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How To Create An Article Marketing Campaign: Step 2–Your Competition
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You may have gotten into the habit of thinking of your article marketing as just one article here and another article there, but it really helps to approach your article submissions with a big picture view.

Submit just a few articles, and you probably won’t see drastic results, but submit a handful of articles every month for 12 months and you will see what marketing momentum can do for your site!

Consistency is key with submitting articles as with any online marketing tool, and creating and implementing an article marketing strategy can inspire that consistency.

I use an article marketing strategy myself that is comprised of a series of simple steps.

Last time I told you about Step 1: Establish your baseline.

Today we’re moving on to Step 2, which is: Establish the baseline of your competitors.

Why in the world would you want to look closely at how your main competitors are doing?

1) Well, for one thing, trying to get to the top of the search engines is not something you do in a vacuum–your success depends on how other sites are doing in relation to you.

If you’re at number 50 in the rankings for your keyword in Google, and the site that is ranked #1 is also working hard to market their site and building links each month and gaining PR, then you will have a clear idea as to what you’re up against.

2) Competition will spur you on. Think of article marketing and SEO as a race–you do best when you have competition. If you’re just running by yourself and someone is timing you, you probably won’t make your best time.

But, if you’re embedded in a flock of speedsters running their hearts out, you will most likely run harder too.

Keeping track of your main competitor’s status helps remind you that you’re in competition with other sites, and how well they perform with SEO influences how well you perform.

3) Keeping track of your competitors can give you insights and be consoling when the road gets bumpy.

Ask anyone who is consciously and consistently staying on top of their website’s progress–it’s not always uphill every single month. Sometimes your site may take a dive in an area for completely unexplainable reasons. When this happens, the tendency can be to overreact and think, “What did I do to deserve this?” and then not knowing if the sudden change had anything to do with you at all, you start making changes out of desperation.

But when you keep track of your competitor’s progress every month, it’s like you’re running with a pack.

What affects you may very likely be affecting them as well, and that can ease your mind that whatever the reason for the unexplainable change in your site’s backlinks, ranking or whatever, that it was across the board and not just affecting you, and that with some patience things will go back to normal.

4) Why not learn from your competitors? If a site is sitting at #1 in Google, they are there for a very good reason. You may find that your competitors are doing some things that are benefiting them greatly that you may be able to incorporate into your own marketing plan.

Those are the reasons why I track my main competitors and why I advise others to do so as well.

Let’s go over the steps on how to do this:

How do you know who your main competitor’s are?

It’s simple enough to tell–type each of your keywords into Google, and see what site comes up at #1. The site at #1 is your main competitor.

When I started my article marketing strategy last year, I focused in on 3 keywords, so for each of those keywords I have a main competitor.

What info should you track for your competition?

Mostly the same info that you are tracking for yourself as we discussed in Step 1: How To Create An Article Marketing Strategy

*The search engine ranking for the keyword. (And of course for at least the first month, that search engine ranking will be #1, since that is how you determined that they were your main competitor.)

*Number of backlinks. Here’s a tutorial on how to do a back link check.

*The Google PageRank–you can find the PageRank (PR) by installing the Google Toolbar and looking at the PageRank indicator. Remember, the web page that you will be keeping track of is the web page that is at #1 for your keyword term. Sometimes this is not the top level domain of the site (http://www.theirwebsite.com), but rather an inner page (http://www.theirwebsite.com/page2). When you’re doing your checks each month, just be sure that you’re consistently checking the same web page for your competitor. It helps to write down on your spreadsheet the exact web page that you’re checking so that you can remember each month.

And that’s it–on the same day that you do your stats check for your own site, also do the stats check for your main competitors.Some months you’ll notice that they did increase their backlinks, some months you’ll see that they lost backlinks, and other months you’ll see that they just stayed the same.

This info will give the stats for your own site a whole new dimension. It will be encouraging to you to see your site making advancements in backlinks or PR or search engine ranking, and you can sort of see yourself on a horse galloping up from behind getting closer and closer to overtaking the person out in front–at least that’s how I like to think of it!

If you’re aiming for being #1 for a keyword and you’re way back in the rankings, you can still see how you’re making progress each month. Really galloping up the search engine rankings is not something that happens overnight, and sometimes it can be one step forward two steps back, but over time you will see a trend of steady improvement.

Photo Credit: Horse racingOriginally uploaded by Paolo Camera


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2 Responses to “How To Create An Article Marketing Campaign: Step 2–Your Competition”

  1. [...] Step 2: Check Out Your Competition – explains why it’s important to look at how your main competitors are doing, how you can determine who your competitors are, and what info you should track for your competition. [...]

  2. [...] The same is true of article marketing. I encourage you to figure out who your top competitors are and then pit yourself against them. [...]

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