SEO competitive analysis entails investigating the links, keywords, content, and other aspects of your SEO competitors to incorporate their most effective strategies into your own.
Instead of making unforeseen guesses about the best keywords to target, writing content, or building links, you can look at what has already been successful for others and build on that foundation.
Let’s consider a real-world example; Imagine you operate an accessory store – one of the top ten stores in town. Your customers are pleased with your service, but you know they go to other stores to get some stuff.
What’s the way out?
You need to go on a road trip to gather competitive intelligence.
You visit the other stores to understand the items that attract your customers. By selling these items yourself — or even better ones — you help your customers make fewer trips, increasing your sales.
Similarly, you can optimize this practice to analyze your search engine competitors’ strengths. We call this SEO competitive analysis.
Consistently ranking high above your competitors on search engine result pages is possible.
Let’s find out how to do it!
Why is SEO Competitive Analysis Important?
With SEO competitor analysis, you can examine your business more closely and identify gaps. In addition, you can track your competitors’ positions, contrast them with your own, and use the resulting data to help your brand grow.
Most importantly, you can study your market as a whole, your competitors, and the state of the search market for critical terms.
You must keep track of your SEO performance even if you are already at the top of the search results for your most crucial keywords to prevent losing your position to a rival.
Types of SEO Competitive Analysis
Now that you understand the meaning of SEO competitive analysis, let’s consider the various types to strengthen your SEO results:
#Keyword gap analysis
#Content gap analysis
#Backlink gap analysis
#Website architecture analysis
#Google SERP analysis
Let’s delve into each analysis.
Are you ready?
1. Keyword Gap Analysis
This analysis entails researching the keywords that your competitors are ranking for. The major takeaway is to keep an eye out for keywords for which your rivals are ranking, but you aren’t.
Please list these keywords and centre your SEO approach on them. You might employ a tool like SEMRush, Ahref, Ubersuggest, and more for this task.
After performing your keyword gap analysis, there are a few things you need to consider going forward:
Why are your pages not ranking for these keywords?
Are you targeting these keywords in your SEO strategy?
What are your Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) compared to your competitors?
Do they have a backlink strategy targeting these keywords?
What type of content are they writing for these keywords? (I’m sure you need assistance in completing this task. Relax your nerves. We will dive into the details later in this post.)
Let’s move further!
2. Content Gap Analysis
One technique to generate content ideas is using keywords. Another is to study the best-performing content of your competitors.
In this instance, you should pay attention to your competitors” content that generated the most links. Concentrating on topics other people enjoy linking to makes sense because links are essential for ranking and are among the most crucial ranking variables.
There are a few things to consider in your content gap analysis:
You can use Screaming Frog to determine the number of words on your competitors’ pages. Long-form content typically performs the best in SEO, where content is king.
Your aim should be to produce content with a word count that is on par with or higher than your competitors.
It won’t help to copy and paste text from your competitors’ websites. Google will punish you for making such a terrible attempt.
When choosing your content subjects, you can borrow an idea from your competitors, but you still need to create high-quality original content.
Other types of content
Check to see whether your competitors are producing content with infographics, pictures, or videos. Google appreciates when website owners go above and above to offer a positive user experience.
It’s time to improve your game if your rivals use these various content types to get high rankings.
Some of your competitors might be found in featured snippets. Analyze their articles carefully to see if they employ question-based queries (answering questions about the content). Using this question-and-answer format, you can outrank your rivals and obtain highlighted snippet placement. Additionally, it benefits your voice search SEO.
If you need help creating high-quality SEO content, you can contact me to discuss your project in detail. I help brands build their online visibility and authority by developing and optimizing top-notch content.
Search Engine Radar always serves up something distinct. I mix a potent combination of content marketing strategies and blend in technology-focused, customized solutions to accelerate businesses’ growth.
3. Backlink Gap Analysis
This technique helps you examine how powerful a competitor’s backlink profile is. An integral approach for competitive analysis is backlink analysis, commonly referred to as link gap analysis.
Ranking above your competitors may be challenging if they have a high-quality backlink profile.
