How To Outrank Your Competitors In Google Search

Outrank your competitors with the exact strategies we’ve used to rank our clients above sites like Samsung, Amazon, and even Wikipedia!

It’s one of the most common questions we’re asked by businesses:

How do I outrank my competitors in Google?

The answer is…

…well, it’s complicated.

We know that’s not the answer you were hoping for, which is why today we’re sharing the exact strategies we use to help our clients outrank their closest competitors.

These proven strategies include:

  • Going toe-to-toe with your competitors' branded terms.
  • Finding terms your competitor isn’t targeting and using them to your advantage.
  • Turning your competitors' rankings into hundreds of link building opportunities.

Let’s get started.

(Just here to build links? Click here to jump to our step-by-step guide.)

Why Is Outranking The Competition So Important?

Let’s answer this question with another:

Do your competitors outrank you in search?

If you said “Yes”, here’s why it makes such a difference:

  • As many as 90% of searchers never make it past Google’s first page.
  • What’s more, a staggering 28.5% of people click on the first result they see…
  • …and the numbers drop sharply from there – just 2.5% for tenth spot!

If your competitors outrank you, they’re taking more of your traffic, leads, and sales.

Before You Begin…

Don’t make outranking your competitors any more difficult than it needs to be! Give yourself a competitive advantage by optimising your site for search with our SEO Optimisation Guide For New Zealand Businesses. It’s free!

How Do I Identify My Competitors?

Your closest competitors are only a search away!

Sure, it may bug you that your competitors are ranking so well in search…

…but in doing so, they’re not exactly difficult to find. This makes it easy to identify who they are, the terms they’re ranking for, and use their high search placement against them to quickly and easily build your site’s authority (more on this later!).

Here’s the easiest way to identify your competitors:

  1. Open Google.
  2. Enter a major keyword related to your product, service, industry, or niche:
  3. Make a note of the top results that appear in search:

Wait, so what should I be looking for here?

We already know Google’s first page holds all of the clicks.

So when you’re scouting out the competition, concentrate on this first page.

This is where you’ll find your primary competitors as well as quick-win opportunities that could give you the upper-hand. While browsing these results, you should look for:

Big name brands & websites

Highly searched terms are often highly competitive.

A key indicator of this is the presence of big name brands, businesses, and websites.

You can see this below for ‘Accounting Software‘:

We’re not saying it’s impossible to outperform these big name brands and sites…

…just know that they will be harder to beat.

Low quality competitors

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

And the same goes for your competitors!

Look beyond the search results page and examine these sites in more detail for:

Sometimes you’ll find that potential competitors are only partially related to your business. They could even be of a lower quality, which makes them easier to outrank!

Before You Continue…

Jot down any common names you see in your searches. Competitors will vary depending on the keyword you enter, but you’re likely to find a few that we will use to find hundreds of link building opportunities later in this guide!

How Do I Know What Keywords My Competitors Are Using?

Finding all of your competitors' keywords can be tricky.

The easiest way to do this is to manually search for terms you think relate to your – and their – business, but it isn’t the fastest way, either. You’re also likely to miss lucrative terms your competitor may be targeting that you don’t even know about.

Thankfully, there are a number of free and paid tools that make the process easy.

We’ve explored some of the most popular options below:

