Free SEO Competitor Analysis Template!
We’ve created a Google Sheets template to complete this step by step on your own, download the SEO Competitor Analysis Template by StudioHawk
Ever wondered why some websites constantly outshine others? Or why one of your competitors is suddenly taking over the market?
The secret could be SEO Competitor Analysis.
By diving into this, you can uncover secrets to unlock your website’s SEO growth in search results and boost your client acquisitions and or revenue.
This guide is packed with insider info, spicy tips, and all the do’s and don’ts to master the art of SEO Competitor Analysis.
Ready boost up the search results to outrank your competition? Let’s go!
What Is An SEO Competitor Analysis?
A competitor SEO analysis is a comprehensive review of top-ranking websites or competitors in your niche or industry.
This process is pivotal in gaining insights into their SEO strategies, allowing you to uncover what strategies succeed and which ones fall short in your particular area of business. When done correctly, can boost your organic visibility, as well as traffic and sales potential.
Why Is SEO Competitive Analysis Important?
Have you ever wondered why a particular competitor ranks better? Or what keywords they’re focusing on? These insights can help shape our own game plan more effectively.
This knowledge becomes crucial for refining your SEO practices. Surprisingly, your competitor isn’t always your adversary. They can be a valuable source of inspiration, offering learning opportunities to make your SEO strategies more efficient.
Remember, don’t just focus on a few competitors. Your offline competitors may be very different to your online competitors. Expand your scope and explore the SEO tactics of various players in your field. This approach provides a comprehensive view, revealing successful strategies for some and ineffective ones for others.
If you run a plumbing company, looking at an ecommerce store that sits within your market can be valuable too – we’re all trying to rank so there’s a ton of learnings out there.
SEO isn’t static. It’s influenced by changing trends, algorithms, and practices. As a result, continuous monitoring and adapting to competitors’ practices becomes imperative. While having a broad overview is vital, so is attention to detail.
Delve into aspects like keyword data, content structures, link-building methodologies, and the user experience competitors offer.
This deep understanding can guide a more informed and precise SEO strategy.
Research your niche, stay attuned to market dynamics, understand competitor strategies, and utilize these insights to fortify your SEO approach. Knowledge is indeed power, and in the world of SEO, it propels you to the forefront.
What do the SEO gurus have to say about competitive analysis:
Neil Patel, Co-founder of NP Digital: “Poor link structures are just opportunities for others to learn from your mistakes.”
Rand Fishkin, Co-founder of SparkToro: “Understanding the competitive landscape is critical to maintain or grow your SEO traffic.”
Bruce Clay, Founder of Bruce Clay Inc.: “Know your competition well. The more you understand your competition, the greater the likelihood of outperforming them.”
Danny Sullivan, Founder of Search Engine Land: “The best place to look for keywords and SEO strategies to target is your competitors’ sites.”
Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko: “Analyze what the competition is doing (then do it better).”
When Should I Perform An SEO Competitor Analysis?
Have you ever pondered, “How often should I dive into an SEO competitor analysis?”
Regularly checking up on your competitors is a smart move. This isn’t just about playing catch-up; it’s about understanding the current field and anticipating the next big move in SEO. This isn’t merely about mimicking their moves but spotting opportunities they might’ve missed.
Prioritize regular competitor analyses so you’re not just responding but leading the way in the digital race. Consider it your secret weapon in the vast world of online competition.
You can perform an SEO competitor analysis quickly with SEMrush’ domain overview:
SEO Competitive Analysis Is an Ongoing Process
So, what is the ideal frequency for SEO competitor analysis?
Competitive analysis is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that needs to be revisited periodically. Depending on the size of your site and the number of active competitors, you should rerun SEO competition analysis about every six to 12 months.
Parts of the analysis, such as looking at your competitors’ new keywords, should be performed monthly to remain competitive.
Regularly monitor the SEO-related strategies your competitors are implementing so you can respond and implement your own strategies accordingly.
As you get faster at doing competition analysis, the more frequently you can conduct it too. But remember, an SEO competitor analysis shouldn’t be a ‘copy & paste’ exercise. It’s about finding opportunities to expand your share of the market. The purpose of this is to find out what your competitors are doing and do it better.
How To Identify Your SEO Competitors
How do you pinpoint who your SEO competitors? It’s more straightforward than it sounds:
First up, there’s a pivotal difference to note. Just because someone’s a business rival doesn’t mean they’re your SEO competitor. Your business competitors are those who offer the same products or services.
