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Once you start with an SEO (search engine optimisation) campaign, the first thing you should do is start with competitor analysis. What other competitors are there that you are competing against? How well are their websites optimised?

It’s important that you understand and know the SEO strategies your competitors are doing so that you can optimise your website and know what is working and what is not. This will also give you a good idea of how deep your optimisation should stretch to make an impact with your website. How do you start with competitor analysis? Find a couple of tips below to help you get started.

SEO competitor research

Find competitors: Do a search online for any of the services or products that you are selling. Which competitor sites are always listed on Google? List these down on a spreadsheet together with the website you are optimising.

Rankings: Use a couple of your top keywords and check if these competitors are ranking for the keywords. If they are, add their position on the keyword you searched for on the sheet. Do the same with your own website to see your rankings compared to this. Even if your website isn’t ranking for any of the keywords you want the site to rank, keep it on the sheet to compare later on and see how well your website is doing in the future.

Age of domain: It’s a fact that older domains have a higher trust with Google as it shows that it’s not a fly by night site or business. Check how old the competitor websites are and also add these to your sheet.

Indexed pages: How many pages are indexed of your competitors? You can do a simple site command in Google by typing site:http://www.domain.com by replacing domain.com with a competitor domain. This can give you a rough indication of how many pages are on the competitor websites and how many pages are indexed by Google.

Links: Use an external tools such as opensiteexplorer.org to check the number of links your competitors have on their websites. Please note that a high number of links doesn’t neccessarily mean the website is optimised better. Having 10 valuable links is much more worth than a 1000 spammy ones.

Authority: Also use opensiteexplorer.org to check the competitors domains authority. A higher number means it’s trust on Google is higher. It’s important to get the authority score up of your website and the only way to do this is to add valuable content to your website.

Use the methods explained above in a spreadsheet will give you a good starting point with competitor analysis and to check how you should optimise your website. The spreadsheet you compile should be a living document and should be updated at least once every three months to check how well your website is doing against your competitors for SEO.