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Regardless of whether we are talking about a sporting competition, a military engagement, or trying to outrank a rival local business on Google, the more you know about the competition, the better a chance you have of succeeding.

This reminds us of a great phrase that goes, ‘Knowledge Is Power’, and when it comes to SEO, there can be no truer saying. Many people when thinking about SEO, see it as a battle against Google, and an exercise looking for ways to ‘trick’ Google into ranking their website higher than maybe it deserves to. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Google is not your opponent when you are trying to rank a website, in fact, given that they are constantly telling us what they look for with regards to SEO, they should be regarded as an ally.

Competitor Analysis: Your Real SEO Competition

The real competition, when it comes to ranking, are those other local businesses, who are competing for the same customers you are, especially online.

In another article, we referred to SEO as a series of games, with each individual keyword is a separate game of who gets to rank highest for it. Well, within in each niche or business sector, the keywords are more or less the same, and whoever wins the ranking game for more of those keywords than their competition gets more visitors to their website, thus more customers, and ultimately greater profits.

You might be thinking that if one or more of your competitors are already riding high on the first page of Google for a whole series of keywords, that trying to outrank them will be a fruitless task. That assumes that they have everything with regards to their SEO, set up perfectly, but that is highly unlikely to be the case.

Even if they are well optimised, that does not mean that you cannot at least match what they have done, and in most cases, you should be able to create an SEO campaign that will allow you to outrank them.

Given the title of this article, you might be thinking that the first step in getting to that highly desirable situation is to do some competitor analysis, but while it happens early, you must first create your overall SEO strategy. This allows you to plan each element of your SEO to ensure it is the most effective it can be.

If you need help with planning your SEO or want a professional SEO company to create and fulfill it for you, please get in touch.

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On June 2nd, 2021, Google released the first of a two-part broad core update, unimaginatively entitled the ‘June 2021 Core Google Algorithm Update’. Those who follow SEO and Google updates will know that they are often a time where webmasters, marketers and SEO consultants wait with bated breath to discover whether or not it helps, hinders, or in some cases, destroys their online ranking strategy.

This trepidation comes as a result of previous, and we dare say, infamous updates which literally ended many business models overnight, as Google sought to improve the search results of those who use their search engine.

So, what do we know about the June 2021 Core Google Algorithm Update? Let us start with some of the basics, and the first of these is that it is a global rollout. This means it will apply to searches in all countries and in all languages.

The update is one of two being released in June, with the other being an update relating to ‘Page Experience’. The number of changes in this core update is so large, that Google is actually releasing the update in two parts; the first part in June, and the second part in July, so just like London buses, you wait for one update, and then several come along, one after the other!

Obvious there may be concern amongst those with vested interests in their website’s ranking that two updates, across 2 consecutive months, might cause a great deal of volatility, but Google has given assurances that most websites will not feel or see any significant impact to their rankings.

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Within SEO circles we increasingly speak about E-A-T, and why websites that have or display expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are going to get preferential treatment from Google when it comes to ranking.

With the ever-increasing ranking power that these high authority sites have, it means that the backlinks from them will pass some of that power to the websites they link to. That provides an excellent opportunity for website owners to harness that power by getting the authority sites to link to their own website.

Before everyone goes rushing off to write emails asking for a backlink from a huge website, it does not work like, although admittedly SEO would be a lot easier if it did. Instead, we need to take a more subtle approach, because otherwise, we are just going to look like spammers, trying to ride on their coattails.

That is not to say large website will not entertain backlinks to smaller websites. In fact, that helps their SEO too, given that linking out is a ranking signal to Google. So, we can get backlinks from them, and here are some ideas on how.

Give Them A Testimonial

Even the biggest of companies cannot resist receiving positive reviews and testimonials. You can take advantage of this by researching larger websites to see where they allow reviews or testimonials, and if they also permit a link within them. Obviously, you do not just copy and paste the same testimonial on each website, and even if you only can get one or two posted with backlinks, it is still worth it.

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Unless you are trying to rank a website for a business that operates purely online, or if it’s a business that competes on a national or international scale, the ability to rank your business website for local search terms is vitally important. If you are a local business and not focusing on SEO that helps you appear on page one of Google for local searches, then you are losing lots of customers to local business competitors who are.

There are several actions you can take which will ensure that your local business’s website can compete with, and ideally, outrank your competitors, provided they are done correctly.

Below we have 7 of the most important ranking factors which Google look for when assessing local websites in its search engine results. Many of these can be implemented quickly and easily, while some may take a bit more time and effort.

Google My Business: Normally abbreviated to ‘GMB‘ this is arguably the most important ranking factor that exists for local businesses. It is essentially set up to let Google know what your local business is about. You need to include the business category, your business address, highly relevant keywords in the title, and even having your opening hours is a plus.

Linking: With backlinks, it is important that you focus on the type and quality of the backlinks rather than simply trying to amass as many as possible. By all means, try for high numbers of links, but make them quality links. Link signals which are especially influential in local ranking are the anchor text used and the authority of the websites that the backlinks are coming from.

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Lots of website owners trying to improve its SEO heed the advice that backlinks are important, and then put 100% of their efforts into creating those links from every website and social media platform they can find. What they overlook, is that the links that they have within their website, and how they are structured, are also important for SEO, and they play a role in helping visitors who visit that site too.

An internal link acts in much the same way an external link does in that when it is clicked, it will take the person who clicked it to a different location.

Whereas an external link will take them to a different website, an internal link will either take them to another page within the website, to another part of the page, or it could be used to allow the visitor to download something, such as a document file.

These are some of the practical applications of internal links, and it is important that the navigation that they can provide makes the task easier for visitors, rather than more difficult. Easy navigation means visitors are liable to stay longer on a website, and more likely to take action, which in many cases means they become a customer or become a subscriber to your email list.

From an SEO perspective, good internal links are desirable for many reasons. We know that when Google’s spiders crawl the internet, they do so using links that go to and from the hundreds of millions of websites that exist. If that is how they do it externally, then within a website it is the internal links that they crawl.

It follows that if your linking structure is optimised and provides a logical path throughout it, then Goggle will be able to crawl and index every page and all content that exists within your website. If so, then all those SEO factors such as titles, descriptions and meta tags contribute to the site’s ranking. Compare that to a website with poor linking where 50% of the pages are missed and therefore add nothing in respect of SEO.

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