One of the most important aspects of SEO is competition analysis. In order to dominate a niche, you will first have to conduct an in-depth SEO competitor’s analysis. In this guide we will go over how to properly identify your competitors, benefits from competitor’s keywords, backlinks from competitors, and how your competitors can help you create better content or expand on already existing one.
Identify your competition
There is no way to benefit from your competitors if you don’t know who they are. Your first step is to identify them. There are several tools out there which you can use. Some are SEMrush (SEO), Sprout Social (exclusive to social media competitors), Phlanx (for Instagram), Ahrefs (SEO), Moz Bar (SEO – Domain Authority), Similarweb (SEO – Content), SpyGlass (Backlinks), and many others.
For the purpose of this guide we will use both SEMrush, Ahrefs, and my favorite for link building – SpyGlass.
First you log into SEMRUSH. After that you need to copy and paste your domain in the search box.
Once you have done that, SEMRush will take couple of seconds to pull up all your data. Then you will get a window with your domain overview and all kinds of information. You need to go on the left tab and click Organic Research. You will initially get an overview page but you need to go to the competitor’s tab like shown on the image below.
Here you can identify some of your organic competitors and how you compare to them. In this case we are the brown blurred out circle and we are doing quite well as you can see.
There is also another way which for more experienced SEO gurus is usually easier. This is the manual way of getting your competitors. Simply going over to Google and inserting your main keyword. Let’s give an example so it makes more sense. If you are a gaming pc vendor, your target keyword might be Gaming PC’s. Here is where you have to be careful. Once you search for gaming pc, make sure that the search intent of that keyword is actually selling a product in this case a gaming pc. Some results might be informative and others comparisons. If that is the case, then the keyword is probably not right for you.
Read our guide on Keyword Research and Search Intent for better understanding.
Anyways, for the sake of this guide let’s say this is a perfect world and you are actually looking at a SERP that has top 10 competitors who are vendors of gaming pc’s.
You might think that this was the hardest part but we haven’t even begun yet. Take your competitors and put them on a word, notepad, or any other safe place where you can access them whenever you want. Time to use your competitors and see what information you can pull out of them.
Spying on your competitor’s keywords
One of the benefits of doing a competitor’s analysis is the keywords which you can get from them. Not only you can see which keywords they are ranking for but you can also view the position they are at. Chances are your competitor is ranking for keywords which you might not have. Identifying some of these will definitely benefit you. You can optimize an already existing page around these new keywords or you can create a new landing page specific for them. They can also be used to create content or update an already existing one. If you have relevant content for your new acquired keywords the best thing to do is expand it and make it even better. If you are beating your competitors in every aspect, then these new keywords will be easy to rank for and certainly ahead of the competition. Of course this is in a perfect world scenario but it has been done several times and there are case studies all over the internet with people achieving just that. Your competitor can literally be a gold mine!
Competitor’s Backlinks Are Another Opportunity for You!
Another aspect of competitor’s analysis are their backlinks. Looking at your competitor’s backlinks might help you acquire some free quick links. If you need that extra boost to pass your competitor, this is definitely going to help you. You can use several tools out there to spy on the links. Some are Ahrefs, Moz, SpyGlass(SEO Power Suite). You can score some high quality backlinks by looking at the competitor’s profile. Sometimes it might be just as easy as submitting information to a website (Web 2.0s) and getting a link. On occasions you might find a guest post or a mention on relatively authoritative website where your competitor is mentioned. You should always try and outreach to these types of sites and score a link. Why not present your content as being better than something else they have on their website? This is actually a great tactic. If your competitor has a link with some decent content, create the ultimate master piece of a content and send it off. They will either replace your competitors link or simply create a brand new mention exclusive to you!
Spying On Competition’s On-Page SEO
Another way to achieve great analysis is by using your spy tool to look at the competitors on-page. This will greatly benefit you and can provide you with a benchmark as to what Google might be awarding. You can learn information such as structure of meta tags, Meta Data, Title Tags, Keywords, Content Structure, and much more. If you struggle with this and think it is too much work, turn towards a digital marketing expert. On-Page is one of the most important parts of SEO and should not be looked at lightly.
If you are analyzing content, pay attention to type of content (informational, how-to, etc.), length of content, whether it is an article or a video, depth of detail covered.
In conclusion anything that your competitor has can be looked at. You should carefully check each one of your top competitors and estimate how much time of the things we talked about will need attention. Achieving good on-page, good backlink profile, and if you have better content then them, you are almost a 100% guaranteed to rank better than them.
Useful Tools for Competitive Analysis:
Other Useful Articles:
- Tips for creating a good link building strategy in 2019
- Digital Marketing for Start Up Businesses
- On-Page SEO