Research is the ABC of SEO

I have been reading a lot online recently and the social media buzz grows on a daily basis. Yes, we all know that social networking is becoming an essential part of SEO and how search engines are ranking your site, but many of these ‘SEO/Internet marketing gurus’, offering ‘rank me quick’ solutions are focusing too much on the content distribution and link generating.

What ever happened to good old fashioned keyword, competitor and online market research? – the phrases that you choose to optimise your site for, assuming that you achieve high search engine rankings for them, will form the foundation of your social media campaign – giving it a focus … so spare some time for the research and don’t put the Social Media cart before the SEO horse!

It is essential that you know who, what and where your competitors are – both on and offline, in order to make informed decisions regarding the online marketing of your website. You will have an idea of the ‘primary’ key phrase that relates most accurately to what your site is about, this may or may not be the best phrase to target (but I’d like to cover that in a later post), however for the purposes of this post just go with one that springs to mind.

Your Competitors

Who - You will have an idea of who you think your competitors are, but are they competing for the phrase that you want to target? Make a search for the keyphrase that you have chosen – which site is in position 1 in Google (the gods of search)?, is it the site that you thought would be there?

What - What is the site ‘selling’? is it the same products/services or similar to yours? and what sets you apart in terms of unique selling points? What levels of functionality does the site have, in order to engage the user? and what call to action, offers and other ‘communication’ methods are on the site?

Where - is the business local to you or is it a national company? maybe is isn’t even a business in Scotland! Consider whether your target markets would use this site to buy something that you can provide.

With all these things considered, you can then begin to look at the competitiveness of that phrase (there are various tools available to help you here) and whether your budget and SEO skills allow you to compete in this ‘search space’. If so, begin to look at what value that top site has, domain age, number of inbound links, how the on page optimisation has been performed etc., then you will know whether:

a) this is the right search phrase to target b) what your site must include and how much work is involved to rank for the phrase c) the potential return (in £’s) for a page 1, position 1 ranking

About the Author

Gavin runs Aviemore Business Solutions, a search engine optimisation and internet marketing company in Scotland. A no nonsense, customer focused, approach to SEO and online business promotion means that whatever your budget, we can help. Web Design & Business Services also offered.