you can look into the other large engines as well), and typing the keywords you are optimising your site for into the search. Be aware that SERPs are not consistent from one person to the next; data that you have imputed into the search in the past, as well as geographical information and Google+ activity are all taken into account.

Use a rank checker to find out where you appear without any of these factors, and from this you will be able to determine your competition. Copy their URL into a tool such as Open Site Explorer to measure their domain authority. Then have a look and see how your site compares.

You will be able to see the quantity and quality of outbound links.

By understanding the quality of links your competitors are building you will get a good insight into how their SEO is managed. You can also use this data to find backlinks for your own site.

Make sure your site responds to Google’s algorithmic changesGoogle’s Menagerie

Alt: Make sure your site responds to Google’s algorithmic changes.

As fast as new techniques are discovered for effective SEO, search engines update their algorithms and wipe them out. It makes the work of an SEO Company harder, but all good SEO services will  keep up to date with these changes to prevent your site from suddenly dropping out of its hard earned position.

In the last few years Google has released the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms which knocked black hat techniques for six, demoting sites which keyword stuffed, use poor grammar, and don’t regularly post fresh content. Pages which were appearing at the top of the SERPs by using ‘easy’ techniques dropped far down the rankings overnight.

Be aware of black hat strategies, as Google are actively trying to eradicate them

Human Content

Techniques which are encouraged by search engines, such as content marketing, are much more effective in the long term, and less likely to be effected by new algorithms.

Hummingbird penalizes websites for publishing content lacking in natural language. This means that you will need to regularly produce content of a high written standard, which appeals to human readers. Grammar and sentence structure all come into this, as well as the need to produce fresh content rather than regurgitated materials.

If your competitor’s website is still ranking higher than yours, then it is likely they are producing better content. Not all content is useful. You’ll see better results if you post quality blog content about three times a week rather than a plethora of short content which is poorly written or badly researched. It is possible to outsource content very cheaply, but the standard is likely to be lacking.

Key takeaway? If you want to remain SERP friendly in an increasingly competitive online marketing landscape, stop looking for the quick and easy wins. Develop and implement a targeted content marketing strategy that focuses on delivering value to your readers and creating content that both looks, and reads, naturally.

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About Maddie Russell

Maddie Russell

Maddie Russell is a content creator at Square Social. Maddie also works as an SEO consultant at Models Direct, one of the UK’s  premier modelling agencies.

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.gmrwebsitemaintenance.com/ GMR Website Maintenance

    True. To do fair in digital marketing, we must have to take care of the
    points listed in the article. Fresh and original contents in your
    website or blog are must. Really liked the post.

  • Melody Kurth

    I too find myself clicking on the top results from a Google search. SEO a webpage is becoming standard practice for everyone. But this post brings up a really good point; the content of a blog matters. Only good quality content is going to be at the top of a Google search result. I’ll be looking into the Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird algorithms to see how I could better my own blog. Thank you for this post!