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A Beginners Guide to SEO – Part 2

April 20, 2012 by  
Filed under SEO, SEO Tutorials

Analysing your competitors to find viable keywords.

Now that you have a keyword list of suitable search terms that will convert into real customers when they reach your website, you need to compare your website with those of your competitors.

Begin by typing one of your keywords into Google. Look through the results, to find a site with a similar URL to yours. If yours is keyword rich, then you want keyword rich competitor URL’s to analyse, if your site URL is your company name and non keyword rich, then you want to compare your site to a competitor who has also used their company name.

Likewise, compare your site home page to the home page of a similar site, not too an internal page, because otherwise you won’t be making a fair comparison.

There are several good SEO analysis tools available which will allow you to analyse every element of your competitor’s site.

You need to be able to compare their back-links and every detail of their back-link strength, link text density, the size of their site, the on-page elements such as content volume, keyword density, load speed, bounce rate etc as without all this information you will not be able to make informed decisions about the viability of each keyword.

To analyse keyword density on a page, use SEO Quake as a Firefox plugin. This free tool has several useful features, including showing you how each of your pages looks to search engines, and a simple but effective keyword density tool which works well. To analyse your competitors back-links, use Majestic SEO.

This is a great tool for comparing the link profiles of different sites. You can easily see a list of the links pointing to a site and analyse their construction. Once you have analysed a few sites, you will build a picture of the level of competition that you are up against. For example, you might look at a site ranked 2nd for a term and see that it has 2,000 back-links.

But, you might also see that 40% of their links come from one IP address, and use the companies name rather than targeted link text. This would indicate that by getting your links from a larger variety of sources and targeting them more efficiently using a percentage of keywords in the link text, you will be able to get to 2nd in the rankings with about 1,500 – 1,600 back-links.

This would change dramatically if the competitor site was significantly bigger than your site, so you need to bear this in mind when making decisions. Once you have worked through your keyword list you will be able to rule out any that look to be too competitive.

If the top few spaces are filled with ‘giant’ sites such as Amazon and Wikipedia, you will need to build a substantial volume of good quality links in order to compete. You should now have a list of keywords that you want to rank for, and that are achievable for your website. In A Beginners Guide to SEO – Part 3 we will apply those keywords to your website.

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