SEO Competitor Analysis: Getting Help From Your competitors’ Data

Posted On : October 1st, 2013   By : Dillip Kumar Mohanty   To : Google

Searching For Unexpected SEO Opportunities

Competitor analysis gives you an added advantage in preparing an efficient & effective SEO strategy for your online marketing. When you want to gear up your online promotion to rank higher in SERP thereby attracting more traffic to your site, remember one thing that the space you aspire for is not vacant. Moreover, it is aspired and well targeted by your competitors from the day one of their online marketing endeavor. Analyzing their way of promotion, marketing or branding provides you sufficient light on the techniques they have been using or the platforms where they are successfully funneling right customers in your niche. So, rather than starting from scratch, you may prepare your promotion strategy with a rich database of diverse marketing opportunities well outlined from your competitor analysis.

benefits of competitor analysis

Is It Important?

When you start your promotion, you have two choices. You may start from scratch by doing a wider level keyword analysis to find link opportunities. You have to search for quality content marketing places from where you may influence and attract your traffic. You have to judiciously prepare a social media strategy to interact with your customers in real time. And in most cases you have to do it in a trial & error method that result in low success ratio. And the important thing is that in the time duration you have spent in this experimental approach, your competitors with their market experience must have carried out their promotion with higher success rate. The second choice is competitor analysis.

The benefits of SEO competitor analysis are:

  • Keywords that can be targeted
  • How they optimize their pages for these keywords
  • Get Website designing idea
  •  Keyword variation in anchor text
  •  Diverse link opportunities
  •  Content marketing strategy they are following
  •  Their social media strategy

Step By Step Guide To SEO Competitor Analysis

When You Should Go For Competitor Analysis

You can go for competitor analysis at two stages of your web marketing; either you have already own a site or you don’t have. If you don’t have any, then it is really good as you have lots of options to choose your keywords & how to design the website giving it the best look or how to put information systematically for easy access so that users’ stickability is higher; overall to provide the best user experience. By observing the design of your competitors’ site, you can accumulate a lot of data & idea to choose from while developing your site.
If you have already own a site, still you have the option to redesign it or change the information hierarchy to give it the best shot.

First Know Your Real Competitors

Decide which keywords will fetch you the real customers. Think about your niche, think about your locality, think about the category of users you want them to visit your site. Just focus your whole attention on it. Analyze whether these keywords are well targeted in your home page and other key pages where you want your customers to land on.

  • Prepare a list of important keywords. The number may vary depending on your niche size or location or on your requirement.
  • Don’t consider all keywords related to your niche to be important rather be specific to those keywords that have the potential to fetch you the real visitors.
  • Check which sites are ranking well for these keywords.
  • Save the lists in Excel files. Also you can get them with tools like SEMrush.
  • Observe & compare the different sets of sites fetched due to different keywords.
  • Sometimes you may get branded sites in the list. Just avoid these sites at this stage.
  • In most cases you may find a number of sites appeared in these lists. They may be the real competitors as their appearance in different lists shows that they are also targeting these keywords; the same users you want and same niche you have. Now you have your list of real competitors.

How They Have Optimized Their Sites With Keywords

Now is the time to analyze their sites for onsite optimization clues. Google broadly categorizes sites with two basic steps.

  • First, how other web pages know your site or how they link to you or what type of anchor texts you have in other sites’ pages.
  • Second one is how you optimize your pages for different keywords.

Sites on the top page in search engines indicate that they have well optimized their pages. So check each important pages of your competitors’. Check the following items with great care.

  • Title tags
  • URLs structure
  • Meta descriptions
  • Header tags (H1, H2, H3 etc)
  •  Keyword positioning in content
  • Content relevancy with targeted keywords

In this way, you can get a clear idea on how you should optimize your pages. Tools like Screaming Frog help you to collect many important factors in this regard.

Site Architecture & Content Optimization

A good site architecture is a must for both search engine bots and users. Observe how your competitors build their sites’ architecture. Easy navigation approach with all main pages linked from home page & category/subcategory structures help users to experience effortless navigation through the site.

