Although Google is the world’s largest search engine, does it always make sense to use its top 10 as the basis of your technical competitor analysis?
Simply put top 10 analysis allows us to see the factors that Google feel are important and allows us then to implement the same rules on our own pages for the purpose of ranking highly.
Or in plain English, we don’t know why Google ranks any top ten pages the way it does, but we know it likes them, so if we can be more like them, Google will treat us in the same way.
This technique does work well and accommodates for any Google algorithm change, but without care, we might be analysing the wrong competitors.
In short Google weights in-bounds links and length of active domain in such a way where it distorts the index greatly. The reasons behind this does make some logic, but results in a top ten which in the conventional sense could be considered as not the most optimised.
In other words if you have a very old active domain and a lot of inbound links you have a distinct advantage and don’t have to worry about the other aspects of SEO so much.
With Bing and Yahoo they weight on page aspects far more than Google, so you could say that the top ten on either search engine may show better on page SEO clues than Google ever can.
In addition as both Bing and Yahoo are in a state of perpetual catch-up, they tend to be far more transparent and loose with how they rank.
If you are using a top ten tool like SEO Profiler or IBP, simply feed the top ten from Bing or Yahoo into the top ten report and run it against your target page. This will allow you to compare your page against the strongest on page competitors for your search phrase.
To perform the same thing manually the advice would be to reduce the analysis to the top 3 and to reduce your analysis factors to title tag, URL/path, h tags and body copy.
The method is really simply, take your target search phrase and break it into it component parts.
Now simply compare the whole phrase and parts to the source of each of the three competitors html pages for title tag, URL, h tags and body copy.
What you are looking to do is make sure you use the phrase (or part phrase) as many times as the least times it’s being used and no more than the maximum use in each of the competitors pages.
As an extra tweak, as a minimum make sure your phrase is being used at least once.
It’s now time to wait up to six weeks for Google to re-index, look at the results and tweak.
If you are not making progress then the sad news is that you will need mote inbound links.
On Google it’s annoying but still very much a fact of life.