It’s no secret that blogging is a great way to drive relevant traffic to your website. According to HubSpot’s business blogging stats, B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not. But the best part about a blog post is that it has the ability to attract quality traffic for years after you publish it.

However, how do you know which blog posts are going to drive high quality traffic and which ones are going to be nothing but a waste of your time and efforts?

Valuable Content Doesn’t Equal Traffic

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just because you’re putting out “valuable content” on your blog, doesn’t mean it’s going to generate traffic. I see companies publishing relevant blog posts all the time that are never going to generate a single website visitor. Why?

  1. They aren’t answering a question their prospects are searching for
  2. They didn’t perform any keyword research prior to writing the blog post
  3. Even if they did research keywords they didn’t analyze Google’s search results

Right now you’re probably asking yourself “how do I know what questions my prospects are asking” and “how much time is it going to take me to research keywords”? I have good news!

You Can Spy On Your Competitors Top Blog Posts

You read that right. You can spy on your competitor’s top blog posts. Why would any marketer want to spend hours of their time researching information for a single blog post, when they can spend a couple minutes spying on their competition? Plus, it’s fun spying on your competition without them knowing.

So, what tool do we use to spy on our competitors and our client’s competitors? If you’ve ever done any offsite SEO such as link building, you’ve probably heard of this tool. It’s called Ahrefs.

Use Ahrefs To Find Your Competitors Top Pages

At Leap Clixx, we use Ahrefs for a variety of inbound marketing tactics, but for now we’re just going to showcase one of it’s many features. It’s called Top Pages.

After you sign up for a free trial of Ahrefs, you’ll be able to use Site Explorer. This tool gives you an in-depth look at the backlink profile and search traffic of any website or URL.

Simply enter the URL of one of your competitor’s blog and click on Explore. For this demonstration we used Revenue River, a Denver inbound marketing agency, which has a domain rating very close to ours. Domain rating is a score (on a 100 point scale) that predicts the strength of your website, or how well it will rank on Google.

Ahrefs Site Explorer

You’ll be presented with an overwhelming amount of technical data that is intended for more seasoned SEO veterans. Ignore this for now. We’re only interested in the Top Pages tool, which is found in the left sidebar under the heading Organic Search.

Ahrefs Site Explorer Results

The Top Pages tool is useful because it shows the number of keywords each blog post ranks for and the amount of estimated traffic each blog post is generating.

Ahrefs Top Pages

How To Analyze Your Competitor’s Top Blog Posts

There are a couple of things you want to look for when analyzing your competitor’s top blog posts.

  1. Find a blog post that ranks for a decent number of keywords.

The more keywords a blog post ranks for, the more traffic it will drive to a website. Why would you choose a blog post that ranks for 1 keyword when you can choose one that ranks for 100+?

  1. Make sure the topic of that blog post speaks to your audience as well.

In this list you’ll see a blog post titled “Take It From a Denver SEO Consultant, You Can Do SEO.” Revenue River is based in Denver so it might make sense for them to talk about SEO Consulting in Denver. Since our agency is based in St. Louis, I can assume this blog post wouldn’t speak to our audience as well as theirs.

  1. Make sure the blog post appears on the first page of Google

You might see some blog posts that rank in the teens, or 20s, or even 30s. These are the 2nd and 3rd pages of Google, which very few people visit. If your competitor wasn’t successful in getting their content on the first page, don’t do the same thing and waste your own time as well.

It’s Time To Pick A Blog Post

After analyzing their top 5 blog posts I decided on “7 Ways To Develop Relevant and Interesting Blog Topics.”

Here are my reasons for choosing this blog post:

  1. It speaks to my target audience
  2. It ranks for 100+ keywords
  3. Ahrefs is estimating that it’s a top 5 traffic generator to their website

Ahrefs Competitor Blog Post

Improve Your Competitor’s Blog Post And Make It Your Own

This blog post was written almost a year ago. The length is good and it has a couple backlinks pointing to it, which is why it’s ranking so well. The post also has some good internal and external links. If I want to write a similar blog post that ranks higher, I’m going to have to improve it and try to get some backlinks. How can I do that?

Choose 1 or 2 Target Keywords

From the Ahrefs data I can see that this blog post ranks on the first page of Google (1-10) for the following keywords:

  • Relevant topics
  • Interesting things to blog about
  • Interesting blog topics
  • Blogs topics interesting
  • Interesting topics for blogs
  • Interesting blog ideas
  • Interesting topics to blog

There looks to be some cohesion around “interesting blog topics” and “interesting blog ideas”. So, these are going to be my target keywords and will be used in our onsite SEO optimization.

Optimize The Page Title And Meta Description

Instead of outlining 7 ways I would make this blog post more concise for the reader by listing the top 6 ways. So, my new blog post title would be “6 Ways To Generate Interesting Blog Topics.”

The meta description they are using seems a little weak: Revenue River Marketing shares 7 ways to help you develop blog topics.

I would change the meta description to something like this: Struggling coming up with interesting blog topics? Discover 6 ideas for generating interesting blog topics that will entice your visitors to read and share.

Rewrite The Blog Post Using Your Target Keywords

It’s now time to write the blog post but you can’t just copy and paste your competitor’s content. That’s called plagiarism and will get you a nasty penalty from Google. Instead, use some of their general points as a guide for generating 100% unique content for your blog.

Make sure you include your 1 or 2 target keywords throughout the post where appropriate and avoid keyword stuffing. Keep in mind that you are writing for your audience AND the search engines.

Try to include at least 1 internal link to another page or blog post on your website. It’s also a best practice to include an external link or two.

Include A Relevant Call To Action (CTA) or Next Step

If your company has a free content offer that is relevant to your blog post, it’s always good to include one at the end. If you don’t have any now, that’s fine. You can always add them to your blog posts later. Just be careful not to do what Revenue River did. They mention their Annual Marketing Goals Template in the blog post but have an “Intro to SEO” CTA at the end of their post.

Get Some Backlinks

The final step in getting your new blog post to rank higher than your competitors is to obtain some quality backlinks. This can be done in a variety of ways:

  • Blogger outreach
  • Social media sharing
  • Email influencers in your industry
  • Submit your blog post to “Best of” or “Featured” websites
  • Email authors of similar blogs and ask for an external link

Boost Your Inbound Marketing Efforts Today

Blogging is just one way you can use inbound marketing to bring traffic and potential leads to your website. If you’re interested in learning how to use SEO to boost your blogging and other inbound marketing efforts, download our free eBook.

Read more: Things You Can Learn From A Competitor’s Blog