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Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis is a step you should take in the very beginning of your SEO efforts. It should be right at the top of your to-do list, along with keyword analysis and tagging your web site. In fact, you should probably do a competitive analysis even before you begin tagging your site.

You already know what you should be looking for. Look for the same indications that you examined during your original competitive analysis. These include:

  1. Site rankings: Where in the SERPs is the site ranked? Make note, especially, of the top three to five sites.
  2. Page saturation: How many of the competition’s pages are indexed? Not every page on a site will be indexed, but if your competition has more or fewer pages ranked, there may be a factor you haven’t taken into consideration about how to include or exclude your site pages.
  3. Page titles: Are page titles consistent? And what keywords do they contain, if any at all? How your competition uses titles can give you an indication of what you’re doing right or wrong with your own.
  4. Meta data: What meta data is your competition including? How is it worded? And how does it differ from your own? Remember that you can access the source code of a web site by selecting Source from the View menu of your web browser.
  5. Site design: How is the competition’s web site designed? Site architecture and the technology that is used to design and present the site are factors in how your site ranks. Learn what the competition is doing and how that differs from what you’re doing.
  6. A robots.txt file: The robots.txt file is accessible to you, and looking at it could give you some valuable insight to how your competition values and works with search engines.
  7. Content quality and quantity: How much quality is included on your competitor’s site and is it all original, or is it re-used from some other forum? If a site is ahead of you in search rankings, its content is probably performing better than yours. Analyze it and find out why.
  8. Link quality and quantity: Your competitors’ linking strategies could hold a clue about why they rank well. Look at the link structure. If they’re using legitimate linking strategies, what are they? If they’re not, don’t try to follow suit. Their actions will catch up with them soon enough.
Related SEO Tips

Keyword Query Analysis
Google analyses the volume and kind of searches that users make through the search engine

Log Analysis
In fact, information about the website visitors can be attained through the records found in a server log file

Link Analysis
Google looks at the number of links to a document and the growth or disappearance of these links over time