Competitor analysis is integral to any search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. By understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can optimise your website to better compete in the search engines and show up in search results.
Although competitive SEO is an important segment of SEO in the early stages, many companies still ignore it. They erroneously believe they can achieve better rankings without knowing what their competitors are doing.
Knowing how to find competitors will help you conduct a thorough competitor analysis that will help your SEO efforts.
Why is SEO Competitive Analysis Important
There are several benefits to performing an SEO competitive analysis:
1. You can identify your competition’s strengths and weaknesses. This information can help you improve your website’s SEO strategy.
2. You can learn from your competition’s mistakes. If your match is making mistakes that harm their rankings, you can avoid these same mistakes and improve your ranking.
3. You can find new opportunities. By studying your competition, you may find new keywords or strategies that they are using to achieve better rankings. You can then use these same strategies on your own.
Who are Your Actual Competitors?
An essential step in performing an SEO competitive analysis is identifying your actual competitors. When you know what websites and pages are ranking for the keywords and phrases you want to rank for, you can focus on improving their rankings rather than on irrelevant results.
While it may seem simple enough to find competitors in your organic search results, it can be a much more difficult task than you think.
To find competitors, you need to know first the different types of competitors you will encounter digitally:
Direct Business Competitors
When you think of competition, it’s only natural that the first thing that comes to mind is a direct competitor. A direct competitor is a business that offers the same or similar products or services as you and has the same customer base.
Indirect competitors are the ones in the same category that sell different products or services to solve a problem.
These are competitors that offer an alternative to a product or service that your business offers. However, both of you seek to solve the same pain points but addressing them is different.
Compared to the other types of competitors, replacement competitors are potentially dangerous because they present more than one way to solve the same problem you want to address. They are also the most challenging competitors to identify.
These competitors are not necessarily targeting the exact keywords as you, but they may rank for keywords and phrases related to your money keywords. For example, if you are a plumber, your niche competitors could be companies that sell plumbing supplies or home improvement stores that list plumbing services on their websites.
The Information You Need From Your Competitors
It’s essential to know what kind of information you need to gather from your competitors to ensure that you’re getting the correct data. Here are some of the things you need to look for in a competitive analysis:
– The full range of products and services they offer
– How do their products or services satisfy similar target markets
– Assess their profitability
– How they market and promote their products and services
– The negative and positive attributes they have in the eyes of the customers
– How they rate when it comes to price, quality, sales, image/style, value, market share, customer service, location, and convenience
Hold on, how do you find all of this SEO competitor information? Where should you look?
– Advertising: Based on their ads, you can tell a lot about a brand when it comes to their products and/or service, the price, and even the entire promotional program and budget.
– Government sources: You can check out government sources like their quarterly financial reports, annual surveys, and economic censuses.
– State agency publication: Here you can access industry directors and statistics on local industry.
– Talk to them: You can gain a lot of information when you talk to your competitors directly. You just need to have a simple and friendly conversation with them; and you’ll be surprised at how they like to talk about themselves and share their success stories and concerns.
When you have this information, you can compare your brand to theirs. To help you out:
– Assess your competitive advantage
– How do existing customers rate your business compared to your competition
– How do you set your company apart from your competitors
Doing a competitive analysis starts with knowing where to look. Let these tips guide you in making an accurate competitive analysis that you can use to propel your marketing strategies.
Identifying Your Competitor’s Strengths and Weakness
Once you identify your website’s biggest competitors, you need to know what it will take to get ahead and achieve better keyword rankings. Find out their tactics, their strengths, and weaknesses. What are they doing that you’re not?
There are several different factors you can look at, including:
1. Their keyword rankings and phrases they are targeting.
2. Their website content.
3. How well they are performing on the search engines.
4. The backlinks they are getting.
5. Their social media presence.
When Should You Conduct an SEO Competitor Analysis?
There is no “right” time to conduct an SEO competitor analysis. In fact, it’s always a good idea to conduct a competitive analysis. It’s not only for startups but can be done for every stage of your business.
