General Characteristics of the Website
Give your competitors’ websites a spin, thinking back to Chapters 3 and 4, and try to
identify anything that’s important about their sites’ structure as it relates to SEO. Are
important pages hidden behind a login or locked inside a database? Is their entire site
developed with Flash, or is too much of their message presented as graphical text? (To
determine whether website text is graphical or HTML, try to highlight it with your
mouse. If you can highlight one letter at a time, it’s HTML. If you can only highlight
the entire word plus some of the background, it’s graphical.) Is the site particularly text
heavy? Does the site have useful, unique, or constantly changing noncommercial con-
tent that might increase its linkability?
You’ll naturally be curious about lots of other, not-just-for-SEO factors as you
click around your competitors’ sites, like fun features that you covet for your own site.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping track of those elements somewhere, too (Task
Journal entry, anyone?). But for our purposes, we’d just like you to jot down your gen-
eral impressions in the General Site Characteristics column of the Competition Work-
sheet. Here are some examples of General Site Characteristics notes:
• This site has a tendency to overuse graphical text.
• Not once on this site was the long form of the acronym AMC spelled out!
• There’s a ton of text, which is good for SEO, but it causes their design to suffer.
Thursday: Assess Off-Page Factors
Today you’ll be looking at factors that are largely outside of the control of your com-
peting site owners. Whether it’s ranks, inbound links, or other algorithm-benders like
Google PageRank, you want to know how the world at large is treating the sites you
want to beat.
You already thought about your competitors’ ranks when you named your Big
Five. Maybe you singled out a competitor simply because they were ranking well, or
maybe you chose one that has terrible ranks but has been stealing your “real-world”
customers away. Now, summarize the overall ranking status of each of your Big Five
Enter your assessment of general site characteristics on your Competition Worksheet.
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