5 Steps to Beat Your Competition at SEO

The rules of search engine optimization (SEO) are constantly changing.  In order to rank higher than your competitors, it is important to improve your website and monitor your competitors’ SEO practices on a regular basis.  Here are five tips that will help you strengthen your SEO rankings:

1. Content Creation is Key

Creating useful, relevant, and keyword-rich blog posts, web pages, articles, videos, white papers, etc. on your website is a win-win for both the visitors to your site and the search engines and their indexing programs.  High value content may also increase the number of backlinks pointing to your website, which will also improve your SEO.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Fresh Content is Critical

2. Conduct Keyword Research

Keywords are the foundation of search engine optimization. Make sure the keywords you are targeting are yielding the highest amount of traffic possible. Using tools such as Google Analytics or Google’s Webmaster Tools will provide valuable traffic data and metrics for different search queries and will give you insight into which keywords are worth fighting for.  Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool will help you to identify the best keywords (those with the highest traffic and least amount of competition) to target.

3. Keep Track of Your Competitors’ SEO Activities

Regularly review your competitors SEO activities on their websites to assess if there are any new opportunities or holes in your SEO strategy.  In particular, look at your competitors’ title tag structure, page url names, use of keywords in headings, in-page links, and other SEO activity.

Using tools such as Traffic Travis or MOZ can simplify this process.

4. Monitor Your Competitors’ Backlinks

The more links to your site’s pages, the better.  However, the quality of the links is key.  By monitoring your competitors’ backlink profiles, you can uncover possible partners or sites that may link to your website, as well as discover new linking strategies they may be using.  Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer (both offer free and paid plans) are two good tools that will provide backlink profiles on your competitors.

5. Stay on Top of SEO News

The rules of SEO are constantly changing.  Staying on top of the latest technique or SEO trend may give you a significant competitive edge in your rankings.  Make time on a regular basis to review SEO news sites such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO, or SEO-News.com.  If a proven technique emerges, waste no time in applying it to your site.

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