15 Reasons Why Local Competitors Are Outranking You on Google
Oct 17, 2022 | 7 MINUTES TO READ
Summary: You may find that your competition is outranking you on Google. There can be a few reasons why, so learn what you can do to improve your rankings.
It is no secret that websites that rank higher on Google searches get more clicks. Businesses are constantly in competition to get their website to the top of the heap. But what if you are on the losing end of this battle?
If your competition is outranking you on Google, you are right to be worried about it. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to turn the tables. Here are 15 reasons why your competitors might be getting higher ranks than you and what you can do to address each one.
Table of Contents
1. Their Name Better Matches Users’ Search Intent
If your business name does not clearly state the type of products or services you offer, your website may be ranked unfavourably compared to those of competitors with more straightforward names. This is because Google can tell exactly what the companies with descriptive names offer and knows to promote them when users make relevant search queries.
You do not necessarily have to change your business name to handle this problem. However, if you choose to keep your name, you will need to make your focus clear in your website copy. You will also have to be vigilant about keeping all other aspects of your local SEO optimized and current.
2. They Have Better or More Numerous Reviews
Google Reviews have been confirmed to affect search ranks in Google Maps listings, Google Business profiles, and the Local Pack. Businesses with more reviews rank higher than those with few, and businesses with a higher average review score also enjoy a boost. This means that if your competitor is outdoing you with piles of glowing reviews, their website will get a higher rank than yours.
To improve your rank, you will need to get more positive reviews on your Google Business profile. You can do this by encouraging your customers to leave you a review after their visit, either online or in-person (post a QR code near your checkout to make it easy for them). If this practice is not enough to get you the reviews you need, a local SEO agency can help you round up some more.
3. Their Technical SEO Is Better
Technical SEO includes things like schema markups, site security, mobile friendliness, site performance, and much more. Without these things in place, your other SEO efforts will make little difference to your overall rankings.
Technical SEO can be a little intimidating for people who have never used it before. A single mistake can also have devastating consequences for your site’s ranking ability. If you want to make sure you do technical SEO right, the best thing to do is hire a local SEO company to do it for you.
4. They Are Located Closer to Their Leads
When Google displays search results for local search, they prioritize businesses that are as close to the user as possible. This means that if a competitor in your service area is just a few minutes away from your leads but getting to your business requires a 30-minute drive, that competitor’s website will probably be displayed above yours.
You can get around this restriction by creating hyperlocal landing pages for each of the major cities or neighbourhoods you serve. For example, if you are aiming to attract customers from across the GTA, you can create pages for major locales like York, Markham, Mississauga. This improves your business’ online presence and will help you demonstrate to Google that your company is of value to many people living outside of your immediate area.
5. They Have Quality Backlinks in Place
Backlinks are a big part of local SEO. If your competitors have managed to secure backlinks from prominent websites (especially ones with a local focus), their websites will almost certainly score top ranks.
Because many websites these days have dozens of pages, the only way to know how well your competitors are using back linking to their advantage is to use a professional analysis tool. A local SEO company can use these tools to tell you whether backlinks are your problem and suggest ways to counter your competitors’ winning strategies.
6. Their Google Business Profile is Optimized
Your Google Business profile is arguably the most important component of good local SEO. Having a complete and up-to-date profile gets your website in the running for a prominent position in the Local Pack, a highly visible set of business listings that appears on the side of the search results page for relevant searches.
Optimizing your profile requires consistent, detailed information and regular updates. You can optimize your profile on your own, but if you want to give your business the best chance at a high rank, it is a good idea to hire a local SEO company to manage your profile for you.
7. Their External Listings Are Better Optimized
You know you need a Google Business profile to maximize your SEO opportunities, but have you considered listing your business on other directories? Your competitors probably have, and that may be the reason their website is outranking yours.
