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SEO Strategies: The Importance of Knowing your Competition

SEO Strategies: The Importance of Knowing your Competition

Search Engine Optimization has become the most popular phrase on the internet. This is mainly because this simple but demanding process can help web pages rank better and become more ‘visible’ to their target audience. As Internet competition increases and competing for web pages try to get more views, the concept of ‘competitor analysis’ has become critical. By now the competition in the market for most products is very high. For example, a simple web search for ‘coffee’ will give you millions of results. If you sell a private label coffee product getting ranked for this keyword is everything.

Let’s face it search engines set-up a competitive environment when answering questions for their customers. Focusing simply on your own company’s SEO will likely not give you as good a result as a competitor analysis will provide. Identifying your competition and keeping track of their performance and search engine results has become really important for any business to win the SEO game. No business survives in isolation. Its niche and industry keep on progressing with time and currently, the most progressive SEO technique that you can employ is competitor analysis. In simple terms, you find the best competitor in the market and study their SEO. Then you analyze what has been working and what has not. As a competitor also working in the same niche, their practices can affect you to a great extent. Using similar practices can bring business to you as well. On the other hand, avoiding the mistakes that they have made will also help you in getting better results. Considering all these factors, you should study your competition as deeply as your own business.

Before we move on to understand what can be done in order to find, analyze and learn from your competition, we shall discuss what SEO is really about and what changes you need to make in your own business model to get the best results.

How to work on your own business model

Understand what search engines are looking for. This process must be done before and after every competitive analysis is done in order to get the best results and keep improving your website daily. The search engines have four basic requirements for your website:

  • Content
  • Performance
  • Authority
  • User Experience

They do not want to see:

  • Stuffed keywords
  • Poor user experience
  • Paid links

You need to focus on your business model and build content around how your business matters, and how it is different from your customer’s point of view. If you do not perform this step properly, you will likely end up with a messy website that will never convert any leads for you. Too many businesses skip over this step and make a bad website that drives users away, instead of attracting them.

  • What do your customers consider to be your value adds?
  • What made your existing customers buy from you?
  • What are your goals?
  • What exactly are you selling? Is it products or impressions?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses, assets and liabilities?

Here are a few other pointers that you should be keeping in mind while making your own website:

  • Opt for multiple channels to attract prospects and make sure that social media plays a part. Use email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, pay-per-click ads, TV ads, radio ads, and even niche-based magazine advertisements if possible.
  • Use consistent domain names. Get serious about your online identity.
  • Optimize for tablets and mobile users too. Let users experience the same great website on a small screen.

The Basics of knowing your competition

After addressing the basics of optimizing and building your own great website it is time to start looking at your competition. Remember, it is not just about studying who you are competing with. It is also about developing competitive intelligence for your own business. While analyzing your competition can seem to be a one-time activity, developing competitive intelligence is more about building an ongoing awareness of your industry, and your niche and anticipating the perceived value from your customer’s viewpoint.

There are some basic steps that you need to follow in order to get the best results:

  1. Finding/Identifying your competition

The first step is discovering your competition. If you really wish to outperform your competition, you can’t work on a vague idea of competition. For example, suppose you are a coffee shop located on ABC Street in XYZ neighborhood. Who is your competition? Do you compete with every coffee shop in the world or do you compete more locally or regionally? Do you offer regular coffee and buns or do you offer something special? Is there someone else who does the same? Is there a coffee shop that earns as much as you do, gets as much customer attention and spends as many bucks as you do? This is how you select a competitor in general.

On the other hand, when your identity competition, you need to work on your keywords. What is your major keyword? Which websites play on the same keywords and which of them are able to score? Do this for almost every keyword that you use in your own operations. Your first step should be discovering the top competition for your keywords (for each keyword). For example, you can look at the top 3-5 ranks of search engines. To gain a deeper local understanding of keywords looks for geo-targeted keyword competition. Don’t just look for ‘coffee houses’ or ‘coffee houses in City D’. You should also look for ‘coffee houses in XYZ neighborhood’. This creates a keyword hierarchy for you to follow.

  1. Analyzing the competition

The next step is to analyze your competition. While you analyze, you need to find out the real performance landscape of your competition. Look at the volume as well as the value of the keywords that you wish to be ranked for. This will help you in prescribing a monetary footnote on your competitive analysis which will bring more quantifiable results for you. You must ask yourself – who is leading the market? Which keywords serve them the strongest? Do they have a weak spot?

