An SEO campaign is like any other kind of marketing campaign in that it involves conducting research before getting started. It’s necessary to research the market online which includes target audience behavior as well as a competitive analysis.
If your business and/or website is relatively new to the market or at least new to marketing the business online and implementing SEO, it’s necessary to have an understanding of what the SEO competition is doing in the space in order to find a niche or an angle that will allow you to stand out. A competitive analysis will provide information including the strengths and weaknesses of the competition.
Here are 3 important competitor SEO items to pay attention to:
Age of the domain
There are some components of SEO that contribute toward ranking that are completely out of our control, like the domain age of the competition. The search engines want to rank web pages that are established and the domain age of the website is one of the factors that contributes to gaining “search engine trust” over time.
An established site that is well optimized and has quality inbound links is always going to perform better than a newer site, even if it too is well optimized. The only way to get ahead of an older site is if the website owner has become complacent and isn’t doing much online marketing or SEO work, which in some cases could be a very good possibility.
The keywords that are targeted
It should be relatively easy to find out what keywords your primary competitors are targeting. If the site is well optimized the keywords will be included in the title tag, description, headings, and body content on each page of the site. They could also be utilizing the keyword tag on the back end.
If it’s not easy to figure out, that’s a good thing for you because it means that the site isn’t properly optimized! If it is optimized, it’s important to take note of the keywords that they are targeting, so that you can look for different opportunities. If the competition has a lock on all of the broad keywords, it means that you need to broaden the scope and concentrate on some long tail variations that may have less search volume, but will generate traffic from targeted visitors.
In addition to the domain age and quality of the content on the website, another important ranking factor is the inbound links that point to a website. Inbound links from quality sources help to pass that trust over to your site. Your site is viewed as a quality site by association.
Using a tool like Moz you can pull an inbound link report for all of your primary competitors. It’s a manual process, but you can go through the list of links in order to pull any quality ones that might also be a good fit for your own website. Just remember that not all of your competitors’ links will be good. Just because they have the link doesn’t mean that it is a perfect fit for your website.