Competition is one of the main driving forces behind the increasing need for search engine optimization. Without any competitors, ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs) becomes a moot point. Considering that roughly 3.2 billion people have a connection to the World Wide Web, competition continually grows fiercer. For that reason alone, it is critical that you ramp up your efforts to improve your SERP positioning.
One way to chart your next course of action is by looking at your competition to determine which SEO strategies they implement. To accomplish the goal of performing an analysis of your competitors’ SEO strategies, consider the following.
Identify Your Competitors
Before delving into any level of SEO competitor analysis, you need to identify your competition. Although you probably have a good idea as to who your biggest rivals are, in reality, your toughest competition battling for the top spot in SERPs may not be within that group. Therefore, you have to think about both perceived and indirect competition.
Although your perceived competition does not automatically sell a product or service similar to yours, it does compete for the time and effort that your ideal customer invests in utilizing what you offer. In comparison, your indirect competition offers products or services much like yours, and because of that, they vie for virtually the same customers while operating outside of your niche.
Scrutinize Their Onsite Content
By looking closely at the content on your competitors’ web pages, you will gain insight into their content strategy, and therefore, the type of content that may work for your SEO strategy. To locate the most popular pages on your competitors’ site and for the sake of analysis, you can utilize various free online tools.
Also, look at social media shares for content, which are a good indicator that a post resonates with the targeted audience, also potentially your ideal audience. You can use this data as a sounding board for your original content ideas, as well as insight gained to guide your decisions regarding new content.
Analyze Their Keyword Strategy
Analyzing your competitors’ keywords gives you an advantage by allowing you to use them to improve on your SEO strategy. The tricky part is knowing which keywords your online rivals target for ranking purposes. Look at the keywords that your competitors currently rank high on in SERPs along with those they target but have not yet achieved top results.
When conducting competitor keyword research, there are several ways to use the information.
- Identify and use competitor keywords to fight for rankings within the same search query.
- Identify keywords not currently targeted by your competitors and begin targeting them yourself.
- Identify terms and keyword strings associated with your target audience previously unknown to you.
- Identify reasons that your competitors are ranking above you for broad keywords.
To perform a thorough and accurate competitor SEO analysis, you must consider all of your competitors by going beyond your most prominent rivals. When conducting a keyword search, you have several viable sources. Start by visiting your competitor’s website, followed by pulling up a landing page. By right-clicking and selecting “page source,” HTML code associated with that page appears. While scanning the code to pick out keywords used, pay close to the title tag, meta description, alt tags, and keyword tags.
Visiting the Google Keyword Planner in your AdWords account is another excellent way to find critical keywords. By accessing the AdWords interface and selecting “Find New Keywords,” you can conduct your search through “Search for New Keyword Using Phrase, Website, or Category.” Within those areas, locate your “Landing Page Text Box,” paste the link to the competitor’s page, and select “Get Ideas.”
In response, Google sends out crawlers and provides you with a list of keywords, not only related to the linked page but also, the entire website. With that complete, you can view the competitor’s keywords by clicking on “Keyword Ideas” located beneath the displayed graph.
Examine Your Competitors’ Backlinks
For identifying new SEO strategies and campaigns implemented by your competitors, look at backlinks on their sites. The most efficient way to accomplish this is by using Ahrefs. Howeverб to see the top keywords for the site, as well as building a list of prospects that you can target as part of your campaign, a free online tool like ScanBacklinks.com works incredibly well.
Compile an SEO Competitor Analysis Report
When finished delving into your competitors’ SEO, it is helpful to organize the information into an SEO competitor report. By placing your findings into an Excel spreadsheet, data becomes easily accessible, which you can then use as a checklist for your current and future SEO strategy.
Competition exists in any market where multiple people seek limited resources, but even more so with intense competition on the web vying for eyes and clicks. With a high degree of posturing for search rank positioning, you cannot afford to ignore the actions taken by your competition as they try to get ahead of you.
Fortunately, you can perform a reliable analysis by looking at digital clues left by your competitors. The bottom line is to watch, and learn from their successes and failures in the SEO game so that you can build a strategy that brings clicks and, eventually, customers.