With the internet swarming with a lot of brands desperate to establish their online presence and pull traffic to their products and services, it has become extremely difficult to stand apart from competition on the web. In the past, SEO gurus had a solution to this, but with Google’s updates of its search engine algorithm, the modern SEO experts now understand that it takes a lot more to stand out.

So to rank higher than competitors, it’s vital to not only optimise your website but also monitor your competitors’ search engine optimisation efforts regularly in order to understand what’s working for them and what’s not working. That way, you get to know what to avoid and where to focus your strength.

Here are some of the things you need to do in order to beat your competition on search engines.

Use a catchy domain name

SEO experts say that the use of keyword in your domain name as a way to rank well on search engines is failing. But why take the chance? The saying isn’t a proven fact. Moreover, a wise person understands that to make a domain name catchy, you have to use a word or words people are searching for.

This is the reason dedicated domain name registrars often use quotes like ‘…we can provide you with a great domain name…’, as Brenda Wild, the marketing manager at Umbrellar, says on his LinkedIn profile.

What is a great domain name?

It can be one with your name. It can be one with the name of your brand. It can also be one with the keyword(s) people are searching for on search engines. It all depends on the nature of your industry and what works in that industry.

For instance, many people are looking for ‘smart ways to make money’. A website with a domain name smartmoney.com will most likely be more visible on search engines than one with, perhaps, yourname.com. It’s all about understanding what your industry requires when it comes to domain names and adjusting accordingly.

Also, the country TLD extension your website uses can make the difference between outranking your competition and otherwise. If your brand is location-specific, then using a TLD extension unique to that location will definitely help you rank higher in that location on search engines than a competitor using the general [dot]com.

Monitor your competition’s SEO practices

This is another important SEO technique you need to indulge in to stand out from competition. It’s simple really. Regularly analyse your competitors’ SEO activities on their sites using tools like SEMrush, MOZ, and Traffic Travis. Look for opportunities there. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?

What is trending? And what is outdated?

Analyse your competitors’ pages’ URLs, their use of keyword phrases, keywords in titles, inbound links et cetera. Find out weaknesses and holes. Observe their strength. Then return to your website and use that analysis to optimise it.

For instance, by investigating where a popular competitor’s inbound links originate, you can then invest time into building your own inbound links to outmatch that competition. This is a good way to discover possible sites who may be willing to link to your pages. Be sure to reach out to those sites. Compliment them on their work, point out the similarities between their content and yours, and suggest ways you can partner with them.

Here is a good resource for understanding what to optimise on your pages to make them more visible on search engines.

Create original quality content

By now, you may have already heard everyone saying ‘content is key’. The saying has become a cliché, but the action behind it is still effective in the SEO world. And if you really hope to outrank your competition on search engines, then you have got to offer something more tangible than what they are offering, and your pages have to be regularly updated.

The higher the value of what you offer, the more people will appreciate your content and want to share it, and the more backlinks you will most likely get. So make sure your competition isn’t outdoing you in quality and originality when it comes to content.

Research keyword phrases

The strategic use of keyword phrases has been there since the birth of search engine optimisation. So be sure that your target keywords are producing results. Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools can give your useful data on the keywords that drive traffic from search engines to your site.

While doing your research, remember to also analyse your competitors’ keywords to get a better grasp on what works in your industry as well as what makes your competition successful and what doesn’t.

Google AdWords keyword tools are also useful when researching keywords to use for maximising your site’s optimisation. When using this tool, it is often advised to look out for keywords with the highest traffic and the least competition. Learn more about wielding Google AdWords keyword tools.

Be current with SEO news

Considering that search engine optimisation rules keep changing as Google updates its algorithm, it is only reasonable to watch out for current SEO trends and practices in order to be well equipped to stay ahead of your competition’s rankings on search engines.

The best way to do this is to follow news sites focusing on SEO.

There is never only one way to do anything, in this particular case, there are many other ways to ensure you outrank your competition on search engines. The ones listed above, though among the most important and popular, are just a start.

The least you can do for your brand to stay ahead of competition is ‘scour the web for more tips’.