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By conducting an SEO competitor analysis, you can understand how your competitors are performing and make data-driven decisions to level up your business. So, let’s understand what are the different aspects you need to consider when performing competitor SEO tracking and how you do so efficiently.

What is Competitor Analysis for SEO?

A competitor SEO analysis, also known as competitor analysis, is the process of studying your direct search competitors. This involves researching their target keywords, content strategy, backlink profile, and more. The goal is to learn from their successful tactics and apply them to your SEO strategy.

Instead of guessing which keywords to focus on, what content to create, or which links to build, you can examine your competitors’ strategies and build upon their success. Viewing your competitors as a valuable source of information rather than a challenge is key. 

By incorporating SEO competitor analysis into your organic search strategy, you can access a wealth of data. When done effectively, this analysis helps you create better, more targeted content, improve your search engine rankings, and attract relevant traffic to your website. Before you can outperform your competitors, it is crucial to determine: 

  • Who your “real” search competitors are- it may not always be who you expect. 
  • Which keywords they are ranking for and receiving organic traffic from. 

Importance of SEO Competitor Analysis

An SEO competitor analysis is a crucial aspect of any comprehensive SEO strategy. It involves delving into the websites of your competitors to uncover valuable insights into their SEO tactics and performance. By understanding what strategies your competitors are employing and how successful they are, you can gain a competitive edge in the digital landscape. 

  • Benchmark Your SEO Efforts

Conducting an SEO competitor analysis allows you to benchmark your own SEO efforts against those of your competitors. By comparing key metrics such as keyword rankings, organic traffic, and backlink profiles, you can identify areas where you excel and areas where you may need improvement. This benchmarking process provides invaluable context for understanding your current standings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and helps you set realistic goals for improvement. 

  • Gain Valuable Insights Into Strengths and Weaknesses

By conducting thorough competitive research, you can understand your competitors’ key strengths and weaknesses. You can analyze factors like their target keywords, content strategy, and backlink profile, you can identify the tactics that are driving their success as well as areas where they may be falling short. This insight allows you to learn from their success and avoid their mistakes, ultimately helping you to refine and optimize your SEO strategy. 

  • Uncover Opportunities for Growth and Expansion 

An SEO competitor analysis can reveal untapped opportunities for business growth and expansion. By identifying gaps in your competitors’ content coverage or areas where they are underperforming, you can capitalize on these opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. 

You can target niche keywords that your competitors have overlooked or create high-quality content that fills a void in the market. An in-depth competitors check can help you uncover new avenues for driving organic traffic and expanding your online presence. 

  • Informed Decision-Making through Strategic Analysis

A comprehensive analysis of your competitors can also provide you with valuable intelligence for strategic decision-making and resource allocation. By understanding which keywords and topics your competitors are prioritizing, you can make more informed decisions about where to focus your efforts and allocate your SEO resources more effectively. 

Whether it is doubling down on your strengths or addressing your weaknesses, the insights gleaned from a competitor analysis are crucial. They can help you make smarter, data-driven decisions that drive results. 

Therefore an SEO competitor analysis is a foundational step in any successful SEO strategy. By undertaking this analysis, you can get a competitive edge in the ever-evolving digital landscape. 

How to Conduct SEO Competitor Analysis?

In order to conduct an in-depth SEO competitor analysis, you need to perform individual competitive analysis tasks. Follow this SEO competitor analysis template to develop a detailed SEO competitor report:

1. Competitor SEO Keyword Analysis

An SEO competitor keyword analysis is a vital aspect of optimizing your website’s search engine performance. It involves a thorough examination of your competitors’ keyword strategies to uncover crucial insights that can inform and enhance your SEO efforts. Follow the below aspects to conduct a thorough competitor keyword analysis:

  • Manually Search for Competitors

A fundamental step in SEO keyword competitor analysis involves identifying your competitors. Start by searching your main keywords on search engines like Google and note down the top-ranking domains. Consistent appearances of certain domains across multiple keywords indicate your main organic competitors. Keep track of these domains for future reference as you can get invaluable insights for refining your own SEO approach. You can rely on the ASO & SEO Search Ranking & Keyword Tool to refine this process. 

  • Find Authority Score of Competitors

We focus on how esteemed a domain is perceived by search engines like Google when it comes to website authority. Several factors contribute to a site’s authority, including the caliber of its content, robust backlink profile, and adherence to E-A-T principles (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Along with these, longevity in the digital realm, stellar user experience, social validation, brand reputation, and positive user interactions play a crucial role. 

