By Brendan Fitzpatrick
Who are my competitors and how do I compare? Every web site writes data to log files, these log files will tell you alot of informaiton about who your visitors are. Until you know your own site it will be hard to compare it to others. Get your logs from your hosting provider and get them analyzed by a free web analyzer such as webalizer.org or analog.cx. Most hosting providers will already have these reports for you, you may have to enable the log analysis feature before you can view the results.
Once you understand how many visitors are visiting your site, where they are from and what they are looking for you can then start asking how that compares to your competitors. Always optimize your HTML per standard SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices, if you’re not a coder/designer then you may have to pay someone for this. It’s not too expensive to optimize a few pages and it shouldn’t cost more than $100 or so, if you have a good designer then they should already have optimized your site as a best practice for next to nothing. You should definitely get used to terms such as ‘Meta Tags’, ‘Keywords’, ‘Description’ and ‘Title’ for each of your pages.
To find some answers about your competitors traffic just google them. Google “<competitor.com>” and see how many results you find – how does that compare when you google “<mysite.com>”? Search for your keywords and see which sites come up – those are your competitors! Even if they’re not competing by selling the same products – they are your competitors for traffic. There are many sites out there that will rank sites that are general ideas of how your site may rank.
Remember, you may have a higher ranking in a search engine than your competitor for 1 keyword but they may be higher for 10 other keywords.
Always try to analyze your traffice and competitors yourself first, you need to learn the lingo before dealing with web designers or you risk getting ripped off. There are too many people over charging promises of making money to honest hard workers out there, the internet is filled with sharks so be aware.