POP: The Ultimate Roadmap to get from Page 2 to Page 1 in Google

I'm truly passionate about winning.  Working hard is important if you want to win, but just as important is working smart - utilising every advantage you an to maximise your return on investment of your time spent. So today, I'm going to walk you guys through a truly tactical tool which you can use to gain a competitive edge, smash your competitors and win more often. This is because I know that a proper SEO model is the ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to drive high-intent traffic to your site. And...

…if you haven’t got traffic, you haven’t got anything.

I've experimented with a lot of SEO competitor analysis tools over the last four years. About a year ago, I landed on a particularly funky tool: Page Optimizer Pro.

Damn straight!

For 6 months now, POP has been a major part of our strategy. Almost every single post we publish eventually goes through a round of POP and I can safely say that it shreds the competition. 

So, how does Page Optimizer Pro work? What have the results been like? What the hell is an SEO competitor analysis tool?

Keep reading, amigos, because enclosed in this post you shall find the answers you seek.

 In this post, you will learn…


  • Why you should be using an SEO Tool like Page Optimizer Pro (POP)
  • Why POP is such a kickass tool
  • A step-by-step guide to using POP effectively
  • What the results of using POP have been like for us 
  • Some extra-delicious insights my team have discovered while using POP
  • Your choices of other platforms and whether free online competitor analysis tools are a viable option


A Quick Word on SEO Competitor Analysis Tools


They're fucking important.

Why are they so important? You’re using a highly-efficient digital tool to crunch hundreds of data points and provide you with an effective roadmap for how to BEAT a competitors keywords. 

Let me break that down a notch. You own a fairly popular pizza joint (your content). You're in stiff competition with the top ten in town (the first SERP) - but you notice that the top three pizza places always just seem to be that much further ahead. So what do you do?

I’ll tell you what! You send in undercover fucking pizza ninjas (SEO tools) to see what the competition is doing better than you. The ninjas come back saying:

They’ve got half-price Tuesdays. They’ve got three types of base. They’ve got goddamn prosciutto, bocconcini, and rocket pizzas!

Pictorial representation of your pizza ninjas.

Well, now you know exactly what you need to do to up your game!

Enter Page Optimizer Pro: the best undercover pizza ninja on the market!

I’ve given it the long-haul, I’ve jigged and re-jigged, and in my opinion, POP IS the best SEO tool for direct competitor analysis that I’ve found. Why is that?


What makes Page Optimizer Pro such a useful SEO tool?

The first thing I love about POP is that it’s pretty damn simple! It’s easy to use and it’s fairly straightforward to understand the results that the tool gives you. It recommends specific, easily implemented action steps so you know exactly what you have to do. 

There's not much of a learning curve to using POP and I've been so impressed with it that I've hardcoded it into all of the content strategies we are working on at the moment. As someone that manages a big ass team of writers, virtual assistants, and all manner of background SEO wizards, it’s truly excellent to find such a powerful, EASY TO USE, tool.

Getting up to speed and maximising POP’s usage takes almost no time and energy. Hell, by the end of this post, your theory homework will already be finished!

To get started, you feed in the information that POP asks for (primary keyword, competitors, etc.), and POP gives you a report. A target word count, optimal keyword usage and - this is my favourite part - where those keywords should be going within the content layout. 

Writing content for SEO is not some spray-and-pray game. If you want to be successful, you need to be surgical. Check this out: 

POP's recommendations tab

This report show your tags are being utilised, how your keywords are spread through your page’s copy - this stuff is seriously important! When I first started attempting to finetune my content for Google’s fickle tastes, it was messy; I had no surgery. 

My pizza had too many fucking toppings.

An SEO tool like POP demonstrates exactly how your page should be structured and optimised to be in DIRECT COMPETITION with the top-ranking pages for your focus keyword. If you can’t see the benefit of that, you need to take a  refresher course on SEO.

Is there a downside to POP? Sure - it’s not a one-stop-shop for building a page’s structure. Over at The Broke Backpacker, we tend to provide meatier content than our competitors. As such, our word and keyword counts come out higher than POP’s recommendations and a level of critical thinking is still required (as it should be in any SEO practice).

That, however, is a minor detriment in an otherwise stellar platform. Page Optimizer Pro delivers highly-optimised SEO tactics in an incredibly digestible form. And guess what?

The price is right.


Why does Page Optimizer Pro work?

