Outpacing your competitors in the modern marketing landscape can be a formidable challenge. When your adversaries are putting in the same effort, where can you find an edge? The solution lies in conducting SEO competitor analysis. By scrutinizing your competitors' strategies for website and content optimization, you can unearth invaluable insights that will propel you ahead of them.
Identify Your Main Competitors
60% of marketers say that SEO is their highest quality source of leads. But to gain a competitive advantage, you must first identify your main competitors. Monitor rankings and traffic for sites targeting your keyword phrases to determine who your top 3-5 competitors are.
Review Their On-Page Optimization
See what keywords your competitors are optimizing for and how. Compare page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, content, and internal linking. Look for gaps you can fill or ways to outperform them. You may find keyword opportunities they are missing.
Track Their Ranking
Follow your competitors’ rankings and traffic over time using rank-tracking tools. Notice trends or drops in their rankings to determine possible issues with their sites. Their losses could be your gains if you avoid the same mistakes or fill the needs they are missing.
Monitor Their Social Shares and Mentions
See how much social activity your competitors’ content receives to gauge their influence and authority. Track shares, likes, tweets, and other mentions of their brand and content. Look for ways to improve your social promotion and community engagement.
Analyze Their On-Page SEO
To gain an edge over your competitors, you need to analyze their on-page SEO. This means evaluating elements on their website that impact search engine ranking and traffic.
Examine which keywords your competitors are targeting to optimize their pages. Use a tool like SEMrush to see their top keywords and which pages rank for them. Then determine how you can improve your keyword targeting and page optimization to outrank them.
Page titles and meta descriptions
Page titles and meta descriptions are the snippets search engines display in results. Analyze your competitors’ titles and descriptions to identify how compelling and keyword-rich they are. Make sure yours are equally compelling and include important keywords to increase click-through rates.
Internal links pass authority from one page to another. Review how your competitors link between pages on their site. Look for opportunities to improve your internal linking structure to better distribute authority and rank more pages for target keywords.
Page load speed
A fast page load speed is essential for search ranking and user experience. Use a tool like Pingdom or GTmetrix to check your competitors’ page speeds. Anything over 3 seconds is too slow. Make sure your pages load as fast or faster to gain an SEO advantage.
High-quality, relevant content ranks well in search engines. 83% of marketers believe it’s more effective to create higher quality content less often. Analyze your competitors’ material to determine what’s working and how you can improve. Look at elements like word count, topic focus, multimedia use, and freshness. Produce content that equals or surpasses your competitors to boost your traffic and authority.
Learn From Their Backlink Profile
The following are the different ways you can evaluate a competitor’s backlink profile:
Examine Their Most Valuable Backlinks
Study the sites that are linking back to your competitors. Pay attention to authoritative domains with a high domain authority and page authority. These are likely their most valuable backlinks. See if there are opportunities for you to earn backlinks from the same sites. You may be able to replicate their link building tactics to acquire similar high-quality backlinks.
Identify Their Anchor Text Links
Analyze the anchor text of their incoming links. The anchor text, or the clickable text that links back to their site, can provide insights into their target keywords and content strategy. Look for patterns in the anchor text to determine which keywords they are trying to rank for. You may uncover new keyword opportunities or get ideas for optimizing your existing content.
Check for Unnatural Link Warning Signs
Also look for signs of unnatural links that violate Google's guidelines, such as link farms, paid links, and spammy blog comments. Unnatural links can harm a site's search rankings if detected by Google. If your competitors have unnatural links pointing to their site, it may present an opportunity for you to outrank them by building a clean, high-quality backlink profile. Focus on earning links that provide real value to users.
As you have seen, performing a thorough SEO competitor analysis is a vital part of any successful digital marketing strategy. By evaluating who your main competitors are, assessing their content and technical strategies, and determining key areas where they are outperforming you, you gain invaluable insights. You can then refine your own SEO approach to target opportunities, strengthen your visibility, and ultimately win more of your target audience.
While competitor analysis requires time and resources to do properly, the rewards of optimized content, improved rankings, increased traffic, and boosted conversions make it well worth the investment.