Find Out What SEO Is Required To Rank Higher Than Your Competition.
Once the keywords you wish to rank high for have been determined, you should, and Thinking IT do, conduct a thorough analysis of your competitors website’s to find out what SEO work needs to be done to rank higher than them in search engine results.
Google uses more than 200 ranking signals and many of them have more than 50 variations within a single factor to determine PageRank, what order to place web pages for given search terms or keywords. Your competitors would not have optimised their web pages for all of these signals, it’s very unlikely that even the most important SEO factors have been addressed, so analysing what has, and hasn’t been done allows you to know how much work is required to have your web pages rank higher than theirs, which is what SEO, Adelaide businesses require to attract more customers, is all about.
This brings up an important point about SEO.
Search engine optimisation is a process that will constantly evolve, it is not static.
Your competitors, after seeing you have obtained a higher ranking position for several search terms, decides to increase their SEO efforts.
Google, the largest search engine, makes changes to how it ranks web pages in its algorithm every day.
The following list is what SEO specialists from Thinking IT use when analysing your competitors website pages:
- Find out who is the competition
- What needs to be analysed
- The analysis
- Report format
Who is The Competition?
Business owners should be acutely aware who their competition is in the market place. We ask for a list of the top 5 major competitors as a start. Next, we ask for a list of products and/or services that the business wishes to promote on their website. Finally we ask the business owner what separates them from their competition, why customers should buy from them and not from a competitor.
What Is Analysed
When we analyse a website, we look at the same factors items each time. The website analysis form we use is updated with the names and URL’s of the websites that will be analysed.
The following lists details what factors are analysed.
The Websites Home Page
The home page of a website is the sites most important page. First impressions count, which is a reflection on the website design used and can be subjective, but from a SEO point of view, the following is analysed:
- The size of the home page and long it takes to download,
- The readability score Google assigns it,
- What is ‘above-the-fold’,
- Unique selling point,
- Call to Action,
- Depth of Home page,
- Contact details,
- Credentials validation – certifications and association memberships,
- Tags and meta-tags,
- Placement and use of keywords throughout the content and headings,
- Use of images,
- Software used along with coding analysis.
As you can see from this list, there is quite a lot that is analysed for just the home page of a website.
navigation is one of the most poorly thought out and executed aspects of website design. There should be no more that 2 clicks from one page to any other. From a SEO perspective, the following is analysed.
- Navigation menu,
- Ease of navigation,
- Site map
- Return to home page from any page,
- Internal search engine,
- Internal links,
- Broken links,
- Use of text and graphic links (anchor text and ALT tags)
- Types of links (new, nofollow),
Much ground can be gained by making sure navigation ‘best practices’ are adhered to.
A web pages content should be using a clear, easy-to-read font, large enough to read and laid out according to good website design principals. With regards to SEO, content is King! This is what we analyse:
- Useful information,
- Level of substantiated material,
- Amount of interaction,
- Use of headings to break up content,
- Depth of content on pages,
- Available in multiple languages,
- Accessibility for disabled visitors,
- Terms and conditions of use,
- FAQ’s page,
- Use of graphics,
- Number of pages,
- Use of categories,
- Blog existence, size and freshness,
- Use of comments, reviews and testimonials,
- Mixture of content types,
- Use of e-mail newsletter subscription,
- Page loading times,
- Content viewed on mobile devices.
Accessibility of content for the disabled and mobile phone users has a new focus with search engines, especially Google.
Repeat visitors are important to a website’s standing and PageRank, obviously they’re good for business too. The SEO benefits associated with getting large amounts of repeat visitors should make it a core focus. We analyse what reasons are given to come back often.
- Periodic special offers and discounts,
- Latest news on a subject,
- E-Newsletter driven returns,
Sometimes stock that rotates can be a good enough reason for visitors to return, but you should make that invitation.
There is no point having a great looking website, if no one can find it! The following list focuses on how easy it was to find the website:
- Business name search,
- Intuitive URL
- Designed for search engine bots to crawl,
- Use of intuitive keywords,
- Use of meta tags, relative to page content,
- Partner and affiliate site referrals,
- Ranking for meta keywords,
- Use of social media,
- Number of backlinks from number of other sites,
Your website should rank first for at least the businesses name, with site links to popular pages listed below.
One of the benefits of having a website is, or should be allowing visitors to contact you. The following contact methods are analysed.
- Google profile completed,
- Telephone number contact,
- Call back service offered,
- Use of online forms,
- Email address listed,
- Address details listed,
- Local and head office contact and location details promoted if applicable.
If you have a Google business page set up for your business, the format of location an contact details should match what you have on every page of your website for local SEO.
You can not rely on your visitors using the latest browser version, or the same browser that you use, so make sure your website can be viewed in older versions of all browsers. This is what we check for:
- Internet Explorer (1-10),
- Netscape Navigator (1-9),
- Mozilla Firefox (1-22),
- Chrome (1-27),
- Opera (1-12),
- Safari (1-6),
- Responsive design performance check.
Safari is used on all Apple devices, so should definitely be checked along with browsers used by PC and Android users.
- Reliability of the website / hosting environment,
- Clicks to exit,
- Acknowledgement of request,
- Supplier terms of trade,
- Career opportunities,
- Financial results,
- History of the business,
- Management and structure of the business,
- Mission statement,
- Complaints handling process,
- Domain name hosting details and history,
- Website history and hosting details,
When visiting each competitors website, a score, along with detailed notes are recorded. The score is a ranking from 1-5, correlating to bad, poor, fair, good and excellent for each factor. 0 is also used if a factor has been missed altogether. The notes are written to reflect why a factor scored the way it did.
Experience with evaluating websites in a methodical manner reduces any subjective influence, focusing on empirical data instead.
If the business we are doing the research for has a website, theirs would be analysed last for comparison to competitor sites.
Each report discussed includes the following sections:
- Summary of findings – Yes that goes first,
- Methodology Section, discussing how sites were rated and the criteria used to rate each factor,
- Findings Section, a summary of findings for each site with overall score for each section,
- Recommendations are supplied in a SEO plan format.
Business clients generally do not request a detailed analysis unless they are serious about increasing their online presence. Most Adelaide businesses still do not have a website, and many that do have had one built on a bare bones budget with no thought of SEO at all.