We recommend that you revisit and update your competitive analysis periodically. Doing so will help you identify new trends in the market and maintain your competitive advantage over the other organisations in your industry.
Other businesses do an SEO competitor analysis on a large scale once a year. While others do it every quarter on a smaller scale.
You must always remember that even if you reach a point where your business is well-established, you should never neglect to do a competitive analysis. This is because industries are constantly changing, and every time a new business enters your industry, they do competitor analysis on you.
This also means that important details, such as the search volume of your keywords, search traffic, and search queries are always changing and its essential that you are able to keep up.
By conducting competitive analysis will help businesses identify opportunities to improve their products or services, provide better service to target customers, and increase profitability.
An SEO competitor analysis will also help distinguish your brand from the competition and focus more on underserved market opportunities, identify the best practices, and eliminate the worst ones.
SEO Competitor Analysis Checklist
Now that you have identified your competitors, here is a checklist to ensure you conduct a thorough SEO competitor analysis.
Do a Quick Run-Through of their Website
Take a quick look at the websites of the two to three competitors you have listed. Doing so will give you an impression of what they’re doing.
Just simply get a feel for their branding and website design. It is also a good idea to look at their landing pages, their blog post, and other content they need to publish.
Get a High-Level View of the Competitive Landscape
Getting a high-level view of the competitive landscape is important. You can do this by getting some SEO metrics that will give you an idea of the competition. Some of the metrics you will want to look into organic and specific keywords, referring domains, and domain rating.
The domain rating indicates a solid backlink profile, and while referring domains may also indicate a strong site. As for organic keywords, the higher the number of organic keywords your competitors are ranking for, the better the site is performing.
Analyse their On-Page SEO
Now, it’s time to get a bit technical. You can use any of the tools that we have listed in this post to crawl their websites. This will give you a big picture view of your competitors’ key technical SEO elements and technical SEO gaps, such as their title tags, headings and subheadings, meta descriptions, site structure, redirects, and more.
Take note of the important pages and find out how your competitors are optimising these. The tool will also reveal areas your clients are not optimising their pages.
Check their Backlinks
As mentioned, some of the tools we added in this post can be used to check your competitors’ backlinks. Checking their backlinks is one of the most important steps in your SEO competitive analysis, and this is because the backlinks are one of the ranking factors.
Check their domain rating and yours to give you an idea of how close or far you are from the competitors when it comes to links and authority. Also, check the websites where they get their links from. Why?
Doing so will give you a clearer picture of their link building strategy. Here you will see if they’re building on directories or getting their links from guest posts. Additionally, you will also see if they are getting mentioned on news and media websites.
It’s also an excellent idea to check their frequently used anchor texts. Anchor texts are important ranking factors and will give you an idea of the keywords they are trying to rank for.
When you check your competitors’ backlinks, you will also be able to identify pages on their website that are most linked to, which are also the top-performing pages.
As part of this process, also analyse their link velocity and the number of backlinks they gain every month. Should you find that they are gaining more than you are, then it’s time to step up your link building.
Find Link Building Opportunities
As you do your SEO competitor analysis, opportunities will also open up for you to build links. After the process of identifying your competitor backlinks, you can use Link Intersect tools to find websites linking to your competitors but not linking to you.
When doing this, avoid replicating black hat SEO strategies, especially when you come across paid reviews.
Check their Ads and Social Media Strategies
Finding your competitors’ ads and social media strategies will also be useful for your SEO competitive analysis. Chances are, you have the same target audience, and if you find content that they share on social media that appeal to your target audience, then you can use this to your advantage.
On the other hand, ads can help you with your copywriting, and you can use their ads as a reference to write something better that will steal clicks away from them.
Check Competitors’ Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are one of the main goals that you should be aiming for. Optimising your content for featured snippet status is important, and you can do this by analysing your competitors’ featured snippets.
To find your competitors’ featured snippets, you can use the tools that we listed below to uncover information, such as Semrush.
Identify the Keywords They are Targeting
Again, you can use tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs for this step. Identify the keywords your competitors are ranking for and the pages that they are ranking for those keywords. When you do this, you can get an idea of their content strategy.
