Seeing your competitors skyrocket to the top of organic or paid search results can be ridiculously maddening. No matter where you go or what you search for, it seems like your competitors are right there taunting you, especially on the online advertising front.

Before you throw in the towel, take a deep dive into why your competitors are ranking first and try these tips to turn the tide.

Why do I see competitors’ ads when I search for keywords related to my business?

Open your go-to search engine and type in your company name. What’s the first ad that shows up? If it’s one of your competitor’s, chances are they’re outbidding you on your own branded terms.

Your competition sees your branded terms as an easy and inexpensive way to acquire new business. Simply put, competitors are trying to steal your customers before they even make it to you. Although you can’t stop them from doing it, there are ways to climb to the top.

What you can do about it

Look at the Quality Score of your ads. Quality Score is calculated by three factors – expected click through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience – and is based on past performance data. The higher your score, the more relevant search engines consider your ads and your chances of ranking higher increase.

High quality score = improved competitive advantage.

Odds are the Quality Score for your branded ads are already quite high. But, if you put more effort into improving your entire campaign, the better off you’ll be. Over time, it will no longer be justifiable for competitors to pay such a high price for those top positions and clicks. Or they eventually won’t rank high enough.

Remember, bidding on your brand name should always be a priority in your digital marketing strategy. It’s a cost-effective way to reach prospects and kick competition to the curb.

My competitors are showing up first for unbranded terms. How do we beat them?

Use competitive research tools

Knowing how to beat competitors starts with establishing benchmarks to measure success. Use online tools to gather data about your competitors. Monitor their budget, keywords, ad creative, offers, and landing pages. To find areas of opportunity, determine overlapping keywords and terms that are unique to your competitors.

Identify new keywords

Make it a mission to “eat keywords for breakfast.” You can assign this task to a specific team member who should be on the lookout for profitable terms to add to your keyword strategy. Use AdWords Keyword Planner to gauge search volume and estimate cost per acquisition (CPA) and overall conversions. 

Leverage the Auction insight report

The Auction insights report lets you compare your performance with other advertisers who are bidding in the same auction. This information can help you make strategic decisions about bidding and budgeting by showing where you’re succeeding and where your missed opportunities exist.

Stand out from the crowd

If you’re solely mirroring ad copy, landing pages and offers, of competitors’ ads you’re seeing, we have some news for you: You’re doing it wrong.

Your goal is to stand out from the crowd and appeal to prospects by drawing inspiration from the competitive landscape and, more important, best in class. This approach, on top of creating unique landing pages and ad copy can increase conversions.

Don’t let the cut throat nature of online advertising discourage you from getting in the ring and crushing the competition. With a carefully crafted strategy, you can come out on top.