This is the untold story of why professional SEO analysis is critical to your online business. Many “SEO” companies view SEO as just trying to rank keywords. As you are about to see, your analysis needs to be broader for proper niche selection and then proper targeting of keywords. Get the analysis wrong and your online business may never prosper. After digesting this analysis click here to get more insights into getting the success you want.
Before the Internet, a major source of advertising was the local Yellow Pages. If your company was selling widgets, your competition was other companies also selling widgets listed in the same Yellow Pages. If there were 20 businesses selling widgets your competition was 20. To beat the competition you could pay more for bigger ads and have better, more compelling ads.
There were, and are, of course, other means of obtaining customers. But the Yellow Pages is something most of us are familiar with and it offers comparisons and contrasts to competition online.
Instead of widgets, assume your business sells shoes. Pre-Internet, your competition was the other 20 shoe sellers in your town. Shoes is still a broad niche: women’s shoes, men’s shoes, dress shoes, athletic shoes, sandals, boots, and so on. Still, your competition was maxed out at 20 – even less for a subniche like boots.
Now along comes the Internet. If a person is searching for a local shoe seller to visit your competition may still be the 20 local shoe sellers.
However, instead of being able to thumb through all the ads in the Yellow Pages and to scan listings for a good store to visit, most searching online is done through search engines – where Google dominates. On Google, each page of search results shows 10 listings. Sometimes less, such as 7 or 8. Research has shown that the listings at the top of the page get the most results. In particular, the top 3 results.
Your “competition” is now longer just 20 other local shoe sellers. You must now challenge for the first page of Google, and in particular obtaining one of the first 3 results. If you are not in the top 3 results, and certainly if you are not on the first page of Google, your business does not exist for someone searching for a local shoe business.
This is a significant change from the Yellow Pages. Sure, companies vied to have the first ad shown in a category, but consumers searching for a business would flip the pages, look at all the ads, and choose. With the Yellow Pages you just simply needed to be listed and have an ad to be in the game. Not so with Google. You need to be found and rank high to be in the game.
Business just became more difficult.
The Yellow Pages had simple categories. All you needed was for your business to fit within a general category. Internet search is different, driven by actual keywords. The search rankings for City Shoes can differ from a search for City Shoe Store or Cheap City Shoes.
Business just became infinitely more difficult trying to rank for every possible search term prospective visitors might use.
The good news, though, is that search rankings are free.
Here is a good starting point for SEO analysis Are you competing locally or worldwide? Even if you are competing locally your competition is not necessarily just the 20 other retailers in your area. This is because anyone can create a website about your product in your city. Someone in China can register a domain and create a website about Los Angeles Shoe Stores. Fortunately, that competition will likely not be significant. Broad keywords plus a local geotargeting may be the type of keywords you need to consider.
However, if you are competing worldwide, such as selling shoes, such subniching your targeted keywords may be required to have any hope of breaking into Google’s first page.
The keywords, and your business, can be driven by a competitive analysis, and too few webmasters ever understand this critical component of their SEO analysis.