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Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself: Don’t Fall Asleep on the Competition

Insights // August 2, 2013

 

Growing up, just like millions of other kids, I dreamed of being a professional athlete. As the years went by, the harsh reality of the low probability of that dream coming true began to dawn on me. But just because we can’t all play for the New York Yankees, or suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers doesn’t mean our career can’t be competitive. Competitive analysis plays a large part in what we do here at Terakeet. If you’re a professional sports team, you’re not going to walk onto the field oblivious and unaware of your opponent’s tactics. There are scouting reports, film sessions, and scheduled practices against the scout team. As a leader in organic search visibility, we never walk into the arena without doing our due diligence.

 

When Jim Boeheim begins to prepare our beloved Syracuse Orange for a tournament, his staff will watch hours upon hours of film documenting their opponents every move. They do this to identify patterns, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. They want to find opportunities for their players to capitalize on, and threats they want to ward off. A backlink profile is our competitor’s game film. It can at times be made up of thousands and thousands of links. We can analyze that profile to assess how our client’s competitors achieve their rankings within Google’s search results for a number of key terms. Through this, we can identify successful strategies they have employed and valuable communities they have infiltrated, in an effort to measure it against our own successes. We don’t always need to reinvent the wheel, but instead we can make the wheel better. It’s not about replicating, but more about recognizing opportunities.

 

Websites are ranked in a similar fashion as a player in a video game. The best player in the game could have a rating of 99 overall (players like Lebron James, Aaron Rogers, and Miguel Cabrera). If you listen to the folks at MOZ, Domain Authority and Page Authority play a large part in the composition of the SERPs. These numbers offer a hint of implied credibility in the eyes of Google and other search engines. A site with a very high authority score will be viewed as an authority on a subject. We dilegently track the authority numbers of both our clients and their competition and create strategies to help us achieve one of our ultimate goals: having our client’s website be the highest rated player in our game of “Earned Visibility.”

 

A baseball team may shift their infield when a certain batter comes up. A soccer team may use the 4-4-2 formation. A football team may run a west-coast offense. You can attribute all of these things to some aspect of strategy. There is a large focus on strategy at Terakeet just like any other SEO firm. These strategies occur on-page, and then extend off-page. A focus of competitive analysis is to identify these strategies that are being implemented by our competitors. Maybe they saw a positive result from changing their interlinking and anchor text on their website. Maybe they are doing broken link building. Maybe they are pushing an infographic through social media channels. Whatever it is they’re doing, we’re digging deeper to decipher why they are doing it. It is always in your best interest to be aware of your surroundings, keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer.

 

Back in the 6th century BCE, Chinese military mastermind Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War,

“Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy; find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time.”

The same sentiment still rings true to this day. Although I’m rather confident that Sun Tzu didn’t have search engine optimization in mind when he decided to pen The Art of War, it seems he might have made a solid strategist if the whole Chinese military general thing hadn’t worked out.