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Web development: search engines
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Are You Winning or Losing In Google?
Copyright © 2003, John Gergye
When tracking how well you’re doing against competitors in Google are you
winning, losing or just holding your own?
Don’t know? Doesn’t surprise me.
Most have no clue if they’re winning the Google rankings battle much less the
war. Which is a shame since keeping score is so simple. Here’s all you do.
Identify the Competition
Track Page Rank
Ferret Out How Many Pages in Google
Gauge Both Quantity and Quality of Inbound Links
Keep an Eye on Them
That’s it. That’s all that counts really. Here’s how to do it.
** Identify Your Competitors
Not hard. Just identify the top 5 competitors in your niche you want to outrank.
** Track Page Rank (PR)
Pick the two or three "must-win" keywords you want to come out on top for.
Use the Google toolbar <http://toolbar.google.com>
to track the PR of competitors’ home pages plus the two or three other pages
optimized for those competitive keywords you picked.
Note the PR of each on a spreadsheet.
** How Many Pages in Google?
Again pretty simple if you have this tool:
In the left hand column you’ll see it asks "How well optimized is your website?"
Now I don’t give a rat’s behind about mine, necessarily. But I do care about
those pesky competitors.
Enter the competitor’s URL
Stick in some guessimate for how many pages on their site Hit the "check now"
The result will show you how many pages they’ve got in Google, FAST, altaVista,
and Inktomi. While I track all of them - at least track the pages in Google.
** Gauge Quantity and Quality of Inbound Links It’s a cinch if you use FAST to
get the number or quantity of inbound links since they’re more inclusive.
Google on the other hand will only reveal in bound links from PR 4 sites or
higher. BAM! There’s your take on quality.
Here’s how. Using FAST <http://www.alltheweb.com>
in the search box. All pages linking to www.competitor.com are returned.
Do the same with Google.
Record the count of all links plus high quality links on your spreadsheet. (Be
sure to subtract the internal links from pages in the website in question.)
** Track Traffic
Use either Alexa’s Toolbar <http://download.alexa.com>
Alexa <http://www.alexa.com> to grab traffic
While far from perfect since it can be manipulated, you can still get a decent
estimate of traffic as measured by users with the Alexa toolbar visiting the
To keep it simple just track the traffic rank.
Then to close the loop…
** Keep an Eye on Them
Use a page monitoring service to watch competitor sites like a hawk. Sure some
would call this spying. But that has such a negative connotation. I prefer
monitoring. Here’s the free tool to use that makes this automatic.
Change Detect <http://www.changedetect.com>
will email you whenever a site it’s monitoring for you changes.
This gives you yet one more way to track if the webmaster is actively improving
their site or asleep at the switch.
Now the easiest way to recognize trends is to graph what’s going on. You’ll be
able to see right away if the trend is your friend or not.
Look. Don’t be blindsided like a frog in water on the stove. Who will boil to
death because he doesn’t detect what’s going on.
** Track your closest rivals.
** Compare your stats to theirs.
** Re-act accordingly.
It’s easy and doesn’t take more than 20-30 minutes a week given the tools
revealed. Yet doing so gives you the marketing intelligence you need to improve
your Google ranking or hold your own. No matter what your competitors are doing.
How much is more traffic worth to your business? Take John
Gergye’s Search Engine Quiz and get a special report "Coming
Out On Top" with 49 tools that make it easy to get more traffic.
Posted: Wed Sep 17 02:52:12 EDT 2003
For more articles by this author, please visit:
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