SEO best practices are a complicated affair. Google doen't just seek out the same cut-and-paste formats for every search query that's fed into it - it's a mutal affair. Google's algorithms are shaped as much by the SERP's content as content gets shaped by our need to please the algorithm.

Let's say you Google "timeline of Ross and Rachel" (this is an actual thing that people are apparently searching for; I checked.)  Chances are that you're not going to see many listicles in the results and there's a reason for that.

Google is smart. It's a learning machine. It knows what formats work well for answering a particular type of search query. It knows that if you're searching "timeline of Ross and Rachel", you don't want an abbreviated bulletpoint list. You want a season-by-season full breakdown of the ins-and-outs of that ten-year tumultuous trainwreck of a relationship (Rachel sucks anyway - Team Monica and Chandler for the win!).

Google calculating why Rachel is such a a bitch.

POP doesn't just take a blind shot at how your article should be structured. It looks at a range of datapoints across your article and your competitors. From this, it figures out what changes chould be made for optimization. POP also outlines sections that should be streamlined or de-chunkified. If words are your bricks, POP literally gives you a blueprint of how to build a house that Google'll love so much it'll move right on in. 

At first I followed POP's recommendations strictly (with a certain level of skepticism). Results have been pleasing: nearly every post that's been tinkered with courtesy of POP has either maintained it's SERP ranking or improved. However, over a longer period of time, I've found the sweet spot with POP to vary greatly from the type, purpose, and overall mission of the content.

Now I can say to not follow POP dogmatically. I don't follow it's suggestions 100% to the letter and neither should you. I'll repeat this point again, don't worry, but it's important that you make Page Optimizer Pro work for you, rather than feeling you have to follow the report recommendations exactly. 


The advantages of using Page Optimizer Pro

  • Easy to use and understand
  • Tons of crucial information
  • Climbing that sexy SERP
  • Highly-optimised content to drive traffic
  • Reasonable pricing model
  • That’s one fine lookin’ pizza!

Spoiler Alert

I’ll get to the scrumptious stats later but here’s a little spoiler of some of the results I’ve seen employing POP across my ventures:

How to use Page Optimizer Pro with Maximum Efficacy

Ok, now it’s time for the rundown! If you want the real results, you’re going to have to get out there and do the hard work yourself.

But that’s why I’m here. To get you set up. SEO ain’t so scary.

It’s actually god-damn-titty-fuckin' awesome!

 

Step 1 - Login to Page Optimizer Pro

Duh.

login screen for page optimizer pro

Step 2 - Create your project

Your project is your domain. Enter your domain’s URL, give it a name, and move on. Now we’re getting to the fun part!

revamped POP layout

POP in 2019: sleeker, sexier, simpler.

Step 3 - Create your page

Now we’re at the important part. Choose your project and then select 'New Page'. The video reference below was created before POP received a facelift but it’s still just as simple a process since the overhaul.

If anything, it’s only easier now!

I feel now is the time to remind you to get your keyword research right. If your focus phrase is wrong, all the page optimizers, SEO tools, and spreadsheet sorcery in the world ain’t gonna do shit. You tied your shoelaces together and then faceplanted at the first hurdle.

(The language and region settings are up to you but make sure you’re targeting the right area. Also, if you’re not optimising a page that’s already built, check the relevant box to solely get an analysis of ranking competitors.)

region and language settings
check or uncheck this box

Step 4 - Choosing your competitors

This is the other part that needs to be spot on. Choose the wrong competitors, and the whole optimization process will be for nought.

You’ll be given the option of letting POP select your competitors for you and I’m going to go right on ahead and say not to do that. Competitor research should already be a part of your SEO tactics.

Page Optimizer's Pro SERP

Browse at your leisure.

Browse through the SERP that POP gives you and start scouring for pages with good on-page SEO. I'm talking about competitors in your range - If Amazon or Reddit are on the front page, you can pretty much ignore them - they are mega sites and are likely on the front page just because of their authority rather than good on-page SEO. You want to find independent sites that are ranking, if it's a small blog and it's ranking then it's doing something right - and POP will tell you what. These sites are ranking because they’ve got killer content.

Killer content that you’re gonna disect in the analytics.

Solid formatting, structure, keywording, and a generally yummy user experience is a thing to keep an eye out for. For example, for the primary keyword 'budget backpacking':

looking at competetiors with an SEO tool

This page doesn't necessarily have poor on-page SEO per se, but it is a bad choice for a competitor to analyse. It's a roundup of budget backpacking gear as opposed to a guide to budget backpacking.

