SEO is one of the most vital strategies to improve the growth of your business. Regardless of business size, it helps you improve your website’s rankings in the search engines. It also helps you generate more high-quality organic traffic.
Having said that, it is essential that you conduct a thorough competitor analysis before you design your SEO strategy. This will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. These insights will help you create your own SEO strategy effectively.
However, it’s not easy to decide which parameters and tools to use for effective competitor analysis. That’s because there are a number of SEO tools and parameters to consider when you conduct a competitor analysis. So, it’s crucial that you invest your time into figuring out the most suitable parameters and tools to analyze your competition.
The process might sound intimidating. So, here are seven simple and easy-to-follow steps to conduct a thorough competitor analysis.
1. Identify Your Keywords
In the process of competitor analysis, the first step needs to be the identification of keywords. Detailed keyword research will help you, from an SEO perspective, understand your competitors better.
You can follow the simple process below to conduct effective keyword research.
Search and create a list of all potential and relevant topics for your business. This will help you narrow down on 5 to 10 of the most important topics.
Once you have selected important topics, it’s time to list the keywords related to each topic. However, make sure to list all of the keywords that have a direct impact on the rankings of your website. And select keywords that your target audience will use to search for your products and services.
While identifying the keywords, make sure to have a combination of long-tail keywords and shorter search terms. Why? Because shorter keywords will help you generate a larger volume of traffic whereas long-tail keywords can generate higher-quality traffic.
In addition to this, the integration of long-tail keywords in your content helps you fulfill user intent. When done correctly, specific keyword phrases help you gain top rankings in the search engines. Also, a varied combination of keywords will help you achieve your SEO goals.
Now that you have the keyword list analyze your competitors’ rankings. If your competitors are using the same list of keywords, then it’s good news for you. It implies that you can also use the same keywords to increase the rankings of your website.
However, there might be quite a few important keywords which your competitors are not using. So, don’t ignore these keywords as they can give you leverage over your competition.
You can use tools like the Google Keyword Planner. The tool helps you to collect the data directly from Google to identify potential keywords.
Image Source – Google
2. Identify Your Competitors
Once you have identified your list of potential keywords, it’s time to search for and create a list of your competitors. To determine your top competitors, you need to enter the selected keywords into search engines like Google, Yahoo, and/or Bing.
Then identify the web pages which are relevant to your niche. Also, make sure that these web pages show up in the top 10 search results. Next, analyze the web pages to find out who your competitors are.
You can use different tools to identify the most aggressive competitors from your industry. It can also give you a list of competitors for the domain you are analyzing. This will help you stay ahead in the game by simplifying your competitor analysis.
Once you identify your top competitors, you need to analyze their top ranking content. For a thorough competitor analysis, make sure to use metrics like inbound links, domain authority, link velocity, domain age, social shares, etc.
By keeping track of your competitors, you can learn about the latest trends in SEO and reposition yourself in the game.
3. Analyze the Backlink Profiles of Your Competitors
The third step in the process of competitor analysis is to analyze backlinks. The quality of your backlinks has a direct impact on the rankings of your website. The higher the quality of your backlinks, the higher your rankings. High-quality backlinks also help you gain the trust of your target audience.
So, make sure that the links coming to your website are of high quality, i.e. from relevant websites with high domain authority. This also indicates that your website contains high-quality content and is highly relevant. This gives you an opportunity to improve your search engine ranking and secure top ranks in relevant SERPs.
Having both high-quality and high-quantity backlinks to your website is essential.
So, to increase the number of quality backlinks on your website, you can glance through your competitors’ links. This will help you develop a strategy to build more backlinks from the sites that are linking to your competitors.
4. Analyze Social Media Profiles
Social media and social media campaigns have a significant impact on the search engine ranking of a website. Social media helps brands to establish and engage with their target audience at a personal level. As a result, the reach and awareness of the brands can increase manifold.
Plus, social media is where a lot of brands get most of their traffic, which further boosts their ranking and visibility. So, don’t forget to analyze the social media profiles of your competitors as part of your competitor analysis process.
Analyze what social media strategies your competitors are using to improve their ranking. Learn from their social media campaign mistakes and replicate their best practices.
5. Audit Your Competitors’ Content
Content is the key to achieving a higher ranking on search engines. Relevant, high-quality, and useful content on the website helps it to secure a top rank on search engines.
So for competitor analysis, you need to have a thorough audit plan for the content on your competitors’ website and yours as well. While you analyze and audit the content, make sure to consider parameters like outbound links, word count, and uniqueness.
Visuals like images and videos help brands to enhance the experience of their visitors. And outbound links increase brand credibility and improve relationships with the target audience as it guides them to more valuable content. So, find out if your competitors are using visuals and high-quality outbound links on their website.
6. Determine Domain Authority
One of the most critical parameters in competitor analysis is to determine the domain authority of your competitor’s website. It will help you narrow down on practical and realistic goals for your own website.
The Open Site Explorer tool by Moz can help you determine the domain authority of your competitors. It will also give you detailed data and information on KPIs like social metrics, domain authority, page authority, etc.
Image Source – Moz Open Site Explorer
7. Compare Yourself With Your Competitors
You have thoroughly analyzed your competitors and understood their strengths and weaknesses. So, the last step in the process of competitor analysis is to compare yourself with your competitors. How do your numbers stack up against those of the competition? How much lower or higher do you rank compared to them?
You need to figure out what is working and what isn’t working for your competitors. This will help you discover which strategies are most ideal for application and which ones you should avoid. You can also tweak them according to your needs before you implement them.
Competitor analysis will help you discover your strengths and weaknesses, so you can snowball your organic growth. It also gives you an opportunity to learn from your competitors’ successes and failures.
When done correctly, competitor analysis helps you to improve your strategies and stay ahead of your competitors. Based on the competitor analysis report, you can design and improve your SEO strategies so your business can grow.
Do you know of any other effective ways to analyze your competitors? If so, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.