First thing to do is creating a comparison report which every site publisher should do before committing a single line of code.
It’s doesn’t have anything complex. It could be a simple list of positive and negative qualities of website after analyzing your competitors websites.
According to word meaning differentiation is defined as being different, but here differentiation is not just about being different. Design creative images, styles, colors and fonts and so on are superficial ways to differentiate a website.
According to me, if a site owner really want to differentiate themselves, they have to focus on what will make the site more popular.
Google leans to rank websites that users want to see. If you are thinking about why users prefer some sites over others? Here are the some reasons.
All of the above reasons back to know your target audience.
Differentiating you website is about understanding your visitors who are making those search queries and analyzing all of the expected desires inherent in the question they are asking.
Anything that help users to see the expected thing should help move ranking in the right direction. Anything that stands in the way will move the rankings down.
In other words, users are the new ranking factors. So make a strategy according to your users desires and expectations, that will help you to differentiate your website.
When you are analyzing your competitors that what things they are right, always look for what they are doing right for users. Then make a list of all things that competitors are doing wrong for users.