One of the most important things when optimizing your website is to know your enemy. Your competition holds the answers to how to get to the top of Google. You just need to know what to look for and how to analyze the data you find.
To know how to find your competition you must first have identified the keywords that you wish to target and found the sites that rank among the top results.
It is important to remember that your online and offline competitors are not necessarily the same. Your online competitors are those sites which appear in the top returned results for the same search phrases your own potential customers are using.
To identify your online competition, take your list of keywords and for each of them search Google. You should take note of the first 20 returned result and record these websites as they will be your online competitors.
Once you have done this for your list of keywords it’s time to analyze the results.
If you have got the keyword selection process correct you should find a correlation between the results; you’ll see that the websites returned are normally very similar each time. You will usually find that one website will be in every set of returned results and this site is likely to be the most correctly optimized of the group and most relevant in Google’s eyes. It is also likely to end up being your main online competitor.