How to perform an SEO competitive analysis
SEO is not a guess work, nor does it happen by chance.
Each time you come across a high ranking page or pages in the search engine, it’s because there are three things that have been done to the page:
- Find the right keyword
- secondly written a high informative piece with that keyword, making sure they’re within the rules of the search engines.
- Thirdly build quality backlinks to increase the page search engine score which boosts ranking.
The real question is how do we go about doing SEO that can guarantee all that?
The answer is in trying to know what these competitors are doing. We have to undertake an SEO competitive analysis for us to know.
But we do talk about SEO always.
The SEO conversation is what happens on a daily basis all in a bit to explain to potential customers about search volume, brand authority, domain authority, budget etc.
With an SEO competitor analysis finding the keyword that matter and the links that will back it up becomes easy.
Even though SEO competitor analysis is a great way to know what your competition are doing and to replicate it, not many webmasters are taking advantage of it.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll explore how to perform competitor analysis for SEO in other to formulate a more realistic SEO strategy that will guarantee the ranking of your pages.
The article will cover:
What is an SEO competitive analysis
The SEO competitive analysis tools
The step by step process of SEO competitor analysis
Here I will be using two great way to conduct the analysis.
What is an SEO competitive analysis
Knowing what an SEO competitor analysis will give us the real understanding and importance of this kind of SEO analysis.
What is an SEO competitive analysis: The SEO competitive analysis is trying to know what our competitors are doing that is always keeping their pages at the top of the search engine ranking.
This type of analysis reveals the keywords the competitor is ranking for, the backlinks and sees whether you can emulate and beat the competition.
By and large, the competitive analysis should be able to bring out two things. First what your competitors are doing and secondly what you’re not doing.
With a comparative analysis, you can be able to understand your competitors.
SEO competitive analysis tools
Going into the SEO competitor analysis will require using the tools that help you research and find what your competitor is doing.
There are tons of tools that can be used for the purpose and some include:
Are among the popular. Of cause, there are other tools available, though different, but still gives you pretty much the same result.
Out of the many tools, SEMrush happens to be one of my favorite and will be using the tool to in some of the process of SEO analysis.
Why is SEO competitive analysis important?
There is always competition in business and why should the internet be an exemption?
The term competitor analysis has been around since before the internet and now playing an incredible role in search engine optimization.
So why is a competitor analysis in SEO important? Well there are several reasons that come into play and include:
- It gives you room to improve your product or service because you’ll understand what your competitor is doing right now.
- It equally boosts your future performance because you’ll know the keyword the competitor is using and the ones that bring in the most traffic.
- An analysis of your competitor, you’ll find other competitors in their link profile, which is valuable information because you can begin to build business relationships with them as well as to improve the link profile.
Now that you’re ready, let’s dive into the process of finding the SEO competitor analysis.
The step by step process of SEO competitor analysis
Competing for a search term is a war and you’ll be up against expert in the industry, newbies, and brands.
But the great thing is, you have the chance to analyze the competition and see what keywords they’re ranking and which one they’re leaving.
Even though it’s not a short-term phenomenon, the benefits, in the long run, will be beneficial.
So what are the ways to do an SEO competitive analysis? Below is the complete step by step process. There is basically two step process I will be using to show you how to do an SEO competitive analysis. Whichever one you intend to do, it’ll still work.
Step one of the competitive analysis
Find the keyword
Your analysis cannot start without having a niche in mind. That’s where keyword research comes in handy.
Because it helps you to narrow down the niche to a much specific keyword of the main niche. For instance, if the industry is “towel”, you may decide to focus on “beach towel for kids”, which makes it easier to rank for than just towel.
But all that happens when you use the keyword tools to find keywords that people are typing into google search box and the pages that are ranking high.
Even though these tools are different, they pretty give you the result that you need. We have outlined our top tools for keyword research and you can read it by clicking here.
In today’s search engine, it’s the more descriptive keywords popularly call long tail keywords have about 70% of the search volume and help you make the top ranking within the page.
Using these tools, you can be able to find your keyword and use it to find your competition.
Find your competitors
By now you should have your main keyword. Now it’s time to know who the main competitors for the keyword. Now just head over to google and input your keyword.
