…and use it to get more customers.
If you’re a local business in Ballarat, and your website isn’t on page one, you’re missing out on tens, or even hundreds of potential customers every month.
I’m sure I don’t need to bore you with the stats, X amount of customers use Google yah de yah.
We’ve heard it all before, yet still, most businesses aren’t sitting pretty at the top.
And if you’re not, don’t worry.
I’ll show you exactly how to get there.
Even better, we’ll use your competitor’s data to sit higher than them on Google – getting you more customers than you’ll know what to do with.
Table of Contents:
- Backlinks – one of the most important things for your website – and your competitors will show you precisely what ones you need.
- Everyone gets told, “content is king”. Sure, but how much content? Use your competitors to find out.
- How customers arrive at your website – keywords.
Backlinks – one of the most important things for your website – and your competitors will show you precisely what ones you need.
One of, if not the most critical metric for where your site sits on Google is your “backlink profile”. In short, how many websites are putting links on their pages pointing to yours.
If you’ve ever looked up “how to rank higher on Google”, I’m sure you’ve heard this before.
Backlinks are key.
However, I can say from experience how daunting it is to collect these backlinks.
Where do you even start?
Well, I’ll show you a way you can get your first, strong backlinks.
By doing “competitor research” (i.e. copying what your competition is doing.)
I’m going to be using Ballarat accountants as the niche, but this will work for any business.
To start with, Google the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
Generally, this is something along the lines of “your niche + your town”, e.g., accountants Ballarat, accountant in Ballarat etc.
(Later on, in this article, I’ll show you ways you can find more keywords to rank for.)
This is the top five results:
Now, ignore the Yellow Pages and Oneflare results (I’ll explain why later).
As you can see, the top three companies are Mulcahy & Co., RSM Ballarat and TRG Accountants.
Now, go to Ahrefs.com and sign up for the $7 seven day trial (remember to cancel after the seven days, set a reminder!)
Once you have access, click on the “Keywords explorer” up the top:
Then, in the box, enter your keyword. In this case “accountant Ballarat” and hit search.
In the middle of the page, you may get a “no-data” box that looks similar to this:
Click update, and that will refresh the data.
Now, scroll down to the bottom.
As you can see, the top five results are the same:
If you look slightly to the left, you’ll see a backlinks and domains column.
Click on the blue number on the domains column of the business you wish to look at.
This will bring up a list of all the websites that point to that company.
These are the websites you’ll be targeting in your hunt for backlinks.
Click on the “Export button on the right-hand side of the page, this will save them all as an excel spreadsheet (this is optional, it just means you can keep the list even after your trial runs out).
You’ll then be presented with an excel containing all the information you need.
I’d suggest working down the list, starting with the links that have the highest domain rating – as this will give you the most bang for your buck.
Now, you need to try and work out ways you can get backlinks from these sites.
Many are business registries, so all you need to do is create an account and set up a profile, and shazam, you have a link.
Some may be harder to get, or some you may not be able to get at all.
If you’re unsure how the business got the link, go back and click on the backlinks column on the previous page. Search for the domain you’re looking for, as it’ll give you the page it links from.
In my example of accountants, it says Mulcahy and Co. have a backlink from xero.com, and I can’t see how they got it.
In the back-links tab, however, it shows that the link comes from a blog post.
Obviously, some backlinks you might not be able to get, as is the case for the on above. Unless TRG can figure out a way to feature in Xero’s Blog, they might not be able to get a backlink from them.
Now, the real secret to doing this process is to get the backlink profiles from ALL your competitors. Generally, I’d suggest having a minimum of five backlink profiles.
Clearly, some will overlap, as many businesses use the same directories.
The trick is to get as many links as you can from the five backlink profiles that your competitors have.
This means you’ll have the most potent backlink profile because you’ve combined ALL the links from five or more different websites, not just one.
Your site will experience the cumulative effect of using ALL the websites your competitors use.
Important. Ignore the YellowPages, Highpages results. These are simply directory listings and are quite easy to beat. Long story short, Google prefers LOCAL businesses to ones such as those.
So, if you can prove to Google that your site is better suited for your demographic, it’ll rank you higher.
The takeaway: As you can see, getting started with backlinks isn’t as hard as you think. A lot of the links come from directory listings, which are super easy to create an account for. Implementing these backlinks will start to bring you closer to your competition.Let’s Talk
Everyone gets told, “content is king”. Sure, but how much content? Use your competitors to find out.
Many ideas are thrown around concerning how much “content” your website needs.
