Do you recall your middle school guidance counsellor telling you not to compare yourself to others? So, my apologise to all the guidance counsellors out there. SEO competitor analysis is critical in the world of organic search.
A competitive landscape analysis can provide concrete standards against which to analyse your search engine optimization strategy's performance. This might assist you in outmanoeuvring and outranking your competitors.
Do you want to differentiate your business by creating content that fills the holes that your competitors are leaving? Do you want to strategically acquire links through off-page SEO in order to improve your backlink profile and obtain a competitive advantage? An SEO competitive analysis assists you in understanding the content to create and the strategic outreach required to propel you to the first page of search results
In the domain of marketing, a competition keyword analysis might yield very useful insights. You will frequently discover fresh information about the audience's interests, preferences, and behaviour.
A competitive study, however, reveals the marketing methods and tactics that your SERP competitors employ to rank well in Google. These could be new competitors, such as small firms selling comparable products, or indirect competitors seeking long-tail keywords. A thorough examination exposes their marketing efforts and reveals opportunities for you to capitalise on.
Before diving into a competitive landscape study, you must first identify your aims. Your objectives will influence the questions you ask during keyword research as well as the end delivery. Are you on the lookout for flaws in your content strategy? Do you want to be the first to rank for a specific keyword? Or do you want to learn the B2B SEO approach of your competitors?
An industry competitor keyword research will focus on the other important firms competing for the attention of your target audience when developing an enterprise SEO plan. Adidas, for example, is one of Nike's competitors. There's a strong chance you already know who your company's primary competitors are.
A competition analysis focused on SEO is a little different. This one looks beyond your direct business competitors. It also identifies the top competition for your priority key terms in the SERP. For example, Nike's top competitor for a specific term could be an up-and-coming indie brand or even a player that isn't a business rival at all, such as Runner's World. They may also face competition from retailers such as Dicks. Findings like this can lead to important brand insight that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
To find your top competitors, first determine your top keywords and then evaluate the search results for those terms. You can do this both individually (who is the top result for a single keyword?) and collectively (who is regularly outranking you or making their mark after seeing many results?) You may also use tools such as Spyfu or SEMRush to identify your competitors based on overlapping keywords and total organic traffic.
There are numerous excellent methods for conducting a competitor analysis. However, the only way to get real insight is to maintain consistency in your process. Once you've identified the tools you'll be using and the factors you'll be looking for, systematise and repeat your procedure. We propose creating a master spreadsheet with all of your rivals' data so that you can quickly compare outcomes. Include your website in the spreadsheet as well. Examine it using the same metrics.
You should now have a list of competitors, both direct and indirect. Following that, we'll look at how to conduct competition analysis using your favourite SEO tools.
When assessing a brand's organic search rankings, consider the following:
The technological aspects that influence your competitors' crawlability can have a significant impact on their organic performance. As a result, during a brand competitive analysis, it is critical to examine the technological components of your competitors' websites. Otherwise, you won't be able to fully see why your competitor's content is performing well in the SERPs.
Examine competitor websites for the usage of tags, internal links, and redirects. Take note of any mistakes. Examine the URL structure and website architecture. Pull up the sitemap and take note of its structure (you'll find it 90% of the time at: www.yourcompetition.com/sitemap.xml).
This will provide you with a general view of your competitors' technical health. Contrast it with your own. What if they outperform you? Before you can compete with your content, you must first improve your technical components.
The content strategy component of your SEO competitive analysis can be applied to the entire site. It should also be done on a page-by-page basis whenever new content is created. Perform a content gap study with a tool like Ahrefs to identify areas where the competitor's content falls short. Take note of their best-performing articles as well.
Then, perform a more detailed examination of the competitor's content.
The backlink profile of your competition tells you two important things. First, it quantifies the number and type of backlinks associated with strong organic outcomes. Second, it identifies websites that connect to your competitors but not to you. These insights can assist you in expanding the scope of your link-building plan. You can also run a broken backlink-building campaign and create content to patch the gaps.
Bonus hint: During your competitive analysis, look for websites that connect to more than one of your competitors' websites but not to your own. Given their proclivity to link inside your vertical, these are great candidates to link to yours as well.
Backlink profiles can also add another dimension to your content research by revealing which competitor content is being linked to the most. Keep track of the type and quality of this content. Take note of whether it's related to the best-performing content or keywords you've already found.
Benchmarking your site speed against your competitors is a crucial comparison data point, as Google ranks pages based on page load time. Even if a page is perfectly optimised and has a specific number of backlinks, Google may penalise it if it takes too long to load.
Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, and WebPageTest are excellent for comparing your site's loading times to those of your competitors. It will make a difference if your site is noticeably slower.
Remember when people couldn't stop talking about Mobilegeddon? Checking for mobile friendliness in the post-Mobilegeddon era is a little more involved than putting each site through Google's mobile-friendly test tool. (It's a good start, though, because it's Google's own tool.) We can almost certainly conclude that your top competitors' websites are responsive and mobile-first. So conducting a manual mobile usability test will provide you with additional information.
That involves picking up the phone and visiting your competitor's website.
Again, throughout your comparative analysis, focus not only on the front page and major categories, but also on the competitor's top-performing content.
