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8 Easy Ways To Monitor The SEO Your Competition Is Doing

If you’re a marketer and you’re currently tied up with other initiatives (campaigns, new site launch, etc.), or a search professional bogged down with doing keyword research, a technical audit, or staying up with the latest trends, remember to come up for air every now and then (at least once a month if not more) to take a look at what your competition is doing. Here’s some tips on how to effectively go about this.

To start, take a look at your existing keyword landscape and identify your “Top 10” Keywords. These are terms that you have deemed business critical to have a top ranking position for. Odds are, you will probably not have a #1 ranking for each term. In the cases where you don’t, take a look at what sites are outranking yours and determine why.

You can do this in a variety of ways. You could manually look at each site, review the content, look at links, etc., but that tends to take too much time. There’s a simple way to go about this that you can use within your existing monthly production cycle.

Install a tool like SEOQuake. Once the tool is installed and turned on (via your browser), perform a search on one of your important Keywords. For each ranking site, you will be able to see important ranking factors. For example, look at the following elements:

  1. How many links are pointing to the competitor’s ranking page?
  2. How many of these links are using the target keyword?
  3. How many of these links are owned by the competitor’s brand (such as family domains or links from the same site)?
  4. When did the page originate (you can determine this by using the WayBack Machine)?
  5. How many Delicious or DIGG listings does the competitor site have?
  6. Does the competitor site have a DMOZ listing?
  7. OnPage Factors – does the competitor site have well optimized content (Title, URL, body content, etc.)?
  8. You can then determine which of these ranking factors are giving your competition the benefit by doing a side-by-side comparison against your site. Create a Matrix and list out 4-5 competitor sites for each of your important keywords. You’d be surprised how useful this can be in determining your strategy and next steps. For example:
    • Modify your content if needed to be better optimized for the target keyword
    • Create a PR or Social Media campaign aimed at generating awareness (and thus, links) to your content using important keywords.

Doing this on a monthly basis will ensure that you (and your stakeholders) have a clear roadmap for success with those business critical keywords.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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