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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.


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.


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.)

What Separates OIC Group from Other Peoria Web Design Companies

Many local businesses are beginning to realize the importance of having an online presence (beyond a Facebook or Google+ page.) Whether a new website serves as a simple point of contact, a sales funnel, or a marketing investment to capture new business, the opportunities in having a well-branded website offer a number of benefitsOIC Group Peoria Web Design Company

OIC Group is realizing his heightened demand for affordable, cost-effective website services first hand. As a commercially vast region with a growing economy, more businesses in the Peoria, Illinois area are seeking a web design company to best meet their website needs. As local business advocates and pioneers in the web design industry, OIC helps bolster this growing need with a wide range of website services.

Manage Your Website with Ease

SEO Friendly Web Design

One of the most common limitations in investing in a new website is the management of the site (e.g. updating content.) Many companies assume the need to hire a webmaster with a technical background, which can be quite expensive. A content management system (CMS) can be a cost-efficient alternative, enabling anyone with basic computer skills to manage content and make website edits with ease. 

What separates OIC Group from other Peoria web design providers is the company's flagship CMS Exponent CMS. Not only does Exponent CMS enable just about anyone to manage the website, but Exponent is also SEO-friendly in many ways.

Exponent is somewhat similar to other CMS's, such as WordPress or Drupal, however it uses a more intuitive and logical interface that makes content management extremely simple. Instead of managing a website from a back-end dashboard, users can edit copy, add media, and make tweaks to the content as it is seen on the actual page. In essence, Exponent merges a front-end editing interface with seamless CMS functionality and highly SEO-friendly features.

Ensure Your Website is Visible in Search

Many Peoria-based clients of OIC often take their website to the next level by ensuring it's visible in search. By pursuing services in search engine optimization (SEO) and/or Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, businesses make the most of their website by getting in front of new customers who are actively seeking their products or services. Peora Web Design Search

The Internet marketing team at OIC Group has experience building SEO, PPC, and social media marketing campaigns on both a local and national scale. OIC's marketing team conducts thorough assessments and custom tailors various program options to choose from. In essence, OIC offers effective solutions and services program that can meet virtually any marketing budget.

Expand Your Definition of "Going Local"

When we think about "going local," we often think of buying produce from local farmers or doing our Christmas shopping at local retailers. Rarely do we consider the local impact of more B2B-related services, especially in the form of web design and web development.

Peoria web design company, OIC Group, Inc., is proponent of this local shift in business orientation. As more and more consumers become local advocates for the communities in which they live, the same trends are also impacting commercial relationships and vendor partnerships. The focus of OIC Group is simple: to provide locally-focused website services for Peoria-based companies, with affordable website packages for small businesses.

Interested in Learn More? Let's Connect.

The experts at OIC are happy to speak with you regarding any interests you might have in the company's products or services. Whether you are seeking a local web design company in Peoria or an SEO specialist to handle a national campaign, the team at OIC Group is well-versed to help spearhead your unique project.

Peoria, Illinois Headquarters
112 State Street, Suite LL-B
Peoria, IL 61602
Tel: (309) 680-5600
Fax: (888) 898-8512


Tyler TafelskyAbout the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. Tyler spearheads most of the SEO, PPC, and social media marketing campaigns here at OIC and works with clients on both a local and national level. You can follow Tyler on Twitter, at, or connect with him on Google+.

Web Design vs. Web Development: Depicting the Practice

Outside the office, it's not uncommon to hear the roles of web designers and web developers used for the same purposes. Sure, the practices of both web design and web development share some overlap in terms of website creation, yet they are both very different.

When it comes to coding a website for proper usability and functionality, web design and development is a cohesive partnership. Some individuals are capable of wearing both hats and can execute tasks from both ends of the spectrum. Yet when certain talents are required, such as technical scripting skills or creative graphic work, the need for a more niche professional is often demanded.

To help clarify the practices of web design and web development, we depict both in greater detail below.

Web Developers: The Architects

In a nutshell, web development encompasses a more technical approach to building a website. This includes an abundance of if then functionality (if the user performs this action, then the website will do that as result.)

For complex websites, this may center on database development and integration, which is mostly back-end focused. An experienced web developer can create the necessary processes and user-functions of a website, and integrate them into the HTML. This may include simple executions like implementing menu drop downs and navigation references, or more complex tasks like on-site search functionality and database integration. Web development, although more technically oriented, is a difficult role to define because it covers such a wide range of aspects.