“You need a minimum of 700 words per page, preferably 1000.”
“You should be writing a blog post every week.”
The list goes on.
And it can be pretty daunting.
Most local tow truck businesses don’t want to sit down every week and while away their time writing blog posts – they have a business to run.
Especially if it’s all for nothing or they simply don’t need to.
Instead, I’ll show you a way to check how much your competitors are putting out and how many pages their website has.
(A rule of thumb is the denser and higher number of pages your website has, the higher Google will prioritise it).
This will allow you to either:
- Set a baseline level you need to reach to even get your skin in the game.
- Or, always ensure you’re ahead of what your competition is doing.
Once again, Google your niche.
(I’ll continue using accountants in this example).
Try and look for a business that ranks in the top five, but doesn’t appear to be a franchise.
(As many businesses use their franchisee website as their own, just setting up a “local” page on it.)
In my example, TRG Accountants appear to be a purely local business.
Once their website has loaded, go to the “URL bar” at the top of your browser.
Before, the URL, now type “site:” so it looks like this:
And hit enter.
This will bring up all the pages the website has that Google can see.
At the top of the page, Google says it’s showing 8 results.
As you can see, they consist of pages like about us, contact us, services etc.
I’d say you’d need around 6-8 pages on your own website to be a contender for this website’s position on Google.
Doing this will set an excellent baseline on how much content your website needs.
Note – when it comes to the franchisee websites I mentioned.
As I mentioned, many businesses you come across may be a franchise using their franchisee’s website with a “local” listing.
This process is still worth doing; however, as it may give you more insights on what pages you should flesh out for your site.
In this example, Google reports the site has 337 results.
Although, as you can see, Mulcahy & Co. have pages for Ararat, Beaufort and many more.
But, even on the first page of results, I can see some areas where TRG where lacking.
For example, TRG didn’t have clients, industries, or careers.
The client’s page could be a testimonial page, and the industries list off what, well, industries they operate in.
The takeaway: Doing this process will allow you to see how many pages your competitor has, and strategically work your way towards building a more in-depth website, which Google loves.Let’s Talk
How customers arrive at your website – keywords.
Customers must come from somewhere to arrive at your website.
Primarily, by searching for either your business niche or your companies name in Google.
Most businesses will try and go straight for the top dollar keywords – along the lines of “your niche + your town”.
In this case, “accountants in Ballarat.”
Depending on the competition for that keyword, it can take weeks or months to even break page one.
However, by starting your focus on other keywords such as “accounting firm in Ballarat”, “tax accountants Ballarat” and the like, you can begin to show up in more and more searches.
Then, over time you’ll start to rank for the big swingers, like “accountants in Ballarat.”
Let me show how to find what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and how to systematically beat them where they’re underperforming.
First, we need to jump back into Ahrefs.com.
Go back to the keyword search as we did before, and enter your primary search term. For my example, “accountants Ballarat”.
Once again, scroll down to where it has the Google results.
In the columns on the right-hand side, you’ll see the ‘keyword’ column.
Click on the number corresponding to the website you want to inspect.
This will then bring up the complete list of all the keywords your competitor ranks for.
You can sort by position, which will allow you to see which keywords they’re underperforming in.
From there, you can start trying to add that keyword systematically into your website.
This can be done by either sprinkling the keyword into your home page, about page or services pages; or by creating new pages focusing on that specific keyword. In this case of TRG Accountants, they’re ranked eight position for “tax accountant Ballarat”.
They could capitalise on this keyword by creating a services page revolving around tax accountants Ballarat.
Note – there’s a lot that can go into keyword research, especially if you’re trying to target more than one city or topic. I’m showing you a quick and more straightforward way to start getting keywords you want to focus on.
The takeaway: Doing this keyword research will allow you to systematically build up a list of keywords you’re ranking for. Even though you may wish to jump straight to the top of page one for a term like “accountant Ballarat”, sometimes it just can’t be done quickly. Keep in mind, more targeted search terms will likely have a higher chance of converting. If someone is specifically searching for “tax accountants Ballarat”, they’re after a specific niche in that nice, and likely have a stronger ulterior motive.
When it comes to the wild west of the Google frontier, it’s tricky to work out where to start.
As you can see, beginning by simply being better than your competitors will start you off on a firm footing.
My next article will detail how to work your way up the “map pack” in Google.
You know, that little square that highlights your phone number and reviews at the top of the page.
Till next time,
If you want to start implementing these strategies, yet don’t have the time to do so and would prefer to pay someone to do it…Let’s Talk