You can use tools like SemRush, Ahref, and Ubersuggest to find common backlinks of your competitors.
Do your competitors’ websites receive backlinks from .gov or .edu domains?
Such backlinks are regarded as high quality and aid in boosting your domain authority (DA). Seek opportunities to obtain backlinks from specific domains with high domain authority. Your website’s rankings will benefit from this as well.
You may improve your backlink profile and create your online authority using this rival backlink analysis.
We will dive into the full details later in this post.
4. Website Architecture Analysis
Your site’s user experience and search engine rankings heavily depend on your website’s architecture. The visual style and the CTAs all help to increase conversions.
Your competitors’ website will perform better across the board in all facets of the digital marketing funnel if it has a better user interface and design. You might wish to commit financially to get the most out of your design language.
Internal Linking Structure
Check the internal linking tactics of your competition. Increase the authority of your top sites and ensure that the Google bot scans all your pages using an effective internal link structure. Additionally, this will assist in improving the SERP ranking of your website.
Keep a close eye on how your rivals optimize internal links and anchor texts. You will find these internal links in the page’s body or footer. These internal links are typically included in the “Popular Searches” or “People Also Search” sections of e-commerce websites. Investigate the terms that your rivals are using as links.
Breadcrumb structure and URL
You must pay special attention to your competitors’ URLs and breadcrumb layouts. This will assist you in the primary layout design phase for your website.
Your website’s pages should have accessible URLs containing your primary keyword. And the breadcrumbs ought to be designed to give the user the best navigational experience possible.
5. SERP Analysis
It is essential to know your rankings on search engine result pages. Type your target keywords in the search box and check their positions on SERPs.
However, this process can be stressful. I recommend that you use SERP tracking tools like Semrush, Ahref, Keyword.com, and more to track the position of your pages on result pages.
6. Technical SEO Analysis
Technical analysis entails looking into the supporting frameworks and backend technologies that your rivals are using. It also entails considering their site performance indicators and page speed.
Let’s split this analysis into bits:
Unquestionably, an essential technical SEO indicator is page speed. According to Google, page speed is a ranking factor. Keep a close eye on how quickly your rivals’ websites load.
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to discover these metrics.
Your website needs to be mobile-friendly more and more as the number of people using mobile devices rises daily. It should have a responsive design that all smartphones can readily view.
You can use the Mobile-Friendly test tool to examine your website for this test.
How Often Should You Perform Competitive Analysis?
The effort to analyse your competitors on Google may be overwhelming – it takes time to explore the situation and develop a sound plan.
I advise performing an SEO competitor analysis every three months to save time and effort. You can follow a schedule that works best for you.
Interestingly, a survey found that SEO professionals and agencies conducted a competitor analysis anytime from once a quarter or once a year.
Let’s delve further!
Who Are Your Competitors?
Your company needs to consider the likelihood that your largest competitors could be small companies. In this instance, the reverse may also be true. The key takeaway is always to consider any company impacting your industry when conducting competitor research for SEO.
In this case, keyword research is one of the crucial techniques that will assist you in identifying your actual competition.
Large corporations frequently invest money in pricy keywords and are viewed as real competitors. Smaller businesses might be cleverly dominating the niches with long-tail keywords.
It’s also true that you must choose which websites you won’t compete with. It would not be a brilliant idea to commit time and money to outrank them if your website is now ranking third on the SERPs for your chosen keyword or keywords and the only two pages above you are websites like Pinterest and Wikipedia.
Instead, focus on the keywords in which your tenacious competitors outperform you and may cost you visitors to your website.
Step-by-step Tutorial on How to Outrank Your Competitors
1. Find Your Exact Competitors
List the people you regard to be your competition first. Concentrate on websites that appear frequently or highly for your primary goal and any important supplemental keywords.
You might not know your competitors if you’re developing a new website. You might use the Ubersuggest or Semrush Market Explorer tool to create your list.
Let’s examine how the market explorer tool works.
On the tool’s home page, click “Find Competitors,” then type your domain name.
