Latest posts by Mark Spera (see all)
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Are you ticked off because your competitors are beating you in organic search (SEO) or they’re simply out-marketing you across the board?
Are you tired of writing content that no one reads or shares on social media?
It sucks when Google doesn’t reward you for your hard work and customers don’t buy your product.
Let’s face it, success on the internet is tough. Only 6% of companies ever reach $1 million in revenue and many more go bankrupt every year.
We started Growth Marketing Pro to help entrepreneurs succeed on the web — particularly with SEO.
Why? Because SEO, or “organic” traffic is cheap. It’s the easiest way to build a profitable-from-day-one online business.
It’s the way we’ve been able to turn Growth Marketing Pro into the largest growth marketing blog on the internet and has been the unlock that’s helped produce nearly a million dollars a year in passive income for my partner, Hailey and I.
For instance, last month we got 12,873 organic hits for the keyword “Zoom webinar review” alone. Yup — we rank #1, #2, or #3 (depending on the day) for our review of the largest webinar tool on earth.
Here are a few more examples of keywords we rank #1 or #2 for, including “webinar software,” “landing page software,” and “what is growth marketing?”
How do we do this so repeatably and consistently?
Over 10 years we’ve distilled SEO down to just a couple of key components. Those components have helped us rank in the top few results on Google for some of the most competitive keywords on the internet.
We’re going to share those tactics in this post.
By the way: you don’t need the tool we created, GrowthBar to replicate our successes, but I promise it will make it much faster and easier for you to see results.
Table of Contents
How to Dominate SEO
1. Keyword Competition
First, determine your odds of ranking on page 1 of the Google Search Results Page (SERP) for your target keywords.
Not all keywords are created equal. Some are more competitive to rank for than others.
Expensive SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush give you access to tons of data.
But they miss one simple fact that every good digital marketer knows…
You can do all the keyword research in the world, but when it comes down to it, there’s only one thing that really matters when you’re trying to outrank your competitors: your Domain Authority.
Your Domain Authority (DA) is an aggregate score from 0-100 that estimates how authoritative your site is in Google’s eyes. The higher your Domain Authority, the more likely it is that Google will respect the content you post and quickly rank it on page 1.
In general, Domain Authority is a measure of:
- The number of backlinks your site has
- The quality of those backlinks (links from CNN, NY Times, and TechCrunch are much better than links from smaller sites)
- The age of your website
- The quality of your content
When Hailey and I write content for Growth Marketing Pro, it ranks within a couple days of hitting publish.
But most websites don’t have the quantity and quality of backlinks we do. Plus, our site is over three years old and we have hundreds of blog posts.
So if your site has lower authority, you’ll need to be really prescriptive about the keywords you go after.
If you type your target keyword into Google and articles by Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and other big publications take up all of page 1, there’s a good chance you won’t rank for that keyword.
Of course, you shouldn’t give up! Try searching for longer-tail versions of that keyword, until you find something that looks a bit less competitive.
With GrowthBar, you can quickly see the DA of every site on page 1 of the Google SERP and we provide a simple score at the top of every Google search that makes it clear how competitive a keyword is. This score is based on the domain authorities of the results on the first several pages of the Google SERP.
Simple, right? SEO isn’t rocket science. Just figure out how competitive a term is, either by eyeballing it or installing GrowthBar now!
2. Search volume
Look at the number of searches for any keyword and related keywords.
Like we said, not all keywords are created equal. The surest way to succeed with SEO is to find keywords that not only are uncompetitive, but have high search volume as well.
There’s no reason to waste your time writing tons of great content on a topic that’s never searched!
GrowthBar will help you prioritize which keywords to go after.
Search any keyword and instantly see its monthly search volume as well as the CPC that people are paying to run Google ads against that keyword.
High CPCs usually mean high value keywords — if your competitors are willing to pay for it, then you should probably be investing there too. Plus, when you search a keyword, you’ll also get a list of the most popular related keywords and phrases.
Insert these related keywords into your existing posts and consider creating new content around them as well to bolster your SEO efforts.
If you don’t want to use GrowthBar for this, try Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. You’ll need a Google Ads account to use it, but other than that it’s completely free.
Backlinks matter. A lot.
Like I said, Google’s Algorithm places significant weight on the quality and quantity of backlinks that are pointing to your site.
Backlinks are simply hyperlinks from another site to your site.
The more backlinks you have from high Domain Authority sites, the more Google will consider your website an authoritative source of information.
I can’t emphasize this enough: most SEOs and entrepreneurs do not take backlinking seriously enough. In my opinion, it is the #1 way to increase your organic traffic.
If you want to rank for your target keywords, you must have links from authoritative sites to your domain (note: it’s even better if the backlinks are to the specific page you want to rank).
There are many ways to get backlinks, but these are my favorite:
- PR: If you can generate natural press because of your unique story, you should definitely pursue it. Put out press releases, tell industry publications, and get cozy with reporters in your niche. PR is a great way to generate backlinks.
- Reports, infographics, and data: If you’re a thought leader in your space or you have unique information that no one else has, turn it into a report or simple infographic. Put them out on social media and send to “friendlies” in your industry. Google will index your work and bloggers will inevitably pick them up and include them in their posts.
- Backlink exchange: While this is technically considered bad practice by Google, you can still get away with swapping relevant links with peers in your niche where they make sense.
- Sniping your competitors backlinks: See who’s linking to your competitors and get them to replace those links with yours! Or, if you’re feeling nice, just ask them to write about you too!
