One of the first things to do before starting up any
business is to investigate the competition. Any business
owner knows this is crucial; to determine how to position
a business in the market, who to target, what prices
to set and who to keep an eye on. The same is true of
the internet marketplace.
However, this understanding is rarely transferred when
a business decides to â€go onlineâ€.
Perhaps the initial setup is so daunting that little
thought is spared for anything beyond the layout and
content of a website. The internet, however is still
a marketplace, and one that is growing exponentially.
Those same business skills need to be put to use here
If you want to learn from the success of your competitors
you first need to think like a search engine. By mimicking
popular keywords and phrases you can benefit from traffic
that would otherwise be directed to your competitors
Keywords are contained in what are called â€Meta
Tagsâ€. These are tags that are found
in the source code at the top of a webpage and include
descriptions, titles and key words. Search engines use
this information (in addition to content) to rank your
page for different search strings. You can access this
information by viewing the source of any website, just
simply select â€Viewâ€,
and â€Sourceâ€ from
If after looking at this code you fear it resembles
some alien language, do not despair! There are many
programs available that will search competitorsâ€
sites for this information and provide a full report:
in plain English. Just look for anything about Search
Engine Optimization (SEO), it is one of the new hot
topics; and you will be swamped with products. The danger
is to believe too much of the hype, donâ€t
pay for promises; search engines are not as easily tricked
as we are!
Another key ingredient is links. Your page will be
ranked favourably if it is viewed by the search engines
as being an authority on a given subject. Links work
a bit like votes, if someone links to your site they
are effectively â€casting a voteâ€
of approval. However the weight of this vote is affected
by how many other sites they link to, so beware of â€link
farmsâ€ (pages contained entirely of
links) because they will not help improve your siteâ€s
positioning. The easiest way to obtain links is through
online directories â€ although people
may not visit your site directly through these links,
it will help with overall search engine positioning.
Returning to the competition; you can discover who
is linking to other sites by using an online link popularity
checker. This way you can try and get these sites to
link to you also. Remember, directed traffic is the
best, so aim for links from sites which contain similar
content to yours. If you are a business selling stamps,
your best links would be from stamp appreciation pages
â€ obvious really.
The internet has been established for a while now.
It is no longer an unknown jungle. As a new business
entering this arena you can learn from other peopleâ€s
successes as well as their mistakes!
About the author:
Felicity Anderson is a web designer and communications
manager who uses the internet as her main source of
promotion. If you would like to know more about anything
mentioned in this article please visit her webpage where
you can access contact details.