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Bay Area Web Design – Who's ranking?

Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!

Our little company, Solas Web Design, is located in the Sonoma Valley of N. California. Technically, we are inside what is known as the Bay Area. This incorporates big cities like San Francisco and Oakland, commuter towns like San Rafael and Santa Rosa, and tiny rural villages like Inverness and Kenwood.

When Liam and I started our firm, we decided that one of the things we wanted to rank well in Google for was ‘Web Design Sonoma County’. At present we tend to fluctuate between the top 3 positions for this term. There are several counties within the Bay Area, and because we felt we should start small, we thought it would be smartest to focus on our local county and expand over time. We’re doing very well now for a number of terms related to our services in our local area. Perhaps it’s time to consider going after good rankings for ‘Bay Area Web Design’ now, in order to reach a wider audience. Oddly, the largest percentage of our clients don’t live anywhere near here, but we do enjoy working with home folks, so why not let more locals know about our services?

Now comes the question. What do the other guys look like? Thanks to the brilliance of Jim Boykin of We Build Pages, it’s now a cinch to find out! Jim had his programmer create the Cool SEO Tool so that any website owner can get a really good grasp on their chance of ranking well for any given keyword by seeing what the competition is doing. You can customize the fields you want data in, and these include Google Rank, Yahoo Rank, MSN Rank, Google Pages Indexed, AltaVista Pages, Indexed Backlinks (Page), Backlinks (Domain), allinanchor Rank, Age of URL, and Phrase on page. As a small web business owner, you are not going to want to miss out on this super tool!

For my own purposes, I simply typed in the URL of the site I found ranking at the top in Google for the phrase Bay Area Web Design and then typed this phrase in as well. The Cool SEO Tool returns the top 10 results. For educational purposes, I’ll just show the top 3 here:

Top 3 Bay Area Web Design Companies

Google Position: 1
Title Tag: San Francisco Bay Area Web Site Development Designers Developers …
Indexed URL: http://www.hyperarts.com
Yahoo Rank: not in top 100
MSN Rank: 13
Google Pages Indexed: 1510
Alta Vista Pages Indexed: 781
Backlinks (page): 1320
Backlinks (domain): 11400
Allinanchor Rank: 1
Age of Domain: 16-feb-1996
Phrase on page: 7

Google Position: 2
Title Tag: G1D Web Design – San Francisco Bay Area Web Design – San Jose
Indexed URL: http://www.g1d.com/portfolio_services.html
Yahoo Rank: not in top 100
MSN Rank: not in top 100
Google Pages Indexed: 248
Alta Vista Pages Indexed: 264
Backlinks (page): 616
Backlinks (domain): 16600
Allinanchor Rank: 2
Age of Domain: 08-jul-1997
Phrase on page: 0

Google Position: 3
Title Tag: Moonstone Interactive – Website Optimization Firm – Bay Area …
Indexed URL: http://www.msinteractive.com
Yahoo Rank: 31
MSN Rank: not in top 100
Google Pages Indexed: 74
Alta Vista Pages Indexed: 85
Backlinks (page): 3560
Backlinks (domain): 3530
Allinanchor Rank: 3
Age of Domain: 13-feb-1998
Phrase on page: 0

So what does all this mean in terms of my potential web competition?
First of all, I want to apologize. Jim Boykin’s horizontal layout of data makes comparisons a lot easier than my scrolling example does here, but even this glimpse should show the power of this tool. From what I see, the company who’s ranking #1 has the oldest domain, and the largest number of pages on their site. You’ll note, however, that web design company #2’s domain backlinks greatly surpass those of the other 2 fellows. Makes me wonder how good all of their backlinks are if they’ve got so many but aren’t outranking company #1. Still, being #2 on Google is nothing to be ashamed of – not by a long shot! None of these 3 web design companies is really making the grade on Yahoo!, and only one of them is making a decent showing on MSN.

When I look over the complete list of 10, I see that the range of page backlinks is as low as 10 and as high as 28,800. This certainly proves that a wide variety of factors are at play here. As I can’t tell from this tool how high the quality are of the links, I’d have to look into them manually. But I’d bet that content has got a lot to do with what I’m seeing here, and this is a hopeful sign for small businesses and new businesses that haven’t yet won the rather staggering number of backlinks some of these Bay Area web design firms have.

Whatever your small web business specializes in, I think this tool will be of superior assistance to you in sizing up your competition. You can see the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, figure out what they are doing, and strive to do it better! I am so grateful for this tool and the vast sea of information it puts at my disposal, in seconds. I’m also becoming very fond of the cheerful rainbow sherbet colors Mr. Boykin has chosen. Makes me happy!

Give the Cool SEO Tool a whirl. Meanwhile, I’ve got to go think up some ideas for getting Solas Web Design into the running for this nice little phrase.

*Permission to use screen shot of the Cool SEO Tool graciously granted by Jim Boykin