| WebHosting Discussion and News|
| Search URLville|
This is URLville USA and AU (Australia). If you are looking for affordable and reliable hosting, you have come to the right place. Whether you are building a personal website or a professional website for your business, you will find what you need at URLville.com. |
We have state-of-the-art data centers located in the United States and Austrailia which are comprised of ultra high-quality connectivity, networking gear, climate control, security and power systems. Our facilities are monitored 24/7/365 from our state-of-the-art network operations center and if a problem arises, we are here to help you!
Our network is comprised of connectivity from leading Internet backbone providers and enables us to achieve 99.9% network uptime for our customers.
We accept payment in US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling, and Yen.
| Who's Online|
There are currently, guest(s) and member(s) that are online.|
You are Anonymous user. You can register for free by clicking here
| Check This|
|| Demystifying Your Competitor's Ranking Successes|
Your Competitor's Ranking Successes|
We have all been there, "how the heck do they always get #1?" It is a
constant frustration for many a client and, well, even myself occasionally.
The fact is that much of the time there are a few solid reasons behind the
search engine success of any website and it is important to learn what these
reasons are before trying to compete. How is this done? Therein lies the subject
of this article; how do you determine what your competitor has done to win the
search engine war?
Demystifying your competitor's success requires you
to put on your detective garb because you are going to have to investigate all
aspects of their website; even the deepest darkest corners. In the following
instructional I will lead you through a hypothetical investigation of a
competitor who is ranking for the phrase "voip services". In each step I will
choose the more popular result that I find when I do similar competitor analyses
professionally. So please take note, the sample is only the most popular result;
occasionally there are truly baffling cases of competitor success which have
required heftier investigation leading to differing conclusions of what they did
STEP 1: Start with the Basics: Is The Site Optimized?
Visit your competitor's website and look at the content on the page.
Does the keyphrase they are ranking under appear often throughout the body text?
Does the phrase appear in the headings, Meta Tags, Title and in their menu? If
this is so it generally means they have focused completely on attaining the
keyphrase they are ranking highly for. In other words it is quite possible, and
even likely, that they have sacrificed other keyword goals in order to achieve
this single goal.
Example Results of Step 1:" The competitor's
page has utilized the ‘voip services' often but not in a spammy manner (not
obvious overuse) throughout the body text on their home page. The page topic is
clearly focused on this phrase because the Title tag states ‘VOIP Services - by
VOIP Business Systems' and the headings and menu items are clearly related.
Conclusion, I have no doubt that this site has focused on this phrase and that a
search engine spider will have no problem logically identifying the subject of
this page as ‘voip services'."
STEP 2: Is Site Structure Playing
A Role In Their Success?
Site structure is a fundamental reason for ...
search engine success. I cannot stress enough just how important it is to have a
website that can be freely and simply indexed by search engines. The fact is
that the more legitimate and useful content that a search engine has access to
on a website the better the environment for top rankings. To put this inquiry
simply: "how well is the website indexed?" Each search engine may react slightly
different to the technology used within a website so let's tackle the 2 largest
and most revealing engines:
Test Google and Yahoo: On each search engine use the following
syntax replacing "competitor" with your competitor's site:
site:www.competitor.com . This search will reveal how many pages that each major
engine has indexed within the competitor's site. Now that you have a list of the
pages indexed, look and see if each indexed page has its own title and
description. The answer will determine whether each page within their site has
been individually optimized. Google Sitemap
It is also crucial to look at the URL's for
each link. Does each link appear to have many symbols such as "%&"? Often a
website with a lot of extraneous code in their URL's will not be 100% indexed
because the search engines tend to shy away from pages that are created
dynamically (by databases - which these characters state). If there are no
extraneous characters it may be quite revealing if you know the site is far too
big to be anything but driven by a database. In this situation it is apparent
that the competitor's website has been tweaked by a programmer to allow the
search engines to index everything. This tweak is extremely common and highly
recommended for anyone who has a database driven website with unfriendly URLs
(contact me for more
Another useful and revealing
tactic is to determine whether your competitor is using Google Sitemap to
improve the indexing of its website. To find this out with reasonable chances of
success, try entering the following URL into your browser's address bar:
www.competitor.com/sitemap.xml. This is the default file name for Google
sitemaps so if your competitor has one this will often provide you with a
resulting page full of xml data. Here is an example of what you
would see if your search were successful (from StepForth's website). If you do
find a sitemap then it is reasonable to assume that your competitor is
relatively well informed on the latest search engine tactics and that Google
Sitemaps may play a small role in their online success.
Finally you need to know exactly how many pages your
competitor actually has online. This way you can determine how well their
website has been indexed. To do this there are a variety of software options but
one simple and free option is to use Xenu's Link Sleuth. Xenu is
a free site analysis tool available here; in the past I have found it very
simple, small to install and unobtrusive. Install the program and select a new
project where you just need to enter the address to spider and let it go to
work. Ultimately you can ignore a lot of the information because you are not
trying fix dead links. The key is the "Statistics for Managers" section located
at the bottom of the report. The number of pages within the site can be found
next to the "text/html" statistic.
Results of Step 2
" I saw that Google had indexed about 9000 pages
and Yahoo had indexed 138,000 pages. I am quite impressed with these indexing;
obviously my competitor's site is easily indexed by search engine spiders. To
back this up I see that the URL's do not have any extraneous characters yet they
are also very long… this database-driven website must have been tweaked for
"Yahoo had more results than Google but that isn't a
surprise since Yahoo tends to be more forthcoming with its site-specific
queries. A Google Sitemap does exist on the competitor's site but because Yahoo
has also indexed the site well I don't suspect it has played a significant role.
