I don’t really get what you mean here but for your title question, I would highly recommend you to yes, analyzing others’ websites for comparison and consideration for your own website… But what I mean here is not plagiarizing or copying exactly, but you can try to see how they make the site attractive and high-traffic.
And if you mean when writing the first page should be not too much content more than needed, related, and descriptive to what you are selling or serving, I do agree with you.
Google freely admits that it prefers content that is written for readers first, and search engines second. That means, if you’re keyword stuffing (or doing anything else that’s unnatural), Google’s not going to reward you for it - because it makes for a bad experience for the reader.
Your goal should always be to find the right keywords, then integrate them naturally into your content. If you’re forcing keywords in because you think it will help your search engine ranking, you’re doing yourself a real disservice.
I just wrote about this in another post, but it find of fits here as well.
As an internet user, I get turned off by content that you can tell is 100% written for the search engines and nothing else. I rarely go back to a blog that has keyword stuff posts. As an internet user, I want to see interesting content is that useful and easy to read.
So I keep that in mind when I write. It does require a bit more work, but it is possible to write for both the search engines and readers at the same time.
I use a keyword suggestion tool to get sample search phrases related to my subject. I then take a phrase or word and write an article off that. The whole time, I am keeping that original keyword or phrase in mind. I try to insert in throughout the article when writing as much as possible. However, if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go in.
Sometimes, I will go back through an article I wrote and see how many times my keyword is used. If it is used way too little, I will try to find the best places within the article to insert in.
But, I am always keeping “would I like to read this article” in mind.
In terms of ugly content, I like to keep my articles with semi-short paragraphs to break up all the content. If I have a lot of points that need to be covered in one article, I tend to break it down with headlines and bold print. I find that to be easier on the eyes. Moreover, your readers can basically skim the article and get the gist of it.
What do you mean by “ugly” content? Is it too long and rambling, just not written very well, keyword stuffed??
If the content for your top competitors isn’t very good, you should be happy because it will be that much easier to beat them. Keep building quality one-way links, and publish content (both on-site and off) that’s informative for your readers (while also naturally including your target keywords, of course), and you may be pleasantly surprised by your success!
As a writer and website owner I agree with my_misyel. A good seo copywriter should be able to strike that elusive balance of writing for the human reader as well as ensuring that the copy/website is well positioned in the SERPs.