Researching existing competitors is a mandatory SEO process when evaluating the landscape of any potentially competitive market. Aside from using simple tactics like Google Blog Search to find out which sites and respective keywords are entering the index in your industry or niche, you need real SEO tactics you can use to outwit competitors.
Online, it’s not only your own site that you are up against when it comes to relevance; you have to compete with the on page and off page relevance score of anyone who understands the premise of streamlining coherence and continuity of keywords, relevance and content.
Just like a sculptor starting with a lump of clay, or an artist starting with a blank canvas, your website is pure diverse raw potential; depending on what you put into it, how you sculpt it and how colorful and relevant each page is, determines how it fares against both search engine algorithms and preexisting web pages.
Since we have already covered methods to assess competitors in previous posts [refer to links below] let’s add a few more layers of depth to other metrics that should be assessed within the context of competitive research and analysis aside from the obvious.
- How to Evaluate Competitive Keywords
- How to Use the SEO Ultimate Competitor Research Module
- SEO and Competitive Keyword Thresholds
- Should You Target Competitive Keywords or the Long-Tail?
Combating a Seasoned Online Opponent
Aged sites have had more time to gain trust in search engines and gain more citation from other sites. Although it is more difficult to overcome the relevance score of seasoned contender, rankings are by the page, so this means you must (a) have impeccable on page continuity and (b) do everything you can to elevate trust to overcome them.
One method to expedite trust and authority is to get a link from a website that currently ranks for that keyword or some variation of the keyword you are targeting. This link transference from the process of peer review passes along a type of fortification to validate the new page or site and can result in a tremendous lift in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Another alternative would be to either 1) “go big” using a content development strategy to centralize keywords, internal links and deep links to multiple pages or 2) shore up existing pages with off page ranking factor (strong editorial links).
Remember, the objective of SEO is not just to get a ranking for a keyword, it is to develop enough authority within your website that each page bursts at the seams with rankings as a result of the various keyword combination’s from content on the page, the site architecture (acting as a cipher) and the inbound deep links to specific pages.
In other words, you will not have to optimize anything if your site templates are structured properly and if you are adding content in a systemic fashion using consistent taxonomies, naming conventions and links.
You just need to gain enough momentum to (a) cross the tipping point and increase search engine trust (b) your sites crawl frequency (which is a benefit of authority) and (c) give your pages enough time to scale your adversaries relevance score for thematic keywords.
The Importance of Landing Pages
You’ll need specific landing pages to correspond to targeted keywords in order to maximize the effectiveness of your SEO. For example, there is a way to make any given page stem and rank for multiple keywords, but there is also value in having a champion page rank for a more competitive keyword.
The added benefit of creating a series of predetermined landing pages is that the ability to create a double listing or a double listing and indented [+] sign with the ability to show other related semantic posts is accomplished from simply linking on relevant page to another.
Just like creating a daisy chain of relevance, the ideal link to the secondary or tertiary page would be using the first occurrence of the title as an anchor.
Example: Landing Page 1 is about On Page SEO (with that as the first 3 words in the title), and Landing Page 2 is about On Page SEO Services (with that as the “exact match” title).
By doing so, you increase the likelihood that if someone searched for “On page SEO” or “SEO Services for On Page” or any variation of the keywords used in the respective titles, or internal links that both pages would appear in a double listing.
If both are linked to each other using the “subject” of the page as an anchor text link, then they are passing ranking factor “like a pipeline and / or irrigation system” to the other page.
Also, keep in mind that allintitle rankings (the ranking factor passed on from linking a relevant topical page to another relevant topical page) has a higher degree of ranking factor (based on our testing) that it passes along.
Hence, your own website can provide its very own ranking factor through creating staggered tiers of pages based on a semantic topic.
If your site can effectively “rank itself” or “produce multiple listings” for a given search term based on this type of referential architecture known as virtual theming, the possibilities are endless. This can also be accomplished by default if this type of title/link relationship is hard coded in a template, plug-in or on page SEO method.
Use Deep Links to Propel Rankings
If you want your pages to rise to the top of search engines and topple competitive rankings, you will need two things; (1) a page to serve as the apex and (2) deep links. We covered the method above on how to create double rankings, but what about ranking for competitive keywords?
Ranking for competitive keywords occurs from (a) having the site architecture act as the fundamental bridge (b) having enough on page content to deem the site as a relevant source of editorial information or serve as a beacon of reference via peer review and (c) getting more deep links from relevant sources to EACH page more so than your competitors.
Without giving away too much, let’s just say that using article marketing to bolster deep links to specific pages is a very effective method; however, it must be balanced with a sufficient array of internal links as well as enough time to allow the process of authority to develop.