How To Tell If You Can Outrank Your Competition

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Discover how to tell if you can outrank your competition.

Knowing how to properly determine whether or not you can outrank your competition will save you an incredible amount of time and headaches moving forward.

And, it’s actually quite easy to do.

All you have to do is collect data that will tell you how difficult it is to pass them in search rankings. We’re going to show you how to do this.

We know that Google uses a number of factors when ranking websites, including the amount of quality backlinks, traffic, keywords and more. But when you’re looking to rank for your keyword, how do you know how much work and effort you need to put in before you actually begin to outrank your competition?

The last thing anyone wants to happen is to expend an enormous amount of time and energy over a period of months attempting to rank for something that is not realistic.

Outrank Competition

In this article we are going to show you how you can effectively determine if you can outrank your competition so you can begin working towards a ranking that will deliver results.

In our last blog post on How To Reverse Engineer Competitor Keywords For A Higher Ranking, we learned how to find and track our competitors’ top keywords. Now it’s time to figure out how difficult it will be to surpass them in search rankings.

One website that we highly recommend using to do this is Ahrefs.com. This is a paid service, but you can get a 7-day trial for $1/day to try it out.

Without further ado, let’s learn How To Tell If You Can Outrank Your Competition.

1. Create an account at Ahrefs.com

We will be using Ahrefs in this article as it is one of the better services on the market for tracking competitors. It is a simple website with useful tools that even the most inexperienced will find user-friendly.

As we mentioned earlier, this service does cost a bit of money. New users will have the option of subscribing to the Lite or Standard versions, and while the tools and services you will have access to will differ based on the package that you purchase, each one comes equipped with a free 7-day trial for $7.

outrank your competition

2. Target the competition that you want to analyze

Now that you have your account created the first thing you will see is your dashboard. Your dashboard serves as the main section of your account and it is here that you will be able to keep track of any website that you wish to add to it. If you’d like to add a website, simply click on the orange rectangle in the top right corner of your dashboard titled “Add a website”.

Before adding a website to track in your dashboard, we first have to identify your competitors and pull data from their page. Ahrefs lets you type in your competitor’s domain, URL and even a general topic that relates to your industry.

outrank competitors

For the sake of this article, let’s say that we are a search engine optimization company in Toronto and want to find out how much work it will be to outrank our competitor who holds the current #1 rank on Google.

After doing a quick Google search for “Toronto SEO company”, we took the website link of the business in the #1 slot and entered it into Ahrefs. Make sure the “Site Explorer” tab is selected above the search bar and enter the site or topic you want to search and click “Explore”. The “Site Explorer” tab will provide you everything you need to know about how difficult it will be to rank against your competition.

3. Conduct analysis of results

SEO competition analysis

The very first thing you will see once you hit the “Explore” button will be a quick, clean summary of rankings and statistics of your competitor’s website.

In our example you can see that Nova Solution has an Ahrefs rank of 92,446. What this means is that Ahrefs takes into account the size and quality of each website’s backlink profile, with the website holding the strongest profile ranking #1.

This ranking in particular may or may not seem low to you, but considering the millions of websites on the Internet, this is a respectable ranking. Don’t be alarmed if you find your website with an Ahrefs rank of 7,000,000 – it just means you have growing to do!

The URL rank will show how strong the backlink profile is of a specific URL. The higher the number the stronger the profile. Of all the Ahrefs metrics, the URL rank has the strongest interrelationship with Google, meaning those with a high URL rank on Ahrefs will typically rank higher on Google.

SEO analysis

In our example, after an inconsistent stretch this competitor has managed to keep a steady Ahrefs rank as of late. Their ranking position is 2,000 slots more today than its average over the past three months.

Additionally, you can see the number of backlinks, referring domains, organic keywords and organic traffic that your competitor has and how it has performed in the past.

In our example, one interesting chart on this report has to do with the company’s referring domain trend over the past 12 months. The referring domains number here represent the amount of unique referring domains that point to a target website or URL. The more referring domains your website has, the higher your profile rank will likely be.

SEO analysis

As you can see in the chart, this company’s referring domains have experienced a steady decline over the past year. Around this time last year they had over 1,500 referring domains compared to less than 900 today. As someone trying to determine if you can outrank this competitor, this is a statistic that works in your favour.

On the right side of the page you can see the type of backlinks the competitor has, a URL rating distribution and even the referring top-level domains (TLD) that they’re coming from. Anchor phrases, anchor terms, organic traffic and your competitor’s website’s top 5 pages are also available for your analysis.

Watch what your competitor is doing. What type of content do they post that tends to rank well? What pages of their website generate the most traffic? Which keywords perform the best? Take notes of this as it can help you in your mission to achieve a greater ranking.

(Related: Check out our previous blog post on How To Do Local Business Keyword Research to find which keywords to target).

keywords to outrank your competition

4. So, can you outrank your competition?

Once you have spent some time reviewing and analyzing everything about your competitor’s ranking statistics, you will have to make a decision on whether you can outrank them or not and how much work must be done to achieve this. Of course, you must analyze your own site’s data by completing this process as well so you can compare your statistics to your competition.

The main categories that will give you an idea of how much work you can expect to do are the Ahrefs rank, domain rating, backlinks, referring domains and organic keyword rankings.

In this example the competitor has an Ahrefs rank of 92,446 – respectable, but not impossible to outrank. With a mid-range domain rank and a decreasing number of backlinks and referring domains, it’s possible competitors are beginning to catch up to them.

The top organic keywords on their website will also help you determine if you can outrank competition.

In our example Nova’s top two keywords, web design and website design, receive an incredible amount of search volume compared to their other keywords. However, despite less volume, they rank in the top 5 in keywords such as “seo services” and “seo company”.

Nova is the top ranking when searching for “Toronto seo company” and while it would be nice to get there one day, it’s likely not an attainable goal for a smaller SEO company with an Ahrefs rank of 7,000,000 and tens of thousands fewer backlinks than them.

You can conduct this analysis on multiple competitors and keep track of them in your Ahrefs dashboard for quick viewing. This will help you determine if you can successfully outrank your competition and save you from wasting valuable time and resources that evolve from focusing on the wrong things.

If you want to have us review your website and give you a free 30 minute consultation where we show you how to generate more local customers from your website, click here.

A thriving Canadian entrepreneur. A loving father and husband. A blossoming philanthropist. The CEO of an innovative Digital Marketing Agency. Johnstone has mastered the art of digital marketing on numerous platforms (Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram - to name a few) which has given him the unique ability to assist hundreds of loan officers, realtors, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance agents with growing their businesses online. He continues to grow his skills and hone his craft and is ready to bring you up to speed on the latest and greatest in the digital marketing world!

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