The site performance and mobile usability test highlights an important point. Google is very concerned with user experience. So evaluate your site's overall usability, employing hard measurements when possible and more subjective criteria, such as a ranking system, when necessary.
Examine your competitors' social signals on every major site, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and others that are relevant to your brand. Take note of the number of likes, shares, follows, engagement, quantity and type of content, and the most popular content.
Are they concentrating on any topics or dialogues where your brand's voice is lacking? Is it possible for you to easily resolve any issues or regions of irritation from their audience? Among all of this data, look for new SEO chances to target.
Divide your competition's top-performing content into three categories based on audience persona and position in the awareness funnel — ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu.
You might think of the latter as missed opportunities for your own brand.
Examine rival pages and make a list of the value propositions they utilise, sorting them in your spreadsheet by frequency.
Without the necessary instruments, even the strongest competitive analysis approaches would fall short. We advocate combining SEO technologies to automate specific phases of the process while keeping it scalable and adaptable.
Here's a quick rundown of the most popular competitive research tools, as well as some practical applications for using them to unearth hidden facts about your online competitors.
Itis useful for organic traffic, domain authority, backlinks, content gaps, popular content based on organic traffic, and popular content based on backlinks.
If you could only utilise one competition analysis tool, Ahrefs should be it. It is excellent for delivering a variety of SEO performance metrics. The Content Gap tool assists you in identifying keywords that your direct competitors rank for but you do not. In addition, Ahrefs claims to have "the world's largest index of live backlinks."
It is useful for: all of the aforementioned, as well as social signals, long-term trends, and brand mentions.
SEMRush is well-rounded and competitor-driven, with an excellent capacity to track the long-term performance of content and postings. The Competitors function exposes thousands of websites competing for the same set of keywords—some of which you would not consider competitors.
Site crawls, backlink analysis, keyword tracking, and brand mentions are all possible.
Moz is unrivalled when it comes to monitoring your own website. However, because it is based on your genuine Google Analytics data, it has restrictions in terms of spying on the competition. Only the backlink explorer and keyword tracking tools were designed specifically for competition research. However, the keyword and brand mention tools can also reveal information about competitors.
It is useful for content research, social sharing, and brand monitoring.
The extensive content research features of BuzzSumo provide you with vital insight into the rival material that performs well. This tool is best suited for individual content efforts, assisting you in producing content that regularly exceeds the competition.
This is useful for competitor analysis, ranking tracking, and keyword research.
Mondovo's suite of tools can assist you in tracking, researching, and reporting the best SEO data for you and your clients. You may track and research everything from keywords and content performance to social presence using the tools and customer assistance.
It is useful for researching competitors' organic traffic and target markets. This set of tools provides insights for a variety of methods other than SEO. Because SimilarWeb has a broad focus, the SEO tools do not have the same level of depth. However, it is useful for providing a high-level overview and breakdown of traffic sources. You may also incorporate the results of your SEO competitor analysis into a broader grasp of the landscape.
Alexa is useful for competitive keywords and backlinks, benchmarking against competitors, and audience data. Remember when a website's Alexa rank was important? Alexa, on the other hand, is now part of Amazon's comprehensive range of tools. And the Alexa rank (now known as the Global rank) is still rather useful. Because a site's Global rank changes in relation to the popularity of similar sites, it's an excellent tool to analyse the competitive landscape.
Take careful note of occasions when your own website's traffic improves yet its global rank decreases. That indicates that your competition is becoming more ferocious.
Useful for: identifying the web technology stacks of your competitors Enter any website into BuiltWith, and it will give you a complete breakdown of the platforms and software that are utilised to run the website. If you have a specific purpose in mind, such as discovering the CMS of each of your competitors, this information can be useful.
It is useful for: PPC intelligence iSpionage is a PPC tool that gives information on the most profitable keywords, ad text, and landing sites used by the competition. Because of the connection between SEO and PPC, you can use some of these data to create keyword seed lists or generate content that truly connects.
SpyFu is useful for competition keyword research. It is created primarily for competitor analysis in SEO and PPC. As a result, its data is more focused and actionable. SpyFu can also calculate the monetary value of ranking improvements, which can help you prioritise your SEO efforts.
Excellent for: YouTube competitor research
This tool examines top-performing playlists and keywords. Its channel audit feature is very useful for analysing how videos perform on YouTube.
Excellent for: review monitoring
Keep track of how your customers react to your competitors' products/services. This will provide you ideas on how to improve and differentiate your own product offering and customer interactions.
To deliver total social insight, a social media-focused technology is required. Sprout Social is that tool, going beyond the first data pulls to connect the dots. This social data can be utilised as a reference when designing your SEO strategy because it can include topic-specific conversation tracking to better understand the voice of the customer (VoC) and consumer sentiment.
Do you want to do a competitive study centred on emails? This suite of newsletter-focused tools will keep you up to date on your competition's email frequency and impending promotions. Do you want to see more than 6,000 emails from Ann Taylor? This application will supply you with the actual emails as well as relevant insights. This information, like Sprout Social, can be utilised as a reference while designing your SEO strategy.
Klue allows you to sync your competitive intelligence with other internal departments while also pulling from millions of online sources (including changes your competitors make to their websites). Use the tool to gain a better understanding of competitors, their potential customers, and your own sales and customer support teams to help supplement your SEO strategy.