Marketing Online is all about being seen and being chosen over your competition. The main way to be found online is through search engine results, social media sites, and directory listings. It’s all about making sure you show up where your target market is looking for your product(s) or service(s).

Your competition online may be much different from what it is in real life. The best in the industry may not even show up on the first page of Google for the appropriate keywords if they are not properly marketing their business for search. The first step is to pick the keywords that you would want to show up on the first page of search results for. A set of three or four keyword phrases is enough to get a good litmus test. You can use a free keyword tool, such as Keyword Eye, SEM Rush and Keyword Spy to pick the keywords to target by analyzing the search volume and the level of competition.

Once you have picked the keywords you think are the best target for you, Google those terms. The top organic results (under the yellow box with the ads) are your main competition. If you really want to keep track of them you can put together a running report in which you would mark the changes that occur, say, every month.

Things to look at:

• Is the keyword phrase in their title, description or domain name?
• Is their website easy to navigate?
• Are they connected with social media, and if so, what level of involvement do they have?
• Do they have a blog on their site and do they update it frequently?
• If you want to get more technical you can look at their domain and page authority as well as page rank.
• The number of quality back links is still a very important ranking factor as well. Have a SEO help you with this if you are unsure what this means or how to check it.

Check out these things with your competition and then look at where you stand with these element. You can usually get a general idea of where you need to step up your game this way. Depending on the competitive level of the industry you are in, making small adjustments can sometimes make a big difference. There’s nothing wrong with getting ideas from the people that are getting results. Spying on our client’s competition is one of our favorite activities.

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