What Is SEO Competitor Analysis?
Competitive analysis in SEO is a straightforward yet vital practice whose primary purpose is to gain valuable insights from your competitors' strategies by examining their techniques, targeted keywords, backlink profiles, and overall SEO performance.
By doing so, you can identify successful elements of their approach and use that knowledge to enhance your own SEO strategy.
Why Is It Important?
Competitor analysis in SEO is important for several reasons:
By analyzing your competitors' strategies and performance, you can identify untapped opportunities in the market.
This could include finding keywords or topics that your competitors haven't targeted yet, allowing you to gain a competitive advantage.
Learning from Successes
Competitive analysis allows you to observe what strategies are working well for your competitors.
By understanding their successful tactics, you can adapt and implement similar approaches in your own SEO efforts.
It's not just about learning from successes; you can also identify weaknesses in your competitors' strategies. This can help you avoid making the same mistakes and develop a more robust SEO strategy.
Benchmarking Your Performance
Analyzing your competitors' performance helps you benchmark your own performance in the industry.
It gives you a clear understanding of where you stand in comparison to others, helping you set realistic goals and objectives.
In today's competitive digital environment, staying ahead of the competition is crucial.
Regular SEO competitor analysis ensures you are aware of the latest trends and strategies, allowing you to keep pace with, or even outperform your rivals.
Adapting to Changes
Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and competitors may alter their SEO tactics accordingly.
By monitoring their changes, you can adapt your own strategies to maintain or improve your rankings.
Discovering New Keywords and Topics
Enhancing Your Backlink Profile
Understanding Customer Behavior
By examining your competitors' content and engagement metrics, you can gain insights into what content resonates well with your shared target audience.
This can help you tailor your own content to meet their needs and preferences.
Optimizing Resource Allocation
SEO competitor analysis allows you to focus your resources on the most effective strategies. Instead of spending time on trial and error, you can prioritise efforts based on proven methods used by your competitors.
When Should You Conduct A Competitor Analysis?
Conducting an SEO competitor analysis is essential.
It is interconnected with your digital marketing strategy and influenced by various factors, including competitor behaviour, changes in search engine algorithms, and other market dynamics.
Regularly analyzing your competition allows you to gain valuable insights into their strategies and performance, helping you identify areas for improvement in your own SEO efforts and capitalize on weaknesses in their approach.
Here are some key events that should prompt you to conduct an SEO competitor analysis:
During Content Planning
Before creating new content, it is crucial to conduct an SEO competitor analysis. This process involves studying your competitors' successful tactics, gaining inspiration, and adapting their strategies in a unique way.
By identifying the keywords and topics that your competitors are targeting effectively, you can strategically plan your content to gain search engine visibility.
Additionally, this analysis helps you gauge the effort required to surpass competitors for specific keywords, enabling you to allocate resources wisely.
After Content Publication
After publishing new content, monitoring its performance is essential. Conducting an SEO competitor analysis at this stage allows you to compare how your content performs against that of your competitors.
Analyzing metrics such as rankings, organic traffic, and user engagement provides insights into the effectiveness of your efforts and whether adjustments are needed to enhance your content's visibility and impact.
When Rankings Fluctuate
If you notice another website ranking higher than yours for specific keywords or topics, it should prompt you to conduct an SEO competitor analysis.
Understanding the reasons behind their improved rankings helps you adapt your approach and regain a competitive advantage.
Following a Sudden Ranking Drop
If your website experiences an unexplained drop in search engine rankings, it can be concerning for your online visibility.
In such cases, conducting an SEO competitor analysis can reveal potential reasons for the decline.
By comparing your competitors' strategies with your own, you may identify optimization gaps that need to be addressed to regain lost rankings.
Boost your website's SEO with our free competitive analysis template available for download on our website.
What Are The Types of SEO Competitive Analysis?
Competitor analysis is a comprehensive process that encompasses various sub-processes and methods.
While a full and comprehensive analysis can be time-consuming, it is a valuable resource-intensive activity that is best reserved for specific times, especially when redesigning or reevaluating your entire campaign.
There are three primary types of competitive analysis in SEO, each focusing on different aspects:
Competitor Content Analysis
Content is one of the most visible and crucial aspects of any website. Analyzing your competitors' most popular web pages allows you to gain ideas to enhance your own content strategy.
