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How To Conduct an Intelligent Competitive Analysis for SEO Success

What’s the reason my competitor ranks high on Google than me? What’s missing in my SEO efforts?

These are few questions that linger when ranking high in organic SERPs is important for the health of your company.SEO analysis

In this post, we will provide you tips that will give you head start to find the answers to all these questions via a list of criteria that are vital when carrying out competitive SEO analysis. It’s the best approach for fresh, industry-specific, new strategies to boost your organic search rankings. You can also apply this criteria for development of your website to build a really strong foundation even before it is launched.

Now let’s have a close look at important competitive analysis SEO criteria:

Web Page Layout and Site Structure

Since Google released its page layout algorithm, it has affected four percent of search queries, and many websites now place high importance on page layout for SEO. For example, websites with good SERP position tend to have few above-the-fold ads. High ranked websites also use CSS grid systems and responsive design to enrich their user experience on the website on mobile devices.

Website structure is not limited to visual layout, but vital factors such as navigational structure, URL structure and internal linking structure. So list out all these page criteria and then compare your website to your competitor’s to find more on how well you’re doing.

Usability

Google gives higher ranking to websites that ensure rich user experience. If your competitor’s website has elements of usability that may affect their search rankings, this can be a good way to benchmark your website and somehow improve upon it.

You need to consider the following aspects of usability:

site nav

  • Cross browser compatibility
  • Page load time
  • Custom 404 pages
  • URL structure
  • Broken links
  • Trust elements on the site
  • Call-to-action characteristics
  • User-friendly navigation
  • Typography

Realizing some of these elements are missing your website can offer great opportunities for SEO. This may be as simple as fixing a few broken links, or more substantial, such as investing in mobile website design services in Peoria.

Test the Technology Used to Build the WebsiteWeb Design Code

Learn more about the CMS used or the web development platform your competitor’s website are built with. Many website platforms do a great job of optimizing most on-page SEO factors. Other technical elements, like hosting server, also have good effect on SEO to a certain extent. If website hosting server is unreliable, then user site experience is affected thus affecting overall Google SERP ranking as well.

Also, when web servers have quick access to a robust cloud infrastructure, website speed is increased, which also boosts SERP. Although this area of SEO is important, it's also highly-technical and requires proper training and expertise to execute effectively.

Check for Robots.Txt File and XML SitemapSEO sitemap

Check if your competitor has a robot.txt file and XML sitemap on their website. If there’s no sitemap this way you can have a close look at the robots.txt file. A well organized website will list their sitemap(s) in their robot.txt file as well.

These SEO elements help in efficient and fast indexing of a site. Though websites can be indexed even without them due to improved algorithms, but it’s best to provide information to the search engine bots. These elements are especially vital when doing SEO for ecommerce companies.

Keyword Consistency

Check how frequently and consistently keywords are used on your competitor’s site compared to your own. Are their target keywords placed on main on-page elements, such as title, headers, description, and image alt attributes. The keyword density tool from SEO Book is a nice resource for this part of the competitive analysis.

Backlink and Traffic Analysis

Your competitors may be building links at many places. So discovering niche sites from your competitor’s back linking profile can be helpful, as this can help you get higher search rankings. An advanced competitor’s review will show you list of authoritative links that point to your site. Our SEO team prefers Majestic as the go-to tool for backlinks analysis. This is a huge aspect of analyzing competitors, and it's a good way to determine who the best plastic surgery SEO companies are.

Content Analysis

There are many content based criteria that can help compare websites; the keyword density, the length of the content, grammar and language, images and videos, navigation, headings, whether the blog is associated with websites and how often it is updated, presence of promotional offers and social media connections.

Check number of ads displayed on the site, and also compare text-to-html ratio of their content as well. Also analyze the structure of the content used in metal descriptions and meta titles throughout the site. These are still vital aspects of today's SEO best practices.

Top-Ranking Keywords

Check keyword your competitor’s website ranks for. Research the:

  • Volume of searches for the keywords.
  • Top ranking keywords.
  • Number of short-tail and long-tail keywords.
  • SERP position for sets of ranking keywords.
  • Number of location-specific keywords.
  • Ad positioning on major search engines for top-ranking keywords.

Measure Social Media Reach

This is an important criteria that will provide you deeper insight into why your competition ranks higher than you in SERPs. Social signals contribute to any website ranking, especially when it comes to Google+ and Google local 3-pack SEO So check social media sites of your competition, their number of followers/fans, their level of engagement and number of times they interact with their followers.

These are the main criteria that you need to consider for competitive SEO analysis of your website. Once you get hold of comparative study data, determine all factors that are missing or can be improved, and then start implementing changes based on what might have most impact. This can lay a strong foundation for building a long-lasting and fantastic website structure.

3 Ways to Leverage a Cohesive Web Design for Better SEO

The front-end design of a website, which is often associated with usability, layout and aesthetics, can have a huge impact on seemingly irrelevant factors, SEO being one of the them.

Whether your starting a website from scratch or going through a re-design, there are a few ways in which you can ensure your site's web design is SEO-friendly. We explore these avenues and considerations in greater detail below.

Without Conversions or Lead Gen, Traffic is Meaningless

It's a common scenario: a website starts receiving a new influx of organic search traffic after just a few months of SEO, however no visitors are converting into leads or sales.

In short, if your site is not converting traffic from SEO, then what's the point? Are you truly realizing your site's potential?

It all comes down to creative web design and CRO. A conversion-oriented website is the foundation to a successful SEO strategy.

