The fight for the top search engine result page, or SERP, is an ongoing battle between you and your competitors. Even if you’ve managed to take the spot one day, the algorithm that decides your SERP is constantly changing and requires the same level of adaptability to maintain premium search rankings.
While staying current with Google’s algorithm changes has become a full-time job, the tools used to analyze web pages to maximize SEO work can also be used to learn who your biggest competitors are and the tactics they’re using to try and outperform your site. Known as a competitor analysis, these reports are vital to long-term SEO success.
What Is an SEO Competitor Analysis?
As with any competition, it helps to know what you’re going up against in order to adjust your strategy accordingly. An SEO competitor analysis is no different as it looks at the SEO aspects of a competitor’s website including:
- Content Structure
- Organic SEO
These results are meant to help you find what’s working for other groups in your industry and adapt the practices to your own business. Copying a competitor exactly is never the goal and can quickly be noticed by customers who are familiar with your competition.
How Do I Use Competitor Analysis Data?
It’s easy to view competition as something standing between you and maximum success within your industry but the opposite is true. A competitive market fosters innovation and creativity, causing you to elevate your business to a higher level than you would have in an empty market.
A competitor analysis reveals the ways you can make that elevation within your SEO work. Even if a competitor is ranking below you, they’ll typically have at least one aspect of their SEO outperforming yours which you can start to leverage and further cement your place on top.
Who Do I Include in a Competitor Analysis?
One of the first mistakes made while preparing for an SEO competitor analysis is only looking at brick-and-mortar competitors nearby. While these locations are a source of competition, they’re not typically the ones fighting for the front page.
To determine who your true online competitors are, your SEO team will start by targeting specific keywords within the designated area whether that be locally or in a particular city you’re trying to expand into. The top results will give a quick glimpse of the competition and advance the process to the next steps.
Given that your competition may exclusively use online marketing, it’s important to be able to change locations during this initial search. There are several ways to go about this with the end goal being a new location seen by Google when searching for primary keywords. Finding near-identical competitors is how your SEO competitor analysis will yield the most applicable data.
What Do I Need for an SEO Analysis?
Gathering information on which business you’ll include in your analysis has set the stage for the research you’ve been waiting for. The analysis is going to focus on organic SEO work, not paid advertising.
There are three pillars of organic SEO that will be reviewed by your marketing team. Each of these will yield valuable insights that can be used immediately to bolster your rankings and keep you at the front of the line for new customers.
The reason keywords have been such an integral part of SEO since the beginning of digital marketing is that they’re still the most powerful tool when it comes to getting to the first Google SERP.
During an SEO competitor analysis, the keywords used by your competitors are shown to reveal their strategy and target demographic. Companies that offer the same or similar products or services will provide you with the most effective keywords as they’ll likely be targeting the same customer pools as you.
Modifying your strategy to incorporate competitor keywords means they no longer have that advantage the next time Google crawls each page.
Backlink Tracking and Analysis
Working in tandem with keywords, backlinks help your site be associated with established websites in the same industry. Because it’s not as simple as linking out to other sites and having them place a link back, it’s important to have an expert team to analyze backlink data.
There are tools available that allow marketers to see which sites are actually worth backlinking to in order to start making an effort to improve your backlinks. Being able to see which reputable sites your competitors are backlinked to makes it easier to find these hidden opportunities.
Website Content Review
The content of a website takes a bit more work and experience for maximum SEO. This is due to today’s search algorithms sorting through articles and blog posts to determine if the information is generic or unique.
On top of this, Google will analyze the structure of each piece of content and reward ones that are well-written in the sense that they’re easy to read from start to finish. The word count, headings, links and meta tags will all have an impact on search results and often provide companies with the slight edge they need to beat out the competition.
Seeing what kind of content your competitors are using can be the inspiration needed to start work on your next piece of online content. For written pieces, it’s important to include relevant images and references to better establish your brand as an authority within your industry.
How Do I Get an SEO Competitor Analysis?
Learning how a competitor analysis can help your SEO game is the perfect first step, but having the most success from an analysis means working with a professional team like our marketing gurus at Kick Digital Media.
When you’re ready to take your industry by storm and claim your place at the top of Google’s first SERP, reach out to Kick Digital Media today to get started.