And…

looking at competetiors with an SEO tool

This is a fantastic choice. What an amazing guide to budget backpacking. Hmm...

Go get 'em, tiger.


Step 5 - Choose focus competitors

Next, you'll be presented with this choice:

This option is going to give you a second set of metrics on a smaller set of your chosen competitors. It’s not always necessary to do and whether you utilise this feature is going to be case-by-case.

When would I use a focus set?

A good example is if the top three results in the SERP (for my primary keyword) were not only sexy content, but also a similar structure and style to my own content as well as being aimed at the same audience I was targeting - i.e. if the top three results are all independent blogs rather than mega sites like Amazon / Ebay / BBC etc.

The end result? You can further optimise your page to specifically emulate your strongest competitors’ content (and then smash them through the sheer awesomeness of how goddamn epic yours is)!

 

Step 6 - Time to eat up that sweet, sweet SEO report

You’ll be given an option to use an ‘Express Report’ but fuck that - we’re SEO ninjas! Ditch Your Desk is only for the people truly committed to smashing the rankings so eat that full report up! Nom, nom, nom! 

Here are the things to initially focus on:

POP's comparison metrics

The word count is of particular importance here.

POP's variation tabs of competitor analysis

A useful bit of info on keyword variations but POP is hardly the best SEO tool for scraping out variations.

POP's structure suggestions based on competitor analysis

Useful for getting a sense of what you’re structure should look like but don’t treat it as the holy prophet of SEO… 

AND...

Page Optimizer Pro's true heart - the recommendation tab

The recommendations tab!

This is, without a doubt, the true heart of Page Optimizer Pro and why it’s such a kickass SEO competitor analysis tool.

Here you’ll find your all the recommendations on how many instances of your keywords you should have and where they should be placed. When you’re using POP, this is your home base. This is your Batcave.

How do you use it? Hold onto your bat-hat because this is where it gets really fucking cool.

Step 7 - Using POP to optimize existing pages

You see this number?

POP's optimization score

That’s your optimization score. That’s the number you want to raise. How do you do it?

With the goddamn Batcave.

After the facelift it looks a bit different but it's no less simple.

Recommendations pre-changes

This feature right here is why Page Optimizer Pro is such an elegant and simple SEO tool. It’s so damn easy!

  1. Browse the list of recommended changes.
  2. Make a few appropriate changes to your page’s copy.
  3. Re-run the test.
  4. Repeat until you have a glistening green optimization score.

Watch that number climb and watch your content climb in the SERP. It may not be instant, but you will see results.

Recommendations post-changes

A few minor adjustments...

POP score post-changes

A small change but not bad for 45 seconds of work!

It's just that easy! But I decided to make it even easier with a ridiculously easy-to-follow flowchart for you to follow in case you forget how easy it is at any point...

Easy!

Flowchart to competitor analysis with POP

Improvements I Have Found Using Page Optimizer Pro

I’ve been putting POP through its paces over at The Broke Backpacker and on our other sites, and the results are tight!

My writing team now uses POP in the preparation phase for each piece they write. Final word counts are less of a guessing game and our post structure and keywording is so much more finely-tuned - sweet, sexy, and SEO seductive. 

Gone are the spray-and-pray days!

The best results, however, have been POPing older content. The comparison and optimization capabilities of Page Optimizer Pro are legendary!

Using POP, we can analyse older, poorly performing, content to find what adjustments it needs to push it up the results page.

This is a huge win and an easy win - 80/20, amigos! Why spend huge amounts of time, money, and energy creating new content when existing content can be vastly improved in less than an hour? I'm willing to bet you have some content that isn't ranking - go POP it.

Remember: SEO is not a one-and-done affair. It’s a process. Over time, your content will need to be updated or tinkered with to keep it relevant in the eyes of our benevolent Google overlord.

Using Page Optimizer Pro to improve the rankings of existing content that isn’t performing well (or solidifying the position of content that is) is absolutely supreme!


Some delicious stats for you to nibble on.

