Q: Is it possible to tell if my competitors are utilizing a SEO campaign to increase their rankings?
A: Yes. Some of the quickest ways to determine this is to:
- Determine your top 10 keywords your trying to achieve high rankings for
- Notice the competition and look to see who is out-ranking you
- Note the links that are pointing to your competitors site (check weekly if not more often to see how they are building them)
- Which page are the keywords pointing to in your competitors website?
- How long ago did that page originate (use WayBackMachine)
- Do they have a DMOZ listing?
- Any Digg or other posts?
- Do they have good on-page factors like title, content, meta, etc.?
Doing these side-by-side comparisons on a monthly basis will show you all the changes and factors that are involved with ranking changes in search engines.