Finding Who Your True Competitors Are

In order to have a clear understanding about the effort it will take get your website to rank you will need to know who your competitors are.

Understanding your competition will reveal the level of commitment that will be required of you and your company to rank higher.

Search Engine Optimization is like a never ending race. Once you get a birds eye view of what your competition is doing it’s not enough to just outrank them and be done. A runner in a never ending race is not just their to speed ahead for a bit and then stand aside and hope that no one passes him or her up. They must keep going or risk just that.

In this article we will be discussing the ways to find your true online competitors so you can mount a good or even better marketing strategy. So when they are doing the same and looking for their competitors they will see you and you will be in a much harder to reach spot.

hard to reach man

What Are You Even Competing About?

So to answer your questions, who are my competitors? You need to understand what it is you’re competing about. That’s where keyword come in. Essentially each of you is competing to see who can rank higher for any given keyword.

For that you will need to make a list of keywords. You need to figure out a list of words that are relevant to what your company offers.

If you already have a list of keywords, wonderful. If not then you should make that a priority to create a comprehensive list as they will serve as the foundation or core of every thing we do thus forth for SEO.

Anatomy of My Competitors

Your competitors are not just any company in the world that does what you do. You are a hardscaper, landscaper, arborist or pool contractor. Those are extremely local types of service and installation companies that are bound by a limited mile radius from their shop or office. So anybody that makes your list must be in your service area.


Since we are focusing on the internet and not on print or off line ads we can focus on competition that is found on google or local online service directories or lead generation sites. Or goal is to eventually generate enough leads that all other channels will just serve to complement this one. We will not be considering any competition we don’t find online.

Service Areas

We will need to know what service areas you prefer to target. For this exercise we will not need to make a complete list if the service areas. So simply make a short list and pick the top 3 locations that you prefer to work in.

Using Special Tools to Find Competitors

Sure you can use tools like SemRush or Ahrefs to find competition, but those do not reveal a true competitor that is within your local area. They more or less aggregate competitors from around your country which is not as useful for this. We need a more localized approach.

Using Google Search

This is by far the best tool for this exercise. It keeps things simple and reveals a few other alternatives that you will also need to along the way such as looking into lead generating sites or directories.

search bar

Take your list of keywords and pick the top 3 to 6 that are most important to your business.

Punch each of those keyword into google along with the service area modifier (i.e. lawn care Madison)

I would either jot down the top 15 competitors that you reveal for each or at the very least start to make a mental note.

Once you run through you list of keywords and their modifiers you will start to see a list of companies repeatedly appear high in the search for these particular keywords. Its those companies that are your true competition.

The reason that I classify those as your true competition is because they are repeatedly ranking high for the services you provide (thus the keywords) in the towns that you prefer to work at. They are the ones that will be knocking on the same door you will be and providing the same customer with a price for services.

What to Do With This Information

Now that you have this information you can do a plethora of things with it.

  1. You can observe the type of website each of them have to see if you can make any better improvements on yours.
  2. You can use paid tools such as to do some reverse engineering on their website and find out their backlink structure so you can try and get the same one for your site
  3. Find their top pages so you can see what is already working and create even better content.
  4. See their list of keywords and grab them for yourself to use as well.
  5. You can use them as your basis to rate yourself against in the search engine results.


Now that you have your list of 10 competitors you should have it saved in safe place. From time to time you will need to access it for various reasons. You will also need to update it every year as new players come into the picture. Hopefully by then you will have not given up running and be far ahead of everyone else. Just remember if you stop, they will eventually catch up to you and…





Why You Must Know About Google Home Services

In early 2015 Google announced that they will be opening a new Home Services division, which connects homeowners to contractors,  in order to compete with its rival Amazon who is already offering those services. The fact this has not been released (as of 2017) to the masses gives you an opportunity to get a bit ahead of the game.

We like to think proactively, here at Grow Actively. Which is why it is very important for you to know this now before it makes its way to your area and you are left scrambling to make your Google profile look decent.

Home Services

As previously mentioned, Home Services is a way for the homeowner to get connected with service providers in their area. Other such providers you may already be with who are already offering this type of service are Angieslist, HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack. Angielist of course was the first to enter the space many years ago.

Currently (at the time of this writing) this service is only available in various parts of California. However we like to stay ahead of any possible services that may turn out to be helpful to us, the contractor.

Why I Need To Know

Sure the service is not in your area now, but it is still important for you to be aware of it impending release. If you are not prepared for this then you will see other service providers, who are ready, steal the top of the Google search results page.

Here is what you can do to get ahead of the game. Start to request that each of your customers leave you a review on your Google My Business page. For those that have less than 3 reviews, your stars will not appear and make you look like nobody has taken the time to review you.

For those of you that don’t have a Google My Business page set up, shame on you. That should be the very first thing you do after you are done reading this. I added a link below.

Click here to create a Google My Business listing.

Set a goal this year to achieve 10 positive Google reviews. Many service providers have less than 10 so if you are able to get that many you are in a very good position for a few reasons.

You will have more reviews than your competition thus making you look like you are a more highly sought-after. Another benefit is that in the event that you get a bad reviewer, which seems to be easy nowadays, your average rating will not drop down a full star which of course can make your profile look bad. Having fewer stars will drop your average faster.

You do not need to have a bunch of positive Google reviews in order to get approved for the “Goggle Guaranteed” badge that you received once you are an approved service provider. However if you have a bunch of negative review you will have a problem getting approved. Not to mention your profile will not look appealing.

As of late 2016 Home Services is now available on mobile.

How It Works

Once the program is open in our area and we are able to apply, you will need to fill out a form that allows a third party company to do investigation on, not only you, but your labor force.

They conduct sex offender checks, terrorist  investigations as well as civil litigation reviews.

Once approved you will only be allowed to send verified and approved employees to the job sites that where acquired by Home Services means.

The cost of the program is similar to other programs as you pay only for leads from customers that choose to call your business. By setting a weekly budget that limits the total number of leads you receive you are able to gauge your total spending.

It works alongside Google’s Adwords pay per click program. The ads that you pay for will now display your ad, your reviews and finally the badge of honor (Google Guaranteed badge).

What Now

We suggest going to the Google Home Services page and filing out the form so you can stay abreast of any future releases in your area. The form is simply a way to get notified, you will not be able to sign up for the program as of yet.

Why It Matters

Those that are able to take advantage of the service will be able to feature there ad at the top of the Google search results page. Your company name will appear in the local pack alongside the name you will see a badge that says, “Google Guaranteed”.

Getting 10 reviews can take a while so it should be your focus starting early Spring. If you are lucky enough you will accumulate a few stars before the whole program is live in your area.


Not sure how that is going to workout since Google invested $100 million dollars in Thumbtack which offers the same exact services as Google Home Services. This investment was made almost 1 year previous to them making the announcement about the new business venture.

I hope this article served to open up your eyes to the importance of having a few reviews on your Google My Business page. Good luck guys and have an awesome year.