SEO For Competitors’ Brands and Trademark Keywords: How To Rank?

Author: Gab Goldenberg

Don’t limit yourself to bidding on competitors‘ brand / trademark keywords – rank your website for them organically, too!

This is counter-intuitive to SEO consultants – what content will you write and how will you get anchor-text rich links? That’s not a rhetorical question any more – there are a few types of content you can write to rank for competitors’ trademarks and convert the traffic!

The way this question came to my attention was that a lead (referred by the awesome Gabriel Malca) asked me how to rank his Mercedes dealership for BMW keywords. The logic was that both brands feature similarly priced luxury vehicles.

At the time I recommended against it, because it’s well-known that brand-keywords are searched for by people with a specific intent – the audience is composed of brand loyalists. Can you tell someone who swears by Coke that Pepsi is equally good?

1) What about if you offered an objective comparison, though?

That may not apply specifically to a substance like Coke that is addictive, but it’s plausible that a percentage of people interested in BMWs – but who are earlier in the conversion funnel – can be swayed to buy a Mercedes based on the relative merits of each brand.

Have you ever seen product comparison tables? They list features and products, and the company whose site hosts the content has all the checkboxes marked off for its own product.

Clearly, there’s some selective attention as to what features matter. But that’s not the point. Often you are objectively better. This is the opportunity to explain why.

Note: Never trash-talk the competition. It’s uncouth. Instead, emphasize your unique added value. “That hotel may be cheaper, but we’re downtown. And we have meeting facilities, so you can host your lead for discussions and a presentation right here. That makes us better than the smaller hotel a block away [i.e. which is also downtown] that lacks meeting spaces.”

In pitches to leads, I’ve often said that the competition would also do a good job if they were hired (in cases where I knew and trusted them), but I’d provide a better service because X,Y,Z.

2) Integrate reviews of competitors – or perhaps a ratings board.

This isn’t talking badly about competitors – this is objective, third party data.

Obviously, it’s tempting to emphasize complaints, but so long as you allow positive reviews to appear as well, then the information will be trustworthy for consumers.

The simple point is that once you have people on your site reading reviews, you can upsell them on your own product.

And that’s how you write content to rank for competitors branded keywords and rank! (The unique content aspect means you’re linkworthy.)

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy this item on discovering what keywords your competitors use. You should also check out my advanced SEO book for more on the topic of competitive intelligence and advanced SEO tactics and ideas.

p.p.s. John McElborough wrote something similar:

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  1. Hey Gab, good stuff. I really like product comparisons, great for conversion first and foremost. I did a similar post on this a while back, have a look J

    Comment by john - March 16, 2011 @ 10:55am
  2. nice stuff, this is so true. i tried copying my competitors backlinks but this isnt a great idea.

    Comment by Fazal Mayar - March 16, 2011 @ 6:23pm
  3. Awesome John - thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - March 17, 2011 @ 5:30pm
  4. Nice write up - a related thing you might do, depending on the nature of your industry, could be to have company blog posts for news in your vertical, including competitor activities. So with the right organisation you could start gain exposure for competitor med to long-tail terms. E.g. specific products etc, although you'd be competing with the review sites and affiliate bottom feeders already down there..!

    Comment by Sharif - March 18, 2011 @ 6:33pm
  5. That's pretty clever Sharif. Hadn't thought of going that route, but it certainly makes sense. Of course, you'd need to be careful not to refer additional sales their way ... It's a double edged sword. Perhaps if you had a setting for the posts to not appear on the main blog index page or in the recent undead items in RSS, yet without backdating it... In short, create the post for search engines and minimize the exposure to humans.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - March 23, 2011 @ 10:41am
  6. Thanks for the love :)

    Comment by Gabriel Malca - April 14, 2011 @ 11:40pm
  7. @Sharif - excellent tip

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - August 22, 2012 @ 10:14am

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