The Growth Quadrant is used by the application to automatically visualize a list of major firms in your market niche:
The Growth Quadrant chart categorizes you and your competitors into four levels:
Niche Players: New or small companies with smaller audience sizes and a low growth rate
Game Changers: Emerging companies with a comparatively smaller audience size but who are multiplying.
Leaders: Companies with both a large audience and a rapid growth rate.
Established Players: Companies with large, established audiences
Analyze each entry to see their direct traffic, search traffic, and more. You can also view this information in the All Domains tab.
If you already know your competitors, you can use the Market Explorer tool to track them by creating a list. Select “Create List” on the tool’s landing page, enter your domain and that of your competitors, and then name your list:
When conducting an SEO competition study, it’s crucial to remember that your main rival may not necessarily be the one snagging all the top positions.
Don’t hesitate to include long-tail or branded keywords in your review because you’re also up against other websites for such terms. Your keyword analysis could be distorted or useless if you only concentrate on basic terms.
Who Should You Not Compete With
There won’t be any real competitors above you in the SERPs. In the same way, trying to outrank other websites might not be as necessary or even practical.
Consider elements like current rating, resources, and time invested in determining which websites aren’t your competitors.
In some cases, attempting to outrank Wikipedia or Pinterest for a given keyword may not be worthwhile. Or you might need to put up more work to outrank much bigger or more established sites, which can impact your entire approach.
Instead, concentrate on the rivals who can most significantly affect your traffic. These are the sites that account for the majority of your lost visitors.
2. Find and Close Keyword Gaps
Pay close attention to the keywords for which you now hold a position but not as well as your competitors. Pay close attention to keywords where you are just one or two positions behind your main competitor.
Find the keywords your competitors share and don’t share using the Keyword Gap tools – SemRush, Ubersuggest, Moz, and more. To begin, enter your website and up to four of your competitors’ websites to read the Overview report, which then lists the best keyword prospects for you:
The Keyword Gap tool thoroughly examines the competitive search landscape for any selected search phrase. If there are any holes in that landscape, you can work on filling them or exploiting them.
You should pay attention to keywords for which all your competitors rank but are not on your site.
#Why are they ranking and not you?
#Do they have better supplementary content for those particular keywords?
#Do they have more backlinks to those pages, helping them rank higher?
#What must you do to target those keywords on your site?
How to Use SemRush to Find and Close Your Keyword Gaps
Comparing Your Domain Keywords to Competitors
Begin by entering the domain names that you want to compare. To find the competitors you are up against, go to the Organic Research Competitors report or the Advertising Research Competitors to identify the domains with similar keyword rankings.
Furthermore, the tool will automatically list some top competitors when you enter your domain name in the box.
You can also narrow your keyword search to an exact page at a domain, folder, or subdomain.
On the new tab, go to the search engine box and choose the search engine you want to compare results. Then select the type of results you wish to view.
Organic keywords are terms where a domain has an organic ranking in the top 100 listings.
Paid keywords are those where a domain ranks in the top 8 positions through Google Ads on Google.
PLA keywords are keywords that trigger the company’s Google Shopping ads.
To compare different keywords, click the select keyword type for each domain in the toolbar.
You can see how your paid keywords are doing and then compare them to your competitor’s organic keywords.
Enter the domain two times and specify the keyword types for each domain.
Choose your parameters by choosing your geographical region, and then hit Compare.
Information from the report will then populate the Top Opportunities widget, Keyword Overlap chart, and keyword table.
When selecting you as the domain, the Top Opportunities widget will allow you to see the most relevant keyword opportunities for the domain.
This info and the rest of the report will change based on your chosen filters. For example, see below the top opportunities when you filter by keywords that contain basketball.
As this visualization demonstrates, a keyword portfolio can provide some context concerning the competition. The visual is live and updates when filters are used.
Once you click on a specific intersection, the report will only show keywords inside that intersection (watch below).
A significant portion of this report is the table at the bottom, where you can get more information about the performance of each site and how it correlates with other sites. These performance intersections are shared: if a site contains those keywords, you can find them with us, regardless of the number of competitors on that search.
