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SeoProfy Founder: Study your competitors to improve your rankings

I asked Viktor Karpenko, CEO of the Ukrainian company SeoProfy, to describe the common mistakes of organic search for e-commerce retailers. Most of them are technical, he told me, adding, “You can answer 99% of any SEO question by looking at competing, high-ranking sites.”

For Karpenko, analyzing competitors is a crucial SEO study. He needs to know. He founded SeoProfy in 2010 in Kiev. It is now a world leader in search engine optimization with 200 employees, perfect in-house tools and a list of impressive customers in a variety of fields.

The entire audio recording of my recent conversation with Karpenko is attached below. The transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Practical e-commerce: What are the common mistakes of SEO e-commerce sellers?

Victor Karpenko: Most SEO mistakes are technical in nature, such as structuring a website with the right categories, links, and keywords. Most errors occur during initial setup, during the research phase. You can answer 99% of any SEO question by looking at competing, high-ranking sites.

Here is an example. I recently spoke with a customer who sells pillows and mattresses online through WooCommerce. He asked me if he should go to Shopify to get a better rating.

To answer, he should search Google for keywords like “foam pillow” and look at the top 10 results. We have a plugin that shows the CMS of these sites. He can see five competitors via WooCommerce and five more from Shopify. He could further narrow the search by analyzing the top three and examining their data and commonalities.

This approach – analyzing the tactics of successful competitors – answers almost any SEO question.

In addition to the CMS, we analyze various parameters for best results, such as the number of links, the size of the content (how many words and how it is optimized) and page speed, which Google calls Basic website settings. (By the way, Google does not disclose all site page speed information.)

Search Console provides a lot of important information about the page and the site – keywords in the text, internal and external links and more.

We also look forward to Ahrefs, Majestic and Semrush. Using competitor analysis, we look at the dynamics of the links of other websites – how many links, how long it took to accumulate and how many pages are affected. From there we can estimate what it will take to post on page 1 and how long.

URL age is another important factor. If a competitor’s URL is, say, two years old and you’re just starting out, it will probably take some time to build trust in pages and rankings.

UVK: You mentioned tools – Search Console, Ahrehs, Majestic, Semrush. Does the merchant need all this?

Karpenka: We have about 200 employees, so we use a lot of tools. For references we mainly use Ahrefs and Majestic. For keywords and search volume we use Semrush. We use a search metrics tool to retrieve data. We review search results for mobile and desktop computers. Google says its rankings are primarily mobile, but many services only analyze desktop data, which may be inaccurate.

The critical factors for an e-commerce site (or any site) is whether you have enough links and content, whether the links are natural, whether they have binding text, whether the text is over-optimized or under-optimized, and whether technical parts need to be fixed.

UVK: Can you tell us more about the technical parts?

Karpenka: Consider your sitemap and whether your site has an indexing API that notifies Google when pages are added or removed. Robots.txt and .htaccess files are also important. Look for headings, descriptions, headings (H1, H2 and more) and breadcrumbs. Analyze how internal links distribute authority across the site.

UVK: Let’s say I’m a well-known retailer that’s going to launch a new product line. How can I achieve high organic ratings for these items?

Karpenka: Go step by step. First, gather your keywords and divide them into groups. Prioritize which products you want to organically rank, and then gather keywords for that group. Next check the purpose of the search. Enter a keyword into Google and see which pages rank.

If an article is in the top 10, it’s probably not the best idea to try to rank an e-commerce product page by that word. It is best to ask this article site to insert a link to the article. That would put you in the top 10; you will get traffic right away. And don’t go for reputable stores like Amazon, Target or Walmart. Focus on competitors like yours.

Choose the top 15 competitors from your keyword group and narrow it down to five. Look at the trust and consider the domain and URL settings of this group. I would use Majestic’s Trust Flow and Citation Flow. URLs with a trust factor greater than 2 usually do not have a proper ranking. Excessively optimized websites usually rank poorly. We collect this credentials and collect keywords. We will analyze which competitors rank them, how many of these keywords they use, and their home page or product category. Then we look at the content. We analyze the structure of content from page size to Schema.org markup to headings, from H1 to H6.

See how many words between H1 and H6. What code? Content can be checklists, images, quotes or comments. Looking for what they have in common. You can get best practices from leading websites. After that, structure your page. A store with 100 categories should prioritize. It is impossible to evaluate everything from the very beginning. Organize basic categories and pages, add some settings, and then entrust your designer with a layout.

It is very important to create a website after implementing SEO tactics, not before. Otherwise you will redo things. If we have an SEO strategy, we encode and then write and analyze the text using tools like SurferSEO or Copywritely.

UVK: You are the founder and CEO of SeoProfy in Ukraine. Tell us about the company.

Karpenka: We have about 200 employees. About 75% are in Ukraine, across the country. The war affected us. We stopped working with Russian clients. We fulfilled the tasks promised to them, and then stopped. That was about 25% of our total income. It was an insult, but we did not fire any employees.

The first two weeks of the war were tense. Our HR department coordinated with all the staff to see how things were going, where they were and whether anyone needed help, such as moving. Now things are more stable.

To date, none of our employees have been affected by the war. Some of our people live in Kiev, but they are safe and do not want to leave. We adapted and took on some black humor. A team member may say, “There’s a siren. We need to go to the bomb shelter ”.

It’s hard to find good talent. We do not want to fire people. We have a plan to survive.

UVK: We all appreciate our Ukrainian colleagues. How can people support you?

Karpenka: Our site is SeoProfy.com. We have a LinkedIn page, too. I’m also on LinkedIn.

https://www.practicalecommerce.com/seoprofy-founder-study-competitors-to-improve-rankings SeoProfy Founder: Study your competitors to improve your rankings

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