How to Analyze Top Ranking Sites and Pages

There are many reasons for wanting to analyze top-ranking sites, particularly those that are top-ranking in your market space. They may be your competitor’s sites which is reason enough to explore what they are doing but even if they are not, it can be very helpful to understand the types of things they are doing to see how those things helped them get their  top rainkings. With this informations, you might be able to put strategy effectively for your site.

Let’s start by reviewing a number of metrics of interest and how to get them:

  1. Start with a simple business analysis to see how a particular company’s business overlaps with yours and with other top-ranked sites in your market places. It’s good to know who is competing directly and who is competing only indirectly.
  2. Find out starting year for the website. This can be useful in evaluating the site’s momentum. Determining the domain age is very easy by checking domain’s whois records. However you can use the Wayback Machine (http://www.archive.org) to get an idea of  when a site was launched.
  3. Determine the number of page index in Google. To get this information, search for site:domainname.com (i.e site:webbyfox.co.uk)
  4. Perform a query on Google blog search (http://blogsearch.google.com) for the domain name, excluding domain name itself, on the default settings.
  5. Find out from Google Blog Search how many posts have appeared about the site in the past month. To do this append &as_qdr=m1 at the end of URL.
  6. Obtain PageRank of the domain’s homepage as reported by Google Toolbar.
  7. Use Yahoo Site Explorer to determine how many backlinks the site has. Better still is if you have an industrial-strength tool such as SEOmoz’s Link scape or Mejestic-SEO. These tool set provide much richer set of link data based on their own crawl of the Web, including additional critical details such as the anchor text of the links.
  8. Pull the site traffic chart from Compete (http://www.compete.com) that compares the site’s traffic to that of its direct competitors to see how it is doing traffic wise. Repeat the traffic analysis with Quantcast (http://www.quantcast.com) and Alexa (http://www.alexa.com).
  9. If you are able to access a paid service such as Hitwise (http://www.hitwise.com) or comScore (http://www.comscore.com), you can pull a rich set of additional data, breaking down site traffic by source.
  10. Determine the number of indexed pages in each of the three major search engines using site:thedomainname.com.

Of course, this is pretty extensive analysis to perform, but it’s certainly worthwhile for the few sites which are the most important ones in your market spaces.

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