Researching Your Competition: The Basics

Learn the basics of researching your competition to determine whether you can rank for particular keywords. Why should you invest time and money researching your competition? Why is it important to rank top 3? What factors influence your ranking?

How to Rank Against Your Competition

researching your competition
Choose your battles

In some cases, your competition may be able to spend more time and money than you. For example, a small, local company is not going to rank for the keyword dishwasher. Even Amazon does not rank top three. In spite of the fact Amazon would like to. However, for other keywords you may be able to rank. Consequently, it is exciting when you find that keyword “sweet spot” where you can succeed! For instance, when you find that market niche you are able to corner and achieve the results you want.

For example, you might have a brand name for your product or service. Often times this is the name of your company. You can rank number one on Google for a brand name or company name. On the other hand, ranking for a more general search term on Google takes lots of work and a good strategy. Moreover, it is not easy to stay on top. It takes consistent hard work.

Assessing The Competition

Can you rank for that keyword? Will you be able to compete? Competition changes over time. Some old competitors may retire or go out of business. On the other hand, new companies may enter the marketplace. Assessing the competition is an ongoing process.

If you have no chance to rank for certain keywords, then you can save your time and money by investing your resources on other keywords where you have a better chance of ranking. Keyword research and strategy are all about identifying the right opportunities. Consequently, you will need to compare and contrast your abilities with your competition.

Why Ranking Top 3 is Important

Research shows as much as 33% of traffic comes from the first result on Google. Furthermore, only 17% will click the second result. In other words, half of searcher (50%) click the first two results. Moreover, 90% of searchers do not go beyond the first page of Google. Therefore, ranking at the top of search results is hugely important. As a result, ranking top 3 for long tail keywords is likely more valuable than ranking 8 for a broader keyword. In addition, keyword value also depends on traffic volume. So ranking 8 for dishwasher can still drive a lot of sales.

SEO Ranking Factors

Based on SEO experience there are a number of SEO ranking factors:

  • Relevant content
  • SEO authority of your site
  • Links
  • Good technical SEO
  • User experience

The number of factors you can research will depend on the time you can spend. It may cost you too much time to account for all factors, so you should aim for a reliable estimate.

Factors you should definitely research include:

  • The position of your competitors in the market
  • The quality of the content on the page
  • The number of quality links to a page (using back link tools)

Paid SEO Tools

If your SEO budget is large enough, there are a number of paid SEO tools to assess your chance of ranking. For instance, some tools can cost hundreds of dollars per month. These tools are just a starting point. You still have to formulate an SEO strategy yourself. Here are top 5 paid SEO tools:

Researching Your Competition Takeaways

Investing into researching your competition allows you to determine the best way to spend your valuable time and resources. Ranking top 3 is so valuable that it is often best to pursue keywords so you are able to rank in the top 3. In addition, your competitor’s market position, quality of their content and links give you an idea of your chance of successfully competing. Lastly, there are tools (some paid) to assess the competition, but you still have to do a lot of work yourself.

Digital Marketing

Keyword research is the first step to successful SEO. Your next step is to develop the content that matches these keywords. Get more information about digital marketing.

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