Use GrowthBar to quickly view the backlink profile of any site. That means, you can see the best backlinks your competitors have and reach out to snag them for yourself.
And then expand to see all your competitors’ backlinks in a simple, downloadable list!
Also read: 25 Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Site
4. Great content
Want your content to rank?
You need to make the best thing on the internet.
Google only cares about one thing: showing Googlers the best answer to their question. That’s how they’ve maintained their reputation as the best search engine on earth.
If a Googler asks “what is the best webinar software,” Google’s algorithm will show the searcher the best, most comprehensive post out there.
How does Google decide what’s most comprehensive? One of the main metrics it looks at is time on site. So if your content keeps Googlers on your site longer than your competitors, you will likely rank ahead of them.
So what are some attributes of high ranking content?
- Interestingly, in most search verticals, longer posts do better. See how long the highest ranking posts on page 1 of the SERP are. Make sure yours are longer! (Hint: GrowthBar has a word count feature that allows you to instantly see how long any webpage is).
- Long doesn’t necessarily mean paragraphs. Use bullets, images, lists, etc. Make the article skimmable for the readers who won’t sit through 2,000 words of dense content.
- Link to credible sources: we’ve found time and time again that our best performing articles have a link or two to very authoritative sources in the first couple paragraphs of the article. If you’re writing medical content, link to Mayo Clinic or university studies. This shows Google you care about quality first and foremost.
- URLs: yes your URL structure matters. Stuff your keywords (within reason) into the URL of the article or product listing. For instance, if you’re trying to make SEO work for your ecommerce store, it’s much better to make a product URL “/striped-maxi-skirt-organic-cotton” than “/maxi-skirt.” It’s simple, but it matters.
I’ll say it again: if you want to rank high in the Google SERP, you need to make superior content and optimize it — make the best thing on the internet. Make it longer, better, and more readable than anything else out there.
5. Spy on your competitors
One quick secret to marketing is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If you can see that something is working well for one of your competitors, it will probably work well for you too.
GrowthBar will allow you to see exactly which channels your competitors are getting traffic from.
- See whether your competitors are running paid Google Ads and which keywords they are bidding on. This is a great way to discover low CPC keywords that are effective. Target those keywords for your own Google Ads or SEO strategy!
- See whether your competitors are running Facebook Ads and click to spy on the ads themselves and see exactly what they look like.
- And of course, see their organic search traffic (SEO) and the queries driving people to their site.
6. Site speed
Content is king, but people won’t even get to see it if it isn’t served pretty much instantly.
For SEO, site speed is really important. Google itself has declared that it ranks websites in the search engine results in part, based on speed.
Why does Google care about speed? Of course, because they want the best user experience for their users. If searchers bounce off the pages Google suggests, they might start searching via Bing, Safari, or DuckDuckGo! Google certainly doesn’t want that.
And the proof is in the pudding.
We made fixes to our site speed when we noticed things were slowing down a bit and lo and behold, our traffic popped almost immediately.
The good news: most entrepreneurs and marketers don’t need to worry about site speed. If you’re using a platform like Shopify, your site is naturally fast, thanks to Shopify’s already-optimized software. If you’re using a content management system like WordPress (with a reputable web host) and your blog is new, you also shouldn’t worry about speed.
Where speed becomes an issue is if you’ve built your site from scratch, or you have a site with a lot of content, images, videos, etc. Sometimes this can slow things down, which will inevitably impact your organic rankings.
Want to check out your site speed? If you’re using Google Chrome, you can run a Google Lighthouse Audit by doing the following:
- Right click on your webpage
- Select “inspect”
- Navigate to “audits”
- Click “generate report”
Google crawls your site on the spot and spits out a report containing (among other things) an analysis of your site speed.
If your speed is below 30, you might consider doing a few things to improve performance:
- Minimize the use of libraries and plugins: It might seem like a great idea to get that fancy new feature, but is that really worth half a megabyte of data for an element on your site that people rarely see?
- Serve images intelligently: Often, images are the main reason a website is sluggish. Website images have to download fully in order for a webpage to render properly. Use a tool like ImageOptim to compress your images before uploading them to your site.
- Use a CDN: On the topic of images, many sites (including this one), use a content delivery network like Cloudflare. CDNs effectively serve up images and other assets via a distributed network of servers, which means your web host is freed up to move faster.
- Lazy load: If you’re using WordPress, find a plugin that enables “lazy loading,” which defers rendering elements of a site until a user scrolls to that section. This means your entire page doesn’t have to load before a user can see the webpage.
GrowthBar is a no brainer for anyone looking to expand on their marketing strategy and get more customers. Give it a try, on us, for 5 Days. We’re 100% confident you’re going to love it.
We prioritized the important stuff and stripped out the nonsense to create a more affordable, more efficient all-in-one tool for growth. It’s only $29/mo compared to SEO tools that are charging upwards of $100-$200+ per month.
Regardless of whether you use our tool or not, remember to focus on creating great content for your users first and foremost. But also, be smart about which keywords you target — your time is limited and you need to make the most of it if you want to grow fast. Focusing on keywords that are tough to rank for is a fool’s errand.
Follow these tips and you’re guaranteed to succeed with SEO this year. Good luck!
See our other favorite SEO content:
- The 13+ Best SEO Software Tools
- 10 SEO Growth Hacks for Every Business
- The Best SEO Agencies
- Will SEO Work for My Business?
*Articles on this blog contain affiliate links that GMP receives a small commission from at no cost to you. We only recommend tools we trust. And never ones we don't trust.