A key element in determining your best SEO strategy is to research your competition. If they are doing well, out-ranking you and everyone else, it’s probably a good indication that the strategies they are using are working for them. Fortunately, if those SEO strategies are working for your competition, they will no doubt work for you as well.
Competition Research Steps
1. Conduct a Search. First you must determine who your competition is. In most cases, if you are supremely familiar with your brand and your industry at the local level, you will automatically know who that competition is. However, it’s a good idea to do a search using your targeted keywords to see exactly who you’re dealing with.
2. Alexa.com. Go to http://www.Alexa.com. This is a wonderful and free resource for any business owner and webmaster. Make a list of your top competition, maybe one or two competitors, and research them with Alexa. Type their URL into the search box and select “Search”. Click “Get Details.”
3. Evaluate the Data. At the top of this Alexa results page, you will see a paragraph that simply breaks down your competition. It will say something to the effect of “your competition has a three-month global Alexa traffic rank of 3,897,909….” And it will go on to tell you where the majority of traffic is coming from, how many pages they visit, etc.
4. Compare Search Analytics. Select “Search Analytics” from the tab below the paragraph summary. This is where you can view the top keywords that visitors are using to find your competition’s website. Make a not of the list and the “Percent of Search Traffic” that they are generating. Are the keywords similar to yours? Are there some new keywords on their list that are generating a lot of traffic to their website? Take advantage of their keyword list!
5. Website Demographics. While we will get to demographics a bit later, this is an invaluable tool on Alexa. Click the “Audience” tab. In the early stages of building your brand and your website, you might not have your targeted audience pinpointed. By analyzing the demographics of your competition, you can more accurately develop your brand based on the age, gender, income levels, and education levels of your competitors audience.
Tomorrow we’ll get into researching your competition’s Pay-Per-Click campaigns to determine which keywords they are spending the most money on, as well as how to establish a list of other websites that are not only ‘backlinking’ to your competition, but sites that might also send backlinks to you.
PS – A more in-depth look at Competition Research will be coming soon!