Strong: Keywords where you have a higher ranking than all of your competitors
Unique: keywords where you have the ranking, but none of your competitors does.
All: The ranking for every relevant keyword for every competitor.
So How Can You Make Use of These Intersections?
An essential feature for diagnosing a website’s shortcomings is the use of missing and weak labels. It’s as simple as adding them and exporting the list to a spreadsheet. Considering these keywords, you can use SEO techniques to pull traffic from your competitors.
Unique filters allow users to pinpoint what differentiates their website from the competition. A keyword from a competitor’s site that you know isn’t getting used may present new opportunities for the website you’re working on.
When digging deeper into the data, use the filters at the top of the result. They’ll let you filter by words in the specific section you need.
You can get more specific by filtering and discovering where improvement is needed.
First, you can change the database, the type of device, or the date range, depending on what you want to study. Historical data, mobile data, or data from another country.
After that, you have a Position filter which allows you to filter a set of keywords, where your site is ranking or where your competitors are ranking within a specified range.
Let’s say you know your domain is not on the first page. If you use the following filter, you can then pinpoint where your domain is:
The Intent Filter
To see the complete URL associated with a specific keyword, you can hover over the position to reveal the full URL.
The export feature makes it easy to create competitive analysis reports or use them for a search marketing campaign. You can export keywords anytime into Excel, CSV, CSV Semicolon, or PDF. An export will show each domain’s rankings for its competitors’ keywords.
Depending on the report size, you can export individual keywords, all keywords, or the first 100, 500, 1,000, 3,000, 10,000, 30,000, or 50,000.
After exporting selected keywords, you can also clear them from your list.
If you want to add keywords before exporting, you can use the Keyword Manager. This tool lets you update metrics on keywords at any time.
Use the “Export to PDF” button in the top right corner of the report to export the information to PDF format.
3. Outrank Your Competitor’s Top Content
One technique to generate article ideas is using keywords. Another is to study the best-performing content of your rivals.
In this instance, we’re curious about whose material generated the most links for our rivals. Concentrating on topics other people enjoy linking to makes sense because links are essential for ranking and are among the most critical ranking variables.
This is one of the oldest, most reliable SEO content creation methods. It works like this:
- Discover your competitor’s top content
- Create content that significantly improves upon it in one or more ways.
- Promote your content to a similar group of people
Specifically, content gaps are the topics your target audience seeks but are absent on your website.
Content gaps are frequent. According to Ahrefs, there are over 200 million keywords with between 10 and 1,000 monthly searches, and only 31,000 have monthly search volumes surpassing 100,000.
Depending on your sector, your target audience may be looking for thousands of topics you aren’t currently covering.
Consider the case of an SEO agency with many blog posts on cutting-edge SEO strategies. However, you see that users need to leave your pages more frequently and hastily.
You ponder how that is possible. Does your content need more pizazz?
After conducting a short content gap analysis, you might realize holes in your current strategy. It can turn out that your target audience is looking for fundamental SEO strategies while you’re presenting more advanced information that they aren’t quite ready to understand.
In situations like this, locating and filling in content gaps can aid reader retention and boost conversion rates.
You can use tools like Ubersuggest, SemRush, Moz, Alexa, and more to analyze your content gaps.
How to Use Ubersuggest to Analyze Your Content Gap
The process of using this tool to analyze your content gap is easy:
- First, visit the Ubersuggest homepage.
- Enter the domain name or keyword you want a report on.
- Click “View all” or select the appropriate filters at the report’s top.
- Finally, click Export at the report’s top to store the information elsewhere.
Why Is It Necessary to Identify Content Gaps?
Identifying and fixing content gaps appears overwhelming, but the results are worth the effort.
Improved SEO: Identifying and fixing content gaps can help improve your site’s ranking on search engines. This is important because 88 per cent of searchers only visit links on page 1 of search engines like Google.
Improves connection with target readers: Fixing content gaps gives your readers exactly what they’re looking for, thus establishing a connection with your site. Building a relationship with your audience is essential and possible—64 per cent of people say they have a relationship with a brand.
