Determine Your Competitors
Who are your competitors? Some of your offline competitors could be your online competitors. Pretend your business is a credit card processing company and your top 3 keywords are 'credit card processing', 'credit card machine' and 'merchant services'. Google will tell you who your online competitors are when you conduct a search using your sought after keywords.
Analyze Your Competitor's Website
Website analysis is a process to determine the strength and weaknesses of a website. When doing website analysis you need to focus on these aspects:
- Domain Authority, Score and Global Rank
- PageRank & WebzyRank
- Search Engine Indexing
- Domain Age
- Load Time & Speed
- SEOmoz On-page Analysis
- Pear Analytics (Free)
- Web SEO Analytics
- SEO Site Checkup (Free)
- Website Grader (Free)
- Raven Tools
- SEObook Toolbar
Analyzing your competitor's keywords will save you time for doing keyword research. I use the SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool to learn about competitor keywords before I research keywords related to my niche. This strategy enables me to take advantage of the time and energy my competition may have already spent on the keyword research. Keywordspy and Google Adwords are also very useful during this task. Both of the tools have the same features but sometimes different results. By using different tools, you'll gain a better understanding of what may be useful.
Analyzing Your Competitor's Backlinks
Backlink Analysis is like checking how popular your competitors in the web. SEO is like a popularity contest in the internet. When analyzing backlinks you need to know where the links came from and if it is an authoritative site, what type of link is it and can you use that link for yourself? Again there are a lot of tools out there that can make this process move faster and provide different perspectives on the best route to take. I personally use SEOmoz Open Site Explorer but if you can't afford to purchase a SEO tool, check out www.backlinkwatch.com.
Think about it as a to popularity contest and every person's vote carries different weight. Many people know you and they think you're cool but how would it be if Angelina Jolie said you're cool? Which would be valuable? A number of random people who nobody really knows or Angelina Jolie? You get the picture? So if you put it into an SEO perspective when analyzing your competitors backlinks, you'll see that it's not about how many backlinks they have, it's about how much weight or value they carry..
Once you complete the competitive analysis processes, you should have a clear overview of the competitor strategies and why they ranking for target keywords. Formulate a strategy to compete with your competitors.
Author Bio: Al Gregorios, Content Manager for Project Assistant with Business in a Box solutions, enjoys discovering and sharing business strategies for online marketing, CRM, project management, mobile marketing and technical publications.