11 Best Practices to Conduct a Comprehensive SEO Competitive Analysis
The battle to get online visibility is fought by new and old businesses alike. While many burn cash to get in front of the right audience, the winners are those who can beat their competition in organic search. That is why several companies conduct a competitive analysis for SEO.
When it comes to your website’s search engine optimization, it’s important to know where you stand in comparison to your competition. By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can determine what tactics your competitors are using to rank higher than you, and then adjust your own approach accordingly. Hence, it goes without saying that competitive analysis is a vital part of any SEO strategy. By performing a comprehensive competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strategies and learn from their successes and failures.
In this blog post, we will outline 11 best practices for performing successful competitive analysis. Follow these tips, and you will be able to get the most out of your competitive analysis efforts.
Before we begin, let’s understand what is a Comprehensive SEO Competitive Analysis?
A comprehensive SEO competitive analysis is an in-depth look at your competition’s search engine optimization efforts in comparison to your own. This analysis can be performed for both organic and paid search results. By looking at the tactics your competitors are using to rank higher than you, you can adjust your own approach accordingly.
Do you know how your website compares to your competitors? Competitive analysis can help you understand where your site stands and how you can improve. By examining the search engine optimization (SEO) strategies of your top competitors, you can determine what methods are working for them and which ones aren’t. This information can help you refine your own SEO efforts and give you an edge over the competition.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to conduct a comprehensive SEO competitive analysis. Perhaps you’re not happy with your current position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Or maybe you want to get an idea of what kind of effort it will take to achieve a certain ranking. Regardless of your reasons, a competitive analysis can give you valuable insights into your competition’s SEO efforts.
In short, when you look at what your competition is doing, you:
- Understand what works and what doesn’t work in your industry.
- Discover your competitors’ weaknesses and use them to your advantage.
- Identify your competitors’ strengths and emulate them.
- Learn to prioritize SEO tasks in the future.
- Uncover the probability of outperforming competitors in the SERPs.
Now that you know the various advantages of conducting a competitive analysis for SEO, it is time to one-up your competitors in organic search with these eleven tips. Use these best practices to identify your competitors, understand the reason why they are outranking you and explore how you can overcome these challenges.
But before that, start by looking at your own website’s analytics. This will give you an idea of where your traffic is coming from and what keywords they’re using to find you.
1. Know Your Competitors
You probably know the key players in your industry, but are they really your SEO rivals? You cannot be sure about the answer unless you have done a competitive analysis. Chances are, there might be multiple SEO competitors that are not even in your niche. Your main competitors are those who rank on the first page of the keywords you’re targeting, irrespective of their business and industry. This means that in order to compete with them, your website needs to be ranking on the first page for those keywords as well. If you are not ranking on the first page for your chosen keywords, there are many steps you can take to improve your website’s SEO.
To identify your top competitors, enter your focused keywords in Google or use competitor analysis tools like SpyFu to do the heavy lifting. You’ll then be able to see who comes up first in the search results. From there, you can begin to analyze your competition and determine which areas you need to focus on in order to improve your own rankings.
2. Keyword difficulty
To get an edge on your competitors, before you build on your on-page and off-page SEO strategy, it’s important to understand the strengths of their keywords. Reviewing this data can help you make better decisions about your own keyword targeting strategy. Understanding your competitor’s strengths can give you a significant advantage in the marketplace. With competitor analysis tools like Searchmetrics, you can know your domain strength and other specific attributes such as domain authority, indexing in search engines, backlink data, traffic volumes, and social signals.
You can get all this information about your SEO competitors, identify any weaknesses and capitalize on them. Remember, the stronger the SEO, the higher the difficulty of the competitor keywords. Therefore, your focus should be on websites with lower scores ranking well for specific keywords.