Also Content optimization is not only about qualitative information or keyword specific content. Users are more interested in & like to stick when the content is well structured presenting the topic at a glance rather than going from top to bottom. Proper paragraphing, heading name selection, bolding, linking to resource, bulleted points, infographics, graphs etc indicate the quality of content and also provide the users a basic outline of the subject in a simple manner. Just check out how the competitors optimize these areas and you may pick some good ideas from them.

Traffic Data

How much traffic your competitors are getting is really of important piece of information you wish to know. Though you may get traffic ideas from Quantacast, Alexa, SEMRush and from many more but still they don’t give exact data. Traffic data from these sources generally greatly vary from the actual data which can only be derived from Google analytics. As GA data of your competitors can’t be available to you, you have to rely on other tools to just get an estimation of traffic they are getting.

Off-site Promotion Analysis

Analysis of off-site promotion strategy of your competitors and subsequent data collection place you in a better position to design your own promotion strategy with less risk. You can gather really a huge data base of diverse platforms from this and can shoot your promotion with a good speed. Moreover your risk of failure will be less and chances that you may get really awesome ideas you may never know of. Here tools from Moz (previously known as SEOMoz), Ahrefs, SEMRush, Majestic SEO, Raven and many more help to collect data.

off-site promotion analysis

Link Opportunity

Linking is still the most important factors for SEO and is confirmed by a survey taking data from many well-known SEO professionals all over the world. Just glance over the off-site promotion data of your competitors and you are going to get huge link opportunities from it. Go through this and decide where actually they get valuable traffic of your niche. Don’t follow them blindly. Rather build your success over their loopholes. Your competitors may grab thousands of links but it doesn’t mean that all these links are really helpful in driving real traffic. Carefully choose the best options and include them in your SEO strategy for future.

Content Marketing

Presently content marketing is the buzzword in the SEO industry as Google is giving more importance to quality content. But remember this is one important factor in SEO but certainly not the single most important factor. Still you have to market your contents in good places where you can get good customers and thereby you can build your brand. Look for content marketing ideas from your competitors. Observe where they have successfully placed their contents and whether those platforms really help them to draw valuable traffic to their sites. A lot of guest blogging sites and article sites have been devalued by Google. Links from those places are neither going to help you in ranking nor fetch you real traffic. So, after preparing a primary list of sites for content marketing, analyze their quality and prepare your final list.

Social Media

Social media platforms help you in the development of your brand. They provide platforms to engage with your customers in real-time basis. For sure success, connection at a personal level with your customers is a must and social media impart the same experience. So don’t forget to analyze the social media promotion strategy of your competitors. Search how they are connecting with their customers in or how they are sharing their contents in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and in many more other platforms. Followerwonk by Moz or Topsy is a good place to track their activity and type of their followers in Twitter. Also you can get their Facebook activity data from Moz tool. You can avail the service like Google alert so that whenever your competitors share contents or whenever their news or mentions appear in web you can know about it instantly.

Though here we discuss about the SEO competitive analysis in a broad manner but you can explore many more ideas while going through their promotion database. SEO competitive analysis should be done comprehensively and it should be placed in the top of your strategy. Again it is worth to mention that time is the most important factor in your business and competitor analysis reduces your effort thereby saving your much needed time for other important works.

Every SEO Should Remember These

  • A site in the top of SERP doesn’t mean whatever strategy it has been following is white-hat or good for you. For example, in time it may have acquired some bad links but still these links do not affect its position. Actually when percentage of such links is quite low then Google won’t bother but if you start your promotion from such places then you are going to be doomed. So it is better to know the quality of links your competitors have.
  • Second, never think that once you finish up your analysis at the beginning stage of your marketing, it is done. You should do this periodically as new players may appear in the list or your competitors may redesign their plan with new strategy.
  • Don’t outline your promotion strategy fully based on your competitor analysis. You can explore new methods and ideas from your own analysis by searching the market on everyday basis.
Dillip Kumar Mohanty

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