In any type of business there is always competition, some industries just face more of it than others. If you are like most people then you probably have a hard time dealing with the stress brought on by your competitors. If you feel this way about competition it is completely normal but if you know how to use your competitors to your advantage you can almost always turn this into a positive feeling. Competition isn’t all bad because it helps us to better ourselves or our business because it plays off our relentless desire to be the best that we can be.
With Search Engine Optimization the goal is to have your website ranked the highest and receive the most traffic or conversions. Being the most prominent and relevant website is crucial to the success of most businesses. The competing websites that you encounter when performing your SEO may seem like a bad thing, however they can almost always assist you in making better internet marketing decisions. It may seem sneaky to spy on your competitors but it has become a common practice and competitive analysis is a crucial component to website marketing. Knowing who your competitors are and how they are conducting their SEO can provide you with some very valuable marketing data. Below is a short list of how you can benefit from exploring the trends and movements of the top competitors for yours or your client’s website.
Social Media is probably the easiest place to start. Check out what social networking sites that your competitors are using and see which ones would be beneficial to your website. In addition see how they are using these sites to communicate with their audience and what type of content they offer on their social pages. Identifying how your competition is using these platforms is a great way to get an idea of what people like, what they don’t like, what is successful, what isn’t successful, and what you can be doing that they aren’t.
Although most Meta Data has become extraneous over the past years, the search engines like Google still find certain Meta elements useful. If your opponent’s website is properly optimized then you are likely to find a slew of information that may be beneficial for your own website. Exploring your competitors Meta tags is a great way to see what keywords they are targeting and can help you with your keyword analysis and broaden your targeted audience. You can view your competitors Meta Information by opening the source page of their website.
Backlinks are a major part of SEO, it is crucial to have a high quantity of high quality links in order to stand out in Google. The more high quality backlinks that you have linked to your site makes your website more relevant and helps to increase your rank or search engine position. There are plenty of free tools like Yahoo Site Explorer, Open Site Explorer, Backlink Watch which are all designed to explore the backlinks of a website. Using these tools you can explore what backlinks your competitors have and allow you to attempt to obtain the same or similar links. Before targeting all the backlinks that your competitors have you should first analyze which ones are of value and which ones are consistent with your website.
Discovering what content in general that your competitors are offering their customers is also crucial. If they offer something that you don’t have or something that is better than what you offer then it’s a good sign that you should “up your performance”. If they do have something that you like don’t just steal it, maybe make something similar but make sure that it offers your customers more value.
With competition there is always someone that is in the lead and someone that is tailing close behind. This is why it is critical to maintain a constant eye on your competitors and because it doesn’t take long for competitive standings to change it’s important to try to stay one step ahead of them at all times. Monitoring websites that are related to yours is probably one of the best things that you can do for your website.
These are just a few ways that you can make your competition work for you. These methods are all a part of the bigger picture that is competitive analysis. Competitive analysis allows you to discover who your competitors are, what broad or niche audiences that they are targeting, what keywords they are trying to rank for, what social media they use and how they use it, and what other website they link to in order to increase their web standings.
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