SES Live: SEO Competitive Analysis

Aug 17, 2011 - 5:55 pm 1 by

Below is live coverage of the SEO Competitive Analysis panel from the SES San Francisco 2011 conference. This coverage is provided by Ben Pfeiffer at RankSmart.

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Ben Pfeiffer: 2:01:05 pm
SEO Competitive Analysis
Competitive Analysis is one of the most important and informative components of an SEO strategy. Your competitors are a wealth of free information. From determining which links are providing your competitors with the most value, to deciphering what their most profitable keywords are, with the right systems in place you'll be able to capitalize on their mistakes and learn from their successes.

This session will cover:

On-site competitive analysis: Analyzing the structure of your competitors websites, the keywords they are targeting and how they are optimizing their content.
Off-site competitive analysis: Analyzing how they are participating in key social networks, what their link building strategy is and which content has performed the best/worst for them.
Competitor monitoring: What types of trends should you be on the lookout for? What tools are best for keeping track of what your competitors are doing?

Moderator:
Chris Boggs, Director, SEO, Rosetta
Speakers:
Michael Hayward, CEO, ROI Labs
Taylor Pratt, VP of Product Marketing, Raven Internet Marketing Tools
Richard Zwicky, Independent Consultant,
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:01:52 pm






Chris Boggs opens the session welcoming everyone.

Ben Pfeiffer: 2:02:38 pm
He says its important to understand the SEO competitive landscape.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:03:23 pm
Michael Hayward is up first.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:03:41 pm
He is going to talk about competitive intelligence.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:04:13 pm
He says he is not a search marketer, he is a marketer.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:05:52 pm
His company is ROI Labs, they do work for many B2B and B2C companies.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:06:10 pm
SEO is the highest leverage tool in the digital marketing kit.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:07:38 pm
He explains that search returned such a high ROI, that he couldn't find a enough stuff to do with search, it was so exciting.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:08:01 pm
He goes on to explain what a marketing plan is.....
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:09:31 pm
Tactical digital marketing issues are important. Do you understand your competitive marketing strategy? How will it impact your long term goals.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:09:54 pm
One of the ways we understand competitors is a reverse marketing plan.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:10:04 pm
He gives an example of a fake Canadian airline.
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So think about your competitive landscape if you are an airline in Canada.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:11:55 pm
The first thing he is going to do to understand landscape is research their websites for each competitors.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:12:29 pm
He looks at the website, looks at the source, looks at what is most important (transaction).
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:12:52 pm
He asks himself what is are they trying to do here.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:13:06 pm
He says the airline industry is always on sale.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:13:44 pm
So once he does an overall analysis, he figures that 2 of the airlines only promoted locally in canada. The other competitive marketing more globally.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:14:05 pm
Next, he looks at SEO of each of the 3 competitors.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:15:32 pm
Next he looks at PPC. Where are they putting their effort, what keywords, etc..? Are they targeting keywords he wants to target. Is anyone using keywords no one else is using? That could be a rich conversion bed no one has thought about.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:16:32 pm
Next, he looks at social networks. What kind of content are they customizing in Facebook. For example Air Canada is pushing a student pass.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:17:52 pm
Next he looks at Twitter. He sees complaints, follower to following ratio, if they interact with customers.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:18:12 pm
Next, you want to sign up for all their email newsletter and get in their email database.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:18:35 pm
Your next want to get into their PR materials, and read what they are saying.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:18:59 pm
FINALLY.. pull all that info together and put together a reverse marketing plan.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:20:09 pm
Take a marketing plan format and explain what their plan is. For example, Air Canada is focused on a broad based country approach.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:26:33 pm
Next up is Taylor Pratt from Raven Tools
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:26:49 pm
He says that competitive analysis is free advice
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:27:41 pm
Think of everything you'll get with a competitive analysis. Keyword ideas, content ideas, usability ideas, etc..
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:28:11 pm
There are two types of competitive analysis. One is a quick analysis. The next is an in-depth analysis.
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The quick analysis looks at the the top 10 results for a targeted keyword.
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The first goal when looking at keywords is how strong is the competition for a targeted keyword.
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First you need an keyword research tool.
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Also an understanding of what your goal is with the keyword.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:29:52 pm
He is talking super fast so its getting hard to follow.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:30:42 pm
Your first step is to analyze the SERP for the keyword. Are there lots of advertisers? Look the age of domain? Number of links to the page & domain. Number of advertisers.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:31:07 pm
Next you need to determine your rank potential. Is it 3, 6, and 12 months?
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He brings up AOL search data getting out. He shows that #1 position gets 42.13% of the traffic, 12% next, and so on.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:32:40 pm
So he next goes and does keyword research on that keyword, how many searches does that keyword get? Of that total if I got a #1 ranking, I get X number of visits.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:33:19 pm
Next you take your conversion rate on this keyword or a similar one, and see what kind of money you can make with this keyword. For example it might be $5000 a month. Now you know the value.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:34:25 pm
There are some other goals. What competitor is using the on-page strategy, what competitive has the best off-page strategy...
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:34:59 pm
Take a look at the top 3 competitors. Your own custom algorithm (using a tool like customrank.com)
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:35:40 pm
You can learn a lot of from the on-page SEO of a competitor. For example.. where do they put the target keyword on the page?
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:36:15 pm
Is it obvious they are focusing on that ranking term?
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:36:52 pm
How well does the website render in search engines? Can they see all their content?
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:37:09 pm
How are they optimizing their navigation...
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:37:50 pm
What are the calls to action.. are they obvious.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:38:26 pm
He seriously needs to slow down.. this is way to fast for anyone to keep up.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:38:27 pm
He seriously needs to slow down.. this is way to fast for anyone to keep up.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:39:00 pm
Next Taylor talks about doing backlink analysis. This is an important component to the analysis.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:39:38 pm
How many backlinks do they have? From how many domains? Can you see backlink growth? What keywords are they focusing on?
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:43:08 pm
A competitive analysis can be extremely valuable if done right.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:47:18 pm
Up next is Richard Zwicky
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:47:41 pm
Lots of businesses have had their 15 minutes of fame.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:48:19 pm
He explains back in 1997, there were a 100 search engines. And it was difficult to do competitive analysis.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:48:33 pm
Now you really only have to worry about two search engines.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:48:34 pm
He explains back in 1997, there were a 100 search engines. And it was difficult to do competitive analysis.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:48:54 pm
It's all about analyzing.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:49:30 pm
When you break down the components you can see competitive opportunities.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:49:52 pm
He gives the example of trees. A pine and maple tree.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:50:25 pm
The difference between the two is you can only make money once with the pine tree. The maple tree you drill a hole and get a whole lot of value from it.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:50:48 pm
Competitive analysis should help you define this.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:51:21 pm
Another example of a guy turning junk into shoes.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:52:19 pm
Everyone knows the dominate players in the market. In the past when they did competitive analysis. They used to rank check their competitors. Look at the source.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:52:53 pm
Today the market has changed. Facebook and Twitter wasn't there in the past.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:53:07 pm
Today there are more and more signals to monitor.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:54:57 pm
You got to look at their other signals as well.
Ben Pfeiffer: 2:55:14 pm
By looking at Facebook you can discover the engagement it has with its opportunity.
Ben Pfeiffer: 3:04:37 pm
Session is over.
 

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