Have you noticed that before entering the ring, boxers first study the combat tactics of their opponents? This allows them to know their strengths and weaknesses in order to then establish the best strategy to defeat them. Competitive SEO analysis works the same way. Here’s what to remember.
Table of Contents
- What is competitive SEO analysis?
How to do a competitive seo analysis?
- Step 1: What are your main keywords?
- Step 2: Who are your main competitors?
- Step 3: What is the authority of your competitors?
- Step 4: How to build the site tree?
- Step 5: How to establish your content marketing based on competitive seo analysis?
- Step 6: How does netlinking look among competitors?
- Step 7: Are your competitors visible on social networks?
- Step 8: How to stand out from your competitors?
- Final tips
What is competitive SEO analysis?
As with boxing, webmasters study the strategy of their competitors to determine their strengths and weaknesses. The goal is not to copy them, but to understand how they evolve in order to set up a SEO strategy that is much more effective than theirs.
Basically, we rely on the strategy of competitors to try to establish a strategy that will allow you to develop your business, but not only. The latter should also allow you to stand out from the crowd, both in the eyes of Internet users and in the eyes of Google Bots.
The analysis should be done thoroughly and should look at every fact of SEO. This includes keywords, netlinking, site authority, social media strategy…
Before breaking down all of these points, there is one thing you should understand from the start of this expertise. When it comes to SEO competitor analysis, your competitors are not the ones selling the same services/products as you. These are the ones who have positioned themselves on the same key phrases as you.
For good reason, SEO aims to increase your visibility on the web. To do this, you will use key terms that will help Google spiders rank you in search results. The only problem is that you will never be the only one to position yourself on a keyword with high potential. Others will do the same, and just like you, they will show up in search results. These are your competitors, but among them there are those you need to watch out for. Who are they? These are the ones that occupy the first four-five lines of the first page of SERPs.
Your priority is therefore to do an SEO audit of their sites and yours in order to compare your respective strategies. Thanks to the data collected, you will be able to work on your SEO while already knowing the techniques that work in your field of activity and with the people you are targeting. All you have to do is add your personal touch to stand out from the crowd.
How to do a competitive seo analysis?
To carry out this analysis, here are the main steps to follow…
Step 1: What are your main keywords?
- main keywords: these are the very competitive terms that directly refer to your industry.
- secondary keywords: these are the terms that complement your main keywords. They must also be consistent with your theme.
- long tail keywords: these are longer expressions (at least three words), but which have a strong link with your theme.
The association of the three is important in order to be visible both on key terms and on expressions little used by the competition, but used by Internet users. Everything must be coherent and relevant.
Step 2: Who are your main competitors?
The trick is simple: enter a main keyword in the Google search bar and then search. The first page of the results will tell you which sites have also decided to position themselves on this.
You will see that among them there are not only e-commerce sites or only blogs. They can get mixed up since they use the same expressions.
Note the first sites that appear and then do a new search for your other keywords. You will see that some sites appear more often than others. Your main competitors are the ones who appear often, because obviously they use the majority of the terms you have chosen for your own site. It will just be necessary to confirm it with the step which will follow.
To get relevant results, try not to use keywords that are too generic for this search.
At the end of the quest for your competitors, consider reviewing the list of your own keywords in order to add or remove them, as the case may be. Indeed, in addition to knowing who you are dealing with, this step allows you to know the most targeted expressions by the sector, the search volume for each term and the category to which they belong. This data will help you build a better list.
Step 3: What is the authority of your competitors?
Among the competitors selected after the previous stage, there are those you should really fear and those who do not really represent a danger (but to watch out anyway). To determine who you need to keep an eye on, determine the strength of each. To do this, consult either the Trust Flow of each site from Majestic SEO, or the domain authority of each site from Moz.
Each of its tools offers an extension on Chrome so all you have to do is install them. Once the installation is done, you will see the indicators corresponding to each site appear directly in the search results.
Step 4: How to build the site tree?
Logically, you can adopt whatever structure you want for your site, but competitive seo analysis lets you know which tree works best with web users and crawler robots.
One of the things to do is therefore to study the on-page optimization of competitors. How to do? Here’s what to look out for:
- presence and location of keywords in the pages of the site: title, meta tags, Hn tags, etc.
- semantic cocoon or silos, i.e. consistency with regard to the grouping of different pages. Also discover semantic SEO
- structured data
- internal mesh
- urls structure
- multilingual site
- page load speed
- user experience (UX) on the different pages of the sites…
Each & every SEO techniques used by opponents gives you valuable insight into their effectiveness, proper use, and possibly improvements you can make to your site. To carry out this kind of seo analysis, you have many tools like SEMRush, SEOptimer, OnCrawl…
A word of advice: pay particular attention to the best-indexed pages of your competitors.