An optimized buyer journey: Identifying and fixing content gaps can increase on-site time, and improve your conversion rate, resulting in more sales.
How do you compare to your competitors regarding the various types of content?
Studying different pages on your competitor’s website is important when examining the supporting information each competitor offers and how they rank compared to you. This includes content from blogs, videos, pictures, help/support/how-to content, etc. Look over anything that might appear in the search results as content.
Identify areas your competitors are performing better:
Do they regularly publish blog articles that get many shares and links?
Are they making videos?
Popular live streams?
You can next consider whether you need to add these content categories to your site after identifying competitors who are noticeably better for these content types. Still, you want to ensure they provide value to your site.
If a competitor in your industry has a podcast, but you can tell it has few downloads, either they aren’t doing an excellent job, or your market does not need podcasts. You might find you can fill that niche by producing a better podcast.
How to Create Long-Form Content That Converts Lurkers to Customers
We must define “long-form content” so you know what we mean.
An article over 1,000 words (like this one) is considered long-form content, and it’s safe to assume that it typically has 2,000 words or more. No upper limit exists to how many words it can contain, depending on its complexity.
What kind of long-form content can you write? Let’s see a few examples:
Guides and tutorials
List posts and roundups
Analytics and statistics
Newspaper and magazine articles
Why is Long-form Content Important?
It’s reasonable to wonder whether long-form CONTENT is still read nowadays. Or “Are people still patient enough to read through a large amount of content?” Both inquiries have a positive response.
When someone is very interested in a topic, they will give up their time to learn more about it, mainly if it teaches them a lot of brand-new information.
Several blogs in the marketing sector investigated the significance of long-form content in-depth and produced some figures that demonstrate why it continues to rule:
– An article with between 2,250 and 2,500 words will likely earn more organic traffic than a shorter one on average.
– Long-form content gets 77.2% more backlinks (data) than short-form content.
– Even on social media, long content gets more shares.
– Long-form blog posts generate seven times more leads than short-form blog posts.
– A report by Pew shows that long-form articles generate twice the engagement of short-form articles on mobile devices.
Best Ways to Create Long-form Content
Long-form content creation may seem intimidating because it requires time, thought, and writing energy. You might also believe a topic doesn’t need many words to be covered when a few paragraphs suffice.
You might make a huge deal from a seemingly straightforward subject by including new, insightful details and elements. But, writing an entire essay takes more time and research.
1. Research an appropriate topic and format
Finding a topic that will attract your audience should be your first step in writing. Once you have the topic, you must consider the perspective from which you wish to approach the subject. You can assess its popularity using keyword research tools.
After deciding on these two, you must choose the post format that best conveys your goals. You can choose from a lesson, roundup, comparison, review, editorial, listicle, or any other form that best showcases your subject.
2. Set a target audience and an objective for the article
Don’t forget to consider your post’s purpose and the target audience. It’s critical to consider why you are writing it because, in the long run, developing a devoted audience depends on what you intend to offer them and what speciality you intend to focus on.
Ask yourself what your article will add to your readers’ knowledge and why they should read it if you already have a niche in mind.
What does it contribute to the conversation that would persuade others to set aside time in their schedules to read it?
3. Before you begin writing, make a plan for the framework
It’s time to move on and write down the article’s structure once you have established the initial steps. Create an outline of the sections you want to use and the specific points you want to emphasize. Consider a functional headline, a possible style, and any additional components you believe could enhance the content.
Doing this may save time in figuring out what to do with the vast data collected.
4. Prepare the research approach
Depending on the format you choose for your next article, it’s a good idea to prepare and outline how to compile all the material you require for excellent content.
Write down what is simple to obtain (such as knowledge that depends on you) and what might require more time or effort (e.g., information from other people, which makes this part dependent on external sources).
5. Utilize statistics and verifiable facts
You don’t have to express your perspective on a subject to make your article respectable. People want accurate information, so if you make a statement that could be interpreted differently, include a link to the relevant research or study’s original publication.