Just think of web developers as the architects (and builders) of a website, for they plan and organize the overall blueprints of the site and how it interacts with users.

Web Designers: The Artists

Web designers are more focal to the front-end of the website. That is, they are masters of a website's visual appeal. Web design emphasizes the layout, which centers on the use and placement of images, videos, graphics, buttons, call-to-actions, copy, and other forms of content.

Web designers take care of the site's look and feel, and will often take into consideration the user-behaviors that influence conversion optimization. Although web design experts are adept in HTML coding, they also utilize creative tools like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop to produce buttons, graphics, and other visuals. Solid web designers are also proficient in usability testing and know eye-tracking best practices like the back of their hand.

This can be very advantageous for sites looking to split-test multiple design concepts or landing page variations. In many cases, web designers will team up with usability strategists, developers, copywriters, and Internet marketers to ensure projects are completed as desired.

The Agency Duo

Most agencies that build and optimize websites will cover the practices of both web design and development. Whether they have one individual to handle it all or dedicated teams for both, complete website companies will understand the nature of each.

At our Peoria web design company, we offer expertise in web development and design based on the talents of numerous specialists. Our web creation experts work together with our SEO and Internet marketing team to ensure proper elements are in place and SEO friendly standards are met.

This blog post was produced by Tyler Tafelsky, Internet Marketing Manager of OIC Group, Inc.

Why Your Small Business Needs an Optimized Website

Small Business Website OptimizationEvery year the small business landscape is becoming more and more competitive, especially in major metropolitan areas. With commercial interaction becoming even more digital, the need for a website is imperative to stay afloat.

Most small business marketers realize this need and already own a website. Yet, many fail to acknowledge their website's core purpose. Sure there are the essential contact information and core product or service pages, but more often than not, there’s an untapped opportunity.

Some small business websites are simply out-dated and visually appalling to visitors. Most sites could be locally optimized for great search engine visibility (SEO). Depending on the status of your company's website, an optimized website could offer a game changing marketing opportunity.

What's an Optimized Website?

An optimized website addresses two primary aspects:

  • The mark-up language of a site's code
  • The keyword relevancy of a site's content Building a well optimized website involves a wide array of skill-sets.

The website design and development team must build the site so that the back-end code or (mark-up language) is search engine friendly. This typically involves the use of certain technologies as well as coding techniques. As a result, the website will be crawled and indexed more efficiently. The second fulfillment of an optimized website centers on establishing keyword relevancy in the site's content.

Otherwise known as on-page SEO, this is a process that includes researching the right keywords or search phrases, and creatively blending them in the proper places throughout the website. The requires copywriting and strategy web marketing skills. There are many resources on the web for SEO services, and the on-page component is the primary aspect of optimizing a website.

Benefits of an Optimized Website

Having a professionally optimized website can pay major dividends for your small business. A well developed, keyword optimized website can increase your business's chances of being found in the search results, especially if you utilize the link building resources that a website optimization company can offer.

A polished up website can also serve as prime candidate for Pay Per Click advertising. Local PPC for small businesses is a highly effective means for more website traffic. You can also utilize the potential of blogging. By building an on-site blog, you can write and share compelling articles about your company. This can further lead to more inbound web traffic.

In today's digital age, these are some of the most important considerations for small business marketers. The marketing platforms are changing, and only strong local companies are surviving. Whether it's pursuing a new web design for your small business or considering the options for search engine marketing, there's immense potential to grow your web presence.


This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

Conversion Optimization and What You Need to Know

Unlike SEO and Pay Per Click advertising that simple direct traffic to a website, conversion optimization goes one step further. Also commonly referred to as conversion rate optimization (for its focus in improving the conversion rate of a website), conversion optimization centers on post-click user activity and behavior. That is, the desired action a user takes after he or she lands on a webpage (primarily from the search engine results.)

So what exactly do you need to know about conversion optimization? A few things.

Conversion optimization is a big deal in today's website marketing arena. The definition of a 'well-optimized website' has evolved into more than just a site that's been strategically infused with keywords. Now, a well-optimized site is one that has a professionally planned conversional funnel, or a pre-meditated path that users will take once they land on a page, in addition to all of the necessary SEO elements involved.

Conversion Optimization is a lot Like SEO

Similarly to SEO, conversion optimization is not a hit-and-run project. Rather, it's ongoing process of testing, evaluating, and fine-tuning. The leaders of the optimization profession will do more than simply tune-up landing pages or implement A/B tests on different webpage variations. True conversion optimizers will roll-up their sleeves and uncover valuable insights based on user behavior. The force behind conversion optimization is information.

