How to Leverage your Competitors for Local SEO to get High Rankings


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Below are some out-of-the-box ideas.
For setting yourself apart.
For increasing ranking, by increasing relevance.
And ideas for doing it all by promoting the competition.

Controversial - yes.
Could it backfire if not done right - yes.
Interesting angle to consider - yes.

If done right - from a consumer benefit viewpoint - I think there is merit in considering this strategy.
(But it's not for the faint of heart.)

<a href="http://www.audiencebloom.com/2015/03/why-working-with-your-competitors-is-good-for-local-seo/">Why Working With Your Competitors is Good for Local SEO - AudienceBloom</a>
Just a snippet - click over to read the rest!

However, working directly with your competitors, and at times giving them mention, is actually a worthwhile strategy for local SEO. With the right approach, you’ll greatly increase your domain authority and local relevance, and any traffic you lose to your competitor will be more than made up for by the increases you see from local searches...

...Don’t hesitate to use your competitors when trying to build your local SEO presence. While it might seem strange or counterintuitive at first, soon you’ll find that the strategy has immense net value to your brand. Build yourself into a recognizable local presence, keep user experience at the heart of what you do, and you’ll see multiplied incoming traffic as a result.

It reminded me of a great post John Crenshaw posted here at the forum a few months ago, sharing a strategy he's used successfully.

He talks about how he created a list of competitors and get's that page ranking... :)

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/local-seo-ranking/19838-awesome-local-search-engine-optimization-ranking-tip-grab-1-spot.html">Awesome Local SEO Ranking Tip to Grab #1 Spot</a>

Last year we started seeing this happen more and more and I was wondering how these directories are outranking the companies themselves (the landscapers, roofers, lawyers, etc) even when the companies themselves might have otherwise awesome organic performance.

Since then we've been toying around with some ideas and figuring out ways to determine intent behind specific keywords and we're finding matching that intent as closely as possible is perhaps the easiest way to rank a page on a local client's site.


How to do it

For this particular set of queries, it's actually pretty easy - you just have to swipe the directories' strategy...

If you're an attorney, create a page on your site listing all the attorneys in your area, preferably organized in a fashion that makes it easy to skim, mentions the key details someone who lands on the page might want to know - just generally make it super useful.

Then put yourself at the top of that list.


So the first time we pitched this idea to a client they said something along the lines of, "but I don't want to list my competitors on my site, etc, etc."

Yeah yeah, I get that. But consider this:

  1. Almost everyone typing "law firms in Louisville" is looking for a list of law firms. They're going to find that list. Either Google is going to give it to them or you can. Personally, I'd rather be in control of that experience.
  2. If you don't do this then you'll probably stay around #2-4, right behind all the high DA directories that are doing this and you'll get fewer eyeballs on your site.

Why this works

Intent is crazy important - I think the SEO industry as a whole woefully underestimates the importance of intent.

Think about it like this: it's Google's goal to get you exactly the information you want as quickly as possible. Matching the intent behind a particular search query as closely as possible means you're putting content on your site that is exactly what users want, which is exactly what Google wants to serve up at the top.

The only pitfalls here are 1) Is the true intent behind a query what you actually think it is? and 2) are the search engines sophisticated enough to determine whether your content matches that intent better than the competition. But that's a little outside the scope of this tip...

If you're a local business in the area, and you're decently well-optimized already, you probably have much more local authority / relevance than those directory pages.
You really have to make this a high quality page...not just a copy of a directory.

The goal is to make this page more useful to the people searching your target keyword than any other page that exists.

Ask yourself this question: "Does this page give the person searching my target keyword what they're looking for in a way that is better, more useful, more entertaining, etc, than everything else out there?"

If the answer is no, or kind of, or a little bit, then it probably won't be effective.
Above are just a few snippets. It turned into a 46 post discussion filled with great ideas and John transparently shares some of the things they tried and results they got. Head over to read the rest!

Thanks John!
What do you guys think?

Have you ever tried this type of strategy???

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mborgelt

Local Search Expert
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Jul 22, 2012
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I think this is a fantastic idea as it's a great way to establish local authority. Matching intent seems to be getting more and more important to rankings and this is one easy way an SMB can hit that right on the head.

I think this will work better for in-house and DIY SEOs more than agencies since they are closer to the decision makers. I can see it being pretty difficult to get clients to jump on board with this but it's something worthwhile for everyone in my mind.
 

cdawg2610

Forum Member
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Jul 2, 2013
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We've done a version of this in the auto world, around service and repair content and intent and have had great success *knock on keyword wood*
 

Jim Froling

Forum Member
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Jul 19, 2012
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It makes sense especially as G has been throwing around the "intent" word so much over the past year+.
 

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