How to Do an SEO Competitor Analysis

Using search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best methods for getting organic traffic to your website. Not only can it get customers to your digital home, but it can also cause other sites to direct others to your site through link building.

But you may not be the highest-ranking site in your field. You might have competitors who rank higher than or close to you. If this is the case, do not ignore your competition. Determining what they do to rank so high can help you improve your own SEO strategy. 

Here’s how you can perform an SEO competitor analysis that will help you draw more organic traffic and, in turn, more online business.

What is SEO competitor analysis?

An SEO competitor analysis is when you view the web content produced by your main (and most successful) competitors in terms of targeting the same SEO keywords as you. This helps you remove the guesswork from your keyword research. You simply adopt the terms your competitors use into your SEO approach. 

It’s an efficient approach to SEO keyword research. Why struggle to identify the right terms when you can see the ones you should be targeting used in a way that’s already led to success? 

In a pre-digital business world, you might call or visit a competitor’s storefront to examine their prices, check out the deals they’re offering, and get a better idea of their product quality. SEO competitor analysis is the digital version of this. You’re tapping into a more successful strategy in the hopes of evolving your own. 

How performing an SEO competitor analysis can help

An SEO competitor analysis does more than give you insight into what your competitors are focusing on – though it does do that. It also pulls back to reveal the larger scope of what keywords and content types are resonating most within your specific sector. 

It provides you with a more holistic reading into what’s working, and what your target audience might want to hear about. 

While you’re likely looking to analyze competitors who are performing better than you, you can still learn something even if you’re at the top of your SEO class. If you find yourself scoring the highest among your peers, you can still review the performance of your immediate competitors you’re ahead of to ensure you don’t fall behind. They may be targeting keywords and terms you haven’t considered. 

So how do you pull it off? Here are the steps: 

The first challenge is to understand who it is you are competing against. Look for the sites that rank highest with regard to the keywords you include in your work. 

Your competitors should be in roughly the same field as you. For example, if Wikipedia ranks higher than you when it comes to a keyword, this is not a competitor. You want to ensure that the type of content is similar. 

Your competitor list should be comprehensive and thorough, but not too large. When you examine the rankings for your targeted keywords, look to include the top 10-15 performers, examining both their landing pages and other web content. 

Don’t forget to go beyond your top keywords as well. Take a closer look at the sites that excel with the long tail keywords you are targeting. These may not rank as high as your other competitors who rank higher in your primary keywords, but they may use tactics worth integrating into your approach. 

Once you have identified who your competitors are, it’s time to figure out what it is they’re doing right. What are the specific keywords they’re integrating within their website content and blogs, and how specifically are they using them within the content? 

Using a keyword analysis tool like Ahrefs, you can get a better feel for why your competitor’s keyword-focused content is performing and yours is lagging behind. Key areas to focus on include the pages that rank for the highest number of keywords, the site pages with the most traffic, and the portions of the site that drive the largest segment of the site’s traffic. 

You can also evaluate the strength of your competitor’s pages by determining their domain authority. Moz developed the concept of domain authority, which they refer to as a “search engine ranking score…that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages.” 

Another way to gauge your competitor’s success is to examine their backlinks. Backlinks are links to existing competitor content they manage to weave throughout new site pages. Visit your competitor’s top-performing pages and see how many backlinks they include, whether those backlinks have domain authority, and how well the backlinked content ties into the keyword topic.

Once you’ve gathered your information, you can now synthesize that data. That should include an analysis of what you’ve found as well as a list of recommendations to implement for your path forward. The goal of this plan is to close the gap between you and your competitor – or, if you’re the leader, determine which best practices your competitor uses to adopt in your own strategy. 

So what should your SEO strategic plan include? It will vary depending on your specific needs, but here are some strong candidates for sections you’ll want to have included: 

  • A summary of existing keywords
  • Top-performing competitor keywords to add
  • New strategies to implement
  • An overarching content strategy that addresses new keywords to add, content ideas to help promote these keywords, and a timeline for developing your new content
  • An editorial calendar that aligns your new SEO-infused content with specific dates and time frames. 

This plan can be as simple as a Microsoft Word or Google document, with spreadsheets and tables inserted where appropriate (for example, your editorial calendar will likely work best as a spreadsheet).

Once you’ve identified your competitors, completed your analysis of their content, and defined your plan to catch up to them, now you have to track your progress. 

Your plan should include a section for metrics or key performance indicators (KPI). These are quantifiable standards you can use to measure your plan’s success. Whether you’re infusing existing content with improved keyword optimization or creating entirely new pieces, you’ll want to see how well your content is performing. 

Page views, click-through rates, new email signups, and sales are all examples of KPI you can use to determine your plan’s value. 

Understanding your competition is the first step in taking the SEO lead in your field of expertise. By recognizing the SEO tactics and strategies they’re implementing successfully, you’ll be able to optimize your own approach and get more attention to your website.

We Can Help

At WebServ we have a team of professionals who are experienced in SEO. We understand SEO tactics and strategies that are proven to improve performance. Our team will utilize the best practices in the field to ensure your SEO has the best return on investment. 

 

We will work with you to understand your specific needs and build a comprehensive SEO strategy. Through collaboration, our team will manage competitive research into competitors in your industry. 

 

Contact us today to get started! We are here to help answer any of your SEO and online marketing questions. 

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