Meanwhile, SEO competitors are sites that pop up when someone searches for the same terms you’re hoping to rank for.
They might not even be in your industry, but they’re fighting for that top spot on the search results page.
How do you find these sneaky SEO competitors?
Well, there are tools for that!
SEO tools can help determine who’s ranking for the keywords you want. Pop in a keyword, and the tool will reveal who’s appearing on search engine results.
To start here’s a list of SEO tools to use in your SEO competitor analysis:
Ahrefs: A trusted name in the SEO community, Ahrefs offers a buffet of features, from spying on competitors and keyword sleuthing to digging into backlinks and content research.
SEMrush: Consider SEMrush your Swiss army knife for SEO! Keyword research and competitor gap analysis, or give your site a thorough technical SEO checkup.
SpyFu: Channel your inner detective! With SpyFu, peek into your rivals’ top-performing keywords and ads across organic and paid search.
SEO Monitor: A tool that aims to make SEO strategies more predictable. It offers insights into organic visibility, traffic, conversions, and factors in the ‘not provided’ keyword data. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of your SEO performance.
Screaming Frog: Often described as an SEO spider, this desktop tool is a favourite for many SEO professionals. It crawls websites to provide real-time data on onsite SEO, helping quickly identify issues. Whether it’s broken links, duplicate content, or missing meta tags, Screaming Frog enables you to find and fix them.
SimilarWeb: A digital market intelligence platform. Whether you want to peek at a site’s traffic sources, discover similar sites, or get insights into competitors’ strategies, SimilarWeb has got you covered.
If you’re feeling more hands-on, there’s a DIY approach, too.
Type your primary keywords into a search engine and see who graces the first page. It’s a bit old-school and might take a tad longer, but it gives a direct view of who’s doing what in the SEO world. A Google Search is always going to be your greatest weapon.
It not only shows who’s ranking, but it gives an idea behind the intent and the type of content you need to be creating in order to be visible for the same terms.
Identified them? Great! Now, it’s detective time. Conduct an analysis into their content, keywords, and backlinks to discover how to outrank them.
Steps To Conducting An SEO Competitive Analysis
An in-depth SEO competitor analysis can show paths for upping your SEO game.
Here’s a step by step approach to take:
Step 1: Identify Who’s In the SEO Race
Before anything else, figure out who your real SEO competitors are. They might not be who you think! Those websites appear on the first page when searching for your target keywords. Yep, those are the ones you’re up against!
Step 2: On-Page SEO Techniques
After identifying your competitors, it’s time to dissect their on-page SEO strategies. Key elements to focus on include:
Meta Tags & Header Tags: These provide search engines with concise information about a page’s content. Properly optimized tags can significantly influence rankings.
Keyword Placement: The strategic positioning of keywords in content, title tags, and meta descriptions is crucial. It signals the primary topics of your content to search engines.
Content Freshness: Regularly updating content keeps it relevant and can positively impact search rankings, as search engines favor up-to-date information.
Intent Matching: Match the type and style of content you’re creating to the intent of searchers and what Google deems that to be. For example, if Google is showing just product pages for a specific term on page 1, getting your blog page to rank for the same term is going to be more difficult as the intents are different.
Step 3: Technical SEO Analysis:
Technical SEO is crucial for optimising your website’s interaction with search engines and users.
Key elements include internal linking, which uses pathways to guide visitors and help search engines understand your site’s layout.
A well-organised website structure ensures crucial pages are easily accessible, while page speed emphasises swift loading for enhanced user experience.
Security is addressed with SSL certifications, providing data protection and boosting search engine favourability.
Mobile optimisation is essential, guaranteeing a seamless browsing experience across devices.
Regular technical SEO audits are vital, allowing for identifying and rectifying potential issues that could impact search performance.
By focusing on these technical components, your website is better positioned for success in both user engagement and search engine rankings.
Step 4: Backlinks and Off-Page Strategies
When assessing competitor off-page tactics, consider:
Backlink Sources: Identify where their links come from. High-quality sources can boost SEO rankings.
Backlink Quality: Not all backlinks are equal. Prioritise those from authoritative sites.
Backlink Gaps: Spot opportunities to gain backlinks they might be missing.
By understanding their off-page moves, you can refine your strategies to build a strong brand in search engines.
