Friday, February 3, 2012

Competition Analysis 2012

 Competition Analysis Analysis 2012

Competition Analysis 2012

SEO in 2012 is the optimization of all content. If you really want to deep dive on a competitive analysis, you could be busy for quite some time.
But what remains true is that the foundation of SEO is your website. So, let’s start there.
The main components of an SEO competitive analysis are:
  1. Top Keywords
  2. Site Structure 
  3. Linking Initiatives / Authority
  4. Social Presence
You’ll also need to collect all this information for your site to understand how you stack up with the competition. Let’s dive in.

1. Top Keywords

SEMRush is helpful for identifying “top keywords.” This tool saves loads of time by helping you determine the valuable traffic that you, or your competitors, are getting across many keywords. It will evaluate the value based upon the estimated cost per click, if you were to buy this traffic via AdWords and show you a total estimated value by keyword, as well as a running estimated total value for all organic search traffic.
The folks at SEMRush have also been very good about launching their program for several countries (including the U.S., UK, Russia, France, Brazil, and Australia, to name a few), and I want to thank them for that. There’s nothing that will help to sell SEO to the C-level folks than to see the dollar value of organic search traffic for top competitors. I typically use this valuation as a method of determining the “real” competitors for our SEO efforts.
Once you know some of the valuable keywords worth targeting, you can put those on your “hit list” and continue on with the analysis (SEMRush is exportable to CSV and Excel).
After you’ve identified those competitors that are the most relevant to your business and driving the most amount of valued organic traffic, it’s time to begin the process of peeling back the reasons why their website may have a stronger presence in the search engines than yours.

2. Site Structure

Some of the same competitive analysis items from three years ago remain worth consideration today. Namely, you want to check to see how many pages these websites have indexed in Google and Bing (I would have mentioned that you should use Yahoo Site Explorer, but – sadly – that will be going away, soon).
Simply use the site: operator ( and check indexation. Though these are estimates (and some might say “bad estimates”), it can give you a general sense as to the depth of a competitor’s website/pages of content.
For today’s SEO, you will want to check out the indexing of other digital assets to find areas of opportunity:
  • Check indexing of images and videos.
  • Look for Facebook/Twitter profiles for the competitors (to identify what their “winning content” is; video, shopping feeds, local/map listings, and news/PR).
  • Check whether competitors are operating a blog (and how they have this set up, whether it’s on a separate domain, subdomain or sub-directory).
  • Look at the competitor’s titles, H1s, meta descriptions, meta keywords (all of which can be pulled using Screaming Frog).
  • Look at keyword density on ranking pages.
  • Evaluate URL structures, to see if “top competitors” are pushing content as close as they can to the root ( or whether they’re letting the website’s structure determine the file depth of a given page (

3. Linking Initiatives / Authority

Back in 2008, I might have wanted to find out who has been most successful at gaining the most keyword-rich, anchor text backlinks pointing to specific pages. Linking has certainly changed a lot in a relatively short period of time.
Nowadays, when you’re analyzing competitors that are doing well in the SERPs, analyzing anchor text usage is of interest, but also notice the mix of branded links versus keyword-rich links. Look at domain and page authority, and the number of unique linking domains (how many different websites are linking to the competitor’s site).
Analyze the diversity of the links. See if links are coming from press releases, article syndication, social bookmarking, widgets, or what else they may be doing to be successful. While several tools track links, I tend to gravitate to OpenSiteExplorer and Majestic SEO.

4. Social Presence

To me, the foundation of a social presence is a blog. See how the competitor has set up their blog, the categorization of the blog (what are they writing about; do you need to develop an editorial calendar of your own?), and see how they are developing community for their social content.
Is your competition developing strictly textual content, or are they involved in infographics and/or video?
See if these competitors are engaged with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and see how many Facebook Page likes, homepage likes, Facebook comments, Twitter followers and tweets, and videos/views are showing for the competitors, to get a sense of how engaged they are in social and whether they seem to be using these synergistically with their SEO efforts.

SEO Competitive Analysis in 2012

Suffice it to say, an SEO competitive analysis today is a bit different than you might have pulled together just a few short years ago. And frankly, we’ve only scratched the surface.
Hopefully this article was helpful for those of you who are trying to determine the best way to identify “best practices,” so that you have a good sense as to what you need to do to be successful with your own SEO

 the tool look like Google Adwords keyword tool, try here

Doing SEO without competitive analysis is like driving to a place you’ve never been, without a map, GPS, or any clue how to get from point A to point B. It’s not a smart thing to do and will leave you lost. I’ll show you how to analyze your website (and other factors) to uncover what you’ll need to do to rank #1 on Google.

