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SEO
8
min read
February 7, 2024

How to Outrank Competitors on Google

Keelyn Hart
Content Writer at Letterdrop

TL;DR:

  • Most content optimization tools only provide competitor keywords, which is not enough to outrank them on Google.
  • Use Google Search to understand what topics and angles your competitors are covering.
  • Automate the process with tools like Letterdrop to gather information from top pages and competitors.
  • Identify gaps in competitor coverage and add unique expertise and data to your content.
  • Optimize for search intent and SEO best practices, and regularly refresh your content for better rankings.

Most content optimization tools out there today are failing you. They claim to give you competitor analysis, but all they give you are the keywords your competitors are using.

This is not enough knowledge to help you sufficiently outrank them on Google.

A user complaining about an SEO tool
A user complaining about an SEO tool's limited SERP research | Source: G2

‎You need to know exactly what competitors are talking about in order to:

  • Improve the quality of information on those topics
  • Add net new information and angles to stand out, give customers a better search experience, and rank higher

Keyword stuffing won't get you very far.


Outrank Competitors in 6 Steps

1. Learn What Your Competitors Are Talking About

The simplest way to get an in-depth understanding of what your competitors are talking about is to do a Google Search.

Read through top pages and understand:

  • The topics they're covering
  • The angles they're taking (for example, are they aggregating customer reviews or focusing on a specific vertical?)
  • The formats they're using — whether listicles, landing pages, or videos — so you can use the same format to compete

Studying the SERPs for what
Studying the SERPs for what's covered

Y‎ou should also be able to get an idea of the headings they're using and the questions they're answering, which can help you inform the structure of your own headings.

This method does take a lot of work. You don't have the time to scrape the SERPs all day for information.

Automate Pulling Information from Top Pages and Competitors

Instead of scraping the SERPs yourself, you can use Letterdrop. The tool scans top pages that you want to evaluate yourself against and tells you:

1. An extensive breakdown of what has been covered on the topic already. The AI has originally-written sections from the SERPs at the ready, which you can insert into your post automatically using the + button — you can choose the competitor pages that you want to evaluate yourself against.

Automatically adding information from top pages
Automatically adding information from top pages


2. What else searchers are looking for in the "People Also Ask" section (which you can auto-generate)


Automatic PAA boxes Letterdrop
Automatic PAA boxes


You can also generate an outline, which condenses information from top pages to give you a jumping-off point.



2. Learn What Your Competitors Are Not Talking About

Once you have an understanding of what's covered on the SERPs, you should be getting ideas on what's not being covered.

You need to think of new angles you can tackle, or fresh perspectives you can bring to the conversation.

Once again, this could prove challenging and time consuming if you have to do it manually.

Automatic Insight Into Information Gaps to Cover

Alternatively, Letterdrop can suggest new angles and net new information to cover for your keyword with the Information Gain feature. These are your best bet at ranking since you're covering topics that:

  • answer search intent
  • haven't been explored extensively on the SERP yet

Auto-suggesting information gaps to cover Letterdrop
Auto-suggesting information gaps to cover


3. Add Unique Expertise and Data

A great way to rank for information gain and to stand out from your competitors is to add proprietary data and expertise to your content.

This helps you:

  • Create truly unique content that competitors can't copy
  • Offer fresh and helpful perspectives to your customers, who always appreciate opinions from real people
  • Optimize for EEAT (particularly Expertise) and for generative engine optimization (GEO)

It's no secret that search is changing with the onslaught of generative AI, such as Google's search generative experience (SGE.) But how to optimize for that?

A recent study conducted by Princeton University, Georgia Tech, Allen Institute for AI, and IIT Delhi on how to rank for GEO found that citing sources, adding statistics, and using expert quotes increases search engine visibility by 115%. This is also applicable to smaller sites with less domain authority than their larger counterparts.

To become more visible for both GEO and SEO, you need to:

  • Interview subject matter experts for unique opinions. These can be folks in your industry, people in your own company, or even customers with relevant expertise
  • Conduct experiments and report on them with proprietary assets. This includes charts, diagrams, and even statistics

It's also important to distribute these assets across your owned and rented distribution channels, such as on your LinkedIn pages.

Using proprietary data like Gong sets your content apart
Using proprietary data like Gong sets your content apart


Automatically Add Expert Quote Videos and Stats To Your Content

You can speed up the process of gathering relevant stats and expert quotes using Letterdrop.

