How to Beat Your Competitors in Rankings

Reverse Engineer Their Backlinks

seoSearch engines, in the United States at least, still use backlinks as ranking signals. You need backlinks to rank for your website’s target keywords. The problem is, merely building more backlinks doesn’t necessarily mean you will rank higher. You shouldn’t focus just on the quantity of your backlinks. While quantity does matter, quality matters more. It is not uncommon for websites with only a few backlinks rank higher than their competition. The difference? Quality backlinks. Their lower-ranking competitors have a lot of backlinks alright, but these are low quality backlinks. When it comes to SEO and getting top ranking, you need to focus on getting quality backlinks. The good news is that this is easier than you realize. In fact, your competition has already done much of your SEO homework for you.

Focus On Quality Backlinks

You don’t have to build quality backlinks from scratch. There is no need to research where you can get quality backlinks organically and scour the Internet for quality backlink sources. You only need to pay attention to what your competition is already doing. Figure out which of their content gets the most links from quality sites. Get those sources to link to you as well. How do you do this? Follow the steps below.

Step 1:

Use to find your competition’s most linked content. To do this, you just need to get a list of your competitors’ domain names. Enter each domain on Opensiteexplorer and you will get a report of which websites linked back to them. Pay attention to which of your competition’s pages have the most backlinks.

Step 2:

This is the most important step. This step ensures that you don’t waste your time. It’s too easy to waste your time getting tons of backlinks. Unfortunately, not all the websites that link to your competition’s content are worth getting links from. Using Opensiteexplorer, filter the backlink sources based on domain authority. Opensiteexplorer clearly says the domain and page authority of the links pointing to your competitors’ pages. Filter these links carefully. Only contact links that have a high domain authority. Why filter? You only have so much time to invest in all your SEO and online marketing activities, pick activities that yield a maximum return on effort. By cherry picking only the highest quality backlink sources, you decrease the likelihood of wasting your precious time chasing after low-quality backlinks that won’t really help your site.

Step 3:

Once you have a list of your competitors’ best-linked content and filtered their backlinks based on quality, do the following:

1. Study Your Competition’s Best Content And Figure Out Why It Works

It’s not enough to identify content that gets a lot of backlinks. It’s not enough to know that a certain piece of content is very popular. You have to figure out why it works. You have to figure why a particular blog post or web page is so powerful. If you don’t understand why a page or post works, you won’t figure out how to create a better version of it.

2. Create a Better Version of Your Competition’s Best Content

Your next step is to build better versions of your competition’s most-linked pages based on your investigation of why those pages managed to attract so many links. If you’re still stumped, here are a few shortcuts.

Offer a case study

Case Study - Magnifying Glass Concept.

You can easily build a better version of your competition’s most linked pages by offering a case study version of that content. For example, if you are in the dog training niche and your competitors’ most-linked pages involve picking out a muzzle, you can create a long case study that steps the reader through the process of picking out a muzzle. Complete with pictures and videos, your version is easier to understand, easier to implement, packed with alternative steps, and up to date. This type of ‘case study’ content usually blows away competing content that offers information in a flat, dull, boring, or academic way.

Create big lists

Another way you can build a better version of your competition’s content is to increase the quantity of the information you’re offering. For example, if your competitors’ most popular blog posts typically offer 20 tips, 20 stories, or 20 ‘how to’ steps, make a post with 100 tips, 100 stories, or 100 ‘how to’ steps. There is a downside to this though. It’s too tempting to write shallow content by focusing on the number of listed items instead of fully developing each item. Such long lists typically don’t offer any real value and you might not get quality websites to link to such lists. Don’t go shallow. Go deeper instead.

Use better graphics or include video

Another way you can improve on your competitors’ content is to make the same information look better. This is as simple as offering better graphics through infographics or diagrams. As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Use the truth of this old saying to your advantage. Alternatively, you can stand apart from your competition by bringing your text article to life with video. Video summaries, video demonstrations, and highlights are quite easy to make. If you don’t have the time or motivation to make such videos, you can always hire us to create them for you.

Include a slide show

Another way you can make your content look better is to use slide shows. Slide shows are easy to make. You can do them using Microsoft Office. You can then load your slide show on Not only do you get a powerful multimedia asset on your content page, you might also get more traffic from the slide show you stored at Slideshare.

Always make sure your information is fresh

Regardless of what you do, make sure that the information you offer is current and updated. This is one of the easiest ways you can beat your competition’s content. Much of the content that is linked to often is actually stale and outdated. By simply making sure your information is up to date, you gain a competitive advantage. Another non-negotiable idea that you must implement is that you need to make sure that your information is deep. Study your competition’s content and create content that really drills down. The deeper your content, the higher its value.

1. Reach Out To Linkers

Now that you know the backlink profile of your competition’s best content, you need to contact these sites. Look for a ‘contact us’ form on these sites or leave a blog comment asking them to email you. Reach out to them, tell them about your content, explain why they should link to your content, and call them to action. If you did a good job on your content, these high-quality backlink sources will gladly link to you.

2. Reach Out To New Linkers

After you have reverse-engineered your competitors’ best link sources, you need go one step further for you to outrank your competition. Merely copying their backlink footprint is not enough. To actually beat your competitors in Google rankings, you need to get higher quality links. This means you need to find other high-value websites that don’t link to your competition. Contact these websites and ask them to link to your reverse-engineered high-quality content. The more links you get from these high quality websites, the higher the chance that you will outrank your competition.

Beating your search engine competition is easier than you think. In fact, your competitors already did the heavy lifting for you. Reverse engineer your competition. Replicate their best links and skip their low-quality backlinks. Next, find high-quality new backlink sources that don’t link to your competition and reach out to them. The higher the quality of your backlink sources, the better.