How to generate ideas when competitive analysis shows you nothing

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I’ve recently softened my stance on competitive analysis. I once thought that it was not worth my time; usually, what I saw was that people were simply using it to copy another site’s link profile. I found it useful to look at how industries linked, of course, but it really wasn’t that high on my list of things to do for a new client.

I do see the benefit now — more so than I did previously. But recently, I’ve been privileged enough to work on a few campaigns for industries where an analysis of competitors’ link profiles really told me… nothing.

Can you rank without a lot of great links?

In case you don’t know, there are still these tiny niches where sites can rank without great links or any decent optimization efforts.

Working on these types of campaigns can be incredibly fun, but it’s tough to get started because it’s almost impossible to get a blueprint.

When you’re looking at how the top 10 spots in Google are occupied by sites that have 20 linking domains or fewer, you really have to get creative.

I think that anyone who has been building links successfully for a few years can build links for any type of site, but some of these sites that I’m speaking about in this article are small-budget sites where no one on the team has any knowledge of SEO.

You don’t see a big backlink profile, and what you do see can be nothing but a few directory links, or a couple of local links, or maybe only links from a parent company that owns several other sites. There’s little competition, so it’s easy to rank — which begs the question of why try to build links if ranking isn’t tough?

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Julie Joyce owns the link development firm Link Fish Media and is one of the founding members of the SEO Chicks blog. Julie began working in search marketing in 2002 and soon became head of search for a small IT firm. Eventually, she started Link Fish Media, where she now serves as Director Of Operations, focusing on working with clients in ultra-competitive niches all over the world.


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