This week, I’ve been interviewing SEO consultants from all over
the country to see if their approach is a good fit for what we teach and recommend here at Main Street ROI.
(I’ve been recruiting new partners for our Main Street
Marketing Network because we’re building a national referral network of trusted SEO companies all over the US. Yesterday I broke a personal record with 9 conference calls in one day!)
When I’m interviewing SEO consultants, I’ll typically say something like, “Tell your SEO methodology…” And then I listen to what the SEO consultant says.
And I know I’m talking with a solid SEO consultant when he or she starts talking about competitor research.
Competitor Research = SEO Shortcut
If you think about it, competitor research is critical for your success with SEO. It’s a powerful shortcut for getting Top 10 rankings in Google.
Why? Because SEO is a “zero sum” game. You just have to be a little better than the websites ranking above you, and you’ll start to climb your way to the top.
With this in mind, I’m going to share 3 simple steps you should take when researching your SEO competitors.
Step 1. Identify your top competitors
First things first, you need to create your list of competitors. I know, this is really obvious. But many people don’t know who they’re really competing with in Google.
Pick some keywords that you would imagine a prospect would search, look at what websites are ranking in Google, and copy down those websites into a spreadsheet.
Step 2. Look at your competitors’ keywords
Next, look to see what specific keyword phrases your competitors are optimizing for.
You’ll want to look at the keywords in your competitors’ Title tags on their homepage and main product/service pages.
(In addition, I recommend you pay attention to what keywords your competitors are advertising on in Google. If your competitors are advertising on keywords, then they’re probably worth trying to rank for in Google, as well. You can use KeywordSpy for this.)
Step 3. Look at your competitors’ links
Use OpenSiteExplorer.org to see where and how your competitors are getting their links. (You’ll need to create a free SEOMoz account if you want to run multiple queries. They’ll make it seem like you have to create a paid account, but a free account will do the trick!)
Export the list of links into a separate spreadsheet and take a look. You’ll likely find some new directories you can submit to. You might also find where your competitors are getting written up in the news, or where they’re publishing guest blog posts, etc.
Do It Today!
Take a few minutes today to study your competitors. Seriously, do it! Most of our students get really excited after they do a little competitive research because they find that most of their competitors are actually pretty weak. It’s a nice motivator. :)
If you don’t have the time to do your own SEO, we’ve got relationships with several excellent SEO companies who charge reasonable rates.
I will personally review your request and then directly introduce you to the best partner in our network based on the info you provide.