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As the digital landscape becomes increasingly competitive, having a website or optimizing content for search engines alone is no longer enough to succeed at SEO. To truly excel in SEO, one needs to gain an in-depth knowledge of competitors who rank higher and drive more traffic to their own sites - this is where conducting an SEO competitor analysis comes in! We will walk you through how to conduct one in order to gain valuable insights into your industry, target audience and website strengths and weaknesses. Establish Your Competitors The first step of an SEO competitor analysis is identifying your competitors. While this may seem straightforward, identifying them may not always be. Your industry and niche may have different competitors than what is considered direct competition. When prioritizing who should come first in an analysis such as SEMrush or Ahrefs you should keep these factors in mind when prioritizing competitors: search engine rankings, website traffic and social media followership all impact these decisions. Once You Identify Competitors' Websites Once you have identified your competitors, the next step should be analyzing their websites to gain a deeper understanding of their SEO strategies and audience targeting strategies. Key metrics that you should analyze on competitors' websites are site architecture, page speed, mobile responsiveness, user experience as well as Google Analytics/Search Console tools which give insights into traffic sources/rankings/click-through rates etc. Additionally you should analyze keyword usage patterns of competitors so as to see which keywords they're using and how this integrates them into their content marketing. Analyzing Your Competitors' Content Strategies In addition to examining your competitors' websites, it's also vitally important to examine their content strategies. Doing this can give valuable insights into the types of posts that resonate with your target audience and how competitors approach content marketing. When doing this analysis of competitors' strategies it may help answer some questions like what types of content your rivals produce and promote as well as any gaps you could capitalize upon within those strategies. Analyzing Your Competitors' Backlink Profiles Links are an integral component of any successful SEO strategy, and analyzing the backlink profiles of competitors is one way to identify link building opportunities and understand their overall link building strategy. Tools you can use include SEMrush, Ahrefs and Majestic; metrics to consider while conducting analysis include number of backlinks acquired per linking website's domain authority as well as anchor text used within these links - information which you can then use inform your own link building strategy while potentially finding opportunities to acquire high-quality backlinks! Analysing Your Competitors' Social Media Strategies Social media plays an integral part of driving traffic and engagement to your website. Reviewing the social media strategies of competitors can give insight into which platforms they're using, what types of content they share on these channels, and how well they engage their target audiences. When conducting this analysis of competitors' strategies it is important to ask: which platforms are your competitors using, how often are they posting and sharing content via these networks, and what kinds of posts your competitors share on these channels. Some questions to keep in mind while reviewing competitors' social media strategies include: what social media platforms are being utilized by competitors, how often are competitors' posting, what types of content sharing their competitors sharing via these networks etc? Analysing Competitors' Local SEO Strategies When you own a local business, understanding your competitors' local SEO strategies is vitally important to gaining an edge over them in SEO efforts and competitive advantage. When conducting an analysis on competitors' strategies for local SEO purposes, key areas to focus on include Google My Business profiles, local citations and backlinks as well as reviews/ratings of competitors on popular directories like Yelp or TripAdvisor to see what areas may need improvement and which they excel in. As you analyse the Google My Business profiles of your competitors, pay special attention to how complete and accurate their information is, how many reviews/ratings they have, as well as their response to customer feedback. This can provide valuable insight into what customers in your area want most from local businesses. Local citations are mentions of your business' name, address and phone number (NAP) that appear elsewhere online or in directories. When reviewing competitors' local citations, examine for consistency and accuracy when it comes to NAP information; this can have an effect on local search rankings as potential customers find your business easier online. Local backlinks are links from other local websites and directories pointing back to your own. When reviewing the local backlink profiles of competitors, look out for authoritative websites which link back to them; this may provide insight into which local websites and directories you should focus on in terms of link building efforts. By studying your competitors' local SEO strategies, you can gain invaluable insights into what's working well in your local market and where improvements could be made to your own efforts. Compare Your SEO Strategies With Competitors' To get an understanding of your competitors' SEO strategies, it is also vitally important that you compare your own strategy against theirs in order to identify areas where you may be falling short and identify opportunities for improving SEO efforts within your own efforts. Some key metrics to compare include: Keyword Rankings: Evaluate how your website ranks relative to competitors for targeted keywords that you are using as target terms, noting any instances in which your competitors outshone you consistently. Are there any areas in which they consistently outrank you? Backlink Profile: Review your backlink profile against that of competitors to identify areas for potential improvement in link building efforts. On-Page Optimization: Assess your on-page optimization techniques against those of your competitors. Are there any areas for improvement in terms of content, meta tags or any other aspects? Content Strategy: Evaluate your content strategy against those of your competitors to see if there are any types of media they are producing that you aren't producing yet. Comparison: Benchmark your social media strategy against those of your competitors. Are there any platforms or content types used by them that you have not adopted yet? By comparing your SEO strategy with those of competitors, you can identify areas for improvement and possible opportunities to gain a competitive edge. How can your competitor analysis inform your SEO strategy? By conducting an SEO competitor analysis, you should gain a better understanding of your industry, target audience and competitors' SEO strategies. With this knowledge in hand, you can use this to inform your own SEO plan in various ways; including: Exploring Keyword Opportunities: By studying your competitors' keyword rankings, it may be possible to spot potential keyword opportunities for use on your own website. Enhancing Your On-Page Optimization: By studying the techniques employed by competitors in terms of on-page optimization, you can identify areas in which you could enhance your own content, meta tags and other factors on-page. Develop Your Content Strategy: By studying your competitors' strategies, it can help you identify content types and topics that resonate with your target audience and that could form the basis of a content strategy of your own. Establishing High-Quality Backlinks: By studying the backlink profiles of competitors, you can identify authoritative websites linking back to their site that could serve as targets for your link building efforts. Engaging with Your Target Audience: By studying your competitors' social media strategies, you can determine which social media platforms your target audience prefers and the types of posts or content they respond most favorably to.