3. On-Page Optimization
Using competitive analysis tools like SEMrush to study the on-site SEO of your competitors can open a goldmine of information such as the frequency of publishing content, the type of content being published, word length, the depth of the content published, and the keywords your competitors are targeting. Focus on Metadata and headline strategies and try to discover your competitors’ internal link-building strategies. Keep track of your on-site SEO performance by using this information as a benchmark. This will help you identify areas that need improvement and ensure that your SEO efforts are paying off.
4. Off-page SEO and backlinks
Looking at where your competitors are earning their backlinks is important to build upon your own off-page SEO strategy. Tools such as Ahrefs can help you fetch high-quality backlink data from your competitors. When you have the list of backlinks used by your competitors, you can find new link-building opportunities to increase both your page and domain authority.
5. Keep An Eye On Social Media
Use a good social media listening tool like Meltwater or Talkwalker to analyze the social media strategy of your competitors. IT can help you understand how your competitors are using social media platforms, what kind of content they are publishing, how often they are publishing, how are they engaging with their followers, etc.
All this can indirectly boost your SEO since social media tools inevitably increase website traffic, track brand mentions and monitor user sentiment.
6. Analyze Site UX
Google has put a laser focus on improving user experience and most of its major algorithm updates have revolved around better mobile experiences, improved page results, and faster page downloads. To stay ahead of the pack, optimize your sitemap and page download speed as well as ensure your website content is created keeping in mind the user’s intentions. Look at your competitor’s landing pages to understand their click depth and check their PageRank distribution. In case you don’t have someone on the team to manage it, take help from a web agency.
7. Track Ad Spend
If you are still being outranked by your competitors despite following all these tips, then chances are your competitors are spending a lot more on ads and using paid traffic campaigns to drive conversions. While it may not be wise to match your competitors blindly, it is recommended that you oversee their Google Ads campaigns, promoted content, paid posts, and banner ads to understand what type of content is being promoted through advertising.
8. Most linked Content
You should try to identify the most linked content of your competitor. This will help you create your own such page that can potentially create more referrals and buzz on the internet. Use the ‘skyscraper’ technique to create such content. The method involves creating even better content around a similar topic, making it visible to everyone who links to your competitor’s page, and requesting people to link to your web page since it has superior content.
9. Discover new keyword opportunities
If you are wondering how to enrich your existing content and discover new keyword opportunities, then there is a simple method called Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF) analysis. This process is a bit complicated but, once understood, should become a key component of conducting competitive analysis and overall content strategy. TF-IDF is a formula to measure the frequency of a keyword on a page into the number of times the keyword is expected to appear.
With TF-IDF, you may find that the top-ranking pages for a keyword have similar terms and phrases, which you might have missed targeting. Once you’ve identified such phrases, you should enrich your existing content with them or create new pages to increase relevance in semantic search.
10. Analyze your findings and develop a plan of action
Now that you have your SEO competitive analysis findings, it’s time to devise a plan of action. What does your competition do well? What could you do better? How can you capitalize on your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses?
By creating a plan of action based on your SEO competitive analysis findings, you can give your business the best chance to succeed online.
11. Implement your plan and track your progress
It’s time to implement your SEO plan and track your progress. This is how you’ll ensure that your efforts are paying off and that you’re on the right track. By monitoring your progress, you can make necessary adjustments to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your SEO plan.
So get started today and see how well your SEO plan works for you!
Competitive Analysis is a critical piece of your SEO strategy
A comprehensive SEO competitive analysis can give you valuable insights into your competition’s SEO efforts. By looking at the tactics they’re using to rank higher than you, you can adjust your own approach accordingly. Remember to focus on the right data and use the right tools for the best results.
There you have it, our eleven best practices to conduct a comprehensive competitive SEO analysis. Use them to keep improving your SEO performance, keep a tab on your competitors and continuously monitor your rankings.
There’s no need to rush. Sooner or later, your hard work will pay off and you’ll see an improvement. Just keep persistently plugging away and eventually your efforts will be rewarded.