To fix this, take some time to create a list of online directories that are relevant to your business. Yelp, TrustPilot, and TripAdvisor are some of the most popular, but there are many others out there, including some that cater to niche industries. Then, create a profile for your business on each of them. Make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent across all directories, including Google Business. If it is not, Google may have trouble recognizing your profiles.
8. They Have More Local Variations of Their Website
As previously mentioned, companies get a significant SEO boost from publishing hyperlocal versions of their website. Doing this not only shows Google the true extent of your service range but also gives you more opportunities to get high ranks within smaller market areas.
You can get the same benefits your competitors are enjoying by creating hyperlocal versions of your own website and content. You can break down your service areas by cities or even neighbourhoods if it makes sense. Watch out for duplicate content, however – publishing extremely similar versions of your content and copy could get you penalized by Google.
9. Their Content is Better
Content marketing is a key component of local SEO and builds significant consumer trust. If your competitors’ blog posts, white papers, videos, and other content offer more value to local users than yours, their website will almost certainly outrank yours.
To improve your content offerings, start by researching some of the top questions leads have about your products or industry. Then, craft rich, purposeful content that answers these questions through a local lens. Be sure to add relevant geographic keywords to let Google know that your content is region-specific and highly relevant to local users.
10. They Do More Local Outreach
If you want the best results from local SEO, you will need the support of local organizations. This means that local outreach and community initiatives are extremely important to getting those high ranks you need.
Your competitors may be getting local news coverage, guest post or columnist opportunities, and shout-out from local charities and non-profits. You can access those same opportunities yourself by reaching out to editors, reporters, and local organizations. Doing this earns you high-quality backlinks, a chance to position your business as a leader in your industry, and plenty of goodwill within your community.
11. Your Website May Be Penalized
In order to provide a better search experience for users, Google sometimes penalizes websites that try to exploit their SEO algorithms. Old practices like keyword stuffing may be causing Google to drop your website’s ranks compared to those of your competitors.
Getting rid of a penalty is not as simple as it sounds. You may not know what caused the problem in the first place, and even if you do, it may take considerable effort to correct. Again, a local SEO agency can help you ferret out the problem and get your website aligned with modern best practices for SEO.
12. They Are Using Exploits
Not all exploits are immediately caught by Google’s algorithms. Some, like buying backlinks and reviews, can be difficult to spot.
If your competitors are engaging in these practices, rest assured that they will be found out eventually. However, you can also report them to Google to speed up the process. Do not do this unless you have concrete proof that they are breaking the rules, however. False reports are unethical and will not improve your ranking.
13. They Have Purchased Higher Ad Placement
While SEO is largely an even playing field for all websites, Google does offer a paid ads through Google Ads. There is a disclaimer on all paid placements stating that they are advertisements, but it is small and easy to miss.
If your competitors are using this service, their website will almost always appear above yours. The good news is that you can take advantage of this service too. If you do not know how to do this, consult a local SEO company for help.
14. You Have Searched for Them Too Many Times
If you have spent a lot of time researching what your competitors have been doing with their website and marketing strategies, you may actually be skewing your own search results. Google may have picked up on this increased activity and assumed that you were an interested lead, causing them to boost your competitor’s website on your results page.
You can get a better idea of where your website truly ranks by using third-party tools like SemRush. You can also do your research in your browser’s private or incognito mode to keep it from affecting your personal browsing data.
15. They Have Been Working on Their SEO for Longer Than You
SEO is a long winding road. No matter how good your techniques and practices are, a competitor who has been working on their SEO for longer than you have may outrank you simply because they have had more time to let their campaigns mature.
The only thing you can do to fix this problem is continuing to work on your own SEO. Eventually, you may be able to surpass your competition.
For Better Local SEO In Toronto, Get in Touch with the Experts
No matter where you are in your company’s digital marketing journey, getting professional help from expert marketers will help you reach your goals. WSI Comandix has the local SEO services your website needs to soar to the top of the results page. Contact us to discuss your business’ local SEO needs with one of our talented staff members today.
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