Competitive Analysis and Its Place in SEO

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.

competitive analysis seo

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.

competitive analysis seo

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.

Check out the video below. It takes a closer look at competitive analysis for SEO, giving you a first look at Conductor’s new research.

The video will answer several key questions:

  • How frequently do search marketers do competitive analysis and to what degree do they plug the insight they get from it back into their search strategy?
  • What does research say about the benefits search marketers get out of competitive analysis?
  • What should search marketers do to improve their competitive analysis process?

Check out the video and let us know what you think!

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.

Competitive analysis does not typically rank highly on the list of topics that are discussed in the industry.  It’s just not as ‘sexy’ as topics like ‘who got banned in the most recent algorithm update?’  But industry experts and search marketers themselves agree that competitive analysis is a critical part of search marketing success.



Want to learn more? Download our how-to guide for SEO competitive analysis

  • Thanks for the post. Are there any easy ways to check what campaigns the competitor was running? How would you determine the campaign?

    Thanks ahead of time.

    • Nathan Safran

      Ivan: With Conductor Searchlight, you can do deep analysis on the backlinks of your competition. This can be tracked over time so that you can infer the campaigns that they are running. See: for more info.

  • thanks for sharing the informative post on competitive analysis… hope to see more posts soon….

  • Competitor SEO analysis may includes your targeted competitors and local areas position your websites. SEO analysis is a great tools to estimate your website traffic. you can also identify your website errors via SEO analysis or competitors.

  • Very informative article.

  • chris

    how do I find out who is doing seo marketing for my a competitor’s company?

  • Is there any way by which i can get the IP address of every backlink(links to my site)?

  • Spook SEO

    I appreciate your work. This is really a great and supportive post to teach SEOs how they can improve their working and knowing their unknown competitors. Now I can work in the most accurate way because now I know what measure I have to take to overtake my competitors.

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