Here’s How To Perform a Strong Competitive SEO Analysis
Whether or not you have an aggressive approach to business, you need to compete to thrive and survive. In search engine optimization (SEO), the race to the top is more challenging than ever. To gain an edge, you want to follow how an SEO agency performs a strong SEO competitive analysis.
In this article, we will discuss the following:
- Knowing your competitors
- Identifying keyword gaps
- Learning your strengths and weaknesses
- Analyzing on a page-by-page basis
- Reviewing backlinks
- Analyzing content categories
- Continuing to review and improve
This guide will help you pull off an effective competitive analysis for SEO. Let’s go!
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5 Steps To Perform Strong SEO Competitive Analysis
Performing a strong SEO competitive analysis boils down to doing it right. The analysis can be time-consuming, so make sure every action taken contributes to success. You can pull off a strong SEO competitive analysis by following the steps below.
1. Know Your Competitors
You can only analyze your competitors if you know who they are. Track them down and list them. Various SEO tools like SpyFu and Sandboxweb.io can help you determine who your primary competitors are, but you can also do a quick Google search. Use your own knowledge and trust your instincts when deciding.
The general rule is to look out for companies that fall into the following categories:
- Established brands are businesses with a well-known and recognizable name, presence, and reputation.
- New leaders are brands that have recently gained prominence and are rapidly growing in popularity and influence.
- Game changers are younger, rapidly growing brands that are in the process of establishing themselves in your industry.
- Niche brands are smaller brands with a nominal yet dedicated audience.
Remember that not every company presented to you by SEO tools or search results should be considered a competitor. A brand in a similar industry or that shares keywords with you is not a competitor if they do not offer the same products and services that you do.
For your competitor list, there’s no need to include small brands that are not considered niche or game changers. They are not worth competing against. Instead, invest your time and effort into competitors with the highest potential impact on your traffic.
Once you have a list of your competitors, learn more about them by analyzing their top-performing pages. Determine which pages
- rank for the most keywords,
- have the most traffic, and
- have the highest percentage of their overall traffic.
2. Identify and Bridge Keyword Gaps
Keywords are at the heart of any SEO strategy. Look at the list of keywords that you already rank for and share with your competitors. Then, compare how well your competitors are ranking for them. Take note of the ones that your competitor is ranking higher.
To upgrade your competitive edge with keywords, pay special attention to those where your competitor is only leading by a position or two. These keywords present an opportunity to overtake. You would not only be bridging the gap, but would also be gaining an edge.
3. Learn Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Regardless of how thorough, your SEO strategy is not perfect. However, it can consistently improve. To determine how to outrank your competitors, first take a look inward. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Relative to your competitors, in which areas of SEO are you lagging behind? In what areas is your brand taking the lead? Ask your employees, use customer surveys and feedback, or employ SEO tools to determine how you stack up with the competition in terms of authority, content, keyword rankings, technical SEO, internal links, and mobile adaptability.
4. Go Through Each Page
A strong SEO competitive analysis is in-depth. Analyze each of your competitors’ pages to know exactly why they are ranking higher than you. Compare each page to yours and analyze several factors, such as the following:
- Page Titles
- Meta Titles, Tags, and Descriptions
- H1s and Heading Structures
- Internal Linking and URL Hierarchies
- Content Quality
- Page Keywords
These listed factors affect how search engines rank pages, which provides an insight into what actions you must take to improve the structure of your web pages.
5. Revisit Your Backlinks
Backlinks are the key to maximizing off-page SEO. Examining them is crucial to a strong SEO competitive analysis. It is harder to compete with companies that have a stronger backlink profile, especially with high-quality links from reputable websites. You need to improve your own backlink profile before going toe-to-toe with them.
However, it is important to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality backlinks. In the 2012 Penguin update, Google changed how it handles low-quality links. If a competitor has a lot of such links, they may not be benefiting from them.
Copying a competitor's strategy of prioritizing quantity over quality in links can harm your SEO. You cannot see a competitor's disavowal file, so be cautious of mimicking their spammy links. Always prioritize quality; ensure that your backlinks are coming from trustworthy sites that can boost your rankings.
6. Analyze Content Categories
Again, imitating everything your competitors do is a bad idea, but you can learn from their wins and losses. If unsure of what type of content performs better for your website, look to your competitors. See what content categories are working well for them. Direct all possible efforts to those content types to save time and money, allowing you to focus on content creation.
Take note of content categories such as blog articles, news stories, help/support, how-to articles, videos, images, podcasts, etc. If a competitor worked on a particular content type and you noticed that it was underperforming, that content type might not be ideal for your market.
7. Keep Reviewing
The field of SEO is ever-changing. Algorithms receive updates, and what was considered best practices may now no longer be true. Just recently, Google updated the famed E.A.T. standard. The company added another E, representing “experience,” requiring content to demonstrate it was produced with some degree of experience.
Consequently, SEO competitive analysis is not a one-and-done task. You’ll need to keep reviewing and improving your strategy to remain competitive. It is strongly advisable to have an SEO competitive analysis process and structure prepared, so that you can perform a fine-tuned analysis more swiftly.
In a nutshell, an SEO competitive analysis shows the strengths and weaknesses of your SEO strategy relative to your competitors. Similar to a typical competitive analysis, it discovers any gaps between you and the competition. If you need professional help in building a strong analysis process, contact Digital Authority Partners.
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