We Must Know Our Competitors to SEO well
Any of us who want to be successful online, works for higher rankings on our important keywords. We know if we aren’t on the first page of the SERPs, we just aren’t going to get enough visitors to the site. We know we need to develop keywords, work to obtain links, clean up the code of our sites and consistently use content to increase the long-tail doorways to our sites. But what if we are doing all these things, and it still seems Google and Bing aren’t paying appropriate attention to us, or we aren’t moving up in the rankings as quickly as we should be? Is there anyway to to make sure we are being treated fairly? The short answer is no, Google and Bing aren’t going to let us in on how they are indexing and ranking our sites, but there are ways to get a good idea if we are focusing our SEO efforts in the right SEO areas for specific keyword phrases.
I am one who doesn’t believe Google is applying their algorithm equally in every market or for every keyword phrase. There is just too much variability in the rankings of sites and pages when analyzing links, content, domain authority and keywords to come to that conclusion. There is still too much weird ranking elements still going on, but I do believe Google applies their algorithm more consistently for specific keywords within most markets segments.
As an example I wanted to take a look at BigSenders.com and the keyword phrase of “send big files.” (Let me disclose BigSenders is a company Michael Jensen and myself have co-founded). We are now in the large attachment business, and we want to start ranking well for the keyword phrase “send big files.” Our domain name, BigSenders.com, is pretty descriptive, and we are now adding content to support some of our keywords. I decided to get an idea of where we should focus our SEO efforts, in order to get on the first SERP page for the search term “send big files.”
I first did a quick search query on Google and found the site mailbigfile.com was in 10th place on the first page of the SERP, then I ran a SoloSEO Head to Head Report to see how BigSenders.com compared to MailBigFiles.com.
The Head to Head report compares the Links, mozRank, ContentRank, Keyword Density and Domain Authority of the two competitive sites and scores them. By reviewing the differences in the scores, it is easy to ascertain how much work will need to be done to knock the higher ranked site off their perch above.
In the Head to Head report, the first thing I noticed is that they have 77 links, we have 15 (now 16 after writing this post, POW!!). Our mozRank is lower (meaning the quality of our links is lower), our content rank is higher, as they do not spend much time, if any, writing content (big mistake), our keyword density is within the 1-3% soft spot, they are at 0 (no content) and they kill us on domain authority, due to the links, but also because their domain has been around since 2006.
Bottom line, we have work to do, but with a some effort we can obtain more links, through our company, Applied Content, we can have content created and add a bunch of new, fresh content on the site around our targeted keywords, and we should be able to overcome these scoring gaps in a month or so, then we can run this report and see how our efforts influence our rankings. It is my position that the best way to improve in rankings, for a specific keyword phrase, is to analyze your competitors using the Head to Head Report, close those gaps and see the change in rankings. By tracking the changes, we can see where the search engines are giving most the ranking love, and then we can adjust our SEO strategy accordingly, but its based on real data, not some new SEO theory or hypothesis. Our SEO strategies will then need to be flexible based on the keywords we are targeting and the competitors within that keyword space. Everything else is closer to guess work than science IMHO. Its not the most convenient SEO strategy, as per each keyword phrase the SEO strategy may need to be focused differently, but it will be the most effective and efficient, as we will be focusing our efforts exactly where we will receive the most ranking benefit.