What is SEO Competitor Analysis?
SEO competitor analysis is the process of researching your competitors’ website’s to understand which SEO tactics are working for them. With this information, you can reverse-engineer their most successful strategies into your own SEO strategy. Plus, competitor analysis in SEO helps you pinpoint exactly what you need to do to outperform others out there. In short, it takes the guesswork out of SEO.
There are plenty of ways to run an SEO competitive analysis. However, the foundational principles are the same. It’s about learning:
> What works for your competitors in terms of SEO
> What your SEO strategy is currently lacking, and
> Where the SEO opportunities lie for your website
To do this, you need to know which keywords they’re ranking for, the type of content they’re creating, and how they’re building authority for their site through links. So how exactly do you get all of this information?
Assuming you know your main competition, type in your competitor’s domain URL — much like you’d do if you were conducting an SEO audit of your own website.
Look for key metrics including:
> Domain insights, such as domain authority, country, age and rating.
> Organic search traffic volumes
> Top ranking keywords
> Back links, or the number of referring domains
Once you know all of this information, you have a top-level view of how strong the competition is. Take a look at their key metrics, and compare them with yours.
Run competitive keyword analysis
After getting an overview of your competitors’ SEO performance, it’s time to dig deeper and gather keyword data. This is also sometimes known as a keyword gap analysis.
In a competitive keyword analysis, you’re trying to look for keywords that your competition is ranking for, and you’re not. These could be keywords that you overlooked but could rank for, or ones that you’re currently ranking for but could improve on.
Study their on-site SEO, user experience and content
SEO competitive analysis tools are also a great way to pinpoint how well your rivals are doing from an on-site SEO standpoint. You want to look at:
> How often they’re creating content, and whether they create any topical content
> The types of content they’re publishing, including videos, blog posts and infographics
> Which keywords they’re targeting with their posts
> The quality of the content itself, including word count, headings and subheadings, topical relevance, and the media they’re integrating
> How they’re linking internally and externally, their link anchor text, and who they’re linking to
> Other SEO content strategies, including metadata and headline structures
Look at their back links
External links are a critical part of any SEO strategy. An essential component of competitor analysis involves figuring out where your competition is getting their link juice from.
Using this information, you can start to work out their link building strategy. What’s working for them? Are they getting back links from influencers? PR? Guest posts? Harness this, and apply it to your own strategy.
At the same time, it’s a great way to get an idea of sites that have linked to your competitors, but haven’t linked to you.
Look for other ranking factors
While keyword analysis, content and back links are the most important parts of competitor analysis, other pieces of information can also shed light on key SEO strategies that your competition use. Keep an eye out for other factors that might affect their ranking, such as:
> Site structure and UX, including their navigation, load times, mobile design and customer journey
> Social media presence, such as which platforms they’re on, how they communicate with followers, and which type of content gets the most engagement
> Ad spend, including Google Ads spend, sponsored posts, and promoted content
All of these insights are also useful because they help you pinpoint areas of improvement in your own SEO strategy.