So you wanna write a piece of content that ranks well on Google? You’ve found the perfect SEO keyword and are ready to go.
Not so fast! One crucial step that’s often overlooked is reverse engineering competitor content to find out why it’s ranking so well.
Here’s what to look for:
1) Check Out the SERP:
See who’s ranking in each position for your target keyword (I use Semrush’s “SERP Analysis” for this). Look at the top URL and be sure to check out both Domain & Page Authority to see if you could realistically outrank them.
2) Read the Top Article. Be sure to look at:
-Length (1,000-2,000 word articles generally tend to rank better)
-Date (how fresh is the content? If it’s older, a fresher, newer take could rank better)
-Author (who are they and is there a bio page)?
-Images, video, or infographics
-Structure (lists, bullets, etc.)
-Quality (is it well written)?
3) Look for Keyword Usage:
Keyword usage is the keyword you want to target is used in the following:
(I use the SEO META IN 1 CLICK Chrome Extension for a quick snapshot of these elements: https://lnkd.in/g3shbeGG)
4) Look for Schema Markup:
Does the top-performing article have any schema associated with it that might give it an edge in rankings (this is a small bit of extra code that Google looks at to try to understand content)? You can find out if a competitor page has schema by dropping it into the following validator tool: https://lnkd.in/g67niYqh
5) Check the Backlinks. In particular, look at:
-Anchor link text
-Lower-ranking articles (if the URL in Position 1 has fewer backlinks than other pages, it may be ranking because of the quality of the content rather than the total number of backlinks)
(You can find this data using Semrush’s “Backlink Analytics” feature).
After completing your analysis, write an article that is:
-As long (or longer) than the URL in Position 1
-Uses your target keyword effectively
-Provides added value than what’s currently ranking (i.e. newer/better info, additional resources, etc.)
-Uses semantically-related secondary keywords
-Links off to other related internal content (if any)