Number of Incoming Links

Why It Matters: You want a lot of great incoming links.
How to Check this Metric: You can use the SEOQuake Firefox add-on to see how many incoming links you and your top 10 competitors have.
SEOQuake Firefox add-on
What to Do About This: If you don’t have as many links as your competitors, you should work on getting more.

Quality of Incoming Links

Why It Matters: The number of incoming links is important, but the quality of those links is even more important. You want your incoming links from high-quality sites and websites that are related to your site.
How to Check this Metric: Use Open Site Explorer to find out who’s linking to you and who’s linking to your top 10 competitors.
Open Site Explorer
What to Do About This: If your link profile isn’t as good as your competition (i.e. Your links come from free directories, link farms, and other low-quality link sources; their links are earned based on merit and come from quality sites.), study your competition and emulate the good things they do.

Anchor Text

Why It Matters: When you’re trying to rank for “exercise equipment” a link such as “check out our exercise equipment” is much more valuable than one like “for exercise equipment click here“. You want your keywords in the anchor text of your links.
How to Check this Metric: Use Open Site Explorer for this as well.
Open Site Explorer
What to Do About This: If most of your incoming links don’t contain your keywords, start a link building campaign and get keyword-rich text links. Also, don’t forget that internal links are very important too. You have full control over your internally linked pages within your site, so use your keywords.

Number of Indexed Pages

Number of Indexed Pages
Why It Matters: You want search engines to index as many pages of your site as possible.
How to Check this Metric: Use SEOQuake again to learn how many of your pages Google has indexed. Then compare your results against the top 10 sites Google ranked for the keyword you’re going after.
What to Do About This: If you find that your top 10 competitors have a lot more indexed pages than you, you should create more pages with optimized content. They could be articles, blog posts, resources or anything else your visitors want.


Why It Matters: You need to know if the anchor text of your incoming links are optimized for your keywords.
How to Check this Metric: Use NicheWatch. Here’s a blog post I wrote on how to use NicheWatch.
What to Do About This: If your AllInAnchor ranking for a given keyword is lower than your
regular ranking for that keyword, you need to work on getting links with your keyword as the anchor text.


Why It Matters: You need to know if your page titles are optimized enough.
How to Check this Metric: Again, use NicheWatch.
What to Do About This: If your AllInTitle ranking for a given keyword is lower than your regular ranking for that keyword, you need to optimize your page title and add your keyword to it.


Why It Matters: You need to know if your page content is optimized enough.
How to Check this Metric: You guessed it; use NicheWatch.
What to Do About This: If your AllInText ranking for a given keyword is lower than your regular ranking for that keyword, you need to optimize your page content and add your keyword to it.

Site Age

Why It Matters: The older your site, the better your chances are for ranking at the top; especially on Google.
How to Check this Metric: Use the SEOQuake bar to check your age and the age of your top 10 competitors.
What to Do About This: You could buy an older site but there’s nothing you can change about how old your site is. But even though you can’t do anything about it, you should still check this metric, because if the top 10 sites on Google are 15 years old and yours is one year old, you know that you’ll have to work extra hard in other areas of SEO to make up for being so “young”.

On-Site Optimization Score

Why It Matters: One of the best ways to rank high is to take a look at the 10 websites that rank at the top, find what these sites have in common and copy what they’re doing.
How to Check this Metric: Although this can be done manually, it’s a lot more effective to use a tool. Internet Business Promoter (IBP) is my favorite.
Internet Business Promoter
What to Do About This: Run the Top 10 Report on IBP. The software will give you an on-page optimization score and will tell you what you need to do to improve it.

Website Architecture Issues

Why It Matters: If your website isn’t designed right, search engines won’t be able to spider it.
How to Check this Metric: Use SEO Browser to see your website the way search engines see it. Make sure they can spider it and follow your links.
SEO Browser
What to Do About This: Fix any website architecture issues that you find.

Keyword Cannibalization

Why It Matters: If you have several pages on your site competing for the same keywords, it can hurt your rankings.
How to Check this Metric: Do this Google search: “keyword”
Keyword Cannibalization
Google will show you what pages of your website are the most relevant for a given keyword and sort them in order of relevance.
What to Do About This: If you have several pages that are optimized for a keyword, pick one and from all the other pages link to that one page using your keyword in the anchor text. Here’s a great article on keyword cannibalization.

Duplicate Content

Why It Matters: Internal duplicate content can kill your rankings. You need to detect it and eliminate it.
How to Check this Metric: Use Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Webmaster Tools.
What to Do About This: Write unique title, meta keyword tags, and  meta descriptions for each of your pages.
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