Ask your average non-blogger what’s involved in writing a blog and they’ll probably respond that you get up in the morning, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, then sit in front of your computer (in your pyjamas of course) and tap away at your leisure.
No doubt among the approximately 150 million bloggers using Tumblr and WordPress there is a very small percentage doing just that. But blogging is a serious and competitive business, and the fact is that it is a jungle out there. If you want not only to survive but also to flourish great content is not enough.
You will have to know who your online competition is and what they are up to at all times.
There are numerous ways of keeping an eye on your blogging competitors and you need to not only be aware of them but avail yourself of them.
Don’t Be Frugal With Google
It may seem obvious but sometimes the best things are right under your nose. Everybody uses Google and they are the dominant player in the search market. When you google your competitor you can check out reviews, links, and other relevant and useful information which can be utilized for your purposes. You should also google yourself and see how you compare.
Observation Of Domain Registration
By checking the domain registration age of your competitor’s blog, you can see whether this has played any part in their ranking. As Google uses domain age in determining its rank, with old domains given higher ranking as well as factors such as when a link first appeared to the domain and when Google first indexed the domain, checking competitor’s domain data is essential in understanding their credentials.
Stay Foxy With Proxy
Proxy services change your IP address – this means you can surf privately without anyone being able to trace you back. Even more, you can chose different countries to be surfing from. The best way to understand this is through countries which have big restrictions on web surfing such as China. Using proxy you can get access to websites, social networks and YouTube videos that are restricted these countries.
When it comes to checking out your competition, you can keep track of your keyword all over the world without leaving your comfy sofa. For example certain keywords in one country can rank you first place, and in a different country these keywords are lyrics to the latest hit song. In a country where Gangnam Style isn’t a hit (if there is such a country), the keyword “Style” ranks first styling and fashion sites, while in other countries the YouTube video ranks first or second.
Using proxy you can check these out in advance, without needing to travel to every country, unless you can afford it, then defiantly travel to every country!
Wink To The Backlink
Another vital piece of knowledge of which you must be aware is the number of links to a competitor’s blog. Also known as backlinks, these are also used by Google when ascertaining rank. You can use knowledge of these backlinks to approach the link providers and attempt to have your site also linked to theirs. There are many SEO tools to help you do this, such as Majesticseo and Backlinktest. It’s always good to see what your competition is doing, imitate and improve good ideas.
Always See PPC
By checking out which keywords your competitors use in their PPC advertising you can use the same words and save time and money in your Search Engine Optimization strategy. Rest assured that if your competitor is paying to use keywords then they are worth using.
As a blogger in a highly competitive marketplace, it is imperative that you know what your competitors are up to. The above tips are not the only methods but they are a very good starting point.
Don’t Be Shy To Spy
The word follow has a new meaning in the blogging era. Via Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks it’s possible to see what your competition is up too from the inside. Keep a close track of whom they are being followed by and following themselves, check who they are making connections with, whose tweets they are re-tweeting, what they working on and when.
The web gives us all the tools to be a good spy, and as long as you use these tools in a good form then all is fair in love and blogging. There’s nothing wrong with doing some intelligence work, as long as you don’t go into war. Keep in mind that someone may be watching your steps as well.
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10 Commandments Of Blogging
Finally, here is a humorous Infographic reminding us about the rules that should be considered when blogging. (Feel free to share it on Pinterest, if you like.)