Let’s say our main keyword that will help use to find the competitors is dog training guide (you can use any keyword you wish to rank for), then head over to google and input that term into the google search and hit enter.
After our search, we have come up with the following search results:
The top three pages are our main concern here. Even if you intend to do more than three, just don’t move above the top ten of the search result.
As you can see, our top two search results are just a home page with just basic advice and instruction and the second it about an E-book for dog training.
The third is the one that happens to be the page with a full article. This means you can be able to rank your pages page higher than your competitors when you write long-form content.
But why do we use the top three search result?
The search engine does not rank pages by accident, for a page to rank high, it must offer value and must target a specific keyword.
So your main competitors are always among the top the top three search result.
Analyze your competitor
Now that you know your competitors from our search, it’s time to dig deep into their profile. In this case, am going to be using SEMrush (if you don’t have an SEMrush account you can sign up here to get a free 14 days trial).
There are many reasons to choose SEMrush and some include:
- The site is pretty easy to use and straightforward
- Their data are updated all the time
- Each search result is a full analysis which gives you more than what you’ve asked for.
By now you should have gotten your SEMrush account, then login to your account and to begin your analysis.
Then open and copy the URL of the top three of the search term. And paste them one at a time in the SEMrush search box and hit search.
The search result returns the following information for us:
Our result tells us that the page is receiving over 300 organic search traffic and has a total of 40 backlinks, which is not bad.
For a page to get that organic search volume, you’ll need to to know the keywords the page is ranking for. Just scroll down to find the keywords they’re targeting.
SEMrush will give you the top five keywords from the start that is sending the most organic traffic. But there is an option to export the result and to further look at other keywords.
From the analysis of our first URL, our competitor main keyword sending most of the organic traffic is dog training guide. Other that follow are:
Puppy training guide
Dog obedience training guide
Guide to dog training
Dog training guides
When writing your content, it’s important to add the keywords in addition to your main keywords. But over do things ensure the keyword fits the point you’re making.
Then revisit the page and see what the page is all about. The following are what you should be looking for:
- How the content is written
- The number of keywords and related keywords in the page
- Then see how you can write a better content, preferably not less than 2000 words.
When you’re down to know the link profile of the page. Because backlinks are great for SEO, trying to know the pages linking back to it also will be helpful in the future.
Not only will you get the backlinks linking the site, you will equality knows the type of the link. It can either be a follow or no follow the link.
The link profile of the page has also revealed some of the possible competitors in the niche and a vital place to begin to build a relationship and to seek for backlinks to your site.
These competitors have a large following and a link back to your website will boost your page scores and improve your ranking.
You can use the same procedure for the remaining URL in your top three of the search results.
Step two of the process
In this second step, I will run the process entirely from SEMrush to find the pages that are getting the organic traffic.
Why do we need that?
You see, using google to find keywords or high ranking pages will only bring out the local search result. That’s why using SEMrush will provide a much global scale of the organic pages.
You can use the pages that will appear here to compare with the pages in the search above.
To begin with, just go on to the SEMrush search box and input your keyword. Remember, we’re still going to maintain our ‘dog training guide’.
Then click on search which will show you the following page:
Then scroll down to the section where you’ll see ‘Organic search results’. This will look like this:
This is the top organic search result filtering the local pack from it.
Interestingly, there are three of the pages that have made the top ten search terms from our search result we earlier showed in number two of our first step.
Then take at least three of the URL, preferably the top three of the organic search page and find the exact keywords that are sending the traffic to that page.
Just refer to number three from step one and see the entire process.
You can equally check to see the keyword variation to get also the keywords phrase that is bringing in the traffic:
Takeaway: one important takeaway from the analysis is this when you rank for a particular search term, you don’t always rank for taking keyword alone. The search engine will reward you with both related search term and user intent.
SEO competitive analysis should be part of your research work. Yes, after finding the keyword to target in your article, you can use the tool to find out from your competitor to know the keywords that are bringing in the most organic traffic.
When you implement this strategy, you’ll begin to see the changes in your search traffic due to improving ranking.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve already published an article, you can always improve it and update it. Then resubmit your article to the search engines.