Understanding your competitors is one of the most powerful insights into finding new opportunities for your business. Marketing is all about explaining why you’re different and why you are the best fit for your customer’s needs. In order to position yourself best, you first need to understand what separates you from your competitors. Using data-driven marketing, such as an SEO competitor analysis can give you those answers.
What is an SEO Competitor Analysis
Your competitors are a goldmine of information that can help every aspect of your SEO strategy. An SEO competitor analysis involves researching elements like content, keywords, and backlinks to see what your competitors are doing and apply it to improve your own SEO strategy.
Performing an SEO competition analysis can help you:
- Learn what works and what doesn’t in your industry
- Find competitors’ weaknesses and capitalize on them
- Find competitor’s strengths and replicate them
- Understand what SEO tasks to better prioritize
- Understand the level of difficulty you face to outperform your competitors
Now that you understand what an SEO competitor analysis entails, let’s break down the steps of this process.
How to Do an SEO Competitor Analysis
1. Identify your online competitors
Knowing your SEO competitors is not necessarily the same as who you think are your direct competitors. Your SEO competitors are the websites that are competing for your desired keywords in an organic search. They are the ones who rank on the first search page of the keywords that you’re targeting. In fact, you may even have competitors that exist outside of your niche that are showing up in the SERPs.
Discovering your competitors involves doing an SEO comparison and researching multiple keywords, and noting the top 10-20 websites that appear consistently in them. Pay special attention to the competitors occupying the local packs. You’ll also want to do a SERPS overview to see who currently ranks in the top five. This can simply be done through a Google search if you don’t have another available tool.
2. Analyze On-Page and On-Site Content
The next step is taking a look at competing websites and their top-performing pages. Ask yourself: what keywords are these pages using and how it is used within their content?
From this analysis, you’ll learn how often they are publishing content, what types of content they are publishing, and which keywords they are targeting within that content.
As you evaluate this, investigate the following:
- Title tags, meta descriptions, and headers
- Topical relevance
- Forms of content being created (videos, blogs, etc.)
- Word count of each piece of content
- Video length
- How detailed their content is
- Frequency of new content being created
3. Perform a Competitor Backlink Analysis
A competitor backlink analysis involves looking at which sites are linking back to their content and how it’s affecting their domain rank and authority. This helps you better understand where your rivals are earning their backlinks and use this information to build your own high-quality links for your site.
Look at the following from your competitor’s backlinks:
- Quantity of backlinks
- Domain authority of linked sites
- Relevancy of linked content
4. Evaluate Your Keywords
Using the right keywords is one of the most time-tested and effective SEO strategies. Start off by pulling the main keywords attached to your product or service. These are your primary keywords that are commonly used. Once you have these in place, you can dive deeper using secondary keywords, questions, and other variants.
From there, take a look at the keywords that you would like to rank for and track. Keep in mind that your need to assess the viability of ranking for these keywords. You need to select keywords that you can realistically rank for, not just the most popular or highly competitive ones. If you lean towards keywords that aren’t overly saturated, you’ll see more positive results with your SEO efforts.
You also want to consider what’s known as a keyword gap. These are keywords that you may not have considered but other competitors are ranking for. Additionally, you want to find the keywords you could be using that your competitors aren’t. Part of your SEO’s success lies in finding a gap or disconnect between your competition and your audience and filling in that gap. It could be a matter of creating content that’s relevant to your customer’s needs, that’s highly searched for, and is something your competition has not yet discovered.
5. Examine Your Site Structure and UX
We’ve stated time and time again, that user experience means everything to Google. Nearly all algorithm changes we’ve seen lately have been centered around creating the most optimal experience for the end-user. If your website speed is slow, difficult to navigate and find answers, not mobile-friendly, or unresponsive, you simply won’t have a chance against your competitors.
First and foremost, make sure every piece of your website is built with user intent in mind. Start implementing your keyword strategy into fresh and ongoing content, such as blogs and videos. Make sure every page on your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.
Optimizing your sitemap for better crawl-ability is another useful SEO strategy that can help get an edge over your competitors. Sitemaps are an easy way for search engines to get information about your website’s structure and pages. This includes the last time each page was updated, what was changed, and how important each page is in relation to others.
These 5 steps are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything you can accomplish with an SEO competitor analysis. While some of these practices can be done manually, it’s best to use SEO Competitor tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush for a more comprehensive analysis. Of course, taking this on alone is quite an undertaking, so it might be worth your time to hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in specific SEO strategies. Fusion One Marketing is a highly reputable agency with over a decade of experience in SEO practices. We can help design an SEO strategy that’s ROI-driven and specific to your goals.