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SEO is a very competitive field. New websites and businesses emerge every day, and Google’s first five organic search results garner two-thirds of all clicks.

Top-notch content, a well-thought-out SEO plan, and technical SEO aren’t enough to ensure that your website receives the attention it deserves. The unfortunate reality is that according to a study by Ahrefs, over 90% of online pages receive no search traffic from Google at all. Simply put, there is a lot of competition.

You have competition in any industry, and they’re probably doing the same thing you are. Maybe they’re doing it better, or they’ve been doing it for a longer time, or they’re trying something new and different.

Competition is a necessary component of the business world. Firms stay sharp by monitoring and seeking to outperform their direct competition. It promotes creativity, avoids complacency, and provides motivation to develop. SEO competitor analysis is how you attain that level of online traffic and SERP rankings superiority.

Competitor research is far too often disregarded when a company or website embarks on its SEO strategy. Instead, companies dive right into keyword research, link building, and content creation. By doing so, they’re ignoring a crucial part of truly effective SEO.

competitor analysis

When Should You Conduct a Competitor Analysis?

Monitoring and improving your SEO on a regular basis is a crucial element of developing a successful SEO strategy. 

SEO isn’t something you set and forget; it has to be a constant, dynamic aspect of your digital marketing strategy. 

Regularly analyzing your SEO rankings, keywords, and content allows you to keep up with search engine algorithm changes and competitive behavior. However, SEO competitor research does not necessarily have to be performed daily, weekly, or even monthly. 

While some amount of competitive analysis should be part of your routine SEO maintenance, there are select times when a more comprehensive analysis is warranted, such as:

  • When big changes in search algorithms are made 
  • If you notice a significant reduction in your ranks
  • When creating new content categories or essential content elements 
  • After long periods of inactivity in which you haven’t risen or fallen in the rankings
  • When adding new pages to your website 
  • When making any changes or overhauls to your brand

Competitive analysis is a rather straightforward idea. When it comes to SEO, you will want to know which strategies your competitors are using, the keywords they are ranking for, what backlink profile they have, and overall what is working and what isn’t. 

So that’s what competitive analysis is. You’re monitoring your competitors to learn more about the most successful aspects of their strategy and how you can incorporate them into your own.

This method can help you save time and money by allowing you to build on their previous work and research. Of course, you also have to anticipate your competitor looking at your SEO approach in the same way. This allows you to take a new look at the data you already have and continue to improve.

The SEO competitor research approach can and should differ from one organization to the next. The design of the process will be influenced by your specific niche, target clients, and general business objectives. 

There are several general categories of analysis, or processes toward a good analysis, that apply to all businesses and sites. These are the several areas that we’ll go through in detail below. 

To get started, you’ll need to figure out who your competitors are.

Identify Competitors

To conduct an SEO competitor analysis, you must first determine who your competition is. That may seem self-evident, but finding your SEO competitors isn’t always as simple as it appears. 

You’ve undoubtedly figured out who your direct business competitors are. You devote all of your time to improving their products and acquiring their customers. These companies will almost certainly be among your SEO competitors, but they won’t be the only ones. Your SEO rivals can appear from anywhere and at any time. In the world of SEO, your competitors may not just be companies in your own area. A direct SEO rival is any site or page that ranks for a term that you’re also pursuing.

Keyword Analysis

The keyword analysis of competitors is an important aspect of the overall SEO competitor analysis. It can provide you with a wealth of information to help you plan your SEO approach. Competitor keyword analysis has a few different elements.

First, you should look at your competitors’ pages to see how difficult it is to rank for specific keywords. Specifically, the pages you earlier identified as having a high ranking for the keyword in question. Then you’ll want to look at the different aspects and elements of those pages. 

Things like page or domain authority, online traffic, and related metrics are the most important factors to look at. These are the ranking elements that Google will have considered when assigning SERP rankings to the pages.

This first stage of competitor keyword analysis helps refine your keyword list. You can eliminate the targets that are overly competitive and focus on the easier ones. 

If you want to boost your SERP rating for any keyword, you must outrank the sites that are already there. A crucial step in this process is to conduct a keyword gap analysis which is the process of figuring out which keywords high-ranking pages rank for and which you don’t.

Backlinks

SEO isn’t just about keywords. Your SEO competitor analysis must also consider what your competitors are doing in various areas. If they have a high SERP rating, then they probably have amassed an impressive backlink profile. You should dig into that profile and learn from it. 

The most important thing to figure out is where your competitors obtain their links from.

This gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of tweaking or adapting your own backlink strategy. You might discover websites or domains linking to your competitors but not to you. You can then engage with them and attempt to win over the backlink. 

Content Analysis

To assess on-page factors, you should also look at your competitors’ pages and content. We’re primarily concerned with the content’s discernible quality. 

When evaluating content quality, there are numerous factors to consider. First, you should consider how relevant the information is to the site’s or company’s niche. 

It’s also vital to consider how effectively content matches reader intent. Google prioritizes content that is truly valuable to readers and provides genuine answers to their questions. The extent to which your content is comprehensive is a good predictor of overall quality. Longer articles that really get to the heart of a topic are preferable over short, vague pieces of content.

For this part of the competitor analysis, you must read your competitors’ content and make a subjective assessment. Then, compare the content’s quality to your own; this will help you determine whether or not your content needs to be improved and how.

UX Analysis

In addition to recognizing high-quality content, Google considers user experience to be a significant ranking factor. They tend to give easier-to-navigate sites a higher rating than others. They also choose sites that are accessible to a wide range of users, including phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop users. 

You should consider user experience when evaluating competing pages and websites. This means looking at how mobile-friendly a competitor’s website is or how fast their website loads.

A good competitive analysis will identify and evaluate how rival sites perform in these categories. If your top competitors outperform you in terms of user experience, that’s an area where you definitely need to improve. 

Continue to Review

The truth is that an SEO competitive analysis is not a one-and-done deal. Because your competitors’ SEO strategies are continuously changing and improving, you must keep track of them as well. 

If you don’t, any keyword gaps you fix will vanish, and whatever content improvements you’ve made will be useless. 

You must constantly examine and enhance your SEO methods and plans if you want to be successful. You’ll be able to make faster, more personalized analysis reports on your competition if you have an SEO competitive analysis method and structure in place. 

Conclusion

Businesses can only stay sharp and on top of their game by engaging in healthy competition. It is not a question of ego to try to outperform your competitors. It’s how businesses stay solvent and provide the finest possible service to their clients. However, it’s important you remember you can only outperform your competitors if you know exactly what they’re doing. 

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