December 18, 2012

How to do SEO competitor analysis properly?

Competitor analysis or competition analysis is one of the most essential elements of SEO processes worldwide.It's all about understanding your rivals,discovering their strategies and evaluating their strength in the search engine war.Almost all professional SEO companies have a section (or atleast a team) dedicated for competitor analysis.Why? Because they understand the value which this information provides.It is almost impossible to beat a competing site if you have no idea about the strengths and weaknesses of the site.There are several attributes to be considered while evaluating competition.Some of these attributes are mighty important while some are just minor pieces of information which may come handy at a later stage.
In this article i will discuss some of the techniques and tools i use for competitor analysis.Hopefully the information shared here will help you in your pursuit of better search rankings.

Before we begin the actual procedures, i will recommend you to install a very useful plugin called SEO Quake.The plugin is available for Mozilla Firefox,Google Chrome and Opera.I personally use Firefox because I'm kinda used to it.So go ahead and install SEO Quake on your browser.The plugin is absolutely free and provides plenty of useful information.

Now it's time to start the actual process.

Step 1: List out the keywords you are targeting with your site.

Step 2: Go to (because it's still the biggest supplier of traffic) and enter the keyword.

Step 3: If you have installed SEO Quake correctly then you will see a section below the search results which mentions various  attributes of the search results.You can find Page Rank,Alexa Rank,SEM Rush rank etc from the SEO Quake section.You can also find the domain age using this tool.Domain age is an important attribute which should not be taken lightly.A page can have better ranking if it is considerably old.

Step 4: Study the various attributes mentioned above to gain a perspective on the competition strength.You can focus on the first page of the search results initially for analysing the strength of the competition.If the competition is too high, do not feel demotivated.There is still hope.

Step 5: Find the page on which your site is listed for the keyword.Check the Page Rank,Alexa Rank and domain authority of the site which is immediately above you.See if that is surpassable.It definitely should be.The competition is usually tight in the first page and this competition will start to weaken
with the succeeding pages.The rankings of the results in these pages normally fluctuate on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

Step 6: Now it's time to check the reason behind the better rankings of your competition.Visit the top ranking pages and see how their page has been laid out.Check the length of the content on their landing pages.Find out how they have used titles and meta description.SEO Quake Toolbar has a button titled
'Diagnosis'.You can click on this button an get information on various On-page attributes of the site.See if you have aptly used these attributes in your own site's landing pages.

Step 7: Once you have made sure that the on page optimization has been done properly, it is time to move on to off page.Basically the competing sites will be ranking higher mainly because of their link profile.It is preferable to make a list of competing sites before you proceed with this step.If you prefer to do without the list, it is also fine. Go to Backlink Watch and enter the URL of your competitor to find out where his inbound links are coming from.Mostly the links would be coming from article directories, blog posts and comment sections.See if you can get links from similar sites.It will be even better if you can get links from where your competitor has been sourcing links.

Your link building strategy should always be about quality link building.Rather than building a list of directories or blogs to publish articles( for links of course),it will be better if you choose the sites which have worked for your competition. 

Step 8: You have almost learned how to properly do competitor analysis.I cannot finish this article before communicating another major point.You should always remember that the key to successful SEO is perseverance.Build links slowly.Try to get links from authentic and high authority site.Don't worry about the numbers,it is much better to stick with quality.I hope you found this article useful.Feel free to drop in your opinions and suggestions as comments.

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