article by Doug-WilliamsOne of the first steps in creating an effective SEO campaign is to do a competitor assessment. How does the website you will be optimizing stack up against the competition? You need to understand which SEO strategies the competition is using and how strong the SEO competition is for your targeted market niche.

Identify Competitors: List the top three offline competitors that your client goes up against on a regular basis. Who do they need to beat in the rankings race?

Next take 3-5 of the keyword phrases from your initial keyword research. Which websites repetitively come up on page one of the Google search results? Identify 3-5 of the top competitors. Some of these will likely be the same as the offline competitors. Your final comparison list should be roughly 7 websites including the website you will be optimizing.

Quickly measure 7 key factors on each competitor to develop a profile to compare against your website. Use these as a basis to develop your SEO strategies.

  1. Alexa Ranking: An indication of traffic volume going to the website. Lower is better. Use the SEOQuake tool bar to measure or go to
  2. Website Age: How long has it been since Google first indexed a website on that domain? Newer domains are devalued in their ability to compete for rankings. Use the SEOQuake tool bar to measure age. This devaluation period can range from six months to two years depending on the competitiveness of the keyword phrase.
  3. Pages Indexed: How big is the website? How many pages are indexed by each of the major search engines? Larger websites tend to attract more traffic. Use the SEOQuake tool bar to see all search engines at one time. This may indicate a need for a content growth strategy.
  4. External Backlinks: The number of external links coming from outside websites. Use using the fresh index option.
  5. Referring Domains: These are unique domains that link into each website. This filters out the effect of site wide links and gives a truer picture of the link power of a website. Again use using the fresh index option.
  6. Domain Authority: This is a measure of many link metrics on a 100 point scale (higher is better) meant to show a website’s ranking potential. This is a SEOmoz measure that can be found on
  7. Current Rankings: Which keyword phrases is each website currently being ranked for? Go to or and see.