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If you have a new website, or plan on getting one, you need to be realistic with your expectations if you plan on using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as part of your online marketing strategy.
If you’ve decided that you would like to move into new market or take your ‘bricks and mortar’ business online, you need to evaluate the current search landscape in terms of who your online competition truly are.
Whilst we perform full competitor analysis for our search engine marketing clients, you can perform some high-level research yourself that should help clarify the size of your task. You may even be in for a pleasant surprise!
Once you’ve established what keywords you’d like to go after (remember, be realistic with this!), you should perform a search for these phrases in the major search engines. Make a note of who’s in the top 10.
Once you’ve got your list, perform research into how old these sites are; more specifically, the age of the domain. (TIP: If planning a new site, is there a suitable aged domain for sale in the marketplace?).
Next, go to your search engine of choice and see how many pages your competitors have indexed. Just enter “site:www.example.com”.
Finally, go to Yahoo Site Explorer (Update: sadly this is no longer available), enter a URL and then select the ‘Inlinks’ option with Show Inlinks set to ‘Except from this domain’ to get an idea of the link popularity of your competitor’s site.
In an earlier post, I outlined how with search engine marketing, you need to be careful what you measure, but knowing what you are going after in the first instance is just as important.
Armed with this information, you should be in a much better position with your SEO evaluation and have a clearer understanding of the size of your task.