Keep Your Friends Close and Your Competitors Closer!

We often try to make others believe that our business or our websites are flawless. In reality, though, every business has weaknesses. The weaknesses are in various areas, but often times, those weaknesses extend to the search engine marketing portion of their business plan. Many businesses either don’t know or don’t plan on being in the best position in their category or keyword in the search engines. That weakness can be costing you more money than you think.

Your goal should be nothing but the best. For the right categories and the best keywords, you should strive for your website to be on the top. So, in order to attain that goal, you need to size up your competition. You need to know whom it is you are facing if you are ever to beat them at their game.

You do this by simply examining the sites that have the top rankings in the search engines for the categories or keywords that you desire. The item that we are going to discuss today is regarding link-backs.

Before I start this section, I want to help you understand that examining all of the factors listed below can be tedious. Under normal circumstances it is good for you to learn the basics of getting the data yourself, kind of like learning to do it the hard way, although there is a lot of data to examine and I have to recommend a third party software to help you weed through all of the factors. The one that I would suggest using is called SEO Elite. The creator of the software is extremely knowledgeable and has authored this software in a way that takes the guesswork out of everything. I have not personally used the software, but I have read the documentation and I know that it was built as the best software for this type of thing. It will save you a lot of time. You can get the software from


Link-backs are very important to your success in the search engines. It’s comparable to a referral or recommendation. And when a website links to you, especially if that site is ranked higher, you get higher marks. So examine how many links you competition has to their sites and compare that number to yours. One other thing to look at is the page rank of those sites. How do they compare to the ones that link to your site? Generally it’s not a bad thing to have lower page rank websites linking to your website (unless they have been banned by Google) although it certainly helps if you have the higher ranked websites linking to you. And remember, those sites that are similar in content (basically include the same or similar type of information) help you even more when they link to you.

Another factor to consider is whether the links are reciprocal. Reciprocal links are basically link exchanges or mutual links. These types of links are good for getting you started in the search engines, but Google places more weight on the one way links to your website. Examining this is easy with SEOElite. In fact, the software gives you all pieces of information that you need to know regarding back-links, including anchor text. More on that to come.

Another item that you need to pay particular attention to is the anchor text. The anchor text is the word or words that someone uses in describing the link it is pointing to. I have discussed anchor text in detail in some of my other posts so I won’t waste anymore time on that. But anchor text is the spider’s sneak preview into what’s behind the link. If some one says “search engine optimization” and the link goes to this website, then the spider has a good idea that the website behind that link has information on search engine optimization. This helps because when the spider crawls your site, it sees the keywords and the anchor text of the site that referred you and sees the relevancy. Remember, relevancy in the search engines is key.

And whether or not you know, what the website that links to you does affects your ranking too. Take, for instance, a site that has been banned by Google. A link to their site from yours could hurt you. And if they have a lot of links to other websites (unless they are deemed an authority site), it can lower you as well because newer sites that aren’t deemed an authority have stronger power in fewer links.

Once you have examined some of your competitors, you have some of the information available to make changes in your own site to improve your rankings above them. Particularly, you need to focus on getting more one-way link backs that are relevant to maximize your change (and there are ways to do this very simply and easily, more on this in a later post). The change will not happen overnight; in fact it can take months. But with a little diligence and patience, you can achieve your goal of search engine optimization.

Good Luck