Understanding which pages rank high and drive significant traffic indicates that they are doing something right. By monitoring their approach, you can save time and effort.
However, it's essential to fine-tune your content to match the search intent of your target audience and provide an improved user experience, which can help you surpass your competition in the long term.
Two methods to outrank your competitors' content:
Content Gap Analysis
One of the best ways to outrank your competitors is using the approach of content gap analysis.
Identify weaknesses in your competitors' content and fill the gaps by providing valuable content that addresses popular topics they might be missing.
Alternatively, introduce a more engaging or user-friendly format for existing content.
Learn more about Content Gap Analysis here.
The Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper Technique is popularized by Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko.
It is designed to help websites improve their search engine rankings by creating outstanding and highly valuable content that surpasses the quality of existing content on the same topic.
This content serves as the foundation for your Skyscraper content. The next step is to create content that is not only better but also more comprehensive, up-to-date, and informative than the original piece.
By adding more depth, updated information, relevant visuals, and multimedia elements to your content, you increase its value to users and make it more appealing to potential linkers and content sharers.
The goal is to make your content so exceptional that other websites in your niche or industry would naturally want to link back to it as a valuable resource.
Once your Skyscraper content is ready, you then actively reach out to websites that linked to the original content and present your improved version as a valuable alternative.
Backlink Profile Analysis
Acquiring high-quality, credible backlinks from authoritative sites is crucial for a successful SEO strategy.
Backlinks serve as referrals from reputable sources in the industry and have a significant impact on search engine rankings. Understanding how your competitors are obtaining backlinks and improving your backlink profile is vital.
However, not all backlinks are beneficial; those from poorly rated or fraudulent websites can negatively affect your SERP score and overall performance.
To catch up with your competitors and boost your backlink profile, you can implement the following strategies:
Relevance of Backlinks
Ensure that new backlinks you acquire point to the most relevant content on your website.
When other websites link to your content that is closely related to their own topics, it increases the credibility and authority of your site.
Aim to build a diverse range of backlinks across various pages on your website to strengthen its overall SEO profile.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Monitor the web for unlinked mentions of your brand or website. These are instances where other websites mention your brand but do not provide a clickable link.
Reach out to the site managers or authors of those mentions and politely request them to insert a link to your website. This way, you can convert brand mentions into valuable backlinks that improve your SEO.
Competitor Link Analysis
Keep a close eye on your competitors' link-building activities. Identify websites that are linking to them and assess the type of content they are using to attract backlinks.
Develop similar but improved content that offers even more value to potential linkers.
By matching and surpassing their link-building approach, you increase your chances of earning similar backlinks and outperforming your competitors in search engine rankings.
Technical SEO Analysis
Technical SEO auditing involves reviewing the technical details of your website, comparing them with competitors, and addressing any technical gaps that may negatively impact your rankings.
Key technical SEO elements to analyze include:
Page Speed & SSL Certifications
Optimize site speed to provide users with a frictionless experience, as fast-loading pages are considered crucial for a better user experience.
Also, secure your website with HTTPS to provide a safe browsing experience to your visitors.
Optimize your website for mobile browsing, as Google's mobile-first indexing approach emphasizes the importance of mobile-friendly content.
How to Do Competitive Analysis for SEO?
Performing a competitive analysis for SEO involves several steps to gain valuable insights into your competitors' strategies and identify areas for improvement in your own SEO efforts.
Here are some of the most important steps to conduct a comprehensive SEO competitor analysis:
Identify Your Competitors
Start by identifying your SEO competitors. This step requires thorough research because your biggest market competitor may not necessarily be your biggest SEO competitor.
Smaller companies might have strong SEO and perform well in the digital world.
To avoid guesswork, use SEO comparison and research various keywords, paying attention to the top 10 or 20 websites consistently ranking for them. Cast a wide net to capture all relevant competitors in your industry.
Conduct Page Analysis
Analyze the websites of your identified competitors and their top-performing pages. Conduct a keyword gap analysis to identify keywords your competitors rank for but you do not.
This helps formulate a plan to improve your rankings and outrank your competition for those keywords. Create pages focused on ranking for these identified keywords.
You can also update existing pages with new keywords, but ensure you maintain their focus and relevance.
Additionally, perform competitor backlink profile analysis to understand the number of backlinks, domain authority of linking sites, and relevance of related content.