  1. Open SpyFu.
  2. Enter the URL of a competitor into the search bar and hit Enter:
  3. Click on “SEO Research” and then “SEO Keywords” in the top menu:
  4. SpyFu will show you a list of your competitors' terms, including their placement:
  5. The site only displays the first five results – you’ll need to sign up to see the rest.
Neil Patel
  1. Open Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest.
  2. Enter the URL of a competitor into the search bar and hit Enter:
  3. Ubersuggest will show you a list of your competitors' terms and their placement:
  4. The site displays the first twenty results – you’ll need to sign up to see the rest.
  1. Open Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
    • Note: You will need to sign up for a 7-Day Free Trial account. We’ll be using Ahrefs again later, so it’s worth a go!
  2. Enter the URL of a competitor into the search bar and hit Enter:
  3. Click on “Organic Search” and then “Organic Keywords” in the menu on the left:
  4. Ahrefs will display a list of the keywords the site is ranking for including monthly search volume, position, and the URL of the page that is ranking for the term:
SEM Rush
  1. Open SEM Rush.
  2. Enter a competitors' URL into the search bar, select your country, and hit Enter:
  3. SEM Rush will ask you to create an account or log in to an existing one. It’s free!
  4. Click on “Organic Research” in the menu on the left:
  5. The site will display a range of organic search information, including the site’s top 7 organic keywords. Click on “View all X organic keywords” to view more – you’ll need to sign up for a paid account to see all of them:
SE Ranking
  1. Open SE Ranking’s Competitor Analysis Tools.
  2. Enter the URL of a competitor, select your country, and click Analyze:
  3. Scroll down to the “Organic Keywords” section and click on “View Detailed Report“:
  4. SE Ranking will display a list of the keywords the site is ranking for including the terms, position, and monthly search traffic:
  5. The site displays the first ten results – you’ll need to sign up to see the rest.

3 Proven Ways To Rank Above The Competition In Google Search

  • 1
    Fight them on their own (branded) terms

    So, here’s a question for you:

    When’s the last time you ordered pizza online?

    We swear, this question is relevant! You’ll see how shortly…

    …but for now, let’s take a look at what happens when you search for Pizza Hut:

    One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.

    Do you see it? Ok, so it’s not hard to miss…we did highlight it for you.

    One of the first results isn’t for Pizza Hut at all, but rather competitor Domino’s.

    This isn’t a one-off. In fact, it’s repeated across a variety of terms in a number of industries. From “vs” terms like “Oral B vs Philips Sonicare”:

    Through to “or” terms like “Samsung or Apple”:

    So, why is this happening?

    More than that, how can you leverage this for your business?

    Why brand terms are a great source of traffic

    Competitor terms are, well, competitive…

    …they’re also a proven source of traffic which makes them a juicy search target.

    How so? Let’s wrap back ‘round to our first example:

    Here’s how many people search for “order pizza online” in New Zealand every month:

    Now here’s the results for “pizza hut”:

    The difference between the two is pretty staggering!

    To be fair, this big a difference in search volume may not carry over to your own terms – we doubt 206,000 people are searching for a local dentist, for example! – but the ‘takeaway’ here is the same:

    Branded terms are often worth ranking well for.

    Let’s find out how…

    How can I capture more of my competitors' branded customers?

    It’s time!

    We’re going to turn you into the Domino’s of your niche.

    Which is to say, we’re going to help you target your competitors' terms via Google Ads.

    Domino’s is unique in that it doesn’t rely on long-form content or landing pages. Instead, it simply pays – likely a fair bit! – to appear in Google Search whenever someone in New Zealand searches for Pizza Hut.

    Doing the same thing with your competitors and their terms is relatively easy.

    Check out Google’s own ‘Your guide to Google Ads to get started.

    Keep these things in mind when setting up your Ads campaign

      Branded traffic is different to regular traffic.

      Someone searching for a competitor already knows what they want.

      This is your opportunity to tell them why your business is better! It’s like convincing someone to pick Domino’s over Pizza Hut, rather than choosing Pizza over a Burger.


      Don’t waste any time – or characters – getting to the point.

      You know what they’re looking for, so use your Ad to highlight your unique value proposition such as 24/7 Customer Service, Free Shipping, or a X% Saving.

      Take another look at Domino’s Ad and you’ll see how they do this so well:

      Price is often the deciding factor for consumers, so highlight your great deal if you’ve got it!


      Google reserves the right to remove an Ad that is in breach of trademark laws…

      …so err on the side of caution and avoid using your competitors' name.

      Not only does it look tacky, but it may get you in trouble!

      Instead of pulling down competitors like this hypothetical Ad:

      You want to build yourself up, like this:


      Google Ad Extensions offer a variety of ways to enhance your Ad.