With the data you gathered, find keywords you’re not yet targeting and start working on them. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to replicate their content. What you should do instead is to do something better.
Keyword Competition Analysis for Your SEO Strategy
There are a few aspects you need to consider to ensure you’re doing keyword competition analysis right to ensure you increase your search rankings. Some of them are:
- Audience: To get the most insights from your competitors’ keyword usage begins with your audience. Developing a few buyer personas will allow you to learn more about how your audience interacts with your website. You can start building a list of relevant keywords you can use for your keyword research. You also need to update your buyer personas.
- Competitors: With your keyword competitor analysis, you now have an idea of your top competitors, which will help you perform accurate and meaningful research.
Doing so will help you uncover competitor keywords. This will help you improve specific keywords that you want to rank for. You can discover a few keywords that may benefit your marketing significantly, or it could also be just a particular keyword that you never thought of using until you search competitors’ websites.
Additionally, you will be able to find organic keywords, low competition keywords, and even branded keywords based on keyword data through a keyword competitor analysis.
Keyword competitive analysis will also be helpful when you’re trying to rank some paid keywords. From here, you will be able to know the exact keyword difficulty and search volume through a keyword gap analysis.
By doing so, all your efforts will be more worthwhile, and you know that your money is being put to good use by using only the top keywords as part of your SEO content strategy.
SEO Competitive Analysis Tools
Here are the top competitor analysis tools that you can use as one of your SEO strategies:
1. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great tool for checking your competitors’ keywords. This will give you an idea of what keywords they are targeting and how much traffic they are getting.
It is a free online keyword research tool that allows you to find new keywords and estimate running ads on Google.
The Keyword Planner also has the following features:
● Provides information on the average cost per click (CPC) for each keyword and the competition level.
● Search for new keywords or get ideas for new keywords based on what people are searching for on Google.
● Get ideas for new keywords by entering a website URL into the “Your competitor’s website” field.
● Estimate the cost of running ads on Google for each keyword
Semrush is a great tool to check your competitors’ strategies and learn from them. You can use it to see what keywords they are ranking for, what backlinks they have, and what content is working well.
You can also use it to spy on their paid search campaigns and see how much they are spending on each keyword.
Some SEMrush features include:
● The ability to track your SEO progress and see where you need to improve.
● Analyse the efficiency of your social media marketing campaigns and performance.
● Manage your PPC campaigns easily and check which ones are performing to maximise your budget.
● Perform keyword research and find the right keywords to target for your SEO and PPC campaigns.
Ahrefs can help you discover your competitors and spy on their best practices. You can also use our content explorer tool to find your industry’s most famous pieces of content.
Ahrefs key features include the following:
● Provides detailed information on your website’s backlinks, anchor text, and top pages.
● Offers a Competitor Analysis feature that lets you see how your website stacks up against your competitors.
● It can help boost your website’s SEO ranking in search engines.
4. Moz Pro
MozPro is great when spying on your competitors’ activities. You can see what keywords they’re targeting and how their website ranks for those keywords. This information can give you insights into what’s working well for them and where there might be opportunities for you to improve your own SEO strategy.
Moz Pro is popular among SEO professionals for the following reasons:
● It has a Campaign Dashboard that can give you personalised recommendations on how to improve your site.
● Let you compare and track your keyword rankings in real-time and see your progress over time.
● Allows you to see how well your pages are optimised for your target keywords and provides recommendations for improving them.
● Crawls your site to find errors that could affect your visitors’ experience and prevent search engines from indexing your content.
One tool that can help with competitor analysis is Spyfu. Spyfu lets you see what keywords your competitors are targeting and the ads they’re running. This information can help you determine strategies to emulate and which ones to avoid.
Spyfu provides business owners with the following key features:
● An SEO Marketing Suite that SEO specialists need from keyword research and competitive analysis to backlink outreach and custom reporting.
● PPC Analyser tool analyses pay-per-click campaigns and sees how many business owners are spending on each keyword indicated in their click-through rate and conversion rate.
