There is a ton of competition to get on the first page of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), and with good reason: Clicks. Statistics show that a whopping two-thirds of all clicks go to the top five organic search results, leaving traffic scraps for the rest. How can you avoid being one of the 91 percent of pages that gets zero traffic from Google? By doing a combination of things, with SEO competitor analysis being one of the most crucial. Keep reading to see how you can ensure your SEO competitor analysis is on-point.
What Is SEO Competitor Analysis?
No matter what niche or industry you are in, you are bound to have tons of competitors fighting you for that top search engine spot. How can you beat out your competitors for that top spot? By seeing what they are doing in terms of SEO, which is what competitor analysis is. In short, you use your competitor’s SEO tactics to see what works. And when you find such info, you find ways to implement it into your own site’s SEO strategy.
As for what you may focus on when doing SEO competitor analysis, that varies, but here are some common areas where you will spend your time “spying” on what your Google foes are doing:
- What specific keywords they are ranking for.
- The SEO techniques they are using are both successfully and unsuccessfully.
- What their backlink profile looks like.
By doing SEO competitive analysis, you skip having to reinvent the wheel. Instead of making SEO mistakes on your own via trial and error, you learn the do’s and don’ts from others who have taken the plunge before you. This can save a ton of time and money while getting the traffic results you desire. And, if you feel bad about “spying” on your competitors, do not, as they are likely doing the same to you.
When is the Best Time To Conduct SEO Competitor Analysis?
In a perfect world, you would only have to do SEO competitive analysis once. Unfortunately, it is a continuous process that you will have to tackle time and time again to stay on top of your competitors.
Here are the best times to perform SEO competitive analysis:
- When you see that a competitor has overtaken you in the SERPs – Look at what they did so you can emulate it.
- When your site has not moved in the SERPs for a while – Start looking for new ways to get out of that hole.
- When you see a significant drop in ranking – Perform competitor analysis to pinpoint why.
- When you are planning content – Do an analysis to save time and effort and avoid overextending yourself.
- After you post content – To see if what you did worked or how it could be improved.
Tips For SEO Competitive Analysis
Now that you see the importance of SEO competitive analysis and when it should be performed, here are some tips on how to execute it properly.
Find Your Competitors’ Hottest Content
Look for pages that attract a ton of traffic without having several referring domains. Why? So you can spot content that is popular on its own. When you find it, you can create several pieces of content based on that topic to start generating traffic to your site.
Look For Broken Pages
If a competitor has pages that are broken or no longer exist yet have backlinks, you can use them to your advantage. Find out what content was on the broken page, then publish something like it. Then, you can get in touch with those that linked to the competitor’s page and ask them to link to your new content instead.
Look For Content With A Ton Of Backlinks
You can improve your ranking by getting traffic from links. Instead of figuring out how to achieve this goal on your own, look at your competitors’ content to see what generates the most backlinks for them.
Once you find such content, note what it is and where the links are coming from. You can then mimic that content in terms of topic, ensuring that your version is much better than your competitors’. Then, you can contact the referring domains and ask them to start linking to your content instead of your competitors’.
See Which Keywords Are Giving Them Organic Traffic
Pay attention to your competitors’ keywords that bring in a ton of organic traffic. Sort them according to use, as some may be better served on blog posts or home pages, while others may be ideal for landing pages. When doing this, be sure to disregard the branded keywords and avoid high-difficulty keywords that could take too much effort to rank for, especially if you are short on time or money.
Read: Common SEO Mistakes
Identify Your Competitors’ PPC Keywords
An easy way to pinpoint profitable keywords is to see which ones your competitors are paying for. If they are spending cash on getting traffic from a particular keyword, chances are, it is generating a return.
While standard keyword research is essential in planning your SEO strategy, finding your competitors’ PPC keywords offers an added benefit: It helps you find low-volume, high-converting keywords.
When making this move, know that some competitors may be wrong in their PPC selections. Before you try to rank for their PPC keywords, test them out.
Look At Their Featured Snippets
One of the best avenues to boost your ranking or authority in a niche is via featured snippets, aka position zero. This area at the very top of Google’s search results is prime real estate, and if your competitors have a presence there, so can you.
As long as you can get into the top five, you can secure a featured snippet. Contrary to popular belief, such snippets are not reserved for the top-ranked site.
Build Relationships With Your Competitors’ Superfans
A superfan is someone who linked to a site several times. When you spot your competitors’ superfans, make it a point to build relationships with them so they can start linking and sharing your content.
Make Search Intent Your Priority
While your competitors may focus on search volume, know that search intent is more important. You can gain the upper hand on your competitors via search intent in several ways. For starters, take their existing content and improve it by making it more targeted to your audience or beefing it up with added details.
Instead of bloating content with high-volume keywords, make sure that it specifically answers search intent to provide relevancy and a positive user experience. And to give your visitors even more bang for their buck versus your competitors, switch up your content formats by adding more step-by-step guides, infographics, and videos.
Look For Content Gaps
Keywords that your competitors rank for but you do not are called content gaps. You want to narrow these gaps as much as possible. To get the most bang for your buck, focus on keywords they rank for within the first 10 search engine results.
Opt For Long-Tail Keywords
You may run across competitors with massive budgets or have established a rock-solid presence in your niche. If so, do not focus so much on competitive keywords, as you are bound to lose that battle. Instead, focus on long-tail keywords that can be easier to rank for while also matching users’ search intent.
Pay Attention To Global Traffic
If you focus solely on your native country, you could be missing out on a ton of traffic. When doing SEO competitor analysis, look at their top five countries. The ones that get the most searches should be your focus.
Once you identify those countries, you can put more effort into targeting ones that share the same language or translate parts of your site for others if you find that it could expand your reach.