SEO competitor analysis (also known as competitive analysis) is done to understand what your competitor websites are doing and why they are outranking your website. It is a detailed process that involves studying everything about the competitors.
What you need to do in the first place is focus on creating the best product and/or service for your users. If your site is all about giving informational content to the target audience, make sure your content is the best in the niche. Itâ€™s advised that you should trust that there is always someone that is doing better than you. You have to find that â€˜someoneâ€™ and figure out what it is that they are doing better than you. Once you figure that out you can find a way to make your content, product or service the best. This is how you can find a way to outrank your competitors in the search results. This entire process is called SEO competitor analysis.
Letâ€™s learn how you can do SEO competitor analysis the right way in 2022.
Find out your competitors
First things first. You need to find out who your real competitors are. Sometimes, small businesses look at those top 3 search results and think of them as their competitors, but in reality they are world-class brands that are way beyond the reach. And itâ€™s not easy for the small businesses to compete with those large brands in any way possible, so itâ€™s not worth competing with them. This means they are not the real competitors.
Itâ€™s important for you to stay reasonable while finding out your competitors.
If you are operating in multiple niches, itâ€™s important to remember that your competitors could be of different types. The competitors would naturally be different for different target keyword types. For example, if you are selling shoes online and something like â€œwhite running shoesâ€ is a target keyword, then your top competitor should be a shoe seller. And in a different scenario, if you are providing information about white running shoes online, then your competitors would be top blogs providing information about running shoes, not shoe sellers.
Did you understand the difference?
Not those top spot holders are always your real competitors. Keep that in mind. You have to be wise and smart while finding out your real competitors.
Identify the best target keywords
Identifying the best target keywords is the foundation of your SEO strategy. The best keywords are the most productive keywords that can bring the highest amount of traffic and conversions for you. You have to rank your own website for those keywords in the first place.
In addition to that, your SEO competitive analysis will find out websites that are currently ranking on the top spots for those particular keywords you are targeting.
Some of the areas that you can consider while identifying the best target keywords are keyword difficulty, new keyword opportunities etc. If the keyword difficulty level is high, itâ€™s naturally difficult to rank for those terms and outrank competitors that are ranking at present. This keyword difficulty level will give you a clear understanding of choosing your real competitors wisely.
If you are using a tool for keyword analysis or competitor analysis, then you can simply type the keyword there and the tool will analyze the terms and give you a lot of meaningful information including the Domain authority, Domain age and country, Backlink data, Alexa rank, Social media signals etc. Analyze each of those factors individually and try to turn any of their weaknesses to your advantage if thatâ€™s at all possible.
By looking at your competitorsâ€™ on-page content you can actually find more information about certain keywords that were not your original target keywords. Always, look for new keyword opportunities by properly reading through their page content. Itâ€™s a good idea to keep expanding the list of your target keywords so that you can always have a chance to outrank your competitors for some keywords.
Analyze the on-site elements
When it comes to on-site elements there are quite a few areas that you can take into consideration. Take a look at the Design of your competitorsâ€™ websites. That is the first thing that users see. If their design is not nice and yet they are ranking, then you have got a strong point in your favor. Make your site visually appealing and thatâ€™s how you can beat those competitors whose sites suck look-wise.
The next area is the site architecture. I mean how they have constructed different sections and pages of the site. The purpose is to make the entire site clean, light and user-friendly. The content must be easily accessible to the users. Analyze this about your competitors and if you could find a loophole at some point, turn that to your benefit.
Loading speed is another area that you should consider. Your website must load fast and if those competitors show a bit delay in loading, you try to beat them there. There are a few factors that affect the loading speed of a website. First of all, the coding or scripting must be light and error free. The images or videos must be compressed and well optimized. The hosting server can also be a factor, so make sure your site is hosted on a reputable and fast server.
Website optimization, Metadata, Page Content are some of the other factors that can give you some understanding of how your competitors are performing. If they are ranking above you in the search results, it gives a clear indication that their optimization, metadata, content and other on-page elements are better than yours. And if you find some issues in terms of the website design, content or mobile optimization and yet they are ranking well, then thatâ€™s an opportunity for you to outrank them easily.
Study all the aspects thoroughly and try to make your site perform better. You might not outrank the competitors in a week or a month, so have patience and allow yourself to take time for that to happen. Keep on fixing all onsite issues, big or small, so your site performs better over time.
Analyze off-site elements
Now, letâ€™s talk about some off-site elements that you can analyze and stand a chance to outperform your competitors. Among all off-site elements back-links are the most prominent ones. So, you have to look at the back-link profile of your competitors in the first place. If they have outranked you with those back-links, then the sources of those back-links are very important for you to consider. You can use those sources to earn back-links for your website. Not only those particular sources, you can also use several different sources that can even be better.
Therefore, the information you get studying the competitorsâ€™ back-link profiles and the link sources is critically important. With that useful information you can actually find a way to build top-quality links for your website, and for search engines quality back-links are most important ranking factors. Itâ€™s a good practice to keep discovering new link opportunities, so the information you get can be very helpful in finding new link sources.
Studying the back-link profiles of your competitors is actually a complicated and time-consuming process. It can be very difficult and not feasible to do the entire thing manually, so you may make use of a handy SEO tool to accomplish that easily.
Look at the social media profiles
A healthy social media presence doesnâ€™t necessarily guarantee high search engine ranking, but the impact is really huge. Today, itâ€™s not possible to ignore social media activities completely and expect search engine ranking, so itâ€™s safe to say that social media and SEO go hand in hand.
You should keep an eye on the social media accounts of your competitors.
You may take help from a good social listening tool to analyze the social media of your competitors.
Study their traffic behavior and data
A thorough competitive analysis involves studying the behavior and data of Organic traffic and paid traffic both. Itâ€™s a good practice to study the traffic data regularly because it can give you some valuable insights.
If you have done all the hard work including the competitor analysis and optimizing your website and yet your competitors are outranking you every time, then itâ€™s possible that your competitors are doing paid campaigns to drive traffic and conversions. You cannot and should not compete with them in terms of spending on Ads and other paid campaigns (especially if you are small), but studying their paid campaigns and traffic data, paid content performance and banner ads etc. can give you some important information, and if you are able to afford that kind of spending to get huge profits, go for it. (But that is not a recommendation from us).