So, the numbers have been crunched and the results are in! here's the summary:

  • For our tests, we optimised 111 posts over on The Broke Backpacker using POP's recommended adjustments.
  • Although there were some outliers, nearly every post rose in the SERP.
  • The average gain was 3 places. That's huge. That means that a post ranked at position 12 would enter the first page of the SERP and a posted ranked number 4 would take the coveted number 1 spot! And indeed - we captured several number one positions using POP. 
  • Some posts saw significant increases in the SERP ranging from 5 to 7 positions.
  • Increases in primary keyword rankings would often also be reflected in its variations.

Some insights from my team

So, after dishing out the optimization goodness to my team, they've come back with some key points to using Page Optimizer Pro to its full potential.

I run a tight ship and so do my team. These guys know their way around the minefield of Google SEO and more than that, I trust them. So you should too:


After playing around with it, choosing 5-7 competitors to analyse seems to be the sweet spot. Ten is way too many.
  • Aaron Radcliffe, Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk and an all-round badass


Use POP's recommendations with discretion - it's not perfect. Sometimes the read-outs can be false or it can struggle with counting instances of keywords that Google wouldn't like singular vs. plural tenses. Similarly, its wordcounts aren't completely accurate as they also count other aspects of the page like comments.
  • Ralph Cope, Creative Lead at The Broke Backpacker and master of the Negroni


Don't treat POP as a scripture. It's not a one-stop-shop; it's another SEO tool in your utility belt. As always: apply critical thinking. SMASH THE COMPETITION, TAKE NO PRISONERS! 
  • Me! Just your average, everyday, extremely handsome online entrepreneur.


Dude, I love POP! It's so informative. I'd let it Google my SERP anyday...
  • Ziggy Samuels, In-House Writer at The Broke Backpacker and a 21st-century swashbuckler


Free online competitor analysis tools and other alternatives

So here’s the deal… there’s no real direct alternative to Page Optimizer Pro. There are no shortage of SEO tools for competitor analysis out there - the market is absolutely saturated - but there’s nothing necessarily offering the service that POP does.

Is that a bad thing? No, of course not! You’re looking at an innovative platform that kicks ass and chews bubblegum…

POP is for a targeted and direct method of optimizing page structure and keyword usage. Still, there are other alternatives to consider that fill a different niche:

  • Mangools - I adore Mangools. It’s an excellent starting point for people in the SEO race: versatile, newbie-friendly, and, most importantly, affordable! It’s an excellent tool for keyword finding, SERP tracking, and delving into the dark scary realm of building backlinks.
    Have a look at the review of Mangools. Spoiler warning: it's dope.
  • AHREFS - My God it’s pricey but my God does it get the job done! AHREFS gives you a sneaky-peek at the behind-the-scenes of any site: keywords, pages, value, backlinks… Make the entire internet your bitch much respected lover.

There are also a couple of other free online SEO tools floating around and I’m going to tell you right off the bat to not even bother. I’m not trying to be harsh… I’m just being real. You get what you pay for.

You’re playing with the big cats and the big cats all came armed to the teeth. If you show up with a pair of inflatable Hulk hands and a safety whistle, things aren’t going to last long.

Don’t cheap out on your SEO tools.

Bring your best.

What I’ve Learned from Using Page Optimizer Pro

Again, it’s that 80/20 thing. Sometimes, the big wins are also the easiest.

Page Optimizer Pro is an incredibly valuable tool. It’s simplicity to apply and utilise in proportion to the benefits of making the time are amazing! It didn’t take long before I had my whole team optimising our content through POP and the results have been extraordinary. 

But what’s the ultimate thing I learnt from POP?

I learnt to get my proverbial SEO shit together.

SEO is not about throwing paint at the wall and seeing if you end up with a pretty picture. There’s an art form and a science behind it. Sure, Google may still be supplying the paint, but we’re doing the painting.

We’re cooking that goddamn pizza. And it gonna taste goooood. 


Page Optimizer Pro Takeaway Points

  • Correct application of keywording and page structuring is surgical - not slapdash.
  • Page Optimizer Pro is a simple-to-use-effectively tool for analysing your competition’s content.
  • Although it can be well utilised in creating new content, it excels at the process of optimising existing content for Google's rankings.
  • SEO is an ongoing process - old content needs updates and reworking to remain relevant.
  • POP provides an easy and fast win with existing content.

About the Author Will Hatton

Founder of The Broke Backpacker and Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk, Will has been on the road for over ten years. He is a Crossfit fanatic, crypto enthusiast, marijuana connoisseur and the master of the handstand pushup. Addicted to building businesses and climbing mountains, Will plans to settle in South America.

Will Hatton

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