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SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

Doing SEO without competitive analysis is like driving to a place you’ve never been, without a map, GPS, or any clue how to get from point A to point B. It’s not a smart thing to do and will leave you lost. I’ll show you how to analyze your website (and other factors) to uncover what you’ll need to do to rank #1 on Google.

Number of Incoming Links

Why It Matters: You want a lot of great incoming links.

How to Check this Metric: You can use the SEOQuake Firefox add-on to see how many incoming links you and your top 10 competitors have.

1 Quantity of Links seoquake SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: If you don’t have as many links as your competitors, you should work on getting more.

Quality of Incoming Links

Why It Matters: The number of incoming links is important, but the quality of those links is even more important. You want your incoming links from high-quality sites and websites that are related to your site.

How to Check this Metric: Use Open Site Explorer to find out who’s linking to you and who’s linking to your top 10 competitors.

2 Quality open site explorer SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: If your link profile isn’t as good as your competition (i.e. Your links come from free directories, link farms, and other low-quality link sources; their links are earned based on merit and come from quality sites.), study your competition and emulate the good things they do.

Anchor Text

Why It Matters: When you’re trying to rank for “exercise equipment” a link such as “check out our exercise equipment” is much more valuable than one like “for exercise equipment click here“. You want your keywords in the anchor text of your links.

How to Check this Metric: Use Open Site Explorer for this as well.

3 anchor text SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: If most of your incoming links don’t contain your keywords, start a link building campaign and get keyword-rich text links. Also, don’t forget that internal links are very important too. You have full control over your internally linked pages within your site, so use your keywords.

Number of Indexed Pages

4 google num page indexed example SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

Why It Matters: You want search engines to index as many pages of your site as possible.

How to Check this Metric: Use SEOQuake again to learn how many of your pages Google has indexed. Then compare your results against the top 10 sites Google ranked for the keyword you’re going after.

4 num indexed pages seoquake SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: If you find that your top 10 competitors have a lot more indexed pages than you, you should create more pages with optimized content. They could be articles, blog posts, resources or anything else your visitors want.

AllInAnchor

Why It Matters: You need to know if the anchor text of your incoming links are optimized for your keywords.

How to Check this Metric: Use NicheWatch. Here’s a blog post I wrote on how to use NicheWatch.

5 niche watch SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: If your AllInAnchor ranking for a given keyword is lower than your

regular ranking for that keyword, you need to work on getting links with your keyword as the anchor text.

AllInTitle

Why It Matters: You need to know if your page titles are optimized enough.

How to Check this Metric: Again, use NicheWatch.

What to Do About This: If your AllInTitle ranking for a given keyword is lower than your regular ranking for that keyword, you need to optimize your page title and add your keyword to it.

AllInText

Why It Matters: You need to know if your page content is optimized enough.

How to Check this Metric: You guessed it; use NicheWatch.

What to Do About This: If your AllInText ranking for a given keyword is lower than your regular ranking for that keyword, you need to optimize your page content and add your keyword to it.

Site Age

Why It Matters: The older your site, the better your chances are for ranking at the top; especially on Google.

How to Check this Metric: Use the SEOQuake bar to check your age and the age of your top 10 competitors.

6 site age SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: You could buy an older site but there’s nothing you can change about how old your site is. But even though you can’t do anything about it, you should still check this metric, because if the top 10 sites on Google are 15 years old and yours is one year old, you know that you’ll have to work extra hard in other areas of SEO to make up for being so “young”.

On-Site Optimization Score

Why It Matters: One of the best ways to rank high is to take a look at the 10 websites that rank at the top, find what these sites have in common and copy what they’re doing.

How to Check this Metric: Although this can be done manually, it’s a lot more effective to use a tool. Internet Business Promoter (IBP) is my favorite.

7 IBP SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: Run the Top 10 Report on IBP. The software will give you an on-page optimization score and will tell you what you need to do to improve it.

Website Architecture Issues

Why It Matters: If your website isn’t designed right, search engines won’t be able to spider it.

How to Check this Metric: Use SEO Browser to see your website the way search engines see it. Make sure they can spider it and follow your links.

8 seo browser SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: Fix any website architecture issues that you find.

Keyword Cannibalization

Why It Matters: If you have several pages on your site competing for the same keywords, it can hurt your rankings.

How to Check this Metric: Do this Google search: site:yoursite.com “keyword”

9 keyword cannibalization SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

Google will show you what pages of your website are the most relevant for a given keyword and sort them in order of relevance.

