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SEO Analysis: Critical Sucess Factors

June 1, 2008
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Competitive Analysis

You already know what you should be looking for. Look for the same indications that you examined during your original competitive analysis. These include:

  • Site rankings: Where in the SERPs is the site ranked? Make note, especially, of the top three to five sites.

  • Page saturation: How many of the competition’s pages are indexed? Not every page on a site will be indexed, but if your competition has more or fewer pages ranked, there may be a factor you haven’t taken into consideration about how to include or exclude your site pages.

  • Page titles: Are page titles consistent? And what keywords do they contain, if any at all? How your competition uses titles can give you an indication of what you’re doing right or wrong with your own.

  • Meta data: What meta data is your competition including? How is it worded? And how does it differ from your own? Remember that you can access the source code of a web site by selecting Source from the View menu of your web browser.

  • Site design: How is the competition’s web site designed? Site architecture and the technology that is used to design and present the site are factors in how your site ranks. Learn what the competition is doing and how that differs from what you’re doing.

  • A robots.txt file: The robots.txt file is accessible to you, and looking at it could give you some valuable insight to how your competition values and works with search engines.

  • Content quality and quantity: How much quality is included on your competitor’s site and is it all original, or is it re-used from some other forum? If a site is ahead of you in search rankings, its content is probably performing better than yours. Analyze it and find out why.

  • Link quality and quantity: Your competitors’ linking strategies could hold a clue about why they rank well. Look at the link structure. If they’re using legitimate linking strategies, what are they? If they’re not, don’t try to follow suit. Their actions will catch up with them soon enough.

Conversion Analysis

Your conversions are your ultimate measure of how well your site optimization and design work. And you should constantly be focusing on the conversions that your site drives. Without conversions, you’re not making any money. That doesn’t mean that conversions all have to be monetarily based, just that they have to fulfill some goal that you have designed for your web site.

There are two types of conversions: revenue conversions and pre-revenue conversions. Revenue conversions are actual sales. A sale is a conversion goal. If you sell anything from your web site, you should have a conversion goal for reaching the end of a sale. That might mean the goal is achieved when a user clicks through to the “Thank You” page or when the order confirmation is displayed. These conversions require the exchange of money for goods or services.

Another type of conversion is the pre-revenue conversion. Pre-revenue conversions are all the other steps in the selling cycle — activities that lead up to the final sale. So, a pre-revenue conversion might be something like having the visitor request additional information about a product or service or sign up for a newsletter that’s offered on your site. These are valid conversions that should also be tracked.

The types of conversions remain the same across the life cycle of your web site, but the actual conversions may not. And that’s the reason you need to conduct regular conversion analysis. In your conversion analysis, you’re looking for a number of things including an increase or decrease in the number or pattern of conversions. Increases and decreases in these trends will help you to know when something is working or when something needs changing.

When you see a changing trend in your conversion rate, you know it’s time to begin trying something different. It may be that your products need to be changed, it may be that your newsletter is no longer appealing, or it could simply be that your competition is funneling your audience away from you.

One way to see these trends in your web analytics is to look at your sales cycle. Ideally, you should know your sales cycle even before you put your web site online. The sales cycle is the steps that a user takes to complete a sale. It’s usually divided according to the natural progress that visitors make from entering your site to the completed sale.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2008 6:16 am

    Interesting ideas about SEO… content provided useful information.

  2. June 7, 2008 12:04 pm

    It’s nice. very useful information

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