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One of the first initial steps of creating an optimized SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign is to research and check what your competitors are doing. How does the website you are busy optimizing compare against the website or online profiles of your competition? You need to understand which search engine optimization strategies your competition is using and how strong your SEO campaign should be to get targeted results.

Firstly, identify your competitors and list the top three competitors that your client goes up against. Who do you need to beat with good rankings? Next, take a couple of keywords and keyword phrases that your competitors are using. Most of these will likely be the same across most of the competitors.

Here’s a couple of tips on how you can create a competitor analysis.

Competitor analysis

Alexa: Check your competition alexa ranking for an indication of the traffic volume to their website. There are many 3rd party tools that can provide you with this data.

Age: How long has the website been up and running? Older domains with a proper SEO strategy are more difficult to beat than newer ones. Once again you can use various 3rd party tools to analyze this data.

Pages indexed on Google: Look for the number of pages indexed on Google for the website of the competitor. Larger websites usually tend to attract more traffic because they have more content. This will also give you a good idea if you need a content growth strategy.

Backlinks: How many backlinks does your competitor websites have? Use a tool such as OpenSiteExplorer.org to get this information for you.

Domain authority: This is a measure with many link metrics on a 100 point scale – higher is better. This metric can show a website’s ranking potential. You can also view this with the OpenSiteExplorer.org website from SEOmoz.

Rankings: Which keyword phrases are your competitors ranking for? Use a couple of 3rd party keyword analysis tools such as Keywordspy.com to check for this data. This will give you a good baseline of which keywords you should target and to which extent  you should work out your strategy.

Competitor analysis is vital if your business is in a competitive market. It is advisable that you run a competitor analysis report every couple of weeks to check how your rankings are doing against the rankings of your competitors.