In previous posts, we have gone over website analysis and the different factors we have to take into consideration for website analysis. What you cannot afford to forget is that you must focus on competitive analysis as the next step to full optimization programs. The main focus of website analysis is always on your website, but you also have to consider the actual website’s ranking in reference to competition with other websites in the search engines.
In SEO, the word competition has a slightly different connotation in terms of our business competitors. Business competitors can indeed be part of the competition that we are discussing here, particularly if they are affecting your position in the search engines. However, if your business competitor does not have a website then he is not to be considered part of your online competition. You need to think more in terms of who is competing for your keywords.
If your website is brand new, you will be starting from scratch and will have no search rank history. If you are revamping or re-launching an old site, you will have search engine history which will be your starting point or point of reference for the work to come. It’s also possible you have had a site for awhile and your starting point is still 0. Regardless, everyone has a baseline.
When performing competitive analysis, you must start with your main keywords and check your position in the search engines and the top 10 websites that are listed for the same keyword or key phrase. Even if these are not local business competitors, they are still your competitors for that specific keyword. They may be offering the same or similar services that your or offering or selling the same product that you are selling. In rare cases, they will be in an entirely different field. Because words can be used in so many different ways, ad SERPS have a number of disregarded and stop words in play, unintended competition even enters into the fray.
To perform a competitive analysis, you have to do a complete analysis of your competitor’s website, very similar to the analysis performed on your own site. If you notice that your website is deficient or inferior in a number of factors, you can address them before moving forward with any other development aspects of your site. .
If you used a lot of flash, neglected your meta tags, didn’t use unique page titles or failed to use image descriptions, you can catch that now and fix it. Every littler opportunity to improve is important. A common mistake is having the same page title and meta keywords for all the pages. It is such as common mistake that many analysts just assume it has been committed by default. You should have unique page titles for each page which use your keywords. Your competitive analysis should document differences between your website and a competitors’ and help you make your own site better. Otherwise, the exercise is wasted energy.
You should also compare your link building efforts with those of your competitors. You can find the number of sites linking to your competitor’s website, or your own as well, by making the following search in Google: “links: xyz.com” and replacing xyz with the competitors website name. Then, do the same for your website using the same search by just replacing xyz.com with the domain for which you would like to check the back links.