6. The use of images
It would be best to include images in your articles to make them more attractive and understandable.
Other visuals, such as tables, graphs, charts, illustrations, infographics, text pictures, screenshots, GIFs, and anything pertinent and entertaining to your audience, might be included in addition to the necessary images.
7. Utilize headings and design elements
In addition to the visual aspect, you must watch out for packed text. By segmenting the text into smaller paragraphs and sections, you can make it easier for visitors to skim the entire piece and keep them on your website longer.
People will read an article more quickly and assimilate the content simultaneously when it appears appealing at first glance and is airy. When an article is crowded, it seems longer than it is and puts readers off reading it.
8. Insert shortcuts
Ensure you allow readers to go to the sections of a lengthy piece that they find most compelling. At the start of the article, include a table of contents so that readers may click and jump to the section they wish to read.
Sometimes visitors arrive at a website not intending to read the entire piece of content but rather to find a particular piece of information rapidly; as a result, the remainder of the article is optional to them then. It’s a valuable feature if they can navigate to the area where they can find what they need.
The same holds for the ending. It’s excellent to summarise the key points that will stay with your visitors after they leave your website after a lengthy post that people might not have read.
Start creating more long-form content today!
While there is nothing wrong with short-form content, you need long-form content that is informative and beneficial to readers not only at the time of writing but also for many years if you update it regularly if you want to establish authority and trust.
If you need help creating long-form content that glues your prospects to their screen and converts them?
Check out Search Engine Radar!
Search Engine Radar helps brands create content that doesn’t just engage but takes viewers on a journey of conversion.
My team consists of experienced writers and designers that understand what it takes to succeed online. We also monitor the most critical metrics, such as traffic, conversions, and sales generated by the business.
We understand that achieving these objectives propels brands forward, and we feel that the success of our clients is the most accurate indicator of our company’s effectiveness.
4. Review Backlinks
A link gap analysis identifies links your competitors have acquired that you might also obtain, like our method with keywords.
Links play a crucial role in ranking. In actuality, ranking without links is challenging. On the other hand, building solid links is challenging. We use intelligence and data to uncover potential good relationships that are much easier to attain.
However, where do we get these links?
Websites that already link to your competitors but not to you.
Theoretically and practically, this works since the websites connecting to your rivals have already shown an interest in your subject. You also have a higher probability of getting a link if you convince them that your content has more value than that of your competitor.
Finding highly relevant pages to obtain links from is another advantage of this technique.
However, making the distinction between high-quality and low-quality backlinks is important.
If you see a competitor with many low-quality links, those connections may not benefit them because Google changed how they treat low-quality links with the Penguin update.
Your SEO may need to improve if you emulate them and prioritize quantity over quality while building links. Regarding spammer links, be cautious about replicating competitors directly because you can’t know your rival’s disavowal file.
You want to focus on high-quality backlinks, such as those from essential news sites, high-profile sites, or experts in your market areas. When looking at competitors’ backlinks, consider these questions:
Have they received press in major news organizations? If so, can you get yourself into similar stories?
Are they recommended sources on high-profile but noncommercial sites in your industry?
How can you get yourself to be part of those recommended resources?
No Follow Vs. Followed Backlinks
It would be best if you also compared follow and no follow links. Although Google’s algorithms don’t officially use no follow links, they won’t necessarily help from an SEO perspective.
However, they can be a crucial source of traffic that raises awareness of your business, boosts traffic, and generates conversions. Don’t disregard high-quality links just because they have a no follow attribute. Even while the SEO value might not be present, all those links could still have a ton of non-SEO value.’
Depending on the size of your site and the number of active competitors, you should conduct SEO competitor analysis every six months to a year. You should perform some of it each month to stay on top of the track.
Most importantly, it would help if you kept an eye on your competitors’ adjustments so you could rapidly respond to their tactics.
Do you need help analysing your search engine competitors?
You don’t need to go far.
Search Engine Radar cracks your brand’s competitors’ secret hacks through detailed SEO competitive analysis.
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