Your CompetitorsYou probably see the owner of a rival organization at trade shows, association meetings, and perhaps even socially. You can garner a great deal of information through a simple, friendly conversation. People like to talk about themselves and share their success stories and concerns with business associates. Assign someone to check the competitions' Web sites regularly for pertinent changes and news. (And take a good look at your own: Do you say anything there that you'd just as soon not have your competitors see?)  
Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights collaborated with HubSpot and several content marketers, including us, to make an infographic and paper, based on the strategic framework and research of Dave Chaffey. In a step-by-step article we introduce you to different success parameters of content marketing with additional tips, quotes from the participants, the infographic and much more. A great place, providing all you need to go from plan to execution and optimiziation. It also contains a framework for content planning. Check it out via the button below.
5. Local Keyword Generator – This local keyword generator tool is great for businesses trying to advertise in a specific geo-location. Just enter a zip code and a radius up to 100 miles. Then, a list of keywords that are relevant to your business. The tool will create a list of keywords using all the cities and zip codes that are within the radius. This is incredibly useful for brick and mortar stores that want to create a list of keywords that target the businesses general area.
When I was working with BLADE, an Uber-like helicopter service, we wanted to know why people would pay $600 for a 5-minute long helicopter ride from Manhattan to the airport, but not the other way. In this particular case, our competitor was sitting alone in a black car in traffic back to the city. The benefit was that they weren’t really in a rush and they could catch up on things. It was the only time they could be alone with their thoughts.

Perhaps you sell cruises to Hawaii. You offer great facilities for children, making the cruises especially suitable for young or single parents. Offering great cruises to Hawaii for young parents could very well be what makes your service unique. Look for the thing that makes your product stand out from the competition. This should be your mission, your niche – and this is what you have to offer your audience.
If you are a UX designer, then you might be aware of the service design cycle. This cycle contains four stages: discover, explore, test and listen. Each one of these stages has multiple research methods, and competitive analysis is part of the exploration. Susan Farrell has very helpfully distinguished different UX research methods and activities that can be performed for your project. (You can check this detailed segregation in her “UX Research Cheat Sheet”.)
What's the point of creating content if you don't know whether it's working or not. This lesson will help you understand various metrics and data points to track and measure to see whether or not your initiatives are successful. This way your business is constantly growing and learning as opposed to doing the same ole' thing because it's what you've always done. You'll also learn how to communicate the results of your content efforts with the rest of your team.
In the digital world of inbound, the first impression of your business comes through your writing. You can have the best company, the best products, or the best services, but if you're not able to communicate that to your audience, then you risk losing them. In this lesson, you'll learn how we get ideas out of our head and format them into an effective piece of content. Additionally, you'll learn some grammatical pitfalls to avoid. Sometimes a simple wrong use of it's vs. its can deter your audience.
The next step towards a long-term keyword strategy is to create awesome landing pages. In the past, every one of the keywords you want to be found for got its own landing page. Today, however, search engines are so smart that they mostly use search intent to give searchers the best answer to their questions. The page that answers those questions best will rank on top. Search engines also understand subtle differences between keywords so you don’t have to create landing pages for all subtle variations of a keyword.  You can just optimize a page for multiple keywords.

It may be that the real struggle you face with your client or boss is that they're afraid their industry isn't sexy enough for content marketing. It's not true—anything is interesting if it's framed well and shown to the right people. Your challenge here is to find that perfect angle to pitch to show them just how interesting content marketing for boring industries can be.


To investigate a page's content, you have various tools at your disposal. The simplest approach is to view Google's cached copy of the page (the text-only version). Alternatively, you can use SEO Browser or Browseo. These tools display a text-based version of the page, and they also include helpful information about the page (e.g., page title, meta description, etc.).

If possible, target keywords should be in the URL, the title, an H1 (the headline of your post), an H2 (a subhead within your post), the meta title (see Step 6), the meta description (ditto), and littered (in moderation) throughout the body copy. Ancillary keywords should, if possible, be used in H2s and in body copy. Naturally, if you’re creating a new piece of content, it’ll be easier to make sure you fully optimize all these elements. If you’re updating old pages, you just have to do the best you can. It wouldn’t necessarily make sense, for instance, to change a URL simply to optimize for a new keyword.

