Sometimes even when you have a great website with great content and design which the toppers on SERPs can’t even think of, you might not even enjoy the same positions on Google or Yahoo as the toppers do. It happens with sites that are new, sometimes even with sites who were once good on the SERPs but got pulled off due to strange reasons.
Well, it might be difficult to figure out exactly as to why you are not enjoying the same positions on the SERPs despite you having great content than the current toppers, but there’s a nice strategy you can adopt to fix the problem.
Obviously, the sites on the top right now would have some edge over you for being there. Probably Google would have “seen” them and you’d have missed those factors. So as an immediate fix, you should probably do a reverse engineering process and find out the metrics why your competition is ranking ahead of you. Make a chart and try to beat each topper for each metric you’ve spotted. That would be a nice long-term solution to the problem.
So how can you do this reverse engineering process on the top competitors without they even knowing you ? Here are 10 tips.
1. Find out the competitor site’s back link sources
Not just the number of backlinks or the sources but a very detailed backlink data that you might have to collect manually. I normally suggest to pick each competition and find out their first 500 backlink sources, and grade those backlinks based on qualities like PR, Alexa, Editorial or not, Homepage or not etc. Also, if its absolutely necessary, I might even go to the extent of digging out the top 25 backlinks to each of those 500 backlinks. it sure isn’t easy and is a lot of work, but believe me, if you get this done right, that’s half job done. Here is a graphical representation.
2. Find out their Anchor Text influence
Another major factor helping the competition would be their anchor text strength. So along with the backlinks sources, I’d also make it a point to find what the anchor texts are. if there are any patterns and preferences.
3. Find out the most valuable pages linking to them
Its difficult to measure what exactly the count for value is, but some pointers would be PR, any popular domain, edu domains, editorial content etc.
4. Find their page strength for each term
Finding out how they’ve designed the landing pages (if any) to highlight the keywords is also a way of finding out what their strength is. I would typically measure the keyword usage, text volume etc.
5. Find out their internal linking structure
Also make it a point to find out any particular pattern in internal page structure, linking pattern and directory structure. Although this is a not-so-influential factor, when you count things, lets not leave any stone unturned.
Once you have all the data, certain factors surface up like which pages have the best PR backlinks, which sites have the best editorial links etc. Once the mapping is done, its only a matter of outdoing your competition in each factor to climb your way up.