Studying and Winning Your SEO CompetitionToday, I\’ll share the simplest but one of the most effective SEO tactics with you, which you can get started on right away. Follow your competitors. Understand how they got to the top pages of Google or Yahoo and simply follow their path.

All you need to do is to analyze most important factors that make them rank higher than you and see what you are missing. Also, get ideas on how to better optimize your own pages looking at your competition and see from where you might also be able to get links.

How do you analyze them?

Don\’t worry. There is no need to go to each site and manually extract all the required information. There are excellent tools like IBP\’s \”Top 10 Optimizer\” and SEO Elite\’s \”Get Links To Your Website\” Project and also a free but amazing SEO plug-in for Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer from our Russian fellows at SEOQuake.

All these 3 tools are my favorite amongst hundreds. They are well-done, easy-to-use, and will give any information you might need about your competitors\’ websites fast and easy. However, I still encourage you to visit your major competitor sites and study them on your own. You will be surprised how many ideas you can adapt for your own site. Also, see what they have in common, which will help you understand what seems to be working for them. Conversely, also figure out what things they are missing and be the first one to implement those items.

You will, however, have to be very patient as factors like pagerank, inbound links number, domain age, etc. cannot be beaten quickly. It will require quite some time, but it will be time well spent. Get links from those whose links count as relevant in your field. Needless to say that if you get creative you can reach your competitors without spending as much time as they did and knowing what exactly should be done. Also with new web 2.0 technologies, with all those popular social networks, some things can be done overnight. Again, be creative!

The best thing about this strategy is that no matter how the search engine algorithm is changes it will always work. You can understand what was changed by analyzing the most current top 10 results and follow the winners\’ path. Of course, you shouldn\’t completely copy all their strategies. Just choose the best ones for your own website.

Choose less popular but more targeted keywords to compete for because these are not only easier to get with but in many cases convert better than more generic keywords. With many of them you might get even better traffic, which will only help your sales and conversions.

As an example of how this can work, take our own Last year we started blogging to give our clients and future clients valuable insight into the digital marketing industry. We followed this up with offering white papers for people to download and we are currently launching a video marketing initiative at: /videos. In each of these cases, all have been designed to also help boost our SEO rankings and drive more people to our various outlets. Doing all of this has been a long but very rewarding process and there\’s no reason why you can\’t do the same for your site.

So, that\’s my advice to you: be unique, follow your competitors\’ paths, copy some of the strategies that work but always, I repeat always, stay unique!

Shavkat Karimov
Director, Online Marketing
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