Let's find out who's against you, which one's the best at it, how to do the same and how to beat the competition!



image from japantravel.co.uk

Mr. Callen's once wrote:
One way of looking at SEO is to consider that in order to rank #1 for your target se, you have to show search engines that your website is more relevant and accurate in it's information for a particular search term than the current #1 search result.
Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, it sounds easier than it really is. But with some work, this will all pay off!

Competition Overview
While researching, one capital thing to do is to make a list of your biggest competitors so that you can analyze them one by one.

First, take a look back at your keyword list. Using Google (preferably), note down the URLs of the 5 first entries for each search term. Such lists will give you an overview of which sites are the strongest for a particular set of keywords in your niche.
Since those websites enjoy high rankings, you'll want to study their strategies and learn as much as possible about how they are ranking this high in SERPs. You'll have to look at each site's off-site and on-site SEO efforts.

After this, you'll be in a position to determine how hard it will be to beat your competition and what steps you need to take to do so.

What they do on their site
As I said earlier, you'll have to look at each site's on-site SEO efforts. But in order to do that, I list you some things to look for.
  • Title tags optimization
  • Meta tags optimization
  • Keyword usage
  • URL structure
  • Internal Linking
  • and the Website's Age.

Each of these elements will affect any webpage in its on way, or in other words, the success of your competitors .
Usually, the websites that have well optimized their pages for the points I listed above will rank pretty well. But that is not all. Off-page factors are much more important to your competition (and you!) than on-page...

What they can't control
Same as above, but now for the Off-page factors:
  • The number of backlinks
  • The quality of those links
  • The directories listings
  • The PageRank (for Google)

A great tool to view a website's backlinks is Yahoo's Site Explorer: https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com

Remember, learn from your competition!