Businesses are constantly comparing themselves to what their competitors are doing. Brick and mortar stores take notice to advertising, offers, and new products or services. Website owners need to do the same to make sure their marketing campaigns are keeping up within the industry.
A knowledgeable advertising agency knows one of the first steps to a new campaign is to compare the competition. If you’re hoping to rank on page 1 for a specific keyword, you’re going to have to find out what the first page ranking sites are doing. There’s lots of tools to use and metrics to look at when doing this type of research.
Find your competitors
Start by finding who your competitors are. Many businesses know who their primary competitors are, however if you’re new to the industry it may be difficult to see who you will be competing with. Do your research, you may find there are other sites that will be competing with you that you were not aware of.
The first thing to do is do a query in Google for one of your most sought after keywords. Typically this is a keyword that is highly competitive, has high search volume, and is one of the most related keywords to your site. Look at the top 4 or 5 domains in the organic listings, make sure there’s no duplicates and the listings are the domain, not a specific article or page. You will be comparing the domains, in most cases, especially for a highly competitive term. If you are comparing the competition for a longer tailed, less competitive keyword it you can compare specific landing pages.
What tools to use
Now you’ve created a list of 4 or 5 websites that you feel will be your primary competitors for a certain term, in most cases your main keyword. It’s time to start plugging these sites into one of the many tools,
- Moz Open Site Explorer
There’s many many similar tools that are available online, however these are a few that we have highlighted. These tools offer some excellent tools that will allow users to compare such metrics as top content, number of referring domains, and total number of backlinks.
What to look for
There are many different ranking factors to consider and every tool will show different metrics. You need to take all information with a grain of salt and there are a number of other factors to consider that some of the above tools may not show. For instance, often you’ll see a website with half the number of links, yet is out ranking another site.
Here are some of the factors we suggest looking deeper into,
- Linking C Blocks – These refer to the different places where links are coming from. Not just unique domains, but unique IP addresses from different servers. An intelligent marketer will have a diverse number of linking C blocks pointing to their site. Search engines want to see links coming into a site from a number of different IP addresses, if they are all from one they won’t carry much weight.
- Domain Authority – This is simply a way to rank a website based on their linking metrics. Higher the domain authority, the better the site. Watch your score climb as your campaign grows, if you see a big drop, make sure you’re linking to quality sites.
- Referring Domains – Refers to the domains that are linking to your site. These are not specific URLs, yet the main domain of the link. Build a diverse referring domain list and always continue increasing this list. As a site grows and ages this number should steadily increase.
- Top Content – By reviewing the top content of your site you can get an idea of what users like most. Keep creating similar content to what has done well, also you can create more call to actions on your top pages. Don’t just look at your content, look at your competitors as well. You can see where they had success and create similar articles.
- Organic Keywords – Use tools like SpyFu to find out how many keywords you are ranking within organic search. A list of keywords and their current positions will show in the results. Here you can get an idea of what keywords are close to ranking on the front page. Work on increasing these terms (if they have decent search volume) and moving them up the search results. As your campaign progresses you will see your site begin to rank for additional organic keywords.