Website analytics are the source for such valuable data, and knowing how make sense of key on-site statistics is imperative. Approaches like segmentation analysis and assessing navigation pathways become even more essential. In both conversion optimization and search engine optimization, content reigns king.

Sure, website design and technicalities may seem significant (and they are,) but don't let these aspects overshadow what truly matters - meaningful experiences and valuable propositions. In world of SEO, success in these can earn you links. In conversion optimization, these elements result in paying customers. You dig?

Why Design and Technical Expertise Matter

Conversion optimization demands constant testing of various page concepts. Whether for SEO or PPC optimization, the conversion funnel must be well-planned, constantly analyzed, and respectfully modified.

The elements of a conversion funnel, although still focused on content will often hinge on the help of a creative website designer or code-friendly web developer. Flipping call-to-actions based on eye tracking studies or adding different visuals to a page are just a few examples.

In essence, the advantages of conversion optimization derive from offering something valuable as an incentive to convert. This is why strategic web marketing experience, coupled with creative and technical experience, can make for an effective website optimization team.

If you are search engine marketing efforts are becoming stagnant, perhaps it’s not matter of search engine visibility or getting traffic to your website. Rather, it could be matter of optimizing your website for great conversion potential.


This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

The Facts Behind SEO-Friendly Web Design

Peoria Web DesignIn today's digital marketplace, search engine optimization (SEO) and website design must go respect one another. Many web design companies these days are infusing SEO in the web design process.

However, many website designers fail to understand the significance of SEO while putting together a website, and neglect the SEO-friendly (as well as SEO-Unfriendly) aspects of a website during the design process.

The potential to obtain a top search engine ranking and capture more traffic is much greater with a SEO friendly web design. There are many techniques and technologies that can make a website look attractive, however many of these methods are not friendly with search engines. In essence, visually and aesthetically pleasing design elements my block or slow a search engine spiders, which can kill SEO. If search engine spider cannot access the content of a website easily and efficiently, is unlikely that the website will rank highly in the search engines.

Elements of SEO-Friendly Websites

Respecting the best practices of SEO while designing a website takes into consideration more than just essential content elements and linking. Building a SEO-friendly website needs to factor in the site's architecture, navigation, and back-end coding structure (or HTML). The content of each webpage (both on-page and off-page) is a critical component for search engine optimization.

The off-page SEO elements that are not fully viewable to users on the page (but often portrayed in the search engine results) are the page's title and meta description. These aspects of the site's content should be mentioned in the first few lines of code for each page. The on-page components of a SEO-friendly website need to be content focused. That is, content that can be crawled and indexed, and offers SEO value to a search engine spider. These elements include any parceable text, images (including the image "Alt" tag,) and videos.

Content that does not offer SEO value is flash media, which causes search engine spiders to choke on a page. Although attractive on a webpage, flash animated media is very code-cumbersome and causes the load speed of pages to slow.

CMS Considerations for SEO

For websites built around a content management system (CMS), the product or technology behind the CMS will be ultimate variable for search engine friendliness. The CMS is the general framework for which a website's design is centered upon.

A code-heavy CMS that makes use of nestled tables and other non-SEO friendly design elements will hinder SEO. For this reason, SEO-friendly content management systems have been a primary focus for some CMS product developers. A distinction of a good CMS platform for SEO is how the software generates the code for each page. Strong platforms for SEO will use stylesheets, or CSS, which is typically very spider friendly for crawling and indexing a site. In addition, the content attributes are also major considerations.

Most content management systems will allow users to customize the page title and meta description on each page. But what separates the truly SEO friendly CMS solutions from the pack is the URL. It is not uncommon for most CMS platforms to auto-generate a URL that looks something like Such URLs offer no SEO value. With the right CMS, users can write optimized URLs to include some of the primary keyword targets for that page, such as

Moving Forward

The landscape for Internet marketing firms is filled with SEO & Web design companies that claim they handle both disciplines effectively. If you are moving forward with a website that you want fully optimized for search, be sure to learn as much as you can about the company. Often times a thorough interview with the firm's staff that brings up questions about the variables discussed above will shed light on just how effective the firm actually is. Here at OIC Group, our practices revolve around the marriage of SEO and web design, so much so that we have developed a highly SEO-friendly CMS called Exponent. With this product and our professional expertise in custom website design and SEO Peoria IL, we are able to help clients realize their Internet marketing objectives.


This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+


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

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653