Every business is competing for prime search engine result page real estate. After all, a good ranking in the search engines means more traffic, which means more conversions, which means more sales. No matter what kind of service or product you sell, people are looking for it in the search engines. Achieving a high ranking is no easy task, especially if you are in a competitive niche. Even employing the best SEO strategy possible can never guarantee that you will reach the number one spot.
When it comes to SEO, it’s important to seek out every opportunity that exists and a great way to start is to scope out the competition. Here are 3 places to check out what the competition is up to, not to copy their strategy, but to find opportunities that they aren’t capitalizing on and improve upon your own strategy!
Before starting an SEO link building strategy, it’s important to first conduct a link audit. Using a free tool like Link Diagnosis, you are able to see a list of all of the current inbound links that are pointing to a website. Run a report for your own site and the sites of your main competitors. You should look at each one of these links to determine the source and the type of link that it is in order to determine the areas to focus your link building campaign.
2. Meta Information
As long as your competitors’ sites are properly optimized, you can check the code for every page of the site to see the title, description, and keywords that they are using on each page. Once you know what keywords they are targeting, you can use this information to your advantage. While it may be necessary to target some of the same keywords, look for new opportunities. Are all of their keywords very broad? Then, add some long tail niche keywords to your mix. Do their keywords only focus on one part of the buying cycle? Expand the scope of your keywords to attract searchers that are in both the research and purchase phase of the cycle.
3. Social Media
Social media is no longer just for branding. It now plays a big part in SEO since the search engines have started to incorporate “social signals” into their algorithms. Check in on your competitors’ social media pages every once in awhile to see how they are using the medium and look for ways to differentiate your social presence from theirs. Are they having conversations or just posting links? Are they even posting anything at all? Take advantage of all of the features available to you on Facebook and develop a well rounded strategy that separates your business from your competitors. Don’t be afraid to try something different instead of following the crowd.
While it’s important to check in on the competition and use their weaknesses to your advantage, don’t obsess over it. Just because they did something doesn’t mean that you should do it to. Spend your time focusing on your SEO efforts and website traffic and conversions. Checking in on the competition too often will make you crazy and may lead to some hasty (and poor) decisions.