Everybody always want to know how to improve their search engine rankings and while there are loads of little tips I could give out the simplest things to do that will have the longest lasting effect is to learn how to perform competitor analysis and act on what you find learn.
The idea of competitor analysis is simple, you take a look at at your competitors website, see how theirs differs from your, and make changes to make yours similar, its not rocket science, but it does require you to have an idea of what you are looking for.
For example if you were a plumber and your website targeted people who searched for “Plumbers in Manchester” comparing your title tag with that of the number 1 ranking sight might reveal that you had no text whereas the site ranked number 1 included the words plumber and Manchester, in this case you would want to add a title tag and make sure yours included your target phrase.
Next you might look at how fast the sites load, You can use websites like tools.pingdom.com to time how long it takes for your website and that of your competitor to load, You should be looking for your site to load in under 3 seconds but the faster the better. If your competitors site loads quicker than yours you might look at compressing your images more, or even upgrading your hosting.
You would continue this process for each element of the site, making changes as you go. Once complete moving on to the next page and the next. I’d recommend waiting 3 months between analysis as it takes time for any changes you make to register in the search engines and you don’t want to undo any of your hard work.
While easy to do competitor analysis can be a time consuming process and if you are going to be doing it a lot it can be worth investing in software to assist with this. If you are doing it less frequently or on an adhoc basis I offer audit reports as a service. You can find the details of that here.