Search engine rankings are not forever. A competitor can easily boot you from that top position and leave you with poor search results by outsmarting you. And with time, you’ll face new competitors who will do all they can to overtake that top position you currently enjoy.
That’s why you need to do regular SEO competitive analyses. Don’t think that once you do a competitive analysis you’re done and don’t need to do it again. This is a regular activity you should be engaging in to look for new opportunities and keep your current rankings.
What Is an SEO Competitor Analysis?
A competitor analysis takes a look at top companies ranking for keywords relevant to your business. That way, you can understand other keywords you’re not currently targeting and watch out for changes in your competitor’s keyword strategies.
When evaluating your competitors, you’ll look at four key areas of interest.
- Keyword competition
- Backlink analysis
- Keyword gap analysis
One big reason to do these analyses is to help you get started with SEO research quickly. That way, you aren’t starting from nothing but have a good foundation for understanding keywords and your industry to get your SEO efforts started quickly.
An easy way to do this analysis is to use an analysis tool, such as SEMRush, Ahrefs or MOZ. These tools make it simpler to complete a competitor analysis.
Steps to Complete an SEO Competitive Analysis
Now you’re ready to complete an SEO competitive analysis. Don’t forget, you should be completing this activity regularly and updating the list of competitors that you include in your analysis.
Ahrefs provides a template to complete a competitor analysis to make the process simple.
1. List Out Your Main Competitors
To execute a competitive analysis, you need to know who your closest related competitors are. Just because a website ranks higher than yours does not mean that they are a competitor.
Be thorough when evaluating your competitors but also don’t try to overreach beyond your industry or relevant companies. Ubersuggest allows you to type a keyword to see a list of top links and domains for that keyword.
Just know that the number of searches you can complete for free is limited. So be especially careful and strategic in the searches you complete.
Looking for a Marketing Agency?
Get measurable results on your investment.
2. Complete a Page Analysis
Now that you know what domains have competing and top-performing pages, you need to review those pages to see why they are doing so well.
Learn the keywords that the company is using on that page and how they are incorporating the keywords into their content. This process is called a keyword gap analysis.
The process gets its name from the fact that you’re looking to see what keywords the competitor is ranking for that you are not ranking for, or you’re ranking poorly for. Once you understand these keywords that are missing from your website, you can find strategic ways to incorporate them.
3. Complete a Competitor Backlink Analysis
As you look at the keywords your competitors are ranking for, take a look at the backlinks they have as well. This can show you opportunities where you can seek out quality backlinks as well.
As you look at your competitors’ backlinks, evaluate these three aspects.
- Total number of backlinks
- Domain authority of linking websites
- How relevant the linking websites are
4. Target Keywords with the Highest Potential ROI
Now that you know where your opportunities lie in your keyword strategy, you want to look to rank for the keywords with the highest potential ROI. Some ways of doing this are ranking the keywords by the relevancy to your business and then by the monthly search volume.
You want highly relevant keywords with high search volumes and low competition. These are more likely to earn you top spots on search engines.
5. Develop a Content Plan
Avoid keyword stuffing when working to incorporate keywords you discovered from your keyword gap analysis. That means creating a strategic content plan for how to use these keywords in a meaningful way that will help you connect with your customers.
You might target some keywords a few months from now with blog posts, case studies or new products that require those keywords.
6. Monitor Ongoing Progress
Keep an eye on keyword rankings to spot changes in your currently ranking pages and those you’re trying to get into the first page of results. Watching changes in rankings closely can help you spot competitive changes, both opportunities and threats.
SEO requires a great deal of time and attention. If you need an expert to help you throughout this process, contact New Light Digital. We’ll complete a competitive analysis and long-term plan to help you maintain current rankings and gain new keyword rankings.