  1. Track the SEO performance of competitors

The next step is to track your competition’s SEO performance. Short tail tracking is easy but focusing on the long tail can be quite complex. Do not feel intimidated by these terms and simply continue with your search. Group together the keywords that make sense for your business. Make sure that you are tracking their theme, brand, projects and even their individual projects. Grouping data in this way will make sure that you understand your competition better. Next, you must work on their blended rank. This kind of rank will be taking all kinds of text, image, local, social and video ranks into account to find the real ranking of a business. As these steps get completed, you will be able to:

  • Find the groups of keywords or specific keywords that can really bring in some SEO advantage to your business. These are the keywords that are already working well for you and further optimization may not be necessary.
  • Next, pay attention to the keywords which have not been working well for you. You likely face a lot of competition for these keywords and cannot find appropriate measures to rank high. Think about these keywords, optimize and modify them further, build more content around them. Are their social media channels that can boost their performance?
  1. Build an insight

By performing all the steps listed above, you will be able to understand what your competition is all about. More than the competition, it will give you an insight about your business. Make sure that you include the following in your research

  • Social media
  • Meta tags
  • Backlinks

This will help you get an even better insight on your competition. It is not just a way to outrank each other but also a great way to help your industry or niche grow. Make sure that competitor analysis is a regular and important part of your business, because competitive analysis is crucial for the search engines to achieve their goals. And when your goals align with the search engines everyone wins.

Why is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) important?

Why is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) important?

The search engine industry has always been customer-driven – whoever finds the best answer fastest wins. Before Google, the best answer was defined by the highest bidding marketer who often cared more about profit than the consumer. Consumers didn’t like that, but their feelings didn’t seem to matter much.

Google changed the game by defining the best answer from the consumer’s point of view, not the marketers. By carefully assessing how happy online searchers are with the answers they get, the search engines have become modern marvels.

Modern search engines measure customer satisfaction as a quality burden that all players must satisfy; business owners, online marketers and the search engines. And that is the key. By aligning goals with the search engines everyone wins.

We believe in the inbound marketing concept of creating, optimizing, and promoting content. But online marketers and business owners are badly misunderstanding the role of optimization. Optimizing is the complicated process of matching the needs of online searchers, the search engines and your best solution – faster, easier and better than your competitors.

Optimization is your response to the quality demands of your online visitors. It is your ability to understand your visitors, anticipate their needs, and dazzle them with your solutions, your delivery, and ultimately your brand. This is a constant alignment of your online presence, your brand, your online visitors and the search engines. This is a complicated dance performed at algorithmic speeds driven by customer satisfaction and the competition.

Crystal Clear SEO  is part of automation and part brand optimization strategies that lead to better branding. We put the focus on your online traffic by making the connection between user experience, actual on page behaviors,  and your best solution. This constant analysis combines with lightning-fast adjustments to the site; including content, offers and personalization all to satisfy both the consumer and the search engines need to provide the best answers in the fastest time.

In the model of create, optimize and promote content – optimization creates the emotional connection to your company’s brand promise. The best branding is triggered by a visual or auditory stimulus that bypasses thought and leads to an immediate emotional response. We love branding because brands communicate faster and easier than thought. And we know everyone loves faster and easier – especially the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization -Crystal Clear SEO

What is Search Engine Optimization?

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Yesterday someone asked me what the acronym SEO means. I was a little surprised that there are people who still don’t know. It is Search Engine Optimization – The process of getting found by the search engines in response to a search term being entered into Google, Bing or whatever search algorithm. It is the constantly changing and unknowable techniques to rank your online content higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Once upon a time, Google introduced a way to organize search results in a hierarchy based on inbound links to content. Google discovered that the number and quality of links worked like votes for the best content. The public fell in love with search results that seemed almost magical in how relevant they could be. Marketers wanted to pay Google for higher SERP placement, and Google said no. The integrity of their search results and happy searchers was more important than selling placement. Google then offered up Adwords which provided an online auction approach to selling the most popular search terms or keywords. They made a ton of money without compromising the magical feeling provided by their search algorithm. Google did a great thing by clearly noting that some results are paid-for ads and some results are unpaid organic algorithmic responses. Most searchers rely on organic results, and most marketers highly covet those organic results.

The search engine algorithm is ever-changing. Where inbound links from high authority sources used to be everything for ranking, the search engines discovered some marketers were “gaming the system” through manipulating links. Google has done a brilliant thing lately, instead of picking a million fights with the marketing world Google now just wants to serve their searchers. If a company can answer questions quickly and accurately then Google will serve their sites up to searchers, period. What are you doing to align with Google’s goal?

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