What your competitors are doing for SEO
If you want to see what your competitors are doing for SEO, you need to conduct SEO competitive analysis. It is basically studying what they are doing. Sounds run, right?
In this article, we will show you how to conduct the analysis and tools you can use. We break it down step-by-step for you!
But first, why does it matter? Let’s look at its importance.
Why SEO competitor analysis is important
To stay abreast of your competitors, you need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. And this is what SEO competitor analysis enables you to do. With it, you can check on their social media presence, top pages, and others. So what are your competitors doing for SEO? Here are some of the reasons you should consider competitor analysis.
To stay abreast of your competitors, you need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
1. Enables you to identify your competitors
SEO competitor analysis allows you to know which business you should be competing with. This allows you to spend less on unnecessary ads and SEO campaigns.
2. Allows you to identify the right keywords
With it, you can identify keywords that you are missing that are working for your competitors. You can then incorporate them into your content, titles, and metadata. While this may call for site restructuring, it is worth the pain.
3. Enables you to stay abreast of your competitors
Armed with what your competitors are doing, you can easily come up with a better SEO strategy. As such, you can combine what works for them and you. And in no time, you’ll be ranking higher than them.
4. You can identify your weaknesses
Comparing your SEO strategy to those of your competitors allows you to identify your weaknesses. This then enables you to come up with effective strategies to address the weaknesses.
How to do an effective SEO competitive analysis
Now that you know the importance of checking your competitors’ SEO, here are tips on how to go about it.
1. Evaluate their keywords
First off, you need to identify the keywords your competitors are ranking for. You should however look at the difficulty of each keyword. Chances are, if they have a higher difficulty, it will be hard to outrank them. As such, you should consider analyzing competitors with a lower score.
Chances are, if they have a higher difficulty, it will be hard to outrank them. As such, you should consider analyzing competitors with a lower score.
Evaluating your competitors’ keywords allows you to identify what brings them success. Armed with this, you can easily develop a strategy to use the keywords in your content. This can be creating new or repurposing old content. While at it, seek to look for new and relevant keywords.
2. Identify keyword gaps
You should also consider keywords your competitors are ranking for, which you are not. Here, you can use the term frequency-inverse document frequency (TF-IDF) analysis to identify low-competition keywords missing in your content. All you have to do is multiply term frequency with inverse document frequency.
Term frequency is how frequently a term (keyword) appears on a page while inverse document frequency is the expected appearance of the keyword on the page. By conducting this analysis, you might discover keywords that you are not targeting.
You can then incorporate them into your content. While it is a complicated strategy, you can identify keyword gaps that other competitors are ignoring. As such, it will bolster your semantic search relevance.
3. Analyze their on-page SEO
Analyzing your competitors’ on-page SEO will provide you with a wealth of data that you can use to outrank them. For example, you’ll know what type of content they publish, the frequency of publishing, keywords, and more. Consider looking at each page, identifying what makes them outrank yours.
Some of the aspects you should analyze include:
- Titles: Here, look at the length, title tags, and how they place the keywords.
- Meta description tags: Look at how they are utilizing their tags. Are they using keywords? Is it a snippet from the main content or is it unique?
- Headings: As you know, Google pays attention to headings (<h> tags) since they tell Google what your content is about. See how they structure their headings and the impact it is having on their ranking.
- URL structure: Another aspect to consider is the URL structure. Every page URL should relate to the main content. This way, Google will understand content hierarchy improving ranking.
- Content: Look at the quality of your competitors’ content. Are they using keywords within it? How long is it? How readable is it? Are they using images and videos?
4. Analyze their backlink strategy
If you want to beat your competitors at their game, check where their backlinks are coming from. Then, use their backlink strategy to bolster yours. As you’d expect, a website with backlinks from reputable websites will rank higher. And for you to outrank them, you’ll need to create a similar backlink profile.
However, since the Penguin update, not all backlinks are meaningful. In essence, we can classify them into low-quality and high-quality links. Low-quality links may not be of any significant help. In fact, most competitors with many backlinks have low-quality links.
However, since the Penguin update, not all backlinks are meaningful. In essence, we can classify them into low-quality and high-quality links.
As such, you’ll want to focus on quality rather than quantity. And this is where high-quality links come into play. These are backlinks from authoritative sites such as top news sites, experts, and others. So, check those backlinks coming from such sites that are absent on yours. While most people concentrate on homepage backlinks, do not overlook links to internal pages.