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Sites with high authority are formidable competitors, making it challenging to contend with them. For instance, if you have recently launched a website in the education niche, competing with well-established institutions for top search engine rankings can be daunting. That is why, it is crucial to identify the authority score to understand your standing among your competitors.

  • Focus on Search Intent

When it comes to SEO, prioritize user search intent over search volume. Delving deeper into the objectives behind user searches enables you to align your content more effectively with their needs. By ensuring that your content satisfactorily addresses user search intent, you not only enhance user experience but also enhance your search engine rankings, thus, driving more organic traffic to your site. 

  • Evaluate Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities

For websites that are relatively smaller or less established, focusing on long-tail keyword variations can yield substantial benefits. These long-tail keywords, characterized by their specificity and lower competition, present significant opportunities for achieving better rankings and attracting highly relevant traffic to your website. 

Identifying and capitalizing on these long-tail keyword opportunities can enable you to carve out a distinct niche in your industry. You can utilize the Keyword Shuffle tool and Keyword Suggestion tool to create and utilize relevant long-tail keywords. 

  • Check SEO Competitors’ Paid Listings

Beyond organic search, analyzing your competitors’ strategies in paid search listings can offer an adequate understanding in regards to the keywords. By carefully scrutinizing the keywords your competitors focus on in their pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you gain valuable intel on profitable and high-value keywords. Incorporating these insights into your SEO strategy empowers you to compete effectively in paid search channels and maximize your online visibility. 

  • Perform Keyword Gap Analysis 

After identifying your primary organic competitors, you need to conduct a keyword gap analysis. This process entails uncovering the keywords your competitors rank for but are absent from your keyword portfolio. The objective of keyword gap analysis is to optimize your existing content with these relevant keywords and create new pages tailored to address the gap. 

By doing so, you aim to surpass your competitors by delivering superior content that offers greater value to your audience. However, not all identified keywords may be relevant to your site. So it is essential to sift through the list to pinpoint the most relevant to your niche and target audience. 

  • Monitor Your Keyword Rankings

Continuous monitoring of keyword rankings is indispensable for staying abreast of the competition. You can leverage automated SEO competitive analysis tools to track keyword rankings, for both your website and your competitors, providing actionable insights into trends and performance metrics over time. 

From existing keywords to new keywords, you can keep track of these and understand the new directions your competitors are ranking in terms of content and target keywords. This ongoing monitoring allows you to adapt your SEO strategy dynamically, ensuring that you remain competitive and responsive to changes in the search landscape. 

2. Competitor SEO Content Analysis

Understanding the significance of content is essential to a comprehensive SEO competitor analysis. While keywords are crucial, your evaluation extends beyond mere keyword assessment. It encompasses leveraging insights from your competitors’ top-performing content to elevate your SEO strategy. 

Here, the goal is to identify your competitors’ most engaging content and leverage it to enhance your own. By tapping into what resonates with their audience, you can streamline your efforts and capitalize on proven strategies. This not only saves time but also ensures that your content aligns closely with user search intent. This improves the overall user experience and potentially catapults your content ahead in the search engine results pages (SERPs). When evaluating your competitors’ content, consider the following aspects: 

  • Content Type Diversity 

When delving into the different types of content, you need to identify the different formats your competitor sites utilize. These may include listicles, comprehensive how-to guides, informative reviews, captivating infographics, and engaging videos.

By analyzing the efficacy of each format in capturing audience attention and driving engagement, you can gain valuable understanding that can help you create your content strategy. Embracing different content formats allows you to cater to the varied preferences of your target audience, enhancing user engagement and amplifying your online presence.

  • Evaluate Page Loading Speed

The loading speed of web pages is not just a technical concern; it is a crucial determinant of user experience and search engine rankings. A slow-loading website frustrates visitors, leading to higher bounce rates and diminished user satisfaction. To gain a competitive edge, prioritize optimizing your images, videos, and other multimedia elements to expedite page loading times. 

By ensuring swift and seamless access to your content, you can enhance user experience, retain visitors, and improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs. This becomes particularly advantageous if your competitors’ websites suffer from sluggish loading speeds, enabling you to differentiate yourself and attract more traffic. You can use the Page Speed Assessment tool to identify how your web pages perform and make the necessary adjustments. 

  • Content Quality Assessment

Evaluate the quality of your competitors’ content based on criteria such as expertise, depth of research, factual accuracy, and readability. High-quality content demonstrates authority and provides genuine value to readers, positioning it as a competitive strength. On the contrary, content riddled with errors, keyword stuffing, thinness, or an imbalanced image-to-text ratio represents weaknesses that you can exploit by delivering superior content. 

