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Learn from your competitors and get more traffic

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Blogging is as friendly as it sounds, and blogosphere the little place everybody shares on internet, helping each other, sharing thoughts and recommending good links.

There are times though, when everybody wants more traffic, more comments, more authority, and more fan following. You might have seen at times there are blogs who get 30-50 comments per post, readers ranging in thousands and some might struggle to even get one.

Now one thing you can do for your blog is studying your competitors(other blogger targeting the same niche), and learn from them.

Why does a blogger consistently rank higher than you for important terms? What content, and link building strategies are they using to help attain those rankings? Answer those questions and you'll be one step closer to out-ranking them and bringing that traffic and those comments to your blog.

Whom should you study?

Do not go in after everybody writing about your niche, you will get caught in “Paralysis by analysis”. Instead I would suggest to limit your analysis to 10 blogs or less. You might already know a few already, add them to your list. Fill the rest of your list with blogs that constantly rank higher than you in search engines.

What information should you collect?

There are a plenty of potential metrics that can be used to gauge the competition.

Y! Links -- the number of backlinks the domain has in Yahoo. As you probably already know by now, the quantity and quality of links pointing to a site is extremely relevant in determining how high it ranks. Looking at the particular links that your competition has serves as one of the best ways to learn how they market their blog. It is also one of the best ways to brainstorm potential link building ideas for you’re your own. Get the list of blogs that link to their blog, these become your target to work on.

Last indexed -- this is the date of the last time Google visited the home page of the site. Ideally your blog should be indexed every single day, but it usually depends on how frequently you update your content. If you update content regularly, you should be being indexed at least once per week. You can find this date by clicking the "Cached" link next to any Google search result.

Strongest Pages -- SEOmoz has a great strongest pages tool that will list off the most important pages on a domain, based on number of links pointing to it and its current rankings. This gives you an idea of what content on their domain is causing the high rankings. Is it their popular articles? Whatever their strongest pages, you should take note and use those pages as guidelines for potential additions and modifications to your blog.

Social Networking Sites they use- This is one of the most valuable experiences I had a beginner in blogging. I was to one of my favorite blogs, and saw all the faces appearing on his site. Remember I was new to blogging and Mybloglog had not gained popularity till then. The curiousness took me to MBL and I registered myself. There was no turning back from that moment. That was where BTF gained all its popularity from.
If you have a chance, find out what social network sites and influential circle your competitors have.

Using the information to your advantage
Pretty quickly you'll start to realize that all of the blogs you're analyzing have been around for a few years, are indexed frequently and thoroughly, and have a lot of quality backlinks. So how do you get there? Well there's nothing you can do about the age, but the rest are very much in your control: you can model title tags and page headings after the competition, you can structure your blog and categorize it properly the way that they do, you can add sections related to topics that they rank high for, and you can most definitely expand your link building plan by studying what has worked for them. Ultimately, analyzing and understanding your competition will reduce your learning curve and accelerate the growth of your blog.

Divya


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posted by Divya Uttam, 6:42 AM

5 Comments:

Hello Divya,
As we all have a diverse range of topics ranging from personal blogs to niche subjects the readership will vary greatly.
My PC Security blog ranks well in Google, but that is down to picking the right keywords, good backlinks and has led to an increase in traffic.
My secondary blog ironically gets more traffic and more comments.
Originally I set out to provide free information, which I still do, not realising that I was creating my own niche at that time.
For the term 'Free PC Security' I consistently rank in googles top 10, which does create more traffic as well as inbound links from yahoo and msn.
Like many others, I am still quite a 'newbie' to all of this and it is something that one continually learns more about.
SEOmoz is a great suite of tools to check out many variables on sites.
Interesting post, thank you.

Colin

commented by Anonymous cotojo, 12:53 PM  

Ingenious! Gathering the info and a tactical method of using it. Its sounds like a lot of work for very part time bloggers like myself, but its worthwhile knowing. Perhaps when I retire, I could do this full time. However, I'll keep track of links and tags that you mentioned which rate high. Thanks! --Durano, done!
A very helpful article indeed, I have spent the last few months of my blogging life doing exactly this and it really does help!

commented by Blogger Kidazy, 6:56 PM  

Being new to the whole blogging game, I found this article to be extremely helpful. I can see two different sides to increasing traffic--what you do on the site from a content and formatting standpoint, and what you do off the site from a technical and promotion standpoint. Please tell me the first, most basic step I should take in both of those categories. Thanks!

commented by Blogger billyjacksblog, 3:37 PM  

hey really cool post yaar.I think we will find more great sites by just following the backlinks of a particularly popular site.

commented by Anonymous pradeep, 9:14 AM  

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