Managing search engine optimization can be a challenge for people who are not familiar with the tools and industry trends. There are professionals who are conversant with the technology, as well as popular practices, known as the SEO best practices. They are skilled in management of SEO for a website and are able to formulate strategies that work well. An essential aspect of their functions is assessment of the competition and judging how they work. For this, they follow the following steps:
• Identify the competitors: though this task might be easy for a business that is just working in done domain, in the brick and mortar model, it can be tricky when it comes to online competition. There are various factors like keywords, product categories and age of the website, on which the competition can occur. Thus, finding out who all are competing with the business will be a time taking, but vital task. A list is made of all the companies who rank high on keywords which are important for the target business.
• Analyze the sites and keywords: the team proceeds with making a thorough assessment of the quality of the competing websites. The positive and negative points are noted and links are checked. Along with the site, the keywords that they are using are also checked. While they might be using some popular keywords, others might be a surprise package. The keyword density and placement of keywords will also be tracked.
• Page rank and back links: these are two factors that impact the SEO effectiveness to a large extent. The team assesses the page ranks that the competing websites have on various search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. The back links are also checked for quality and legitimacy. There might also be a need to check the number of indexed pages that the websites have with Google.
• Social media presence: since social media is a strong source of traffic, the SEO team tries to get some inkling about the presence of competing brands and companies on various social media sites. The professionals leverage the social bookmarking sites to find out if the competitors have listings there. They also scan Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
• PPC ads: this is relatively easy. The team finds out the number of ads placed by significant competitors, the keywords they are using in the ads, placement of ads as well as the links they contain. This helps to create an effective PPC strategy.
Since SEO is largely concerned with getting ahead of competition on the search engine result pages, there is much emphasis on getting knowledge about competing sites.