Search engine ranking has become more of a science today than ever before. It is no longer restricted to link building, on-page and off-page optimization, and website architecture. The ranking algorithm has become more complex and feeds on more verticals than it did in the past. Organic optimization has made competition even more intense.
So, if you want to do better than your rivals, competitor SEO analysis should be an integral part of your SEO strategy. When you identify your standing in the industry, you can reinvent your SEO campaign and emerge stronger than your competitors.
How do you define SEO Competitive Analysis?
To begin with, you need to define your competitors. Cutting it down to basics, you can assume a competitor to be any related website that ranks higher than you on SERPs. Based on this definition, you can proceed to analyze the competitive landscape.
Comprehend the landscape
Understanding the competitive landscape involves finding answers to three basic questions:
- What is my competitor up to?
- What is he doing that I am not?
- Is what he’s doing working for him?
Carry out this analysis even before you begin researching keywords, creating content, building links or optimizing on social media.
The groundwork involves analyzing your target competitors, identifying under-optimized segments or keywords in your niche, calculating costs and preparing budgets, setting goals, and formulating a robust implementation schedule.
Identify metrics of analysis
Spend some time analyzing keywords so that you know your biggest competitors. You might discover several of your previously unknown competitors scaling the SERPs. So, instead of focusing on preconceived companies that you think are your competitors, make keywords your basis for analysis.
Define channels of competitive analysis in SEO
The SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis forms a very important part of competitor SEO analysis. The biggest rule of competitive SEO analysis is to never assume anything. Base your SEO campaign on hard facts obtained from three main channels:
First, consider the data channels available to you to analyze the competitive landscape such as Google Adwords and Soovle, a website that queries multiple search engines ‘Suggest’ function simultaneously. Excel can be your friend in allowing you to pivot large quantities of data and mine for trends. And, advanced SEO platform tools can automate competitor analysis and discovery, deepening your insight into your competitive landscape.
Second, you have off-page and on-page analysis. This involves studying your competitor’s backlinks, anchor texts, social media strategy, tools used, content and page by page traffic figures.
Third, you need to analyze your competitor’s marketing strategies including past and present marketing programs, change in website traffic before and after implementation of marketing programs as well as the most fertile marketing grounds.
Although there is effort to invest in initially developing awareness of your competitive landscape, remember that competitive analysis is an ongoing process that should be completed on a continuous basis since the SERPs are highly dynamic.
The benefits of competitor analysis
Performing competitor SEO analysis in an ongoing and deep way can give you a competitive advantage not only in your SEO efforts, but also in developing insight into your core business. An advanced SEO technology platform such as Conductor Searchlight can be a weapon in your Marketing technology arsenal that can give you a distinct competitive advantage in your industry.
Want to learn more? Download our how-to guide for SEO competitive analysis