One important question every digital marketer should ask is: How can my website rank higher than my competitors for customers’ most important search queries?  The answer is found in analyzing top-ranking sites and reverse-engineering a winning organic search formula, and the logical place to start is a SEO Competitive Assessment.

Competitive SEO Assessment

Align Your SEO Strategy With Customers and Competitors

One of the biggest challenges with SEO is the tendency to “stare at one’s navel”.  Marketers too often take an internal, brand-centric perspective in terms of their website and their digital marketing programs.

Brand standards, tag lines, positioning statements, and key marketing messages are all critical components of a successful marketing program. HOWEVER, when it comes to SEO, the most important success factor is understanding your customers’ needs, their search behavior, and their specific terminology — not promoting your marketing messages.

For example. you can relentlessly promote your uniquely trademarked service offering: TAM (Target Account Marketing) and repeat this acronym many, many times on your website, but it just won’t matter if your entire target audience is searching for ABM (Account Based Marketing)! Ranking in a #1 organic position for this keyword might make your CEO happy, but it will not drive qualified prospects to your site; prospects who are actively searching for exactly what you offer.

Top-ranking sites understand this. They build their website and SEO program based on customer behavior and customer terminology. This is exactly why a winning SEO strategy is the art and science of understanding how competitors are optimizing for searcher behavior and then… doing it better!

Understand Who Your Competitors REALLY Are

You really have (at least) two sets of competitors.

First, the obvious short list of companies that your executives will likely name when asked.

Second, the websites with top organic search position for your most important keywords. These companies are dominating the “digital real estate” you need to own.

Typically, these two lists are not the same, and SEO Marketers need to understand how they stack-up against both sets of companies. So, include both business competitors and top-ranked organic search competitors in your Competitive Assessment.

Assess and Compare

An impactful SEO Audit helps you better understanding your customers and better understanding your competitors. Critical steps in an assessment include:

  1. Identify your business and SEO competitors
  2. Understand customer behavior and search terminology
  3. Research what the top-ranking websites are doing
  4. Identify your “SEO gaps” relative to these sites
  5. Reverse-engineer a winning strategy

So, what exactly are you looking for when you conduct a deep-dive analysis of top-ranking organic sites? Specific SEO elements you’ll want to understand and compare include:

For an example of what this type of assessment looks like, check out this SEO Competitive Assessment. 

For more information on the process and an explanation of tools you can use, review this detailed post on How to Conduct a SEO Competitor Analysis.

And here is additional information on identifying content gaps as well as ideas for filling your SEO content gaps.

Reverse-Engineer Your Winning SEO Strategy

Contact Us if you’re interested in learning more about how to better align your SEO strategy with customers and reverse-engineer a plan to out-rank top organic sites.  Working together we can create a SEO Improvement Plan designed specifically to beat the competition in your unique digital marketplace.

About the Author

Patricia Hursh

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