This analysis provides valuable insights into the backlink strategy that might work for your website.
Focus on Keywords with High ROI
Instead of trying to rank for numerous keywords, focus on those with the highest Return on Investment (ROI). Prioritize keywords that can generate more profit or revenue for your business.
It's best to concentrate efforts on high-profile items and keywords that can bring in more leads or potential customers.
Low-cost products or services may not be worth extensive SEO efforts unless you deal with high volumes.
Look for opportunities to rank for keywords that your competitors have overlooked. Identifying untapped niches or low-competition keywords can be an excellent starting point to expand into new market segments.
Create and Execute a Content Plan
Use the data collected from the analysis to create a content strategy. Develop a list of content ideas and keywords based on the competitor analysis report.
Track Your Progress
Other Things To Do
In addition to the above-mentioned steps, there are plenty of other options you can use to analyze your competitors and fine-tune your own SEO strategy.
Check Backlink Growth
Analyzing your competitors' backlink growth is a crucial aspect of staying competitive in the SEO landscape.
To begin, identify your main competitors in the SEO space by looking for websites or businesses targeting similar keywords or audiences as yours.
Utilize a reliable backlink analysis tool to compare the number of referring domains your competitors had one year ago with their current count.
Once you have the backlink data, calculate the average monthly growth rate for each competitor by subtracting the number of referring domains they had one year ago from their current count, and then dividing the difference by 12.
This calculation will give you an approximate number of new referring domains your competitors gain each month.
Armed with the average monthly growth rate, you now have a target to guide your own link-building efforts.
Use it as a benchmark to measure your progress and determine the number of new backlinks you should aim to acquire each month.
By understanding your competitors' link-building activities and setting realistic targets for your own backlink growth, you can fine-tune your SEO strategy and improve your website's visibility and rankings in search engines.
Analyze Organic Keywords
These tools can help you uncover the specific keywords that are contributing to their search visibility and attracting visitors.
For example, you can prioritize keywords that align with your content strategy and target audience, ensuring they are relevant and valuable to your users.
Additionally, consider the keyword difficulty, which reflects how challenging it would be to rank for a particular keyword.
If you have limited resources or short-term goals, it might be prudent to avoid targeting highly competitive keywords initially.
Instead, focus on more attainable keywords with lower difficulty levels, where you have a better chance of achieving improved rankings and organic traffic growth.
Study Featured Snippets
Identify competitors who rank for featured snippets.
To identify competitors who rank for featured snippets, conduct a thorough analysis of search results relevant to your target keywords.
Look for featured snippets displayed at the top of the search results, as these often come from the top five ranking positions. Take note of the websites that consistently appear in featured snippets for the keywords you are targeting.
Once you have identified these competitors, analyze the content and format of the featured snippets they have secured.
Pay attention to the structure of their content, the type of information provided, and the format used (e.g., lists, tables, paragraphs).
Understanding how competitors optimize their content to target featured snippets can provide valuable insights for your own strategy.
To break into the top five search results and potentially secure featured snippets, focus on creating high-quality and relevant content that addresses the search intent of users.
Use data-driven keyword research to identify target keywords with a high chance of ranking in the top positions.
When crafting your content, consider formatting it in a way that aligns with the types of featured snippets you have observed from competitors.
This might involve using concise and informative lists, tables, or well-structured paragraphs to provide clear answers to common user queries.
Analyze Traffic Breakdown by Country
Check your competitors' top five countries by traffic percentage.
To analyze traffic breakdown by country, examine your competitors' website data to identify the top five countries from which they receive the highest percentage of traffic.
This information can typically be found in web analytics tools or SEO platforms.
Once you have identified the top five countries, prioritize those with significant search demand and user engagement.
These countries represent your competitors' key markets and can offer valuable insights into regions where your products or services may perform well.
Additionally, consider exploring the untapped potential in other regions outside the top five.
Look for countries where your competitors might not be focusing their efforts, but where there is a growing online audience or emerging market for your offerings.
Find Broken Pages
Identify competitors' pages that have backlinks but no longer exist or are non-functional.
To find these broken pages on your competitors' websites, utilize backlink analysis tools to identify pages that previously had backlinks but no longer exist or are non-functional.
These broken pages may have been removed or moved, resulting in broken links from other websites.
