If you want to outrank a more popular website, you’ll need to come up with a compelling SEO strategy.
Nobody starts out as the biggest fish in the pond. As a digital publisher, your goal should be to grow incrementally and slowly pick off your competition over time. The toughest stage is the very beginning. Getting the ball rolling on SEO and competing for keyword rank with websites that get 100x, 200x, or even 300x more monthly traffic isn’t going to be easy.
The best approach is usually to look for opportunities for growth with keywords that your competitors aren’t presently using. Deep keyword research can guide you towards topics and phrases that digital publishers in your niche haven’t tapped into. These are the keywords to go after.
Then there are the cases where you absolutely have to rank for the same keyword as a major competitor. While these scenarios are few and far between, they do exist. If you must rank for the same keyword as another digital publication with 2x or 3x the traffic, start by focusing on these items:
Core Web Vitals: Core Web Vitals can give your website a boost in the search rankings, although it won’t cause your competition’s website to lose ranking.
Structure and Formatting: The number of words in an article or on a particular webpage matters less in Google’s algorithm than the overall structure and formatting. Make sure to use H tags and bullet points, so your information is presented in a way that Google understands.
Delete Old Backlinks: Outdated backlinks and indexing bloat from older webpages can cause a website to drop in search rankings. As a best practice, it’s smart to go through older versions of your website (even versions from previous owners) to look for any red flags that might be carrying over.
With those items out of the way, it’s time to get started on the fun stuff. These are the SEO strategies you’ll want to consider when you look at how to outrank a more popular website.
1. Relevant Page Copy
Is the content on your website relevant to the keywords you’ve selected? SEO involves a lot more than just jamming keywords into existing bodies of text. Ideally, content should clearly communicate the ideas or themes behind those keywords.
To learn more about selecting the best keywords for your website, click here.
2. Relevant Schema
Schema comes up pretty frequently in discussions around SEO. Having relevant schema on the page is a requirement if you want to outrank a more popular website for a high-value keyword. Look for opportunities to use schema in articles, directories, online calendars, and even readers comment sections.
3. Internal Links
How many internal links do you have on your website? Do you include internal links in all article pages, when relevant? Recent changes in Google’s algorithm may cause some publishers with too many internal links to be penalized. However, that’s not the issue that most publishers are facing. It’s more common for publishers to not be using enough internal links. Try to spread links out logically, so you don’t have large clusters on certain pages.
A few good places to use internal links are:
- Within articles (when relevant)
- Category pages
- Community calendars
4. Competitor Backlinks
Take a look at the website you’re competing against. Where did their backlinks come from, and how did they get them? If you’re trying to outrank a more popular website that has backlinks coming through advertising or thought leadership articles on external sites, it might be time to flex your own creative muscles and get some of those same links. Backlinks are generally easy to get, you just need to put in the work to get them.
5. Influencer Marketing
You don’t have to be looking for social media fame to take advantage of influencer marketing. The influencers in your niche might be community officials, university professors, or industry analysts. If you can engage with influential people in your niche on social media and other digital channels, that’s a good place to start. If you can get those influential individuals to post links to your content on their own channels, that’s even better.
To learn more about how digital publishers should approach influencer marketing, click here.