The goal: to understand how they manage to do this. Sometimes their positioning is only due to the authority of the site so it is not really keyword based. In other cases, it relies on the quality of the content which brings us to the next step.
Step 5: How to establish your content marketing based on competitive seo analysis?
Yes, the results of competitive seo analysis can also help you improve your content strategy. How? ‘Or’ What? By analyzing the best content from competitors. What must be determined in this?
- the most popular keywords
- location of key phrases
- the length of the content and the density of the keywords in it
The goal is to determine the best practices of competitors to try to implement more effective content marketing. Be careful, SEO tips are not enough to establish quality content. You must also pay attention to the information reported (veracity, relevance, usefulness, etc.).
Step 6: How does netlinking look among competitors?
Today, netlinking is more than ever essential to improve the visibility of a site on the web. First, it’s the only way to hope to be indexed by Google spiders and secondly, the links allow you to build your notoriety on the web.
Logic dictates that the more links we have (especially backlinks), the more famous we are. In SEO, this logic does not hold water, because Google no longer considers quantity as a decisive criterion. He is more interested in the quality of the links obtained or the profile of the links. One or two links from authority sites carry more weight than ten links from poor sites.
To study the link profile of your competitors, you can use tools such as Arhefs, the SEMRush Backlink report, Open Site Explorer or even Majestic SEO. These display you in a few seconds:
- all the links of your competitors
- link anchors
- page authority
Once you get these metrics, try to do some logical seo analysis.
- Are the links from authority sites?
- Are they all natural or do some of your competitors have a little black hat SEO penchant?
- How did they manage to obtain so many quality links (quality of content, variety of content, expertise, etc.)?
- Are the anchors used optimized or not?…
By asking yourself the right questions, you will be able to shape your own netlinking strategy by avoiding techniques that do not seem to work in others or by improving, precisely, the techniques that work.
Remember that the goal is not to copy, but to be inspired to then personalize according to your objectives and expectations.
What should be remembered is that when it comes to SEO, the techniques used by webmasters, including your competitors, are the same. You just need to know how to measure all the ingredients to find the recipe that will appeal to humans and robots the most. Analyzing your competition allows you to know if so and so has put a little too much salt or if another has put enough salt with a pinch of pepper so that the dish is to everyone’s taste.
Step 7: Are your competitors visible on social networks?
Being visible on social networks influences your visibility on the web. Before establishing your social media strategy on these platforms, first see how your direct competitors are doing. To do this, analyze the following points:
- the social networks they use: Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn , YouTube, Instagram , Pinterest, etc.
- their number of followers on each platform used
- their engagement rate
- publication frequency
- the types of content they share or publish on these platforms…
Here again, the goal is to determine which are the hot trends and which ones need to be reviewed. This makes it easier to establish a strategy that allows you to overtake your competition. For this step, use a tool like BuzzSumo to obtain relevant KPIs.
The latter allows, for example, to know the social networks best suited to your activities. You should know that the choice of platforms will depend on your objectives and your work in general. If you want to find new employees, for example, it makes more sense to work with LinkedIn. If you want to post hot news, Twitter is more suitable and if you want to highlight the items you are selling, Facebook or Instagram are the most effective.
Apart from finding the right platforms, social network analysis tools also help to trace them to users who share your competitors’ content. This is an important point not to be overlooked, because sharing is a real lever for making yourself known. You can then contact the most influential people who shared the content of the competitors to try to establish partnerships with them. Obviously, we are only interested in those who have a high number of followers.
Finally, another essential information is to know the type of content that is easily shared. In general, social media users mostly like to share videos. If you have a few good ones, feel free to upload them or redirect your followers to the video pages.
Step 8: How to stand out from your competitors?
Now that you have all the essential information about your direct competitors on the web, all you have to do is establish your competitive SEO strategy to exceed them. To sum up, here’s what you need to do:
- enrich your list of keywords
- build a well-oiled tree structure
- write quality content
- get quality backlinks
- develop your social media strategy
- find the right SEO recipe to optimize your entire site
Regarding backlinks, you can contact the authority sites that have linked to your competitors and offer them some of your best content so that they also link to you. Obviously, you really have to offer them content with high added value and consistent with their own theme.
Exceeding its direct competitors is not going to happen overnight unless you do Negative SEO, something that we certainly do not recommend. It takes patience and especially perseverance.
And even when you finally manage to exceed them, you must always monitor the competition so that others do not overtake you.
For information, competitive intelligence is a job to be done on a permanent basis unlike the competitive benchmark that is carried out on an ad hoc basis. The two complement each other, however, since they all aim to study competitors.