I recently had a client ask me for something completely new. What he wanted was in essence…reverse SEO. Except he wasn’t entirely sure what SEO really was. What I ended up doing was (I thought) a good short tutorial for the lay person about what SEO means, how to accomplish it, and then, how to reverse engineer it. (more on that in a minute)
So, SEO means Search Engine Optimization. That’s a pretty broad field, and it can include trickery and snake oil salesman. But the good news is that a) Google has some pretty straightforward instructions on how to do it right and b) Google makes this rules on this stuff (most folks agree they perform upwards of 2/3 of all searches, and some people say it’s more than that!). China (Baidu) and Japan (Japan Yahoo) are the only two countries in which Google is not the clearly dominant search engine. Basically
- Put high quality content on your site on a frequent, regular basis.
- Pay attention to your keywords, your title tags, headings, meta descriptions, alt tags, and optimize your images. Have your site load quickly.
- Work to build quality links between your site and those of others, and use good quality anchor text for links on your own site
- Participate – really participate, not just repost drivel- on your social media platform(s) of choice. Google allegedly doesn’t count social media in their algorithm, but…come on. Yes, a lot of it is fake, and a lot of it is fluff, but the internet is fundamentally about connections, and genuine social media interactions are are excellent way for your business or organization to connect.
But to reverse this? To see how someone else is positioning their site or brand online for the most exposure? That was interesting to try to figure out.
One way to understand someone else’s marketing strategy is try to guess their keywords. Those are the search terms “…intended to help your web content communicate in a way that resonates with humans and Google search spiders.”
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner. You’ll need an Adwords account, but they are free. Just put in the site’s url and it will show you the keywords people typed in to find the site on a search engine. Therefore, you can kind of assume those are probably the keywords the site owner is using.
- Exadium has a great tag tool, which are all good clues to what someone considers important information for each page and section of their site
- Browseo will let you see your site as a search engine does. Invaluable!
- Marketing.grader.com gives you great a snapshot of links and social mentions for a site, which are very important…and Google is revising their estimation of the importance of social, I hear.
Using all of these online tools should give you a good starting view of someone else else’s brand strategy for the web. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and you have a competitor that you admire, why not use these tools to see how they’re doing what they’re doing? It can challenge you to refine and improve your SEO practices, reach more people, and achieve more of your goals for your business or organization!