      Better yet, they’re free! Sitelink Extensions allow you to link to additional pages, Callout Extensions let you include additional information like “Free Delivery!“, and Review Extensions allow you to highlight your star rating.

      This Domino’s Ad uses a Sitelink Extension to guide users to its most important pages.


      Domino’s doesn’t direct visitors to a dedicated page, but…

      …it doesn’t really need to. It’s Domino’s!

      You won’t have quite the same luxury. If you’re serious about converting people who click on your Ad, send them to a specialised landing page that’s tailored to what they’re searching for.

      This brings us nicely to…

    2. Create ‘VS’ content for long-term search success

    So, you’ve gotten their interest…

    …now it’s time to talk directly to their interests with a specialised landing page.

    Remember, you already know what they’re searching for, so it’s going to be that much easier to design a high-converting page that tells them why you’re the better choice.

    The “Oral-B vs Philips Sonicare” search we highlighted earlier is a great example of this:

    Oral-B’s Landing Page wastes no time getting to the point…

    …in fact, before you scroll down the page it’s grabbed your attention with:

    • A relevant heading – “Oral-B Crossaction Series VS. Philips Sonicare”.
    • A bold claim – “Proven To Clean Better Than Philips Sonicare Diamondclean”.

    They’re not selling you on just any electric toothbrush…

    …they’re selling you on their electric toothbrush.

    We’re willing to bet the conversion rate reflects this fact, too!

    Keep these things in mind when setting up your landing page

      Carrying out Keyword Research before you start writing is the perfect way to land on a relevant topic for your Pillar Page and ensure it’s optimised effectively.

      What do I mean by this?

      Let’s say a business runs an online storage service similar to Dropbox or Drive.

      A search of competitor terms in turns up a bunch of Keywords:

      Throwing these into KWFinder we see a number of these have search volume:

      Yeah, we know what you’re thinking…

      …this hypothetical business isn’t Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.

      That’s the thing, they don’t need to be! By using Google Ads to drive traffic to a Landing Page that targets these ‘VS’ competitor terms, this business could provide information people are searching for while introducing their own solution.


      Is your product cheaper? Is your service better? Is your selection wider?

      People who arrive at your landing page via Google Ads are looking to be convinced, converted, and sold to, so give them your one-line sales pitch as quickly as possible.


      Attention spans are short. Very short.

      You have seconds to convince someone who arrives at your page to stick around.

      Remember, you know exactly why your audience is here, so skip the setup and get straight to the point. Stick to short, sharp sentences and save the paragraphs for your Blog Posts!


      Oral-B’s Landing Page highlights how a visual page can hold your attention.

      Its clean layout and strong use of fonts and imagery make an impact and encourage you to keep scrolling. A wall of text? No thanks! Deliver a bold, bespoke landing page and your visitors will remember you.


      Everyone loves facts and figures.

      Well, everyone on the internet, that is!

      It’s been proven that well-sourced stats, facts, and figures help to build trust and convert a skeptical audience. It also keeps you from getting in trouble for false advertising our outlandish claims.


      Landing Pages are designed to convert more customers…

      …but they can’t do that without a Call-To-Action.

      Whether it’s a “Buy Now!” button or an enquiry form, you need to tell your audience what to do next. If you leave them to their own devices, they’re more likely to just hit ‘Back’ on their browser.

    How Do We Know This Works?…
    …because we used it for one of our clients!

    When this client came to us, they were locked in battle with a competitor.

    The solution? Fighting them on their own (branded) terms! By creating a dedicated ‘VS’ landing page – as well as a Blog Post – we were able to tap into the competitors' traffic. The result?

    Thousands of visitors & tens of thousands of dollars of additional sales:

    In fact, these two pages are the site’s third and fourth highest converting pages right behind the Home Page and Product Page. The site also regularly outranks its major competitor for its own brand name.

    This is just one example of what’s possible when you target competitor terms.