As for the ratio of actual pages to those indexed… it appears that Yahoo has
actually indexed more pages than my software found. Overall I would say that
this competitor has spent a lot of time making their site search engine
friendly. I should compare these results with my own site… perhaps I need to
STEP 3: Where, Oh Where Do They Get Links?
These days another fundamental issue are backlinks (links pointing to
their site); just how many have your competitors got that you don't have OR just
how good are they? For example you may find that your competitor has thousands
of links but when you research them they appear to be less than relevant to
their site topic. Only relevant links offer any advantage. In other words, if
your site is about VOIP and you have a link from a hair salon you are not likely
to get an iota of benefit from this link. That said, if you have a link from a
telephone sales website then there is an obvious correlation in relevance and
your perceived search engine popularity will increase.
In order to
discover this information you have two options. One, perform a manual search of
your competitor's backlinks where you can randomly review the quality of their
links (time consuming but ok for small sites). The other option is to purchase a
program like OptiLink which is
designed specifically to simplify the investigation process; especially for
large competitor sites. For the purposes of this article I will stick to the
manual option but I do recommend checking out OptiLink because it also provides
other amazing analysis tools that will help you get better rankings.
Open two web browsers and then follow
In one browser visit Google and type in the following:
link:www.competitor.com Some Points to Look Out For:
The resulting list will include a sampling of
the backlinks that Google ‘sees'. Now I note "sampling" because Google is not
very forthright with this information. For example I can state with little doubt
that Google actually sees just as many backlinks that Yahoo does yet Google
always shows fewer in their results.
In the other browser visit Yahoo
and type in the following: linkdomain:www.competitor.com
resulting list is likely a very realistic assessment of all the notable links
your competitor has online.
Now that you have a list for each major
search engine you can tackle randomly investigating the links within
Are the sites relevant to your competitor's site? If they are
not relevant you can consider them a low quality link with likely zero benefit.
Example Results for
Do the sites appear to be reputable? In other words do they have
obvious Spam? If there is obvious Spam you can ignore this site.
the sites have decent PageRank? (use the Google Toolbar to deduce this)
Low PR sites (>4) are generally less helpful. High PageRank sites
(5>) often have better impact because they are considered reputable so most
outgoing links will be votes of confidence for the destination site. Please note
that this is a topic thick with opinions but these are fair general statements.
Do they appear to be link farms? If they are, this link can
generally be discounted.
Are the links paid? If you notice that
the links shown are paid links take note of the site and consider contacting
them for their rates. Even if you decide not to proceed with their service it
can be a revealing piece of information.
" I decided to review 50 different back links on each search
engine and I discovered something very interesting. First of all, of the 100
links that I reviewed I noticed that my competitor actually owns the sites! I
figured this out by reviewing the Whois of each site because they appeared to be
so promotional. Each site is informational, well designed and obviously created
to build traffic to his main site. This is not a tactic that I want to follow
due to the time it takes and from an ethical standpoint so I chose to focus on
the other links I found. Unfortunately it appears that the other links were not
too revealing; none of them appeared to be of especially high quality and most
appeared to be from an old link building campaign because they were link farms
(an old and dangerous tactic).
"I did have one lucky hit! I found about
10 websites where my competitor is paying for links. These sites appear to be of
very good quality and the number of outgoing links is very low. I am going to
find out if advertising on them is affordable."
STEP 4: Your Site
- Compare and Contrast
Now run all of the same analysis you just did
for your competitor on your own site and record your discoveries.
STEP 4: The Resulting Conclusions
Compare and contrast
the information that you have compiled from your competitor and your own website
and create a game plan.
Example Conclusions: The Game Plan Other Forms of Competitor Analysis
In point form this
is what I believe I need to review on my own site in order to compete:
1. I must simplify the URL's within my website. My research has shown
that my site has several roadblocks because my site is only 20% indexed in both
Google and Yahoo.
2. I need to optimize each major page within my
website paying particular attention to the customization of each title tag. I
noticed that each of my competitor's top performing pages (despite being deep in
their site) was well optimized.
3. It may not be the biggest help but I
am going to add a Google Sitemap to my website once it has been optimized.
4. I need to attain more backlinks. I see how my competitor has gained
backlinks but I have no interest in pursuing this angle. Instead I am going to
hire a link building firm as well as start my own blog on VOIP emerging
technology that I hope will produce enough interest to get some
analysis that I outlined above is used when you are trying to beat out a
competitor under a particular keyphrase target. But this is only one form of
For example, perhaps you know a competitor down the
street from your office is doing exceptionally well online. In order to find out
how they were doing well you would approach an analysis differently. You would
first need to discover what keyphrases the competitor is targeting and what
exactly they are doing to obtain rankings under them. Additionally you would
need to discover if this competitor is profitable for reasons other than search
engine rankings. For example, they may be acquiring traffic from another website
through a paid advertisement or a mutual partnership. There are many ways that a
business can profit online and once in a while I find a completely new and
occasionally cool concept when I research competitors for my clientele.
Just a reminder, the steps noted above represent just the tip of an
iceberg for researching your competitor's success. If you are finding that
significant pieces of the puzzle still remain unanswered after following these
recommendations please do not hesitate to give me a call (250-385-1190).
Don't have an account yet? You can create one. As a registered user you have some advantages like theme manager, comments configuration and post comments with your name.|
| Related Links|
| Article Rating|
|"Login" | Login/Create an Account | 0 comments|
|The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.|
No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register|