● Access to historical data to see campaign performance over time is valuable for understanding trends and decisions about future campaigns.
● Allows website owners to create unlimited keyword and domain projects as well as track and manage multiple projects at the same time.
● Website owners can export their data in CSV, XML, or JSON format to use it in other applications.
● Create professional-looking white-label reports, branded with the company logo and contact information.
6. Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO is a competitor analysis tool that allows you to research your competitor’s websites and find detailed information about their backlink profile. This information can be used to improve your own website’s SEO and link building strategy.
Serpstat is an SEO and web analytics company that provides unique insights into the world of online marketing. You can use the tool for competitor analysis to see how your website is performing compared to your competitors. This is useful for understanding what aspects of your website need improvement and where you are doing well compared to others.
SERanking is an effective tool for competitor analysis. It provides in-depth information on your competitors, strategies, and performances. This allows you to identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to beat them at their own game.
Alexa is a web traffic analysis tool that can be used for competitor analysis. By looking at the Alexa Traffic Rank and site metrics, you can get an idea of a site’s popularity and how much traffic it receives. You can also use Alexa to research a site’s backlink profile and find out which other sites are linking to it.
Quantcast is a tool that allows you to quickly and easily analyse your competition. It provides detailed information about their online presence, marketing strategies, and audience engagement. This enables you to understand better how they are reaching their target market and what you can do to improve your own marketing efforts.
12. Yandex Metrica
Yandex Metrica can get detailed insights into your competitor’s website traffic, including information on their top pages, sources of traffic, and more. This data can be instrumental in helping you adjust your marketing strategy and ensure that you are staying ahead of the competition.
13. Searchmetrics Suite
The Searchmetrics Suite is a must-have tool when it comes to competitor analysis. With its extensive features, you can track your competitors’ SEO strategies and get insights into their strengths and weaknesses. This tool measures your website’s visibility on the web, gives you an overview of your SEO performance, and tracks your incoming and outgoing links.
CognitiveSEO can help you identify the keywords your competition is targeting, as well as the estimated monthly search volume and difficulty of ranking for that keyword and see which backlinks your competitors are attracting
There’s no better tool than AuthorityLabs when it comes to competitor analysis. With its intuitive and easy-to-use platform, you can track your website’s rankings for any keyword in any location against any of your competitors. This allows you to quickly see where you stand in the search engine results pages (SERPs), identify opportunities for improvement, and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.
Technical SEO Competitor Analysis
Technical SEO analysis is a vital element of your competitor SEO analysis. Doing a technical SEO audit of your direct competitors is crucial, which will involve checking the technical details of your website, comparing the results with the competition, and plugging any technical SEO gaps that may adversely affect your rankings. Here are some of the important technical SEO elements you need to analyse:
Internal links play a crucial role in a website’s user-friendliness. It helps search engines map, index, and find site pages. Distinguishable and descriptive anchor texts are used for internal links. A comprehensive internal link structure is important for search engines and users to navigate the whole site. To add to that, internal linking can also help improve your link authority.
Keeping the site structure simple and clean is the goal to ensure the best user experience and crawler rating. You should also consider the page depth, meaning there should be no page over four clicks away from the home page.
A site’s page speed is critical these days—no one will wait more than a minute for a website to load. Therefore, you need to look at this element when you’re running your analysis.
All websites should have a high level of security and are HTTPS protected. Search engines favour websites with SSL certification, which makes it important for search engine rankings.
Check your competitors’ websites for their mobile friendliness. Google has already introduced mobile-first indexing, which means that if you want a solid online presence, you need to ensure you have a mobile-friendly website to increase your search engine rankings.
Competitor analysis is a long process that requires consistent effort. Knowing your SEO competitors is critical to developing a successful SEO strategy.
Analysing your SEO competitors is critical in any successful SEO strategy. By understanding your competitors and what they are doing, you can adapt your approach to compete better. Be diligent in your research and stay up on the latest changes. Implementing these changes will help you stay ahead of your competitors.
Evolving Digital can help you rise above your competitors. Contact us today!