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Who are your competitors? An SEO perspective

Who are your competitors? An SEO perspective

June 08, 2011 by John Straw

Black binocularsIn the “old world”, a competitor might be someone who you could readily identify — someone in the local phone book who was on the same page as you or someone who bought ads on the same radio station as you, for the same products and services.

But in a world where customers have swapped the phone book and the local paper for search engines such as Google or Bing, a competitor is someone who ranks more highly than you for the keywords or phrases that define your business.

These competitors might not even be in the same town or country. Of course, you might be lucky. You might have a hyper-local business where you have a monopoly within a certain geographical reach, but even then, you might be missing out on customers who don’t know your business name and are searching for generic phrases.

Understanding how to be at the top of search engines can give you a huge advantage over your competition. The internet is still a relatively immature media and while an increasing number of businesses understand the importance of having a website, not all have understood the importance of natural or organic search, which is probably what brought you here.

In fact, sometimes the largest companies are the slowest to react to new technology, so you may be able to “punch above your weight” and rank more highly in Google and Bing than competition who used to be able to outspend you using traditional advertising methods.

This isn’t new. Sun Tzu, the strategist and warrior said:

“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”

He also said:

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”

The phone book of the day is a search engine and understanding your customers and how they find you is a business imperative. If your customers are finding your competitors first, then understanding why your competitors are beating you is the first step to turning around that situation.

 

John Straw is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and the founder and VP of Business Development of Linkdex.

More insight into competitors:

Do you know what your competitors are up to?

Keeping your eyes on the competition

What to do when your competitor lowers their prices

Comments

Great post. Such a relevant and probably misunderstood fact!  I think a number of businesses that rely on people finding them online would be surprised to see who their actual online competitors are  compared to their perceived competitors - these could in fact be two very different sets of people. In order to succeed online, businesses must identify who they are and the key words and phrases they are trying to target online and then asses the competitors who are ranking highly for these.

Thanks for the post.

Great post. Such a relevant and probably misunderstood fact!  I think a number of businesses that rely on people finding them online would be surprised to see how their actual online competitors are  compared to their perceived competitors - these could in fact be two very different sets of people. In order to succeed online, businesses must identify who they are and the key words and phrases they are trying to target online and then asses the competitors who are ranking highly for these.

Thanks for the post.

Good artice.

Sun Tzu also said "though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likehood of their success"

SEO analysis allows us to target the competition, and identify working strategies and sometimes (through new links and social media postings) identify what areas they may be working towards. SEO is a true leveller. The days of outspending your competitions advertising have long gone..

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