Did you know that you could spy on your competitors’ websites, learn their best SEO practices and use the results to improve your website and rankings? If you did not know, now you do. This is a strategy that all website owners must adopt if they wish to gain more visibility and web traffic. Understanding your competitors best SEO practices will get you on top of search results quickly. This article will encourage you and teach you how to spy on your competitors by conducting a competitor analysis for SEO.
What is Competitor Analysis for SEO?
Two-thirds of all clicks go to the first five organic search results on Google. While creating excellent content and performing SEO audits are great SEO strategies, they may not guarantee you will get the attention you deserve. This is why almost 90% of websites on Google do not get search traffic. But if you’re not getting the attention, who is? Your industry and SEO competitors.
You will find it challenging to improve your website and it’s ranking if your competitors do all SEO-related practices better than you. This is where competitor analysis for SEO comes in to help you. You have two primary ways of looking at your competitor, first, as a rich source of information and second, as a pain. If you dwell on the latter, you will only get more frustrated with time. However, you can use the former and decide to utilise competitor analysis to tap into your competitor’s strengths. When done correctly, competitor analysis will help you create better-targeted content, move your pages up the search engine rankings and attract relevant traffic.
What is the Importance of Competitor Analysis for SEO?
When incorporating SEO into your website, it is always tempting to concentrate solely on your website’s visibility and rankings. However, the SEO world does not work in a vacuum. The success of your SEO strategy is also dependent on how your competitors’ websites perform and the tactics they use. Besides, you may rank highly for specific keywords today, but this status is not forever. Other websites will learn how to optimise their websites and outrank your website. So, what can you do to stay ahead of the game? An SEO competitor analysis.
Your SEO competitor analysis will allow you to look at the search world as a whole, know where you stand and see who your competitors are. This will help you identify your competitor’s SEO strategies, improvement opportunities and will allow you to take advantage of this information to create a roadmap for total search engine domination.
Another thing to note is that SEO competitor analysis is essential even if you are ranking in the first position for specific keywords. Remember that even your competitors are doing SEO competitor analysis to try and outrank you, so you must apply these efforts consistently in return.
What are the Best SEO Competitor Analysis Tools?
Now that you know what SEO competitor analysis is and why it is essential, you might be wondering how you can spy on your competitor to learn ways to outrank them in the SERPS. Since there are several SEO metrics, it can be daunting to know where to begin. This is why we have provided you with the best SEO competitor analysis tools.
This is one of the best tools you will find on the market today. This savvy tool provides an abundance of SEO and SEM features, but is primarily known for its outstanding keyword research and competitor research abilities. The SEMrush tool allows you to identify your primary organic competitor, their best performing keyword, top pages, top paid keywords and traffic statistics.
To get started, click on the ‘Competitive Research Toolkit’ and follow the sequence. You’ll get a view of your competitor’s organic keywords, estimated monthly organic traffic and other SEO metrics. The report will also show some of your competitor’s top-ranking pages, percentage share of organic traffic and the total number of organic keywords they currently rank for.
SEMrush displays your competitor’s advertising strategies in Google Ads and allows you to monitor their social media efforts. You can sign up for a free trial of SEMrush Pro to test some of its features.
Launched in 2012, Ahrefs is among the leading SEO tools on the market. Ahrefs is known for its strength in analysing backlinks and you can leverage this to uncover competitive intelligence data to boost your search rankings. Ahrefs’ Site Explorer allows you to discover how your competitors are acquiring backlinks and replicating their link building strategies. You only need to enter your competitor’s domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. The tool will display the key metrics such as referring domains and backlinks. Navigate to the ‘Referring Domains’ report and view all the websites that link to your competitor’s domain if you wish to dig deeper. Move to the ‘Links to Target’ number against each website to see all the pages from that website that link to your competitor. If you have pages targeting similar keywords, take note of these links for your next link building efforts.
This competitor analysis tool shows you an accurate picture of your competitors’ traffic source, top organic keywords, top paid keywords and other essential data. The best thing about SimilarWeb is that you can access this data for free and export it to a PDF file for future reference. You only have to enter your competitor’s domain in the search box and the tool will generate an in-depth analytics report. You can also navigate to different sections through the sidebar on the left to get an overview of your competitor’s traffic, traffic source and top five organic keywords and paid keywords. If you are unsure who your competitors are, you can enter your domain in the search box. Once SimilarWeb generates the report, navigate to the ‘Competitors and Similar Sites’ section of the report. The tool will display ten of your top competitors depending on rank and similarity.
Steps for SEO Competitive Analysis
Now let’s look at how to undertake SEO competitive analysis in a few basic steps. The following are the most common steps and you can implement them right away.
Identify Your True Competitor
The first step to performing an SEO competitor analysis is to identify your competition. Identify your actual competitors in terms of keywords, since not all websites that rank higher than you for keywords are your competitors. Ensure you are thorough and accurate when identifying your SEO competitors. Do SEO comparison and research several keywords, noting the top ten or so websites that appear consistent for all keywords. Your competitors may fall into one or both of these categories;
- Those that rank in the exact keywords you are targeting
- Those that rank for the most keywords in your industry
An excellent way to determine this is to use SEO keyword explorer on Ahrefs. Another straightforward option to finding out who is ranking for a specific keyword is to type the keyword into Google and see who comes up in the top three to five domains. Do this on your desktop and mobile, in incognito mode and ask a friend to try it on their computer and mobile phone. All the top five websites that appear are your SEO competitors.
Conduct Page Analysis
The next step is to look at one of your competitor’s websites and its top-performing pages. Identify the keywords that these pages are using and how your competitors use them in their content. This is what experts call keyword gap analysis. Here, you will find keywords that rank on your competitor’s website but are not ranking on your website. The Ahrefs tool has a Content Gap feature that identifies keywords that rank for specific websites you specify. After you identify keywords that are also relevant to your niche, you can create a page dedicated to ranking these keywords.
Another aspect of conducting a competitor analysis is to check your competitor’s backlink statistics. This involves identifying the websites that link back to their content and how they affect their ranking and authority. You can learn some back-linking techniques from your competitors and apply the same to your website. Look for the following things in your competitor’s backlinks;
- Number of backlinks
- Domain authority of linked websites
- Relevancy of linked content
Focus on Keywords With High Return on Investment (ROI)
SEO experts recommend that you should focus on keywords that will bring you more profit and revenue. You do not need to compete with a large company that ranks for several competitive keywords. Remember that such companies have the budget to ensure they rank for the top keywords. Consider your best product or service and focus your efforts on ranking for keywords that bring more leads in for this product or service specifically. Create content that your competitors have not thought of and is relevant to your target audience. Success mostly depends on identifying a gap between the competition and the audience and subsequently filling that gap. You can even use a low-competing keyword and incorporate it in highly searched content that your competition has not yet created.
Create a Content Plan and Track Your Progress
Now that you have all the data you need, it is time to create an SEO competitor analysis report. This report will guide you in creating an SEO content strategy. Start by creating a keyword or content ideas list and save it in a simple spreadsheet or use a tool like Ahrefs. Once you have executed your SEO competitor plan, you must track its progress. Perform regular keyword audits and generate competitor analysis SEO reports checking whether your strategy has worked.
Contact our Marketing Sweet team if you feel that you cannot commit to doing SEO competitive analysis on your own. An SEO expert that specialises in pushing you ahead of your competition will give you the head start you need.