Why do lower performers always beat you in Search Engines? (OMG)

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As a searcher, do you realize that sometimes the top results that appear in Google are of no use at all to you? How can they even end up in there with such shitty content? Well, this article is going to decompose the ranking mechanism into small pieces of actionable tips for you to make a difference, as a marketer.

A thorough case study

To better illustrate the problem I would like to start with a case study, explaining exactly what are the elements that are boosting the rankings of certain websites instead of others. 

I type in the keyword “configurateur 3D” (in French but it does not matter) in Ahrefs’ keyword explorers and here is the result. Top 1 is a website called 3Dswipe.

A niche market in France
Roll down you will see the Top 100 ranking based on your subscription plan.

And now we are going to compare each parameter of the Top 1 and Top 11 websites to see what makes the difference.

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Top 1 ( AR: Ahrefs Rank, DR: Domain Rating; UR: URL Rating)
Top 11

Are you confused by the results? The site Hapticmedia seems to beat 3dswipe’s ass in all most every field, with much better domain authority, many more backlinks, referring sites, keywords, and traffic. Aren’t those all you need to rank higher already?

Yet there is one mystery to solve: The top keyword.

Let’s click on the “backlink” of two profiles to dig for more detailed information.

3Dswipe has only 6 backlinks and they are all from THE SAME DOMAIN, of DR 29.
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Hapticmedia has 261 backlinks from 74 domains, of DR 70+.

Do you think the search engine is biased? I really do. The two websites differ so much in figures that there is no way to compare. Google recommends a C student to your usage while hiding away a great A.

Yet as we look further, the two possess huge differences regarding anchor texts. 3Dswipe adopts only one anchor text “configurateur 3D”, which is also the Top Keyword for the website; while Hapticmedia prefers to diversify: HTML5 3D viewer, Hapticmedia (Top Keyword for the site), 3D configurator, configurateur 3D and so on.

As I scroll down, I found out that Hapticmedia has never been mentioned under the text “configurateur 3D”. That is to say, Google got 0 upvotes for Hapticmedia due to its “configurateur 3D” even though in total the website has 261.

Is this the reason why 3Dswipe ranks higher in the keyword “configurateur 3D”? Affirmative.

Put in simpler words, this is a case in which a general C student competes with a general A student in a specific discipline where the C student got an A+ and therefore wins. Therefore we admit: it is fair game.

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So what’s the actionable plan for us?

In brief, choose a keyword and stick to it. We can have multiple courses after succeeding at one. But now it is time to take a baby step and test it out. Try to establish yourself as a specialist in the area first before becoming a generalist. 

If you are ever mentioned by other domains using a different keyword, for example, 3D modeler, which is also good but not so as your Top Keyword. Then reach out to them, and ask them to change the anchor text by saying “hey, thanks for talking about us but would you mind referring us as a provider of configurateur 3D please?” Or you can do guest blogging and create anchor texts as you want.

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Pay attention to keyword difficulty

In Keyword difficulty, Ahrefs suggests that it takes around 0 websites to rank top 10 for this specific keyword. Hapticmedia has 74 but none of them contributes to the ranking for “configurateur 3D”. As a consequence, the company does not crack into the first page. 3Dswipe has 1 domain with DR 29.

That is to say, as soon as Hapticmedia obtained more than 1 citation under the same anchor text or only 1 from a domain of DR 29+, the site is going to replace 3Dswipe. Isn’t this totally doable?

To conclude

The most important thing regarding SEO is the focus. Learn to prioritize your tasks after making a high-level strategy and concentrate on small details that will help you rank. Create a bucket of keywords and then try to conquer them one by one, as search engines only recommend services each time based on 1 Top Keyword. 

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to strangers for help. Marketing is a study of human demands after all. When you are working on it spare no efforts to build a good interpersonal relationship with anyone that could aid you. They are real people too, with families, friends, and a life. Try to negotiate when you are in need and who knows, they might solve it for you.

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