  • Meta Title and Description Check
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Meta titles and descriptions wield significant influence in attracting user attention on SERPs. While not directly impacting rankings, they play a pivotal role in driving click-through rates (CTR) to your articles. The meta title serves as the headline of your article on the SERPs, while the meta description offers a concise overview below it. By scrutinizing how your competitors craft their meta titles and descriptions and comparing them to your own, you can glean insights for optimization. 

If you detect deficiencies in your approach, draw inspiration from high-ranking competitors to refine your meta elements. Conversely, if competitors overlook optimization opportunities, capitalize on this by crafting compelling titles and descriptions that entice users to click through to your page. 

Key considerations when analyzing title tags and meta descriptions include keyword relevance, strategic placement, descriptiveness, and their ability to captivate readers and prompt engagement. 

  • Aim for Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are prominent paragraph-length answers showcased atop SERPs. They are highly coveted for their visibility and authority. Securing a featured snippet positions your content prominently in search results and enhances visibility. To vie for featured snippets, prioritize providing accurate, to-the-point, and comprehensive answers to user queries within your content. 

This can be achieved through clear structuring, informative content, and addressing common questions concisely. By studying competitors who have secured featured snippets, you can gain insights into their strategies and adapt your approach accordingly. 

  • Focus on Readability 

Readability is paramount in ensuring user engagement and comprehension of your content. Content should be presented in a visually appealing manner, with ample spacing, readable fonts, and organized into digestible paragraphs. Incorporating bullet point lists, subheadings (H2s and H3s), and clear section breaks enhances readability and enhances content navigation.

Assessing competitors’ content readability involves reviewing the layout, structure, and hierarchy of their text. If competitors’ content appears dense or lacks clear organization, capitalize on this by employing strategic subheadings to break down content and improve readability. Maintaining a clear hierarchy of headings ensures content coherence and enhances user experience. 

3. Competitor Backlink Profile Analysis

Backlinks serve as a crucial indicator of a domain’s authority and influence in search engine rankings. These are inbound links originating from external websites and are regarded by Google and other search engines as a vote of confidence from other sites. 

The quality and credibility of the linking sites significantly impact the rankings power derived from backlinks. Thus, it is imperative to conduct competitor backlink analysis. This involves evaluating the backlinks acquired by your competitors, as they provide key insights into the type and caliber of links necessary to compete effectively. Therefore, by conducting a thorough analysis of your competitors’ backlinks, you can refine your backlink acquisition strategy, often referred to as SEO link gap analysis. Effective strategies to catch up with competitors and enhance your backlink profile include:

  • Monitor Link-Building Activities

One of the most effective strategies for enhancing your backlink profile is to monitor your competitors’ link-building efforts closely. By observing their active endeavors in securing backlinks and understanding the tactics they employ, you can gain valuable insights into successful approaches. 

Evaluate their strategies while striving to create even more compelling and valuable content. This proactive approach enables you to stay competitive in the digital landscape and fortify your backlink profile.

  • Establish Reputable Links through Content Outreach

A proactive approach to elevating your backlink profile involves establishing reputable links to your website through content outreach. Utilize techniques like the Skyscraper method to create high-quality, authoritative content that naturally attracts backlinks. 

Reach out to relevant websites and influencers within your industry niche, offering your superior content for publication. By sharing valuable resources and expertise, you can earn backlinks from reputable sources, enhancing the authority and visibility of your website. 

  • Leverage Unlinked Brand Mentions

Identifying unlinked mentions of your brand across the web presents an opportunity to secure valuable backlinks. Engage with site administrators and content creators to request the inclusion of backlinks to your website within these mentions. 

By leveraging unlinked brand references, you can capitalize on existing brand recognition and expand your backlink profile. This proactive approach strengthens the connectivity and authority of your website within your industry ecosystem. 

  • Optimize Backlink Relevance and User Experience

When acquiring new backlinks, prioritize directing them to the most relevant content on your website. Ensure that each backlink points to content that aligns closely with the context and theme of the linking source. 

By optimizing backlink relevance, you can enhance the user experience and ensure that visitors are directed to valuable and relevant content. This strategic approach not only maximizes the impact of link equity but also improves user engagement and retention of your website. 

4. Technical SEO Competitor Analysis

To gain a competitive edge in the digital world, it is crucial to delve into the technical aspects of your website and compare them with those of your competitors. This analysis unveils insights into performance and user experience, highlighting areas for improvement and opportunities for capitalization. You need to ensure the following aspects when checking the conducting technical SEO analysis:

  • Evaluate Website Performance
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Focusing on user experience is the key to SEO success. Assessing website performance, measured through metrics like Core Web Vitals, enables you to gauge how your site stacks up against competitors. By optimizing speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, you can enhance user satisfaction and level up your competitive position. 

