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Whoever comes on the first 10 search engine results is hurting your SEO efforts,  if you are not in the top 10 results..

But the question is, what are your competitors SEO strategy that is beating you. How you too can achieve the same results with your own SEO strategy?

How to Analyze a Competitors Website.

When you analyze a competitors website, you need to make sure you are prepared to do the job correctly. Competitors websites, if analyzed properly, can give you all sorts of information that you can use to increase the traffic and the popularity of your site. You can use these sites to analyze your own market. If a site gets a lot of hits it has to be doing something right. Check out where it is ranked, what key words it uses, how it is formatted, and what you can do to exemplify the good and filter out the bad. Also be sure to keep copyright laws in mind as a copyright infringement suit is never good for you, your site, or your blood pressure.

Identifying the Leaders.

You need to start off by identifying the major players. A good place to do this is Yahoo directory. Its not as comprehensive as it once was, but its good if you're looking for the major players. You may want to print out the directory to take a closer look. Look for large companies, as well as innovative approaches and new products. Also use this examination as an attempt to identify the niche markets that the major players have not identified and exploited. If you can find new niches you're basically set as far as traffic goes.

Also consider that since Yahoo directory is the place that you look to find the big players, it may be a good place to get listed in order to become a big player. These little associations are important if you want to start to attain more and more traffic and conquer a niche or category. Try to identify all places that the big dogs hang out and start hanging out there. Its all about who you know in this business so bigger is better. You might not be ready to play with the big dogs, but the only way to get there is to sit down and give it a shot.

And your SEO efforts has just begun. You need to know exactly who are the players and what SEO strategy they are using.

Sites like Media Metrix 500 can tell you which companies get the most traffic, and you can learn about the relative traffic by using Alexa. Alexa is a free add-on to your browser that ranks the traffic to each sire you visit, telling you whether its in the top 100, the top 1000, the top 10,000, and so on. This gives you a rough idea of where your competitors are in the pecking order.

So the first step is to make a database of your competitors who are ranked high. We will use this data for our SEO strategy later on.

Scrutinize the Leaders.

The next step is to study the top 5 or 10 competitors very closely. There is a lot that can be learned by looking at competitors website and analyzing them. These are the things that you should look for.

1. Make sure you check to see what products or services they offer, and note anything that's different from your own offerings. Look for gaps that you could fill.

2. Think about the look, feel and functionality of their website.

3. See what advertising campaigns and offers they're running.

4. Look at their strengths and weaknesses, from the customers point of view.

5. See if you can figure out their strategy.

When you're dealing with publicly traded companies, you can often get detailed information from their SEC filings. Write down the names of their key players and then look for any interviews and speeches they might have made about their website.

Look for Strengths, Vulnerabilities, and Gaps.

Now, summarize the information you've found into a few sentences for each competitor, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Note strategies that are going to be necessary to counter their offering  these will depend on your own websites strengths. If you're small, then you'll need to be resourceful to exploit their weaknesses.

With this research, you can create a marketing plan. Be sure to include how you intend to deal with competition, and what steps you think you'll need to take for you site to come out on top. Once you've finished analyzing your competitors, you need to consider whether it would be better not to compete at all, and find a less-saturated market.

It is not necessary that only the learned can write about SEO. As long as one ahs a flair for writing, and an interest for gaining information on SEO, anyone can write about it.

Don't get frightened away prematurely, though make sure you know what you're getting into before you start, and don't let big companies intimidate you. Remember that you can move faster than they can! All you have to do is offer your customers things they cant find anywhere else.

Hope these tips on analyzing your competitors website has been useful to you. Many SEO related articles are on this site. Read them too.


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