What can you learn from your competition’s search engine rankings?

One of the most important things you can do when trying to build a solid foundation for SEO and rise ahead of your competitors is to understand what they’re doing what you aren’t. It’s a common company tactic to study their competitors before they launch a product or to see what they’re doing that makes them so successful.

Analyzing Your Competition

You’ll want to go inside out and dig deep into the competition’s web page to first understand why they’re ranking so high or to find out what they’re doing.

Content – How much content are they producing a week? Are they blogging content, are they dynamically updating their website with content or what are they doing in regards to content production? Not only that but what kind of content are they putting out.

For example, are they a blog that only focuses on top 10 lists, newsletters, niche news or what? Go over their page with a fine tooth comb and take notes on what kind of content they’re putting out and how often they’re doing it. Remember, Google likes to see constant and fresh content being produced.

Examining The SEO – One thing you’ll want to look for here is how well they’ve done their on page SEO and how they’ve set their page up.  Depending on what platform their website has been built on, some of these details are automatically generated, some make it easy to add/edit meta information and others provide no help at all.  Most web site builders and especially e-commerce web site builders will autofill this information but it is highly recommended that you customize your meta information for maximum SEO benefits.

Where do they put their Heading (H1, H2, H3) tags?
Do they include and Heading tags inside the actual content?
What are their Meta Keywords/Meta Descriptions?
Do they have any broken links or 404 pages?

Tools To Help

There are a lot of tools out there (a lot of them are free) to help you analyze your competition and to figure out just what they’re doing differently then you are.

#1 – Screaming Frog
To go through every single thing that Screaming Frog does would take hours but what it essentially does is goes through your competition with a magnifying glass to see what they’re doing. It’ll look for headings, redirects, anchor texts, errors, file size, outlinks, inlinks and so much more. The benefits to this tool are nearly endless.

#2 – Keyword Monitoring
There’s a heap of keyword monitoring tools out there, but we’re going to go over a couple of them.

Ispionage is a tool that will actively track the ads your competitors are buying and what they’re doing with them. It not only covers Google but Bing and Yahoo as well.
KeywordSpy will provide you with a more in-depth look at what your competitors are using for their keywords and will show you the most profitable keywords they’re currently using.

#3 – Backlink Monitoring
Knowing where your direct competitors are obtaining their backlinks could give you a huge edge and advantage over not only them but other competitors as well.

Open Site Explorer is basically the search engine for links. It’ll not only show you the links being used but it’ll show you the authority of the backlinks, the anchor text, the domains and much more.

Analyzing your competition gives you the greatest edge over your opponents and you may even top them once you find out what the missing link in their SEO strategy is.