Once you've identified these broken pages, take advantage of the opportunity to create similar and fresh content on your own website.
Craft high-quality content that serves as a suitable replacement for the missing or broken pages on your competitors' sites.
Next, reach out to the linking domains that still have broken links pointing to your competitors' pages. Politely inform them about the broken link and offer your content as a relevant and valuable replacement.
By doing so, you increase the chances of those websites linking to your new content, thereby enhancing your backlink profile and improving your SEO.
Analyze Competitors' Most Popular Content
Identify high-ranking pages that attract a large volume of traffic for your competitors.
To analyze your competitor's most popular content, start by identifying the high-ranking pages on their websites that attract a large volume of traffic.
Use SEO tools and analytics to gather data on the performance of these pages, including their keyword rankings and organic traffic.
Once you have identified the topics and types of content that resonate well with your competitors' audience, consider creating your own content on similar or related topics.
Aim to provide unique and valuable insights, making your content stand out from the competition.
Identify Competitors' Most Linked Content
Find competitors' content with a large number of backlinks.
For this, use backlink analysis tools to find pages on their websites with a significant number of backlinks from other websites.
Analyze the type of content and topics that attract these backlinks to understand what resonates well with their audience and gains attention from other online sources.
By studying the content that garners the most backlinks for your competitors, you can gain valuable insights into the types of articles, blog posts, or resources that are highly shareable and link-worthy.
Consider replicating or improving upon this content on your own website to attract similar attention and backlinks.
However, keep in mind that simply replicating content is not enough; aim to add your unique perspective or additional value to make it even more compelling.
Focus on Search Intent
When analyzing your competitors, it's crucial to focus on search intent rather than blindly targeting high-volume keywords.
Understanding what users are looking for when they conduct a search is key to providing relevant content that meets their needs.
Prioritize creating valuable and informative content that directly addresses the search intent of your target audience.
To optimize your content for search intent, conduct thorough keyword research to identify the specific queries users are using to find information related to your niche.
Once you have a list of relevant keywords, craft content that thoroughly answers these queries and addresses the pain points of your potential visitors.
Explore Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities
Shift focus from highly competitive keywords to long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for.
Conduct thorough keyword research and competitor analysis to identify relevant long-tail keywords.
Remember that long-tail keywords may have lower search volumes compared to broader keywords, but they often have higher conversion rates as they cater to users with more specific intentions.
Incorporating long-tail keywords into your SEO strategy can lead to increased organic traffic and better engagement with your content, ultimately benefiting your overall search visibility and business goals.
Understand Your Objectives
Before diving into competitive analysis, it is crucial to understand your objectives and set clear goals for the process. Outline your overall objective for conducting the analysis.
This objective could be to identify areas of improvement in your SEO strategy, discover new opportunities for growth, or gain insights into your competitors' tactics.
Once you have defined your objective, determine the scope of your analysis. Decide how broad or specific you want your analysis to be based on your goals and priorities.
Consider factors like the size of your industry, the number of competitors, and the resources available for the analysis.
If your objective is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire market, a broader analysis that includes multiple competitors may be necessary.
On the other hand, if you have limited resources and want to focus on a specific niche, a more targeted analysis of a few key competitors may be sufficient.
Check Competitors' Traffic Sources
Monitor competitors' site traffic on topics you hope to rank for.
By monitoring their site traffic, you can assess how well you measure up and uncover valuable opportunities for improvement.
Use SEO tools to analyze your competitors' website traffic and identify the sources of their incoming visitors.
Pay close attention to the traffic generated from organic search, social media, referral links, and other channels.
This information will give you insights into which channels are driving the most visitors to their site and potentially reveal untapped opportunities for your own strategy.
Improve on Competitors' Results
To outperform your competitors in search results, critically evaluate their content and ask yourself if you can offer something better or different.
Strive to provide content that delivers 5-10 times more value than what is currently available or presents a unique perspective to stand out from the crowd.
Start by conducting thorough research on the topics your competitors are ranking for and identify any gaps or opportunities for improvement.
Aim to create comprehensive, insightful, and well-researched content that addresses the specific needs and interests of your target audience.
By offering more value or a fresh perspective, you can attract more organic traffic and establish your website as a go-to resource in your niche.
Remember that search engines prioritize content that provides genuine value to users.