5. Examine the structure and design of the website
Recent Google algorithm updates have been geared towards the UX design of websites. It is for this reason you need to consider updating and making the user interface more intuitive. And one way to go about it is to examine the design of your competitors’ websites. Google wants you to have a fast-loading website with improved mobile friendliness.
If you have a slower website than your competitors, then outranking them will be an uphill task. Besides, if it has an amateurish design, complex navigation, and poor menu structure, prospective customers will consider your competitors.
Analyze your competitors’ click depth, orphan pages, and PageRank distribution. On your part, you can ensure your site is fulfilling a user’s search content, has a fast loading speed, and its crawlability is up to par.
6. Examine the social media presence of your competitors
Having a robust social media presence not only improves reach but also bolsters your SEO strategy. Some of the benefits of having a strong social media presence include:
- Gaining backlinks
- Improving content performance through sharing
- Ranking high on social media search terms
- Increase in traffic to your website
- Builds trust and credibility
As you can see, working on your social media presence has more benefits than working on the website alone. So what can you analyze? Well, you can monitor:
- The platform they use
- How often do they publish their content
- How they communicate and which channels they use to respond to their customers
- The type of content they publish on each platform
You can then work around this data to see how well it can fit into your SEO strategy.
7. Discover their popular pages
Similar to keywords, it is important to identify which pages are popular on your competitors’ websites. You should identify which pages bring the most traffic and those with the most keywords. However, it might surprise you to know that some of the pages with the highest traffic pose no threat to your site.
However, it might surprise you to know that some of the pages with the highest traffic pose no threat to your site.
As such, it is not enough to identify these pages. Rather, you should do in-depth research so you can see the keywords they are ranking for.
Top SEO competitive analysis tools
When it comes to seeing what your competitors are doing for SEO, you can use either of the following tools:
SpyFu has been around for decades and is one of the most popular SEO competitive analysis tools. It allows you to identify most of your aggressive competitors seamlessly as it comes in an intuitive design. Unlike most tools on the list, it is especially intended for “spying” on your competitors. And as you’d expect, it gives close to accurate data compared to others.
With it, you can get data such as the number of organic keywords, rank changes, monthly SEO clicks, and more. Other important features include domain overview, keyword analysis, keyword finder, and backlink analysis. In short, it is a one-stop shop for all SEO competitor analysis needs.
Another go-to tool is SEMrush. Like SpyFu, it has been in use for many years. Since its inception in 2008, it has garnered more than 7 million users. And as you’d expect, it is one of the most popular SEO competitive analysis tools.
With it, you can perform a domain analysis of your competitors. This allows you to see what contributes to the quality of their websites.
Other important metrics you can get include:
- Top performing keywords
- The authority score of their website
- Number of backlinks
- Search intent of their visitors
- Number of keywords they are ranking for
- Other competing websites
Similar to SEMrush, Ahrefs is a popular tool you can use to spy on your competitors. It is in fact a preferred tool for backlink analysis among most SEO experts. Ahrefs gives you a detailed report on all of the top competitors for the keywords you are ranking for. Unlike other popular analysis tools, it does not display results from Apple, Google, and Quora.
One unique feature that Ahrefs has is the Content Gap. This report shows you keywords your competitors are ranking for, but you are not. This allows you to identify keywords you can add to your content for a higher ranking.
[Note: We sure do mention Ahrefs a lot… Nope, we aren’t an affiliate (good idea though), just like the product!]
While not popular among most SEO experts, SimilarWeb shows you where most traffic to a website is coming from. They have categories such as mail, display, search, social, referral, and direct. As such, you can identify which keywords to rank for that are going to attract more traffic.
Besides, you also get to see your competitors’ competitors. This can be a boon since you can use keywords from their competitors to improve your ranking
Finally, we have iSipionage, a competitor research dedicated tool. It has a simple interface allowing you to seamlessly input the domain of your competitor. It will then present you with a report with crucial info. The tool allows you to see competitors based on organic search and PPC keywords. This enables for more focused SEO strategy.
Some of the metrics you get include average position, number of keywords, overlapping keywords, monthly budget, and more. It aggregates results from top search engines such as Google and yahoo.
As you can see, there are different ways to see what your competitors are doing for SEO. From examining their keyword strategy to analyzing their sites’ structure and UX design, you can stay abreast of the competition if you use either of the above tips.
For better results, you can use tools such as iSipionage and SpyFu. They provide competitor insights that you can use for improved ranking.
If you want us to handle it, we are cool with that too! Just head on over to our upfront pricing page and find the package that best fits you!