When it comes to SEO, it’s not good enough to simply be on par with your competition. There’s only one top spot on a search engine results page. If you’re not currently residing in that coveted place of honor, it’s time to evaluate the company that is so you can figure out how to oust them and take over the top place yourself.
Who’s the competition?
The first thing you need to do is define your competitors. Hone in on a handful of keywords that you want to rank high with. If you’re a small business or mom and pop organization, target keywords in a smaller niche that you have a better chance at dominating. You probably won’t oust big box pet stores for a phrase like “dog food,” but your gourmet pet treat business may have a chance at getting top rankings for “organic homemade dog biscuits.”
Check out the top ranking sites for your chosen keywords to determine who your real competitors are. Once you’ve pinpointed a few sites that you want to overtake in search engine rankings, you’re ready to begin the analysis process.
What to keep an eye out for
Check out the backlink profile for your competitors. Matt Cutts confirmed recently that backlinks are still a key element to any SEO campaign. Keep in mind that a good backlink profile is based on more than just quantity. Distribution, anchor text, and content come into play as well. Look at the page the link is on and consider whether it’s frequently updated or linked to social media sites.
Spend as much time as you can on competitors’ pages to see what strategies they’re implementing for SEO. When you hit on a winning strategy, don’t simply copy it for yourself. Find a way to carefully tailor it to suit your own company’s personality and style.
Top ranking pages are constantly changing and evolving. Follow developments in your industry closely so you’ll notice a change in the winds before anyone else. Keep your page on topic, ahead of the trends, and constantly fresh to score the top SEO rankings every webmaster is after.