Ask yourself, or your web marketing team, the following questions to ensure you're on the righteous path for success.

  • have we set conversion goals or established a conversion funnel?
  • are we using and testing targeted calls-to-action?
  • are the site's pages boring and out-dated, thus contributing to high bounce rates and low time on site?

It's difficult to justify an SEO investment if your website sucks (and is not generating leads.) There are numerous web development and design resources available, so cost is no excuse for a crappy website.

Integrate Rich Media, Strategically

In most cases, boring, text-heavy pages typically imply a poor web design. However for SEO, text-heavy pages are often a good thing to establish keyword relevancy.

With respect to SEO, integrating rich media is a balancing act. Why?

It's easy for web designers to make pages look prettier with high-resolution images and video. Yet, such media can have large file sizes and slow page load speed as a result. Not only does this negatively impact usability, but it hinders SEO performance.

Conversely, when rich media files are properly optimized (to minimize file size,) they can actually enhance a page's SEO (and CRO). When integrating rich media, it's important to:

  • optimize large file sizes to help minimize the time it takes for a page to load.
  • optimize images for keyword relevancy, which contributes to better on-page SEO (and helps your images and videos appear in Google's blended search results).
  • leverage rich media as creative and effective calls-to-action

Engagement Metrics Influence Page Authority (and SEO)

A well-designed website can significantly influence user engagement. Typically clean and cohesive pages that are alluring and user-centric promote higher levels of engagement. In turn, greater engagement will empower page authority and increase SEO potential.

How?

Google looks at behavioral metrics (like time on site and bounce rate) to weigh a page's authority. So, in essence, web design and SEO are close cousins in the genetic code of a healthy website.

In cultivating any solid relationship, quality first impressions are key. When designing the pages of your website, avoid cluttered layouts and use media that's unique, engaging, and purposeful.

When crafting the content of your optimized pages, be creative with your copy. Focus on content that is inspiring, educational, and/or enlightening to your target audience. Not only will keeping your visitors engaged, but it will help accomplish your conversion goals. However, because they're hanging out on your site longer, Google will see that your site offers value (and that will grant you greater page authority.)

5 Indicators of Spammy SEO Companies

In today's digital marketplace, there are thousands of SEO companies on the Web. Although each entity will claim to be adept in providing SEO services, only few are truly capable at generating substantial results and sufficient ROI.

In essence, the quality spectrum of SEO companies is incredibly vast. The majority of firms fall on the lower end of that spectrum, and as a result, interested businesses need to be careful who they invest their marketing dollar in. Spammy SEO Companies

There are some clear indictors that red-flag these spammy SEO companies. In this article, we'll highlight five warning signs that you should look for when seeking a credible SEO services provider.

Prides Link Building Service on Numbers (and Not Relevancy Nor Authority)

Many SEO companies advertise link build services in numbers. "We'll build 1,000 links to your website in the first month!" Now does that really seem natural through the eyes of Google?

Crap like that will only hurt your site's SEO potential. Links need to be built strategically and meticulously over time, using relevant and authoritative link sources. Additionally, link building must respect using a diverse and natural blend of anchor text. Unfortunately, only some SEO firms grasp this concept.

Preaches That "Content is King"

In the SEO profession, "content is king" is an overused statement that underlined keyword-rich page copy as the essence to higher search rankings. The fact is content was king when SEO starting gaining momentum. But over the last five years or so, that old adage has evolved.

In today's SEO era, traffic is the new king of search. You can spend countless hours creating content all day, but if it's failing to drive traffic to your website, content is meaningless. That's not say content has no purpose, but rather the context of using content has changed. The forms of content you produce (e.g. engaging videos, podcasts, and infographics) and where you promote that content (social media sites and high-traffic blogs) is what truly results in quality traffic.

Fails to Include Social Media in the Overall Strategy

SEO companies that still consider social media and SEO as mutually exclusive strategies are destined for failure. Social media is beginning to have an immense influence on search rankings, and without a socially-integrated SEO strategy, any decent keyword rankings will be short-lived.

Strong SEO companies will always factor-in Google+, and in most cases Twitter and Facebook. Although there's plenty more options depending on the client (e.g. Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.,) the latter three are essential for SEO.

Neglects Website Usability

It's more than common for SEO companies to only focus on driving traffic without having any care or consideration toward usability and driving conversions. Without a solid website that promotes conversions, traffic potential is far from being fully realized.

Solid SEO firms will have a hand in their client's CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) strategy. This includes fine-tuning the usability of the website, testing different calls-to-action, and setting-up various conversion goals. These types of SEO companies truly respect their clients' investment and overall success, and are role models for future of SEO.

Doesn't Address Technical SEO Issues

Another common situation is an SEO firm that has no clue what technical SEO means. This is the nuts and bolts of website optimization and ensuring a website is in prime SEO condition for crawling and indexing.

Some of the top SEO companies will place a high degree of emphasis on technical SEO elements, such as:

  • making proper use proper mark-up language
  • fixing broken links or mishandled redirects
  • correcting issues of duplicate content
  • minimizing HTML coding errors and warnings
  • building and integrating complete HTML (and XML) sitemaps

Do you have any questions? We probably have the answers. Contact our SEO experts if you'd like to learn more.

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. In addition to spearheading most of the SEO campaigns here at OIC, he also develops programs for Click Centric SEO, one of the top-ranked ecommerce SEO companies. You can follow with Tyler on Twitter to stay connected with his work.

 

Peoria Web Design Company Offices:
OIC Group, Inc.
Phone: (309) 680-5600

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653