Semalt Advice On How To Conduct SEO Competition Analysis
Has this question: 'How do I rank higher in Google?' ever crossed your mind? Then an SEO competition analysis is a nice next step when you have completed the SEO basics. The great thing about the world wide web is that there is a lot to discover. This also applies to most SEO signals that your competitor passes on to the search engine.
In this post, I explain how to make an SEO competitor analysis, what benefits can be gained from it and how to stay one step ahead of your competitor. Who would not want that?
Advantages of SEO Competitive Analysis
Doing a competitor analysis can have several reasons:
- You are going to enter a new market and want to know where the opportunities lie.
- You no longer rank high in Google and want to know why.
- You are looking for new inspiration to improve the performance of your organic traffic.
- You want to know how you perform compared to the competition.
- You want to know which new steps your competitor has taken.
There are plenty of reasons why it is useful to occasionally check what is happening on the market. In my view, these are qualities that belong to a marketer, in this case, you as an SEO specialist. You are the one who determines the course in the field of SEO and is (probably) held responsible for the end results. In order to do that properly, you have to periodically check what is happening on the market.
How do you make an SEO competitor analysis?
There are many ways in which you can discover what your competitor wants or is found for. With this information, you will soon be able to determine whether you also want to optimize your website for these search terms or whether you want to sail a different course. There are many reasons why you ultimately go for something or not. Try to involve other specialists in your choice, for example, a SEA specialist. Perhaps he/she has been advertising for a while on the terms for which you may want to optimize your website, and this person can already tell you a bit more about whether these search terms work or not. In addition, it is useful to open a spreadsheet in which you note opportunities during your competition research about what the competitors are doing better than you.
What keywords does my competitor use?
My first step when I get started with a competitor analysis is: what do my competitors rank on? I always distinguish between two types of competitors: firstly, your actual competitors, these competitors are often known from market research. Secondly, your online competitors: other companies that rank for search terms that you would like to be found for.
Both types of competitors are important to watch and scrutinize. With your online competitors, the question is always to what extent you can call them a competitor. For example, if they rank only on three terms that you also want to rank on, ignore them. If they rank on a subject with many terms and if they have a large impression share, be sure to include them in your research.
To view the keywords that competitors rank for, I use the Dedicated SEO Dashboard, which is a very powerful tool developed by SEO Experts. If you enter the name of your competitor under the heading 'Competitors', you will immediately see what your competitor ranks on (see image below).
If you scroll a little further down, you will also immediately see your main online competitors.
Your main competitor in the picture? Then take a look at:
- How often your competitor ranks in the top 10?
- How many positions do they have in place 1,2,3 etc?
- And whether they rank well in a certain niche, are an authority within a larger domain, whether there is nothing to bake ;-).
In addition to this report, you can enrich your analysis with the "Keywords in TOP". With the Keywords in TOP feature, you can also see what your competitor ranks on, and you don't yet.
Ideal for getting new content ideas. If you filter in this overview for, for example, keywords with a higher search volume than 200 impressions per month and low keyword difficulty (the difficulty to rank on something), you will quickly find opportunities for which you can write better content.
If you want to see who your competitors are at the keyword level, enter the term you would like to rank for under the heading 'keyword in TOP'.
Now that you know what your competitors are ranking on, you may have gotten an indication of which terms you want to optimize your website on. In this choice, take the steps mentioned below into account and (as mentioned earlier) also involve other specialists in your choice.
Now that you know what your competitors rank for, let's dig a little deeper. That way, you can make a complete benchmark. The result? A complete picture of your biggest SEO competitors.
When I compare the content with a major competitor, I look at things such as: Which content works well, but can I write better? What type of content is it (informational, commercial research, transactional, etc.)? What topics is he/she still missing that I can add?
Tip: Try to combine this last question with your keyword research.
Compare SEO basics
One of the most important steps! Analyze your competitor's SEO basics. Look with a web crawler at things such as anchor texts, the pages with the most internal links, the h1 tags, the title tags etc. Important signals for Google that you may and can copy easily.
Benchmark your website speed
See how fast your competitors' website is. Look at things like TTFB, TTI, FMP and your speed index score. How are you doing compared to the competition? Do you score better, or is there work to be done? It is important to also look at the differences between mobile and desktop in your benchmark. Not everyone has a 5g connection.
Tip: A practical and efficient tool to do this on a large scale is the Dedicated SEO Dashboard.
Backlink gap analysis
Check your competitors' backlinks. Receiving backlinks builds your website's authority. By looking at where competitors are getting backlinks from, you find out what the competitor is doing best, where the opportunities are, and which pages are being boosted by backlinks.
To find out where backlinks are coming from, I use the Dedicated SEO Dashboard. Log in and access "demo.semalt.com". Enter the names of your competitors. The result you'll then see is an overview of the backlinks you have or don't have that your competitors have. Download this list and use it as a basis for your action plan when you start building links.
Other interesting factors
When I get started with a competitor analysis, I always feel a bit like a spy. And I can tell you, that's pretty fun. I am always looking for additional opportunities to learn even more about my competitor. The following steps are not necessarily essential, but they can be a nice addition to your research.
Major traffic sources competitor
To see which traffic sources are the most successful, I use the traffic analytics report in the Dedicated SEO Dashboard. This report tells me more about the most successful traffic sources. Think of: direct traffic, social media, search engine advertisements etc.
In which markets are your competitors active?
To find out if your competitors are active in other countries, you can do two things: see if they have hreflang tags in their source code and in addition, you can use the Dedicated SEO Dashboard to get an indication of how much traffic these websites are bringing in.
Alerts on competitors
Some SEO tools offer the possibility to set an alert. For example, if your competitor has created a new page, but also when they have changed their title tags. You can often get useful information from this. Where is the competitor going? Where do they see opportunities? Nothing is a secret anymore!
I hope that the steps above have helped you to get a better picture of your competitors. It is useful to periodically monitor your main competitors for things such as keyword positions, new pages, new links, visibility in the search engine, etc. In this way, you (hopefully) stay ahead of your competitor or beat him / her online.