SEO by the Hour - Expert SEO
San Diego | Honolulu | Hermosillo
SEO by the Hour - Expert SEO
San Diego | Honolulu | Hermosillo

Industry Tools

  • Google Trends
  • Alexa
    • by County
    • by Category
  • Top Directories by Category – Moz
  • Search Various Terms – int’l, national, assc, global, jobs, trends, stats, infographics
    • Top 5 Pages for Broad Category

Individual Competitors’ Research

Top Search Engine Ranking Factors

All of  Google’s Top 20 Search Engine Ranking Factors can be summarized by the following 4 factors;

  • Authority – Your Website’s Strength Based on Backlinks & Trust Signals
  • Google +’s – User ‘Votes’ for Your Website within Google+
  • Backlink Attributes – Attributes of Links and Pages Pointing to Your Website
  • FB Shares – User ‘Votes’ for your Website within Facebook

It is important to recognize these factors when researching the competition in order to emulate search rankings.

NOTE: Google actually says social signals ARE NOT part of the ranking factors (read more here), despite the insane correlation with high ranking websites.


 – Get Ready to Start Taking Notes –

As you research the competition, you’ll start to come up with a variety of ideas. Make sure you don’t forget what you find!

Manually Researching Your Competitors

Important, yet sometimes skipped competition research ideas;

  • How did you hear about them? Word of Mouth, SERP, Billboard, etc?
  • Taking the time to obsess over their website. Hrs, Days, Take Notes
  • Why do you consider them competitors & why are you a better option? Because they outrank me, because they stole my clients, not a direct competitor, but another option, etc


Using Google Search for Competitive Research

  • Search Tools (Search Options)
    • Time – Latest Results – Brand
    • Location – Geo-target Keyword Results
  • Alerts: brand/phrases/@
  • link:
  • site:
  • Searching Content Titles in Quotes – Article, PR, Infographic
  • Search Competitor Along with Your Target Term(s) IE:
  • Google Images – What do you find when searching images for their brand?
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner – Punch in competition’s websites
  • Multi-Competitor Mentions – Search 2 Competitors for Common Website Opportunities


Researching the Competition’s Backlinks

  • cognitiveSEO – Backlink Explorer
  • Majestic
    • Most Linked Pages – Find which of your competitor’s pages get links the most.
  • Ahrefs (Direct MajesticSEO Competitor/Alternative)
  • Moz – Open Site Explorer
    • Also has a toolbar
  • SEMRush – Referring Websites


Research Your Competitors’ Keywords

Here are the online marketing world’s top (PAID) keyword research tools (in order of recommendation).

  1. SEMRush (Presentation Example)
  2. SpyFu
  3. Keyword Spy
  4. iSpionage

All are so similar and continue to compete. But should you decide to subscribe to one, conduct your own research and/or test to see which YOU feel most comfortable with.


Social Media Research

  • Hootsuite (PAID) – to monitor @mentions
    • Topsy – Free Alternative to Hootsuite
  • Twitter Tricks
    • Follow your competitors
    • Monitor your competitors’ @replies
    • Any influencers following them? [Tweepi]
    • Look at their twitter for links or specials for clues
  • YouTube Channel: Discover videos & topics they cover
    • See if it’s been synced with G+
  • Knowem: Check to see how social your competitors are
    • Are they trademarking anything?
    • Do they have additional domains for additional marketing strategies
  • Klout?


Local Search Marketing Tools

  • Whitespark Local Citation Finder – Can add competitors to tool to find citation opportunities.
  • Moz Local – See if competitor is listed in all local directories
    • Examine their profiles


Conclusion Questions

  • Which research strategies are worth my time?
    • Value of Top Rankings:
    • Prioritize based on Relevance, Alexa, potential Impact
    • Prioritize based on Time & Budget
    • What are you Competing for (in order to increase ROI/Bottomline)
      • top search placement?
      • more social visibility?
      • local popularity?
  • How to I go about executing/emulating my competitors list of strategies?
    • Days of the week
    • Total Hours
    • What 1st?
  • What are the most efficient ways to match the competition?
    • Tools
    • Combining site types
    • Combining ad types
    • Combining tasks types
    • Knocking Out 2 Bird with 1 Stone

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