Secret SEO Cheat Sheet: How To Steal Your Competitors Search Traffic

When it comes to building a presence online, time and money are always important. It’s a fact that you can invest a huge amount of time creating content, managing paid traffic, doing SEO, and building your site at the same time as actually running and operating your business. There are secret ways to fast-track the process and it is by looking at what others are doing. It makes sense to replicate what’s already working, especially if your competitors are already outranking you in Google.

Everyone knows that SEO takes many months of hard work with ups and downs in order to get your website ranked for target keywords. It’ll take some effort to figure out what’s worth your time while you are doing it. You can take advantage of several tactics and tools to take a sneak peek behind the curtain and collect the data about the strategy that your competitors are using. You can see how well they rank for certain keywords, where they get links from, and much more.

Reverse engineering is the process of using various tactics and tools to spy and track your competition in order to find out what they’re doing and where they are getting backlinks from, but also to find the pattern that exists within their SEO profile. Google and SEO can get really complex but when you correctly use reverse engineering, you can completely remove all of the guesswork. By carefully analysing the SEO of your competitors, you are learning where they are getting their backlinks from and also which backlinks are working for them the best.

 

Leverage Competitor’s Successful Content

You already know that Google loves great content and that it’s almost impossible to rank well and get more traffic without it. The downside is that finding the right topic and idea is hard and it takes time. Luckily, there are ways to see what content is doing the best so you can get an idea on what to write about and also improve upon them which will give you an advantage over the competition.

length of content

If you take a look at the content length of top 10 results on Google, you will see that the top 5 positions have the content of at least 2,350 words. This is a great insight because people tend to write blog posts of about 1,000 words so if you want to grab one of the top 5 positions, you’ll have to more than double that word count. This can take some time to write, but the rewards are very worth it because it’ll increase the chance of you hitting the top 3 spot in Google.

Now, you should head over to BuzzSumo and enter the competitor’s domain name in the search bar.

buzzsumo

Here you will see their content that got the most social shares. Open the first one and see the word count on the page. Whatever their word count is, double it. This way, you will give so much value and information in the blog post that a user won’t have to go anywhere else and look for another source. You can also get the idea of the outline and structure of the article. Check out their other top performing article and figure out which topics they covered.

Next, head over to Google and search for your keyword. At the bottom of the page, look for the related searches box. You will see a bunch of other related keywords that people are searching for, so you can use that info to add more content based on those keywords on your page.

Also, by creating the content around the topics that your audience obviously loves, you’ll increase the click-through rate from the Google’s search results page, reduce bounce rates, and in return increase rankings. Bounce rate is one of the most important metrics that Google looks at so by reducing the number of people who leave your website quickly after landing there will have a positive impact. Check out which keywords your competitors are using in their titles and how it’s written and try to do something similar but don’t copy of course.

Get Insight Into Their Backlink Strategy

 

Getting the right kind of backlinks is the backbone of any SEO strategy. Backlinks will increase the authority of your domain, increase awareness, and get you more traffic. It is a fact that if you want to rank any page on your website, you need to get some backlinks. Research shows that the more backlinks you have, the better. There is a strong correlation between the number of backlinks and the Google position. Top 5 positions always have exponentially more backlinks than the other lower positions.

backlinks

Backlinks also have one other benefit and that is the ability to get traffic to your website. For example, you can blog post on other websites in your industry and when people come to read that article, they’ll be coming to your website as well. You can simply include a link to your site in the footer of the article or throughout the text. This also gives your website more exposure and it is a great way to build awareness. It will show you as an expert in your industry and that your business is reliable and credible.

There is a way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the backlink profile of any website and to see why exactly they rank for specific keywords.

First, head over to Open Site Explorer and enter your competitor’s URL in the search box:

OSE

Next, click on “Compare Link Metrics” in the left sidebar. 

