Why is my Competitor Ranking Higher than me?

SEO, SEO for Beginners, SEO Keywords, Simple SEO Podcast

Do you find yourself searching for your business on Google and getting frustrated because your website isn’t showing up at the top and your competition is? If you’ve ever found yourself frustratedly wondering why is my competitor ranking higher than me, then this blog post is for you, my friend.

take my free SEO 101 class

There are a few reasons that your competition may be ranking higher than you, so let’s jump right in and determine what’s going on so that you can craft a strategy that will help you rank higher than them. As you know, ranking higher than the competition is important because searchers will generally click on the results they find in positions 1 and 3 most often. If you rank lower than the competition, people will click on them because they’re at the top of the page. It’s just that simple.





Why does your competitor rank higher than you?

The first thing to consider is the age of your website and theirs. It’s possible, especially if you have a brand new site and they’ve been around for years, that Google ranks them higher partly because they have more history with Google. The age of a domain can come into play. 



Is your competitor’s website more authoritative in Google’s eyes?

Every website has a Domain Authority score (DA). The DA is not a score from Google but rather from the SEO tool Moz. DA indicates how likely a website is to rank higher in Google. Generally speaking, the higher the DA, the higher the site ranks in the search results. It’s not always the case, but we often see this.


You can check your DA by downloading MozBar, a free Chrome plug-in from Moz that shows you the Domain Authority of any website you visit. To learn more about DA, read this blog post. 



Does your competitor have more links than you?

The number of links to your website impacts your DA. If your competitor has 1,000 links and you have 2, they will have a higher DA, which is also likely why they’re ranking higher than you. You can see the links on your website and your competitor’s website using Mozbar. Take note of how many links they have and how many links you have. If there’s a significant discrepancy in the number of links between the two sites, that’s probably part of why they’re ranking higher than you.

Listen to the podcast episode here.


Is your content the issue?

If your DA is similar to your competitor, it’s likely not the answer. The next thing you want to do is to look at their content vs. your content. Go back to the search results and click through their page ranking for the keyword you want to rank for. What content is on the page? Is it in-depth? Does it answer the questions a reader would have about the topic? Is it something Google would deem helpful? Does the content show experience, expertise, or authority on this subject? These are all things that Google takes into account when ranking content. E-E-A-T stands for experience, expertise, authority, and trust. Google uses E-E-A-T to grade website content. It’s not a ranking factor per se; however, it impacts your overall performance with Google. You can learn more about E-E-A-T here. It’s important to remember when creating your content because Google is looking for these factors.


The other thing that Google looks for is how helpful your content is. Google’s Helpful Content algorithm rolled out in 2022. The main thing you need to know about Helpful Content is that Google wants you to consistently create content for the reader, not the search engine. Your readers must get value from your content. If you’re unsure if your content is helpful, it probably isn’t. If you’re questioning it, you need to edit and adjust. Read this post to learn more about Google's Helpful Content Algorithm update.


Beyond E-E-A-T and Helpful Content, how does your content compare to theirs overall? Is their piece longer, does it include more information, or is it about the same as yours?



Is your SEO the issue?

Have you done SEO on the page you want to rank for this keyword? If you haven’t done your SEO – you haven’t created a unique title tag and meta description, you didn’t use your keyword in your header tags or copy, and they have, then that’s likely why they’re outranking you. If you have title tags and meta descriptions that don’t meet Google’s best practices, that can be the issue, too. If you're unsure what to do for SEO, start with this blog post. 


click here to take my free SEO class


How do you resolve the issue of your competitor ranking higher than you?


Is website authority the issue?

It’s going to depend on what you think the issue is. If your competitor has a significantly higher DA than you do, then you need to take another look at the search results and see if others are ranking on Page 1 and have DAs similar to yours. If all of the sites ranking in the top 10 are highly authoritative and your site is not, this keyword may not be the best opportunity for your site to rank and get traffic. The best way to increase your DA is to build links to your website, which takes time. Don't ever buy links. Earning them naturally is important by creating great content others find helpful and want to link to. You can also build links naturally through digital PR - interviews, guest blog posts, etc. 


Is your content the issue?

If your DA is similar to your competitor’s and they have better content than you do, then you need to update your content to provide more value to your reader. Add in elements to help with E-E-A-T, if possible. Go back and edit your content to be more competitive. You know what Google thinks is a good answer to the query, so you must make your content similar. Don’t copy your competition because that’s plagiarism, and it’s not OK. Always create content that’s unique to your business.


Do you regularly write on this topic, or is it a one-off topic? Does your competitor always write about this topic? If so, Google will likely rank the competitor higher than you because they want to offer searchers sites that have depth in a subject area so that they can show their authority and expertise. This is one of the reasons that I teach my students to choose a max of four content topics or pillars to focus on and make sure all of their content ties back to one of those four pillars so they’re serving their customers, driving relevant traffic, and showing authority and expertise for Google.


Is your SEO (mistakes or lack of SEO) the issue?

If your competitor’s content is similar to yours, but theirs is optimized, yours is not, or yours is wrong, then you need to adjust your optimization and follow Google’s best practices. If you’re unsure what to do, request a copy of my Beginner's SEO Guide todaytoday to learn what to do for SEO.


Free SEO Class 


Are multiple issues causing the competitor to rank higher than you?

Often, multiple factors impact a webpage’s ability to rank for a specific keyword. When this happens, you must address all the problems to get results. Create a list of what you think is causing the competitor to rank higher than you, and use it to craft your strategy. 


What to do when your competitor ranks higher than you?

Your strategy will depend on what’s causing the competitor to rank higher than you. You need first to determine if this is a keyword your website should rank for, and if so, then you’ll need to adjust whatever issues are causing the page to rank lower than you want. It will likely take a while for Google to increase your rankings once you’ve made the changes. Still, if your website has a good chance of ranking based on content topic and domain authority, you should start to see increases in keyword rankings as long as you’ve done your SEO on the page and it’s done right.


It can be frustrating to see competitors rank higher than our sites, but figuring out why it’s happening and adjusting your content to be more what Google’s looking for should help. Staying on top of your competitors and ensuring you’re doing what you need to be competitive is key to SEO success.