An Managed Service Provider (MSP) recently asked me for suggestions on the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords his company should use for their new web-site.
For most IT Solution Providers, getting to the first page on Google for terms such as “IT Support <City>” where <City> is your local area is the holy grail of SEO. But how do your competitors make it to that number one page in the search rankings?
Understanding the keywords that your competitors are using in their own SEO efforts is one way to gain an insight into their success, and here are two Cheeky methods that you can use (and your competitors are probably already using) to find those keywords out!
The easiest way to find out the keywords your competitors are using is to visit their website and then view the Page Source – or the underlying HTML code – for their homepage.
In Google Chrome, you’d simply click the tools bar (the three lines in the top right hand corner) then select Tools > Developer Tools. This will display the Source Code in a window underneath the website itself.
In Internet Explorer, click on View > Source to see the HTML source code of the website.
You can then search for these tags to understand the keywords your competitors are using on their website.
From the above tags you can get a fairly good feel for the type of keywords your competitors are using to promote their website.
The second – and often overlooked – way to find out the keywords your competitors are using on their website is to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
If you haven’t already signed up for a Google AdWords accounts – then it’s free to do so and gives you access to the Google AdWords tools.
Once you’ve signed up for a Google AdWords account then visit https://adwords.google.com/ and click the “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas” link.
This box is typically used to input a word or phrase, but you can enter the URL of a website (your own or a competitors!) and Google will then show you the keyword ideas for that site – based on the keywords it has found.
These keyword “ideas” should give you a very good indication of which keywords your competitors are targeting for their own SEO strategy.
Search Engine Optimization is still a huge factor in making sure that Google finds your website and, in turn, clients can find you via Google.
If you’re unsure of which keywords you should be focusing on, then why not take a cheeky look at what your competitors are doing by checking out the Source Code on their website and the Google AdWords Keyword Planner for further ideas.
While blindly copying your competitors and competing directly with them for keywords is never a good idea, being aware of what they are focusing on may help you clarify what your own business needs to focus on – and it’s worth being aware that your competitors are almost certainly using the same techniques to check your own website out!
Richard Tubb works with MSP's to help them focus on what is important, free up their time and make more money. You don't have to do it alone any more!