By consistently producing high-quality and relevant content, you can not only outrank your competitors but also build a loyal and engaged audience.
Stay focused on delivering exceptional content that surpasses your competitors' efforts and positions your brand as an authoritative source in the industry.
Don't Copy Their Strategy Blindly
Avoid directly copying your competitor's SEO strategy, as it may not suit your goals and priorities.
Focus on differentiating yourself and standing out from your competitors.
Analyze Multiple Competitors
Analyze more than one competitor's website as it can uncover various opportunities and insights that may not be evident when looking at just one competitor.
When conducting your analysis, consider both direct competitors – those who offer similar products or services – and indirect competitors who may target the same audience but in a slightly different way.
By comparing and contrasting the strategies, content, and performance of different competitors, you can identify best practices, potential gaps in the market, and areas where you can differentiate your brand.
Analyzing multiple competitors also allows you to spot emerging trends, understand customer preferences, and discover new keyword opportunities.
Best SEO Competitive Analysis Tools
Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that allows you to research your competitors in various aspects.
Access competitors' backlinks and organic traffic to understand their link-building strategy and overall website performance.
Analyze their top-performing pages for links and engaging content, which can serve as inspiration for your own content creation.
Check their Domain Rating (DR), URL Rating (UR), and Ahrefs ratings to understand their website's authority and link quality.
Investigate competitors' PPC campaigns, paid keywords, and landing pages to gain insights into their advertising strategies.
SEMrush is a versatile tool that provides competitor analysis, keyword research, and more.
Discover your competitors' successful keywords and analyze their website traffic, audience, and lead generation sources.
Utilize the Gap Analytics tool to compare keyword and backlink gaps with competitors to identify opportunities for improvement.
Use the Organic Research - Pages report to understand the topics competitors are ranking for and their content performance.
Page Optimizer Pro
Compare your website with direct competitors for specific keywords to identify areas where your page falls short.
Receive data based on each specific keyword to tailor your optimization efforts accordingly.
Follow proven ranking factors to improve your content, metadata, and technical SEO.
Google search results offer valuable insights into competitors' top-performing pages and their search engine rankings.
Perform a Google search for your target keyword to see what websites rank at the top.
Analyze the content and metadata of the top-ranking page to understand their strategy.
Identify unique features and high-quality backlinks that contribute to their success.
Consider different devices and regions to tailor your strategy for better rankings.
Google's PageSpeed Insights helps analyze competitors' page speed, which is an important factor to enhance user experience.
Analyze competitors' page speed to identify opportunities for improvement.
Aim to create a fast-loading page to enhance user experience and increase rankings.
Moz Link Explorer
Moz provides a set of powerful tools for competitive analysis in the SEO landscape.
With features like Link Analysis, Keyword Research, Domain Authority comparison, SERP Analysis, Site Crawl, and Competitor Benchmarking, Moz helps businesses understand their competitors' strategies, identify opportunities, and improve their own SEO efforts.
Use SERP Analysis to assess competitors' pages and domain authority for specific keywords.
Utilize Link Explorer to track competitors' backlinks and identify potential link-building opportunities.
Use the organic competitor visibility function to understand how competitors perform in search results.
Analyze the impact of Google updates on competitors' rankings to learn from their strategies.
Majestic SEO tracks backlinks of your website and competitors, helping to understand link-building efforts.
Analyze competitors' backlinks to identify potential link-building opportunities.
Focus on acquiring backlinks from websites that link to competitors.
Ubersuggest helps find competitors' top-performing keywords and backlinks.
Analyze competitors' content and keywords to create superior content on similar topics.
Identify websites linking to competitors and outreach to obtain backlinks.
Screaming Frog is useful for checking competitors' metadata and technical SEO.
Use the tool to review competitors' metadata and identify areas for improvement.
Analyze their on-page elements to understand their SEO strategies.
Competitor analysis is a crucial aspect of any successful SEO strategy.
By thoroughly examining your competitors' tactics, content, and performance, you can identify valuable opportunities, refine your approach, and stay ahead of the competition.
Regularly monitoring and adapting to your competitors' activities will enable you to make informed decisions and maintain a strong position in the market.
Remember, effective competitor analysis is not about copying your rivals but rather using their insights to enhance your own unique value proposition and meet the needs of your target audience.