Competition is always beneficial—it inspires us to be our best. This holds true in just about all aspects of life, including digital marketing. If you analyze the competition and find out what’s working for them and what’s not working, you can increase your chances of reaching your goals for organic traffic and conversions. In this post, we’ll provide a quick guide to SEO competitor analysis to help you improve your campaigns.
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Follow The Search Rankings Leader
If you follow any competitive sport, you know that every team scouts the competition. They focus most of their scouting efforts on the leader of their respective league because they know that team is executing the fundamentals well.
The same should hold true with your SEO efforts. In your particular field or industry, there is likely a clear leader that consistently ranks at the top of search engine results pages (SERP). If you can replicate their efforts, you can experience dramatic increases in SERP results, website traffic, and sales generated from the web.
To begin any SEO competitor analysis, it’s important of course to identify your top competitors! Just because you think of a company as a strong competitor does not mean that they are a strong competitor in terms of digital marketing or SEO. When identifying competitors, you’re looking for sites that are generating the greatest organic traffic in your niche for a variety of keywords. These will be the most valuable sites to analyze when building your own campaigns.
What to Look For
Business philosopher Jim Rohn once said, “Success leaves clues.” As you perform your SEO competitor analysis, what should you be looking for? Here are some things to consider:
What pages are generating the greatest organic traffic for your competitors? Do you have similar pages on your site that are underperforming—or is your site lacking similar pages? Tools like SEMRush can help you find indexed pages on competitor sites and associated organic traffic potential. You can sort pages by traffic with these tools to serve as a good starting place for building out your own strategies.
It’s important to know not only what keywords you’re ranking for but where you’re trailing the competition for those keywords. Additionally, what keywords aren’t you ranking for that they are?
Look for keyword gaps and what you can do with your content to rank higher for your primary and long-tail keywords. Strengthening your content by adding to it, tightening your keyword strategy, or editing what you already have will pay off for your SEO efforts.
Evaluate how authoritative your site is compared to your competitors. Examine their links and see how many you consider to be from “important” sources that are well-known and also rank high in their field of expertise. If the search engines think highly enough of those sources to rank them favorably, then it’s a link that you may want to have as well.
Sometimes, as you’re building your authority, you should target longer-tail keywords that your competition isn’t targeting. Later on, as your authority increases, you can hone in on higher volume, higher competition keywords.
Content is king when it comes to SEO. Once you’ve identified pages on your competitors’ sites that are generating significant organic traffic, take a closer look at the content on those pages. Is it more complete and better written than the content on your own site? Of course, you can’t copy them word-for-word—but it’s important to get an idea of what the competition is doing to inform your own strategies.
Compare important pages on your site to your competitors. If you sell lawnmowers, what are Home Depot and Lowe’s doing to rank highly for their pages on lawnmowers? Make adjustments that will help you. It’s tough to outrank the giants when you’re a smaller company, but it can be done, and you’ll at least be beating your smaller, local competitors.
If your competition is outpacing you in the SERPs, there’s a good possibility they’re outperforming you with their internal links. These links are a vital element of SEO as they help the search engines crawl, index, and rank your site. If you haven’t focused enough on internal linking, make it a priority to change that.
All links are not created equal. Going back to our lawnmower analogy, a backlink from mower engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton is much more valuable to you than a link for a local mower repair shop. Backlinks are crucial in SEO, and the company with high-quality backlinks from reputable sites has an advantage. Be sure to go for quality over quantity.
Position Yourself to Win
It can be tedious, but also fun, to pour over dozens of web pages to see what your competition is up to and finding out what you need to change and improve upon to overtake them. Let what they’re doing inspire you, not discourage you. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you need assistance with SEO competitor analysis, contact ClickGiant today. We are a leading digital marketing agency serving clients nationwide. Get in touch today to request a free site audit.