In SEO, reverse engineering is the act of observing the strategies and tactics your competitors are implementing for their website, and applying them to your website.
This is achieved by analysing
- Site structure
- Target words and phrases
Site structure refers to the way in which the pages of a website are ordered and interlinked.
Looking at the content of your competitor’s website can give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. For example, is your competitor ranking highly for certain articles or blogs? If so, consider creating similar content on your website.
Analysing the keywords and phrases that your competitors are targeting can help give an idea of what you should be targeting. The goal isn’t necessarily to copy exactly what your competitors are doing, but rather to understand what they’re doing, and whether it is working for them, and then applying those principles to your website.
Using a backlink analysis tool, such as SEM Rush can show you where your competitors are recieving backlinks from, and how many they have. Identifying the most high quality (most relevant and authoritative) of your competitor’s backlinks, and creating them for your website, is the ultimate goal here.
When is Reverse Engineering Useful
Reverse engineering is useful in all stages of the SEO process. However, it should not form the basis of your SEO strategy.
Your website’s SEO strategy should be based on your business and its peculiarities.
It is helpful in the initial stages of SEO in order to form an understanding of what works and what doesn’t in your industry.
It is also helpful when your SEO efforts are not reaching the heights you had hoped. When a website’s rankings are stagnating, it is helpful at that stage to closely observe how competitor’s are approaching SEO, and what’s working for them, and subsequently the same successful tactics to your website.