What to Do About This: If you have several pages that are optimized for a keyword, pick one and from all the other pages link to that one page using your keyword in the anchor text. Here’s a great article on keyword cannibalization.

Duplicate Content

Why It Matters: Internal duplicate content can kill your rankings. You need to detect it and eliminate it.

How to Check this Metric: Use Google Webmaster Tools.

10 Duplicate Content Google Webmaster Tool SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

What to Do About This: Write unique title, meta keyword tags, and  meta descriptions for each of your pages.

 SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

Zeke Camusio

Zeke Camusio is a serial entrepreneur, Internet marketing expert, published author, speaker and founder of an Internet Marketing Agency in Portland, OR.

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23 thoughts on “SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google

  1. Nice article, very useful for beginner SEO’s, although isn’t Google starting to clamp down on overuse of non-branded anchor text?

    I read on an SEO blog quite recently that sites should be aiming for a 40/60 split of branded to non-branded anchor text – not sure if its a fact but there appears to be a lot of discussion surrounding it at the moment.

    1. Nice Article of course… and Chris i do think that 40/60 split works because what kind of pattern search engine prefer? natural patten!! and the normally you will find the natural patten somewhere between 45/65…

  2. I have a lot of examples of Internal duplicate content, but no one of this issues detected by google in google webmaster interface. I’ve checked over 10 websites right now. Do You know any other tools for detecting Internal duplicates?

  3. A very broad, but complete post, perfect for SEO beginners. Good post.

    PS: I would also recommend newbies to learn about keyword research as picking the right keywords to optimize for can be a great advantage. You could write a book on the how to do the right keyword research so I won’t even go there.

  4. Very good Article except one thing that i wouldnt agree with you about we should get a link only at our keyword . Keyword rich anchor texts are not being given good value in new google algo and we need to create some variation in incoming links

  5. I completely agree with Chris however adding one more thing
    We should get 40 percent on brand 40 percent on url and only 20 percent on our keywords

  6. Ugh, and the age of site myth is perpetuated once again…how many times does Matt Cutts have to talk about this? Age of site, length of registration and all that don’t mean anything for your rankings. Zip, zilch, nada. The reason you think they do is that older sites, by virtue of having been around a while, have collected more links, higher quality links, and tend to have a lot more pages indexed. Building authority takes time. If I had to choose between buying a 15 year old domain with no links and a 1 year old domain with 1,000 links, I choose the 1 year old domain every time. Site age means nothing.

    1. well i dont agree with michael, as seo is truly a competitive advantage, because a careful planning of seo activities may prove worthy. careful selection of keywords can increase your clicks and seo not only optimizes you system but provides a framework for building your site visit:-www.emaxglobal.com

    2. well i dont agree with michael, as seo is truly a competitive advantage, because a careful planning of seo activities may prove worthy. careful selection of keywords can increase your clicks and seo not only optimizes you system but provides a framework for building your site visit:-gttp://www.emaxglobal.com

  7. This is a good starting point for beginners as a number of people have suggested. I will also chime in and agree regarding anchor text. There is actually no known exact formula, however Google has, in fact, been clamping down on over-use of anchor text. I’ve seen it on a number of sites. In one case in particular, a site with 1.1 million pages, went too far with keyword specific anchors for their biggest niche. Google slapped them hard – not the entire ranking spread for all their thousands of phrases, but for that one niche. By simply reducing the volume of anchor-text specific links – changing them to more of a variety and mix, they were back on the 1st page in a heartbeat.

    The issue is that inbound links are supposed to be naturally acquired and if it’s all keyword anchors all the time that is not natural for sites that don’t have intentional SEO.

    I also need to agree with the issue regarding domain age not being the relevant factor so many in our industry make it out to be. Except with a twist. It’s not simply how old a site is. It’s that an older site, by sheer nature, will have an established depth to it’s rankings from multiple points of SEO, not the least of which is inbound links. Simply having an older site is not itself a factor. Or it’s not enough of a factor as far as my experience goes. I’ve consistently gotten relatively new sites to leap-frog over “aged” sites by implementing much more refined SEO.

  8. Well basically search engine crawling depends on some factors like:
    1. Location and the frequency of keywords on a page
    2. Search term in its HTML title tag
    3. Words being searched for near the beginning of the page

    Romita Negi

  9. “One of the best ways to rank high is to take a look at the 10 websites that rank at the top, find what these sites have in common and copy what they’re doing.”

    What you’re really looking for? How to know what they’re doing? What do you mean? I would like to know. Will be glad to hear answers.