Whatever you sell it’s pretty much guaranteed (unless you're very lucky) that you will have competitors. When a potential customer searches for one of your products you need your site to come up first in the search engines rather than your competitors.
A common question by many site owners is “how does my competitor come up on the first page, while I am no where to be seen?”. The answer is very simple, as search engines only decide your positioning based on a couple of factors, these are…
- The Content of your website
The content on your website needs to be relevant and there needs to be plenty of it. It also needs to be structured in a search engine friendly way. So if your shop offers product descriptions which are just a few sentences long then you need to expand them and get as much content as possible.
- The popularity of your website
How many other sites link to yours? If no one does then your site is deemed un-popular by the search engines and therefore will not be ranked very highly.
Obviously there are a lot of aspects to these two factors, and we have written on them in the past and will no doubt continue to in the future. However it is these two factors that dictate your position in the search engines, and that of your competitors. So if you have a competitor who appears above you in the search engines for one of your keywords then you need to work out why. Here are the best steps...
- Search Google for one of your keywords, ideally this should be one of your product names or a phrase relating to your industry.
- You should now be presented with a list of your competitors, since this is where you need your website to appear.
- Select one of the sites listed which is most like yours, ie: it’s a ecommerce site selling the product.
- Search for their domain name in Google without the http://www. bit. So if a resulting website was http://www.someonlineshop.com/index.asp?id=232323 just search Google for someonlineshop.com
- Google will return the results of the search and you should be presented with 5 links. You should select the last one “Find web pages that contain the term onestopshopcatalog.com”.
- You will now be presented with a list of all the websites that link to this competitor’s site; you should look through all these sites and if possible contact them and ask them to link to your site as well. If they are linking to your competitor there should be no reason why they won’t link to yours.
You need to keep doing this for all your competitors and all your keywords, its hard work but it will pay off. The more sites that link to yours the higher your position and the more customers you will receive.
It is worth making note however that although you want plenty of links to your site, you want to avoid signing up for any link exchange schemes. The more links from your website to other sites is just giving your customers more opportunity to leave your site. Choose any external links very carefully and ensure their relevance.