Here, you can see the number of total external links that website has. This will help you to gauge if it’s worthwhile pursuing. Usually, you want to look at the websites that have at least over a few thousand backlinks because this indicates that they have an on-going SEO strategy. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if the website has only a couple of hundred backlinks that you shouldn’t check it out. This obviously depends on your industry and if the business is local or not. On the top, you can also see a number which is a page authority. 92 is a huge score and this means that this website has a really good backlink profile.

page authority

If you click on “Inbound Links: in the navigation, you will be able to see the actual backlinks. Adjust the search filter like on the image below and sort the backlinks by DA (domain authority). This will list the quality of backlinks in the descending order. Now you have an entire list of backlinks that you can use to your own advantage. You can start opening the backlinks from the list and seeing where exactly it is on the page and how they acquired it. You can also see the anchor text of the backlink and the exact page that got that backlink. Feel free to go through as many of the backlinks on the list and try to see how you can also get a backlink on that exact page or the domain.

inbound links

Some of the backlinks will be easy to replicate (like directory links) but the most valuable backlinks will require outreach. Don’t let this put you off, this can be a simple process that can have a great return on your time investment. First, you need to find a contact information like a name and email address. Next, send that person an email asking if you could write a guest post on their website and then just track the responses and follow-up.

See Which Keywords They Are Ranking For

You should perform a keyword research even before you start working on your SEO. There are many keywords where huge websites are ranking for and sometimes it’s impossible to rank in the top 3. But, your goal is to find the right type of keywords and then use them in your content and on your website. You can speed up the process of keyword research by spying on your competition.

You probably already know who your competitors are. If not, just do a quick search on Google for your target keywords and make a least of 3 to 5 competitor’s and their URL’s. One of the best tools for keyword research is SEMrush (it has a free 30-day trial).

Find Top Performing Keywords

If you click on the “Organic Research” tab in the left sidebar, you’ll be able to see which keywords are sending the most traffic to that website so then you can use those keywords in your content.

semrush

Here you can see only a few of its top performing keywords, but you can actually find all of them if you expand the list. You can also see the search volume, positions, keyword density, CPC, a percentage of traffic, trends, etc. You have a lot of information to play with and this gives you a big advantage because you can then take these keywords, outrank your competition and steal their traffic. By picking the keywords for which they are ranking in the top 3, you’ll receive the most traffic if you rank in those spots.

Now that you have a big list of potential keywords that you can use on your website, it’s time to find where the backlinks are coming from. We already talked about how much backlinks are important and the more links usually get better rankings.

Click on “Backlinks” tab to find the backlinks of your competitor’s. See the screenshot for Merriam-webster.com below:

semrush backlinks

They have 69% of dofollow backlinks and the rest is nofollow. You should always focus on getting only dofollow backlinks so let’s see where those links are coming from. Click on the green bar to reveal all their dofollow links. You can also see the anchor text for each backlink so make sure that you note that as well because this is a great addition to your backlink strategy.

 

Try Alexa.com

You can also utilise Alexa and run a free report on your competitor by clicking here. On the top, you can see how much organic traffic they are getting and this will tell you if their SEO is working or not. You can also see the top 5 keywords for which they are ranking for and the percentage of their total traffic from those keywords.

alexa

If you go for a trial account (it’s free for 7 days, enough to get what you need from it), you can use a “Competitor Keyword Matrix” feature where you can enter multiple competitor URL’s and get a detailed report on all of them side by side. You’ll see the level of competition for each keyword so you can gauge whether or not it’s viable to try and rank for those keywords. You can then export the list into a spreadsheet and use it at your convenience.

CONCLUSION

 

It pays to do more of what is already working. There is no reason why you wouldn’t want to reverse engineer competitors. If they are already at the top of the first page on Google, it means they are doing something right. This doesn’t mean that you should just copy them. It means that you can use that info to work smarter yourself. By utilising these tactics, you can gain useful insight into what others are doing. You can then use this information in conjunction with your own SEO strategy.

Ranking your website in Google is often a case of trial and error, however, there are some things that just work and this is one of them. Granted, you still need to have a proper on-page SEO on your website and good content, but with this tactic, you can quickly get an insight into the sort of backlinks that Google likes to see and wants to see more of.

We encourage everyone to take advantage of reverse engineering your competitor’s SEO strategy because by doing that, you are completely eliminating any guesswork and you’ll know exactly what will have a big positive impact on your rankings.