Backlink Strategy: You can quite quickly identify what type of link acquisition strategy they are using by the type of links that are being gained. Are they enjoying the benefits of a successful Digital PR campaign? Is their strategy more focused on skyscraper techniques, broken link building or guest posting?
Step 5: Dissect Their Content Strategy
When analysing competitor content, focus on:
Themes: What main topics are they covering? This can highlight areas you might be overlooking.
Frequency: Note how often they post. If they’re more consistent, consider increasing your content output.
Depth: Are they providing detailed insights or just skimming topics? Identify where you can offer more comprehensive information.
Engagement: High numbers of quality comments or shares indicate resonating content. Aim for similar engagement on your pieces.
Formats: Beyond blogs, are they using videos or infographics? Diversifying content types can boost engagement.
Keyword Use: Observe their keyword integration for optimisation ideas.
Content Gaps: Spot topics they still need to cover for unique content opportunities.
By understanding different SEO content strategies, you can refine yours to stand out and resonate more with your audience – and beat your competitors to the punch.
Step 6: Gauge Their Social Buzz
While not a direct ticket to SEO results, social media activity can help. Check out their social media hustle.
Ask how engaged is their audience? This can offer insights into what resonates with potential customers in your industry.
Social media profiles are known as “foundational links” they provide signals about the credibility of a business, in a simialr way to brand mentions
Social channels can also be a great way to extend the exposure of your content, as well as highlight expertise and authority in an industry, in line with E-E-A-T.
Step 7: Go Beyond SEO
While at it have a look at their marketing strategy beyond SEO, what are they doing for Newsletters? Webinars? Video Content? And LinkedIn?
These can offer you a more holistic view of what’s capturing audience interest and help with topic ideation for your own content both onsite and offsite.
Step 8: Investigate Their Paid Presence
PPC is expensive. So if competitors are bidding on specific terms, then this suggests that they are finding some keywords more valuable than others, giving you an indication of what you should visible for organically.
If you’re running your own PPC campaign, review the extensive amounts of data that the channel offers. Find profitable keywords and find terms that your customers are trying to find you with, that you’re not yet visible for. Make all of your channels work together for a truly integrated strategy.
Navigating Competitor Moves After Algorithm Updates
Why should you monitor competitors after an update?
Algorithm alterations can significantly shift rankings, affecting both your site and your competitors.
Any drastic changes in keyword positions, such as moving from the 1st page of Google to subsequent pages (or vice versa), highlight the update’s impact to them, and is a good signal to make a move.
What To Do After The Analysis
The real work begins after your SEO competitor analysis. These are actions to take after an SEO competitor analysis:
- Use your newfound knowledge on your competitors to fine-tune your SEO plan based on this. Use these competitor insights to your advantage whether you’re integrating this into an existing strategy or starting fresh.
- Consider working with an SEO professional with niche expertise, as there are always nuances to why something that works for a competitor may or may not work for you.
- Spot weak links and strengthen them.
- Dive deeper into any competitor that stood out more than the others – what made them tick?
- Be inspired, but never directly duplicate. Your brand has its own voice, identity, value proposition.
- Regularly reassess your game plan, using competitor analysis as a reference point and benchmark.
- Competitors are always changing. Your analysis today will be different in a few months – make this task a recurring event in your calendar.
- Learn, adapt and get ahead.
The Power of SEO Competitor Analysis: A Real-Life Example
Have you ever wondered about the tangible impact of a thorough SEO competitor analysis?
Let’s look into a real-life example of B2C Furniture, one of StudioHawk’s esteemed clients,
Through meticulous competitor analysis, they identified gaps in the market, refined their strategies, and carved a niche for themselves.
- An increase of 475% over the past 12 months.
- 316% increase in revenue.
- B2C Furniture ranking page 1 for kids beds, single bed with trundle, children’s beds, and ‘kids trundle beds’, alongside other major retailers.
This case study is clear example when combine competitor insights with actionable SEO strategies.
Final Word: SEO Competitor Analysis
One priceless tool in your SEO toolkit is competitor analysis.
Gathering this intel is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, each piece refining your SEO approach. Remember, the SEO rewards the curious, the adaptable, and those ready to face every new challenge head-on.
Want to ensure your SEO journey is on the right track? With a touch of commitment and insights from SEO competitor analysis, success is within reach.
And if you’re looking for experts to guide you every step of the way, StudioHawk is here to help. Let’s partner with our elite SEO specialists to unlock organic growth for your brand. Speak to one of our experts today!