When developing a unique SEO campaign strategy, a competitive landscape analysis is one of the foundations for the final plan. A look at the competitors that are actively ranking/pursuing specific search terms provides valuable insight into the eventual development of the SEO campaign.
We’re not fixing the wheel here. If a data point on your competitor’s website is working for them, it’s likely it’ll work for you, as well.
But how far can this go? How much can you look at competitors, especially the big conglomerates, and rely on their data? How do you even know if the on-page optimization they’re doing is also correct?
In a world of search results giving favoritism to large industry authority sites, our initial instinct is to believe that these websites have their SEO teams up to par. We’re expected to believe that their multi-million dollar budgets can afford to ensure they have the elite strategies behind them.
Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Being local to New York City, I’ve had the advantage of collaborating with some of the top enterprise businesses in the city. Companies for brands we all use every single day. I’ve been brought in by these companies for SEO consulting & training, in-depth technical SEO audits, advisory roles & more. Much to my own surprise, the knowledge of SEO within these companies was severely outdated.
What I’ve Noticed…
Many of the Fortune 500 companies had what I’ll call “scattered marketing.” What this means is that their marketing team didn’t have a proper handle on all of the different forms on marketing, and instead of dedicated select team members to different platforms/marketing strategies, the entire in-house teams we’re doing everything.
One specific Fortune 500 company based in the city comes to mind when I think of scattered marketing. This company, which is considered to be among the largest life insurance companies in the world (estimated $800million profits in 2017), had days of the week dedicated to specific forms of marketing. Monday was Paid Advertising review & optimization; Tuesday was Search Engine Optimization; Wednesday was reconfiguration and audit of email marketing blasts; and so on.
Since they have the resources to maintain a full-time, dedicated in-house marketing team, there was no other reason than straight consulting as to which SEO Services New York could have been useful. They just needed guidance and the proper advice as to what’s taking place in a legit SEO campaign, that’s focused on results, longevity & ROI.
Big Brand (Bad) SEO in Real-Time
I’m not one to start controversy and begin bashing companies in hopes of minor publicity. It was simply to prove a point that they don’t always have their $#*! figured out and this should be accounted for in the strategy development. The point I’m going to share was reviewed with well-known industry colleagues who, as well as myself, had no proper explanation as to why.
If you know why… comment below, and I’ll edit the post to include your comment and a link back to your website.
I was researching for a prospective e-commerce client, and I was shocked to see what the footer of Overstock.com looked like:
Now, the red boxes… I have a Google Chrome browser extension that automatically highlights “nofollow” links. When a hyperlink in a page has a nofollow tag associated, it’s automatically given a red box.
For more information on nofollow links, here’s Google’s explanation.
When it comes to on-page SEO, we know that internal linking is a tremendous asset. It’s extremely important, and more importantly, the text of the links play a huge role. Given the nature of Overstock.com, I would think that there are many opportunities for them to take advantage of high volume search terms.
We would think Overstock would like to rank high on Google for the search term: “Overstock coupons”. This is a search term that brings in roughly 75,000 searches per month.
Unfortunately, at the time of this post, they’re sitting at #6 for that specific search term. I wholeheartedly believe that the removal of the nofollow link in the footer menu will give them positive results in the search engines.
This example could be shown for a few other of the items listed in their footer.
On The Other Hand…
Overstock.com does have history specifically regarding their SEO tactics. In 2011, they were penalized for using link schemes and maybe in their attempt to ensure they don’t ever get slapped; they’re taking overcautious measures.