Learn Marketing From Your Competition

When you look on Google all you see are your competitors’ web pages in the search results. It can be frustrating to feel like you’re on the bad end of a losing fight. But, as the old cliché goes, maybe you ought to try turning lemons into lemonade. Maybe you should start looking at what your competitors are doing right in their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and try to reproduce it on your website.

Structure
Take a look at the underlying HTML source code of your competitors’ websites. What tags are they using? What meta tags do they employ? Google likes particular structures in web pages. It is wise to see how the structure of a web page with successful SEO is working to its advantage.

Keywords and Concepts
Marketing through search isn’t just about using the words you want to SEO well on your website. Google likes to stitch together different wordings and concepts for a broader sense of what a web page is about. Take a look at the terminology your competitors are using on their websites. Are they using terms that Google favors when flagging content in your target market? Perhaps you need to expand your pool of keywords. Or, in some cases, maybe you need to avoid certain terms that Google is detecting on your page and flagging as spammy. Don’t be afraid to consider both adding and subtracting keywords from your target list. Mold your efforts to what your competitors are doing.

Backlinks and Off-Site SEO
Google treats any particular search as an instance within a certain context. The sites linking into a website are a big component of that context. It’s easy to track down the backlinks of a competitor’s website using tools like SEOmoz or Ahrefs. It’s also worth poking around the typical location for a sitemap, sitemap.xml, on your competitor’s website. Note how they implemented their sitemap. Don’t be reluctant to poke around the backlinks of a competitor’s website. What words are those sites using when they link to your successful competitors? What sites are doing the linking in the first place? What niches do they occupy? Who is the broader audience that is driving traffic to your competitors? You can easily track down how your competitors are outgunning you in SEO. The resources are free or cheap to use. You just have to follow the trail.