Whether I am helping a client set-up their website for the first time or I am assisting them with their existing site, I make sure that I assess their competition's keyword strategy. This enables me to understand the key terms where my clients will be competitive and which must be incorporated into their sites. But perhaps more importantly, it provides me with valuable insight as to how I can differentiate my clients' sites from their competition and generate for them an effective SEO strategy to drive relevant traffic to their site and away from their competitors.
I start my research by viewing their code. To do this you will 1) need to have their website open in your browser. 2) Go to the left-hand corner of your browser and click on 'View'. 3) From the drop-down menu click on 'Source'. A text box will then open showing the code. You may want to print the file but just be aware that the file could be many pages long. 4) If you decide to print, take out a red pen and go through the file and circle every keyword and or keyword phrase. Otherwise, take notes when and where keywords / keyword phrases appear and what those terms are.
Once you have this list you are ready to perform your own analysis by using a tool such as Google Keyword Tool to assess the keyword (or keyword phrase) potential and to find out similar phrases that terms are more targeted to your company's purpose. So make sure that each time you receive the tool's results page that you read the results to at least to the point where the page says "Additional keywords to consider". You will find a wealth of information. Go through the full list of terms you found in your competitors' code as well as test others that you came across in the tool's results page that you think have potential for your business. After this exercise you will, undoably, have a long list of possible keywords or keyword phrases. Your next task is to narrow these down to just the amount that can be optimally used without any potential repetitions from 'black hat' practices (SEO tactics that Google frowns upon such as 'keyword stuffing' that they penalize companies for). I will address this in future articles. Optimized Usability-