It has features for pulling stats from the web automatically, as well as automatically turning expert quotes into videos ready for YouTube.


4. Optimize for Search Intent

Ranking for SEO in the modern day comes down to providing searchers with the best possible solution and bringing their search journey to an end.

To do this, you need to know exactly why they made a particular search and the best way to answer them.

After studying the SERPs, you know the content format and angle most top pages are taking and that you need to create a better version of those results. Now you need to figure out whether that search was informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional.

We have a separate article for how to analyze and optimize for search intent, but here are the basic steps you need to take:

  1. When you're studying the SERPs for information, pay particular attention to the Featured Snippet and People Also Ask boxes. Try and craft better answers, keeping them within the character limit. (Featured Snippets are a maximum of 50 words)
  2. Study Google's autocomplete answers. These show you what users typed in after their initial search, helping you answer all their possible questions on the topic
  3. Study your web analytics using free tools like Google Search Console and GA4. If a page has high bounce rates, you're not answering user intent
  4. High CPC means high commercial intent — use Google Ads and keyword research tools to spot this
  5. Map the buyer journey to user intent. A prospect in the "solution-aware" stage will likely have commercial and transactional intent. There's no use in directing them to a "how-to" article, which is unaware and has informational intent.

Of course, you also need to follow SEO best practices — more on that later.

Analyze and Optimize for Search Intent Automatically

There's a feature in Letterdrop that saves you time analyzing top results. It automatically analyzes your keyword for search intent and gives you:

  • the search intent type
  • the best format to get ranking (video, landing page, article, etc)
  • the buyer journey stage
  • the conversion likelihood based on your company offerings

Automatic search intent analysis
Automatic search intent analysis


There are also features that help you automatically optimize for on-page SEO — more below.


5. Optimize for SEO

Making sure you check off on all of your SEO bases is a surefire way to improve your rankings.

The full breakdown of how to optimize your blog posts for SEO is for the scope of another post, but the general gist is:

  • Target high-intent, low-competition keywords that stand a chance of driving business for you. Focus on sourcing these from customers, not just keyword research tools
  • Build internal links across your pages and link them to content pillars
  • Build quality backlinks by co-marketing with reputable sites, writing guest posts for them, and more
  • Keep your technical SEO clean. Add metadata to images, fix your broken URLs and use redirects, keep your pages running smoothly by minifying code and improving your other core web vitals, etc
  • Follow best practices for EEAT — keep your pages loading fast, show unique expertise, demonstrate your authority on the subject, etc


Automatically Optimize for SEO Best Practices

Let Letterdrop identify and auto-fix all your SEO issues for you, both on-page and across your site. This includes internal linking and fixing broken links.

It can:

  1. Give you an EEAT guide specific to your content to make sure all your bases are covered.
  2. Automatically fix over 60 on-page technical SEO rules, such as internal links, keyword placement, alt text, and more
  3. Auto-add, fix and publish links across your site



6. Regularly Refresh Your Content

Sprucing up existing content for SEO can drive more traffic and improve your rankings, and it costs less than pushing new content campaigns. You want to refresh your existing content regularly.

You can use tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to find and fix pages that need an SEO refresh. A little digging lets you know which pages used to drive traffic but no longer do, for example.

An example of pages with declining traffic in GA4
An example of pages with declining traffic in GA4


But you need more information than that, and it's easier if all the opportunities to refresh your content and why were presented to you in a single dashboard instead.

Automatically Identify Pages Needing an SEO Refresh

Letterdrop integrates directly with Google Search Console, and its Content Refresh Monitoring Dashboard can alert you to pages that:

  • are almost ranking
  • need to be split
  • are facing keyword cannibalization
  • have low traffic despite high engagement
  • are declining
  • need to be distributed again
  • have opportunities for People Also Ask sections


Automatic content refresh monitoring Letterdrop
Automatic content refresh monitoring



Focus on Providing More Unique Value to Outrank Competition

Ultimately, you want your content to be better than what's out there today.

To stand out on SERPs saturated with copycat and often mediocre content, you need to focus on offering unique expertise and proprietary data that gives real value to customers.

Keep away from keyword stuffing tools that claim to help you outrank competition. Get yourself a smart SEO tool that's actively optimizing for the future of SEO, and helps you do it faster.

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