Analyze Your Competitors
Gain Insights To Out-Perform Them
Imagine you can out-perform your competition in search and reap the benefits. The benefits are more traffic and if your content is designed well then this will result in more sales and more business.
If you are frustrated with your search engine performance then you need to know more about what your competitors are doing and then take steps to out-perform them. You have to realize that search engine performance is not about doing everything perfectly but rather about out-performing your competition.
You may also learn that your poor SEO performance is related to how tough your competitors are. They may be very good and then you need to be better than them. You need to be better than very good. If you are in a very competitive niche, then your competition will be very good and you need to understand what they are doing so that you learn how to compete with them.
Even if your niche isn’t that competitive, you still need to out-perform your competition so you still need to know what they are doing to out-perform them.
Here are some steps you can do to analyze your SEO competition.
1. Find Who Your SEO Competitors Are
You can’t analyze your competitors, if you don’t know who they are. In some cases identifying your competitors is very easy – for instance, if you have an offline business and you know your competitors there, just check their websites.
However, in other cases, identifying your competition isn’t that easy. Your competitors could be sites in your niche, sites that rank well for your major keywords, or direct competitors for your long tail keywords, etc.
The list of your competitors might be a pretty long one and obviously you can’t monitor all of them. Perform a search in Google using your best money-making keywords and make a list of the sites/companies that are displayed high in the search results. You can consider these to be your main online competitors.
2. Visit Your Competitors’ Sites and Analyze Them
After you have a list of your competitors (or at least the major ones) then the next step is to visit their sites and analyze them. You should look to see if their websites are designed professionally. You need to analyze their content and ask whether you have the content to compete with them. Also, study the quality of their content. Finally , you should analyze whether their content has been optimized for search.
This basic site inspection can give you a lot of information about how professional your competition’s Web presence is, hence how likely or unlikely it is that search engines will present then high in their search results.
3. Analyze The Keywords Your Competitors Use
Getting your keywords right has always been the most important factor for search engine positional success. This is why you can expect that if your competitors are using keywords properly, their site will rank well in search engines and they will have a business advantage over your business. You might have some difficulty identifying the keywords your competition uses because what you think to be top keywords for your niche might not be on their list at all.
Use a great add-on for Firefox or Chrome. This free tool is very handy. Analyze Your Competitors with SEO Quake to do some quick and effective analysis of any page on any competitor’s website.
Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to learn more about the best keywords to use.
You should also check the keyword density of your competitors’ website pages. SEO Quake will be a big help here as well.
Also, check the location of the keywords. Are important keyword phrases being used in the headings, metatags, image tags, the URLs?
Get to know how well set up your competitors are from a search engine optimization perspective.
4. Check the Competition’s Backlinks
Backlinks are the other backbone of good SEO rankings. This is why you need to thoroughly examine the backlinks of the competition. Look for their number and origin, anchor text (the text used to make the link) and you will gain great insights as to how good they are.
Very often you might get some backlink ideas for you – i.e. if you see that your competitors have backlinks from popular sites you didn’t know about, contact the webmaster of the popular site to see if you can get backlinks from them, too. There are tools that are free and one for your reference is Open Site Explorer.
5. Check Other SEO Factors
Keywords and backlinks are important but they aren’t everything. In order to get a thorough idea of how your competition is ranking, you need also to check your competitors’ Page Rank in Google and also how they perform in Yahoo and Bing. You should also look at the number of indexed pages the sites of your competitors have with search engines.
You should also analyze the blog posts of your competitors to learn more about how they may be using their blog from a content marketing perspective.
6. Evaluate Your Competition’s Presence on Social Media
Social media can drive traffic to a website. This is why you can’t skip a check on how your competitors are doing on social media. Unfortunately, this check is harder to perform. Social bookmarking sites are one of the types of social media and you can start your research from them. Have a look at some of the major social bookmarking sites to see if your competitors have posts there and how popular these posts are.
Twitter and Facebook can be sources of traffic. You can browse to see if your major competitors have profiles at these sites but unless you make friends with them, you will never know what exactly they post. Still, if their profiles have publicly available sections, this gives you an idea of what they do on Twitter and Facebook.
7. Analyze How Your Competitors Are Using PPC Ads
Many businesses use PPC to drive traffic to their sites. Google Adwords is the preferred choice for PPC but there are also other networks many businesses use. One of the best tools, though it is limited to Google Adwords only, is the Analyze Competition tool by Google. It allows you to compare how your PPC campaigns are doing in comparison to your competitors’ campaigns.
It is yet another insight you can gain.
Monitoring your competition is a never ending task. All the activities listed in this article can be time consuming. However, if you don’t want to be left clueless about the online world of your business then you need to take the time to analyze your competition.
You have to know what your competition is doing to be able to out-perform them and to be more efficient in your own SEO efforts.