Competition is a fundamental force that benefits customers. The key to the success of any business depends on your understanding of competition. The most important benefit of competition is that it encourages innovation and hence companies spur the invention of new or better products.
Finding the ways to outrank your competitors in organic search is no more than the competition
What do you do? You need to do an SEO competitor analysis
SEO competitor analysis will help you to learn the following things:
- What strategies work in your industry and what doesn’t
- Find the weak points and gaps of competitors and capitalize them
- Find the strength areas of competitors and replicate them
- The clear understanding of SEO tasks to be taken on priority going further
- Understand how difficult it is to outperform your competitors in the SERPs
In this post, I will take you through 10 exact steps to leverage SEO competitor analysis and improve your search result rankings
#1. Perform Keyword Research
The first and the most critical step of the process is finding out the right keywords your competitors are targeting. Use Ahref’s and SEM Rush tools to find their target keywords. Follow the step 1-2-3 to find your competitors keyword with SEM Rush
- Enter the URL of your competitor’s site in the search bar
- Click on “Positions” Under the “Organic Research”
- You will get the list of keywords your competitor is ranking for
#2. Identify Your SEO Competitors
After having a keyword list your first goal is to identify main competitors. To find them enter these keywords in Google, you will find the top 10 sites ranking for the specific keyword on the first page of Google. Write down the domains of the sites as these are your main SEO competitors.
Sometimes the same site appears multiples times in the search. This means that site is ranked for multiple keywords. Similarly if your targeted keywords are dominated by videos, you need to think about creating video content to compete.
#3. Evaluate Keyword Difficulty
Finding the keywords to rank for is easy but figuring out what it will take to rank for those keywords in organic search is difficult. So before starting on-page SEO, it would be good to first assess the strength of your SEO competitor. Use a competitor analysis tool to analyze the pages of your competitors which are already ranking in Google. Analyze specific factors such as:
- Domain authority
- Domain country and age
- Indexing in search engines
- Catalog listings
- Links from other websites
- Alexa rank
- Traffic volume
- Social signals
Note this information and look for the weaknesses that you can capitalize on. The higher the keyword difficulty of a target competitor, the stronger their SEO, and tougher to outrank them.
Concentrate more on competitors with lower overall scores positioning well for niche keywords.
#4. Analyze On-Page Optimization
Analyzing competitor’s onsite-SEO strategy provides you a ton of valuable information. With that insight, you would be able to plan your SEO strategy in a better way to compete them. You have to pay special attention to the below-listed information
- Keyword Density: Analysing keyword density on your competitors’ page provides guidance on how aggressive you should be with keyword placement
- Meta Data: Examining your competitors’ metadata is helpful in understanding their technique of writing description
- Headline Strategies: Analysing headline of your competitors provides guidance on how they drive organic traffic in their site
- Internal Linking: Analysing your competitors site architecture is helpful in understanding how authoritative their website is
#5. Analyze Their Content
It is well known that pages which have in-depth and more content rank better. So create a far superior page to what is ranking for your targeted keyword. Pay attention to various elements while analyzing your competitors content.
- Word Count: Check the word length of your competitors’ pages and target to create much larger than this.
- Media type: See whether your competitors are using images or video. If they are then you need to adopt the same strategy to improve your user experience.
- Uniqueness: Your content should be well researched, have a unique angle and different than your competitors
- Outbound links: Seek help from your competitors in getting outbound links to your site since outbound links improve the credibility of your content and build relationships. If they don’t do then you do it for yourself.
#6. Analyze Their Site Structure and UX
Changes in Google algorithm over the past few years have been focused on your website design. Therefore your website design also matters. If your competitor is having a beautiful design then you need to also invest some dollars in your website design. On the contrary if your competitor is ranking well but they have an ugly website then you have a golden opportunity to outrank and win that battle. Main elements in which you should focus are:
- Your website should have a responsive design so it should be compatible with all the devices
- Your website loading time should be fast for high-value landing pages
- Your website should be built considering searcher intent in mind
#7. Analyze Their Backlink Profiles
Backlinks provide a significant piece of information. Examine your competitors’ site and understand from where they are earning their backlinks. Utilize that information and data to build high-quality backlinks for your website.
Analyzing your competitors link profiles is an extraordinary method to discover new link opportunities. It’s impossible to extract this information manually. Use the below listed powerful SEO tools for this step:
- Open Site Explorer
- Open Link Profiler
- Web Me Up
#8. Analyze Their Social Media
Social media has a huge impact today so it’s an important element of SEO strategy and can’t be ignored. Through social media campaign you can:
- Build new relationships
- Interact with your prospects
- Market your content
If you find your competitors are well engaged on social media then you need to be active as well. Try to find their social accounts and see whether they are active or not. A very simple trick is wherever your competitor is having a presence, you need to be proactively engaging and follow them and if they are not having presence then you need to take advantage of it.
#9. Analyze Their Google My Business Page
Check your competitors Google My Business Page. Find out whether
- They update their page regularly
- Their posts are engaging
- They have reviews
- They have images
- They have followers
If they have then you need to replicate them else you need to capitalize on those missing things
#10. Track Their Ad Spend
After doing everything, if your website is still getting beaten in the SERPs. Then it’s possible that your competitors are using paid traffic campaigns to attract customers and increase sales.
So it’s valuable to monitor and keep a track of money spend by your competitors on Google Ads campaigns, promoted content, banner ads, paid posts, and more.
All the tools, strategies and tips are shared to outrank your competitors. Do not reinvent the wheel.
Start analyzing your competitors right away and do the things better. With time you will start improving your position in search engine.
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing