With how much information SEO’s have available to them, it is easy to get lost in analysis paralysis. The opportunities are virtually endless. The only limits are time and capital. And markets keep shifting.
Given that, sometimes seeing a visual abstract of the market can help you better understand your market position (or at least allow C-level executives understand it better).
The first place to start is always your own web analytics. It shows you what is working for your site, how well it is working, and where you might want to focus more energy. It also helps alert you to when new trends emerge, and historical information to guide next year’s performance. The powerful thing about this data is it is proprietary (so others typically can’t access it) and it is specific to your site.
There are lots of ways to slice and dice web analytics from an SEO perspective:
- overall site traffic & traffic trends
- average rank for a keyword
- traffic associated with the rank
- the number of pages pulling in unique visitors
- the pages which pull in the most traffic
- how each of those data points relates to your business
Where it gets really meaningful is when you tie these types of data in with other tools. In aggregate, the data allows you to score your site against the rest of the market.
Want to see how much traffic your site is compared to a competing website?
Compete.com makes it easy to quickly compare website traffic profiles against each other.
Some other cool features Compete includes:
- listing top keywords on a per site basis
- listing estimated traffic percentages from top traffic sources
- listing traffic distribution per keyword on a broad match or exact match basis
Is the data perfect? No. But if you compare it against your analytics data, it can give you a good idea how strong competing sites are and where they might be beating you. And a bunch of other services like Google AdPlanner, Quantcast, and Alexa keep leveraging sharing more data to try to win marketshare in the competitive market.
Which site is ranking for more valuable keywords?
SEM Rush provides historical charts of the number of keywords in their database that a site ranks for, and estimated value of those rankings.
Once again, this data may have major sampling issues and it is quite hard to estimate the value of the ranking without knowing the business model behind the site, but they are still great graphs for helping to visualize how your site competes against other sites in your industry.
Which site has more links?
For now, Yahoo! is providing link data, but when that goes away, we will likely still be able to get data from MajesticSEO, Linkscape, and perhaps a few other tools that will be on the market by the time that happens. But what is more important than raw link counts, is how many domains are linking at a given website. MajesticSEO shares that datapoint in our SEO toolbar and provides slick historical link graphs:
Again, they will have some sampling errors due to crawling variances, pages being removed from the web, etc. But in aggregate, over time, it is quite a useful measuring stick, and you can compare the month to month growth of sites against each other.
If a competitor had one month of solid link growth, you can then try to search Google news and the search results from that time frame to see what they did to get all those links. You can’t beat them just by following them, but you can always draw inspiration from ideas and greatly improve upon them!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.