If your website doesn’t rank on the first page of Google or any other search engine you’re not going to receive much traffic unless you use some other traffic generating method such as pay-per-click advertising, video marketing, solo ads, etc. Since search engine optimization is a powerful free method to gain high rankings let’s look at what it takes to reverse engineer a competitor’s website so you can use the same methods they used to gain high rankings and outrank them.
The 2 major factors that contribute to high rankings are:
- 1.On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
1. On-page optimization
This refers to all the elements that make up your web pages:
Keywords are what search engines use to find your website so make sure your main keywords are included in the title and description meta tags, web copy (including headings, sub-headings), navigation links, internal links and file names. Use a combination of related keywords instead instead of using the same one because keyword stuffing will result in Google lowering your rankings.
The correct structure of your website makes it easy for search engine spiders to crawl your links and content. Make sure your main links are located on the home page and all your internal pages are only 3 clicks away from the home page. Create a site map that contains all the links on your site and include it in the navigation on your home page. This makes it easy for a search engine spider to crawl through all the links on your site.
How to reverse engineer the on-page factors of your top 10 competitors
Enter your main keyword phrase in Google (or any of the other major search engines) to analyze the top 10 websites. The best way to organize the information is to create columns in an excel spreadsheet.
For instance here are some titles you can use for your columns:
- website URL
- ranking position
- title meta tag
- description meta tag
- no of backlinks
To find what keywords are being used in the meta tags of your competitors’ sites simply right click to view the source code (view source) if you’re using Internet Explorer or download the web developer extension if you’re using Firefox. Fill in each column with the information you find then repeat it for all top 10 competing websites.
2. Off-page optimization
This refers to the the number of backlinks a site has. Backlinks refer to websites linking or pointing to your own site. The quality and quantity of the links will determine how high the site will rank.
How to reverse engineer the off-page factors of your top 10 competitors
To find how many backlinks (links pointing to your competitor’s website from other sites) enter the URL of your competitor in Open Site Explorer
It will display the..
- Total number of links
- Title and URL of Linking Page
- Link Anchor Text
- Page Authority
- Domain Authority
After gathering all the information about your competitors, review your own site and make the necessary adjustments to gain high rankings. For instance if a competing site only has 10 backlinks make sure you get more so you can outrank them.
Here are 2 other factors to consider that influence search engine rankings.
Social media activity
Social media signals also influence search engine rankings. Check to see if your competitors have social media icons on their sites. If not you may be able to outrank them by being active on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
Domain age (domain authority)
This refers how long the domain has been registered. Google gives higher rankings to sites that have been registered for many years over newly registered sites. If you register a new domain name it will take some time to gain traction in the search engines.
When trying to outrank your competitors avoid targeting a highly competitive niche, keyword phrase or sites that already have 1000s of backlinks. Instead target those sites that have few backlinks and build pages around less competitive keyword phrases (long tail keywords). This will shorten the time it will take to outrank your competitors. As your rankings increase so will your traffic and sales.
After outranking your competitors don’t stop marketing your website otherwise your rankings will be short-lived. Create a marketing plan which consists of consistently adding new content, engaging in social media and building new backlinks.
SEO 101 – How To Begin A Search Engine Optimization Campaign
Site Architecture – How to Correctly Structure Your Website for Search Engines and Visitors
How to Write Web Copy That Sells
Top 7 Reasons to Create a Social Media Presence for Your Business
Effective Link Building Strategies
3 Tips To Improve Conversion Rates and Increase Sales
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