The primary goal of any effective SEO strategy is to remove all of the guesswork, and that’s almost never as easy as it sounds. For example, if you’d like to get a general idea who your search competitors are, you could make a brief list of 10-20 keywords your site currently ranks for, and simply search for them and see what comes up. Doing this isn’t exactly guesswork, but it’s an obvious exercise that is actually much more removed from objective analysis than you might think.
The first real problem with this approach is scalability. Even a relatively small business/informative site with 3-5 pages can potentially rank for hundreds of keywords if the content is rich, and that immediately makes it more difficult to manually account for your site’s search presence across the full spectrum of keyword exposure. Putting together a list of 20-30 of your most important keywords, manually searching for them and tracking all of the results in a spreadsheet is a perfectly valid way of performing SEO analysis on a small scale, and it can yield useful results if it’s done on a regular basis.
More often than not, though, this data is only partially accurate and involves a larger up-front time investment – which is why we utilize a set of tools built specifically to automate this task and account for the entire keyword universe represented by a larger number of websites. Using an algorithmic approach to curating the data, we can get a comprehensive report that accounts for all keywords regardless of value, and uses the content associated with your site for comparison. In just a few minutes, we can see exactly how many other sites rank for your most valuable keywords, what those sites are, and more importantly, which keywords they rank for that your site doesn’t. This gives us a much more accurate representation of where your site realistically ranks among competitors and provides the basis for building an intelligent strategy for your marketing campaign.