When I was working on my own startup, Complete Seating, we did this for OpenTable. I spent at least a night a week working as a host. What was most interesting was all of the other tools that they needed to get their job done: hardwired phone, discussions with waiters, discussions with the kitchen, POS access, and more. We saw some key differentiation with automating the communication through SMS and phone before a guest got to the restaurant. They were really powerful in showing how OpenTable was just a digitization of the maitre d book.
Your article reaches me at just the perfect time. I’ve been working on getting back to blogging and have been at it for almost a month now. I’ve been fixing SEO related stuff on my blog and after reading this article (by the way is way too long for one sitting) I’m kind of confused. I’m looking at bloggers like Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, and so many other bloggers who use blogging or their blogs as a platform to educate their readers more than thinking about search rankings (but I’m sure they do).

LinkedIn is commonly known as the professional social network, and it’s obvious that its users are serious. Sixty-four percent of social referrals to corporate websites come from LinkedIn, compared to 17% from Facebook and 14% from Twitter. A glance at the demographics demonstrates that LinkedIn has the greatest percentage of college-educated, higher-income users of all the major social channels.
Browse. Search the Internet for news, public relations, and other mentions of your competition. Search blogs and Twitter feeds as well as review and recommendation sites. While most of the information you find will be anecdotal and based on the opinion of just a few people, you may at least get a sense of how some consumers perceive your competition. Plus you may also get advance warning about expansion plans, new markets they intend to enter, or changes in management.
This is a very thourough and intesive audit. I'm wondering what someone would charge to do this. It seems beyond the budget of many smaller sites, but then each site will need a different focus in terms of what needs to be checked. BUT, if someone were to do all of this, what would the price range be I wonder. We do extensive SEO Audits and our costs are usually around $5,000. Just wondering how this would compare.
If you are a UX designer, then you might be aware of the service design cycle. This cycle contains four stages: discover, explore, test and listen. Each one of these stages has multiple research methods, and competitive analysis is part of the exploration. Susan Farrell has very helpfully distinguished different UX research methods and activities that can be performed for your project. (You can check this detailed segregation in her “UX Research Cheat Sheet”.)
Gather Competitive Information Secondary sources of information are recommended as an excellent starting point for developing a competitive and industry analysis. Secondary sources include information developed for a specific purpose but subsequently made available for public access and thus alternative uses. For example, books are secondary sources of information as are articles published in journals. Marketing reports offered for sale to the general public also are considered secondary sources. Although, they have been created for a purpose other than your current need, they are still excellent sources of information and data. With the ever increasing speed of document identification and retrieval through electronic means, secondary sources are not only an inexpensive source of information but are readily available soon after publication. Sources of information include:
The practices and principles of ‘good’ content marketing, however, are here to stay, regardless of the definitions and even as content marketing – rightfully and obviously – continues to already be part of good, integrated and customer-centric marketing. We like the no-nonsense way in which expert Doug Kessler looks at the term, as you can see in the quote.
If you are interested in having the SEO Audit Tool on your web platform, you can have a free seven day trial of it. By embedding this tool directly on your page, you can generate great leads from your users by seeing their websites or the websites they are interested in. From here, you can target a more specific audience and see great improvements in your conversion rates!
Svitlana Graves Svitlana Graves is a digital marketer with a focus on conversion optimization. She enjoys combining in-depth customer research with data to conduct smart experiments. At the moment Svitlana is taking clients’ revenues to new levels as part of CRO Team at 3Q Digital. On a personal note, Svitlana loves Latin Dance and foreign languages. She speaks 5 and is learning her 6th.

I completely agree with you about HTTP canonicalization and internationalization.  I touched on the former a little in previous comments (and Dr. Pete covers it really well in his duplicate content post that I linked to).  As for the latter, if you're working with a site that targets multilingual visitors, international SEO considerations must be included in the audit.

Businesses focused on expanding their reach to more customers will want to pay attention to the increase in volume of visitors, as well as the quality of those interactions. Traditional measures of volume include number of visitors to a page and number of emails collected, while time spent on page and click-through to other pages/ photos are good indicators for engagement.
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