How To Do SEO Competitor Analysis
By Ben | Mar 25, 2021 (5 min read)
B2B Marketing | Business | Marketing | SEO
Once you have an established business website, very often, the goal becomes to rank well on Google. Although you might rank number one for a specific keyword today, competitor websites will optimize their content and begin to outrank your site over time.
SEO competitive analysis helps you know which other companies are climbing up the rankings and how they can outrank you.
Many businesses take their online competitors for granted, thinking that they will keep that position forever once they have a high position in the SERPs. However, this is not the case. In fact, if you don’t keep improving your website, it will slowly drift backward in the search rankings as competitors take over.
Data-driven marketing strategies like SEO keyword competition analysis can help you learn tactics that are working for your competitors and use this knowledge in your own SEO campaigns.
In this article, we’ll look at how to do an SEO competitor analysis and some of the best ways to stay ahead of your competition online.
What Is SEO Competitor Analysis?
An SEO competitor analysis involves researching the content, backlinks, and keywords a competitor has used on their website. It is an SEO comparison between two competing websites in a similar industry or business.
Competitor analysis SEO typically includes:
- SEO keyword competition analysis
- Competitor backlink analysis
- Keyword gap analysis
- Website content analysis
SEO competitive analysis is effective and efficient because you can see what your competitors are doing and apply it to your SEO efforts.
The best way to do SEO competitor analysis is to use SEO tools to make the process streamlined and help you collect data. Some of the best SEO competitor analysis tools include Ahrefs, Moz, Spyfu, and SEMRush.
How To Do SEO Competitor Analysis
Now that we understand more about SEO competitor analysis’s benefits, we’ll look at the steps. There are five critical steps to SEO competitor analysis and understanding your best opportunities for keeping ahead of your competition.
1) Identify Your Competitors
The first step of learning how to do competitor analysis SEO is to be aware of the competition.
This process involves doing SEO comparison and research on multiple keywords and taking note of the top 10 or 20 websites that appear consistently for all of them.
You can get started with a free SEO analytics tool like Ubersuggest and type in a keyword in your specific niche. Another excellent tool is Spyfu, which allows you to directly compare your site against competitors.
Remember that Spyfu and Ubersuggest are free tools, so the number of keywords and top-ranking domains for competitor SEO analysis can be limited. You can sign up for free trials to test them out with their full capability.
A paid SEO tool like Ahrefs can delve deeper into SEO comparison data and get accurate results. The Ahrefs competitor analysis tool is more advanced and has features that make any part of competitor analysis easier and faster for you.
2) Conduct Page & Backlink Analysis
Once you have your list of 10-to-20 websites in the same category as yours, the next step is to look at each of the competing websites and their top-performing pages. Focus specifically on which keywords each of the sites is ranking well for.
Keyword Gap Analysis
This process is sometimes called keyword gap analysis. You uncover keywords on a competitor’s site that they are ranking for in your niche and that your site is not. The Ahrefs competitor analysis tool has a specific feature called ‘Content Gap’ that can help to identify keywords that rank for particular domains you choose.
When you uncover relevant keywords on your competitor’s sites that also apply to your business, you can then begin creating pages dedicated to ranking for these keywords.
Doing this helps you capitalize on opportunities to lead customers to your site instead of the competition.
Another aspect of competitor website analysis is to check for a competitor’s site backlink statistics.
Competitor backlink analysis involves looking at the sites that link back to your competitors’ content and how it affects their domain ranking and domain authority.
Here are three qualities to determine the value of a competitor’s backlinks:
- Number of backlinks to their website
- Number of dofollow vs. nofollow links
- Domain authority of linked sites
- Relevancy of linked content
Once you know what your competitors are doing to acquire backlinks, it will be easier for you to create a similar strategy and implement these for your own site.
3) Focus on High ROI Keywords
A popular business website can rank for dozens of top competitive keywords. But just because a competitor is ranking for a lot of random keywords, it doesn’t mean that you have to as well.
The ideal approach is to focus your competitor SEO analysis efforts on keywords that can potentially build your profit or revenue.
Think about your highest value products or services and focus your efforts on ranking for keywords that will bring you more leads.
Create content that is especially unique and relevant to your customer base that your competitors have not thought to create.
In a solid competitor analysis SEO campaign, success mainly depends on finding a gap between the competition and the audience you’re trying to reach. Then, through your content, you fill that gap to gain more traction in the SERPs.
Very often, a low-competition keyword that is highly searched for can be a great way to outrank your competition.
4) Create a Content Plan
Now that you’ve collected data, the next step is to use this data to your advantage. Based on finding the best keywords to target, you can build your SEO content strategy.
To start making your content plan, create a keyword list or a content ideas list, save it in a simple spreadsheet, or use a tool like Ahrefs to do some keyword planning. The Ahrefs competitor analysis tool also has a built-in feature of adding selected keywords or content ideas into a specific list that you can export.
Next is to look at your current content and decide if you can improve your pages and blog posts to make them more competitive for your ideal keywords.
5) Track Your Progress
Once you have published new content or re-optimized old ones, you should track the performance.
Regular keyword audits once a month (or once a quarter) help keep your competitor analysis SEO reports up to date. They are the best way to know whether your competitive analysis strategy is working or whether you need tweaks.
Work With SEO Experts To Gain Insights
There is always something that can be improved on your website to get better SERP results and stay ahead of the competition.
Not all business owners have the time to commit to learning how to do SEO competitive analysis. The details of SEO competitor analysis can feel like an overwhelming, complicated process.
Others may lack time to learn the ins and outs of generating competitor analysis SEO reports using SEO software.
For this reason, many business owners shy away from implementing competitive analysis SEO because they don’t have the people or resources to do it. In this case, hiring a digital marketing agency might be an excellent decision for your business.