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Gain an edge by viewing your competitors source code

by Burke Ferguson

Doing business online is alot like the brick and mortar business is, but with alot less steps and hassles,... well kinda anyways.

Now there are quite a few advantages to an online business vs a brick and mortar business; like we don't commute, well maybe a 30 second one own the hallway, we don't pay building rent, we don't have employees, while except maybe the virtual ones.

But, one advantage that's quite unique online is that we can sorta "spy" on our competitors a bit more easily.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating any wrong doing here or anything UNethical or anything like that, and I'm certainly NOT saying to "steal text"(plagiarize) or anything like that.

All this is, is a simple little method that's quite common to see how our competitors do things,... the ability to be able to look "into" their websites. In the Search Engine Optimization field, it's often done to see how and where others place their keywords, their tags, descriptions, etc. etc..

I'm simply talking of viewing the HTML code that makes up the webpages,... now anyone can do this, if they are somewhat familiar with their web browser. And it basically works the same for both browsers; IE and Netscape.

Now, for someone looking at this for the first time, all they will probably see is a lot of letters, symbols, text, etc. but for someone with a more basic knowledge of HTML, it can be quite amazing and rewarding in knowing how to "read it."

Ok, here are the steps for the two major browsers:

In IE or Internet Explorer, go to your Main Menu, then to View, then own to Source.

Thats: Main Menu -> View -> Source

then upon clicking Source, a notepad window will pop open which will show the web pages HTML source code for the webpage, thats presently within your IE browser.

And in Netscape Navigator,... the same thing,...

Main Menu -> View -> Page Source(Crtl+U)

then a Netscape Navigator window will open up, showing the web page source code to the webpage presently in Netscape. Now with Netscape, the code is highlighted in the viewer compared to in IE. This makes it a bit better and easier to understand if your familiar with HTML.

I say again, this assumes of course that you know the basics of HTML code. However, if your at all knowledgeable in CSS, Javascript, Flash, and so on then you'll get more out of looking at the source code.

Being able to view the source code of webpages can be quite enlightening, believe it or not. This can be to perhaps get ideas for page layouts and/or keyword placement etc..

It can be a very valuable tool for Search Engine Optimizers to get a better understanding of optimizing a web page with meta tags and so on. And it can also provide a huge aid in learning HTML and understanding how others do it.

About the Author
Burke holds both a BSc. degree in Computer Science as well Certification in Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Strategies. He regularly publishes The ACE! newsletter, in which he shares his experience and methods of 'what works' with others. Burke can be contacted by his main website


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