SEO How-To: Organically Rank for Competitor Keywords

How to Rank Organically for Competitor Keywords

It’s a common pitfall in the world of SEO: you sell a particular product and would like to rank above your competitors without blowing your whole budget on ad spend.

But what do you do if your desired keyword(s) are a part of your competitor’s branding? Wouldn’t you simply be boosting their brand by employing these keywords? Not if approached correctly. In this case, we’re going to take a look at a recent client campaign and how we were able to avoid unintentional boosting while increasing our client’s rank, using nothing but organic, whitehat SEO.

Case Study: Furniture Store

In this study, a local client of ours wanted to rank for “boise mattresses”. This was a special challenge in that there are several stores in the Boise area that include “mattress” in their brand name. Luckily for us, the term “mattress” is very top-of-the-funnel, which gave us elbow room to whittle down further for keyword phrases that may have been previously neglected.

According to SEMRush, “boise mattresses” doesn’t have any search results to speak of. Again, this could be due to its position at the top of the funnel (i.e. researching versus purchase). However, the phrase “boise mattress” produced results that average roughly 500 searches per month.

The only problem? The top four results all point to their competitors.

Knowing this, I spent one month bulking up the content of our client’s mattress page, adding mentions of “Boise” where appropriate and renewing focus on brand names on offer, as well as their respective distinguishing features.

Even though a month’s work of SEO only got them ranking #45 for “boise mattress,” the results were much more promising when specific brand names were added. For example, our client was ranked:

  1. #11 for “serta mattress boise”.

  2. #10 for “simmons beautyrest mattress boise”. And…(drumroll)…

  3. #3 for “mlily mattress boise”!

Why This Matters

Going in, I knew that ranking specifically for “boise mattress” would produce limited results given the branding of local competitors.

However, those searching for a specific brand of mattress are much further down the research portion of the funnel than someone simply searching for “mattresses”.

This can equate to more conversions, especially if your page:

  1. Effectively answers any questions that they may have,

  2. Effortlessly walks potential customers through the Buyer’s Journey Funnel.

Sure, the others guys may be ranking for both “boise” and “mattress,” but there’s no telling where potential buyers are within the funnel with search terms like that.

When compared to utilizing specific products in linkbuilding efforts, we’re more likely to target customers who are ready to make a purchase. Even if SEO tools like SEMRush give no indication of monthly search volume, this approach gave our client the corner on the market for local customers looking for a specific brand name mattress.

How I Did It

The bulk of my efforts for this client focused on their on-page optimizations, including header optimization, keyword usage, and structure. This was followed by some light linkbuilding with emphasis on the keyword phrase “boise mattress”.

I didn’t have any ad spend for PPC campaigns, and solely utilized whitehat optimization techniques with a focus on brand names and locality.

Why Solely Focusing on One Keyword Phrase Wouldn’t Have Worked

Plainly put, our client’s competitors did their job all too well when it came to branding their respective companies. By adding either “boise” or “mattress” (or a mixture of both) to their brand name, they all but solidified their online positions, especially those who were willing to spend the almost exorbitant amount of ad spend for “boise mattress” or any of its permutations.

On top of that, doing so could potentially confuse would-be customers who may be legitimately trying to find a specific competitor. Anyone who’s ever searched for a very specific term only to have a related competitor pop up (think finding Adidas after searching “Nike”) knows how annoying this can be.

For all we know, any given person searching for “boise mattress” could be searching for reasons that have nothing to do with purchasing a mattress, so why bother? Even if there are only 30 searches (or even less) per month for a specific brand name in a local area, wouldn’t you rather want to target the sure thing instead of the slim possibility?

Though we like to think anything is possible here at Little Egg Solutions, your time and efforts are better spent targeting those potential customers who are more towards the middle of the funnel.

How Little Egg Solutions Can Help

Do you have any additional questions regarding they Buyer’s Journey Funnel? Perhaps you’d like some help with generating content or driving traffic to your website? Little Egg Solutions can help. Contact us today!