  • Internal Linking

Internal linking involves creating links within a website’s pages to facilitate search engine discovery, indexing, and comprehension. Utilizing clear, descriptive anchor text for internal links is endorsed by Google for optimal navigation. A well-structured internal linking system enhances user experience and aids search engines in understanding site architecture. Additionally, directing links to significant pages within your site can elevate the authority of those pages, contributing to improved rankings. 

  • Implement SSL Certifications

Prioritizing website security is critical for search engine rankings and user trust. SSL certifications to ensure HTTPS encryption, thereby safeguarding user data and enhancing search visibility. By implementing SSL certifications, you can fortify your website’s security position and signal trustworthiness to users and search engines. 

  • Check URL Structure

A well-structured URL plays a vital role in conveying page content and enhancing search visibility. Analyze competitors’ URL structures to glean insights into keyword incorporation, readability, and contextual relevance. Understand and implement successful approaches to refine your own URL strategy and elevate your search engine optimization efforts. 

  • Assess Mobile Responsiveness

In today’s mobile-centric world, mobile-friendliness is non-negotiable. Evaluate your mobile responsiveness to ensure your website offers a seamless experience across all devices. By optimizing for mobile usability, you can attract and retain users, gaining a competitive advantage in SERP rankings. You can use the Free Mobile Friendly Test tool to check how your website is performing and make necessary modifications based on that. 

  • Identify Schema Markup 

Schema markup enriches search results with valuable information, enhancing visibility and click-through rates. Analyze competitors’ employment of schema markup to identify opportunities for incorporating structured data into your own website. By leveraging rich snippets, you can differentiate your brand and attract more organic traffic. 

When Should You Do SEO Competitor Analysis?

Your SEO endeavors exist within a dynamic and competitive landscape, constantly evolving alongside your competitors. Regularly evaluating your competitors’ strategies is essential to maintaining and improving your search engine rankings. Here are some key aspects when conducting an SEO competitor analysis is imperative:

  • Content Creation and Planning: Conduct in-depth competitor analysis before crafting content to ensure your pages offer superior value and relevance to users. By understanding competitors’ approaches, you can infuse your content with unique perspectives and insights, enhancing search engine visibility. 
  • Addressing Ranking Fluctuations: In the face of sudden ranking drops, competitor analysis becomes invaluable. Investigate the strategies employed by your competitors to gain rankings from where you can identify areas for improvement and optimization.
  • Combatting Stagnation in SERPs: If your page remains stagnant in search engine results (SERPs), it is time to reassess your approach. Conducting competitor analysis helps identify optimization opportunities and strategic adjustments to propel your page forward. 
  • Responding to SERP Changes: When shifts occur in SERP rankings, seize the opportunity to learn from your competitors’ success. Analyze the strengths of newly top-ranked websites and adapt their strategy accordingly to regain prominence in search results. 

Therefore, by incorporating competitor analysis into these critical junctures, you can stay ahead of the curve and continuously refine your SEO strategy for optimal performance. 

How Often Should You Perform SEO Competitor Analysis?

Regular SEO competitor analysis is important for staying ahead of the industry dynamics and maintaining your competitive edge. You can perform an SEO competitor analysis once a month. It is the ideal recommended frequency to gain a comprehensive understanding of your niche. However, this frequency may vary based on:

  • Niche Size and Competition: The scale of your niche and the number of competitors can influence the analysis frequency. Larger niches with numerous competitors may necessitate more frequent assessments to stay informed. 
  • Algorithm Updates: Algorithm updates by search engines can significantly impact rankings and competition dynamics. Conducting special analysis following major updates allows for timely adjustments to your strategy and adaption to evolving search parameters. You can identify the reason for sudden ranking fluctuations and successfully implement post-update tactics, enabling you to refine your approach for sustained SERP progression. 

Examine your competitor’s keyword rankings post-update to identify emerging trends and shifts in search behavior. Moreover, you can capitalize on competitors’ losses, such as lost backlinks or featured snippets by seizing these opportunities to enhance your strategy. 

Therefore, by incorporating regular competitor analyses and post-update assessments into your SEO strategy, you can navigate changes effectively and maintain a competitive position in search engine results. 

Conclusion

Thus, conducting a comprehensive SEO competitor analysis is critical to stay ahead of your rivals and refine your SEO strategy. Follow the SEO competitive analysis template to conduct a thorough assessment of keywords, content, backlinks, as well as technical SEO. Adapt and implement relevant strategies based on the competitor analysis to rank higher in the search engines and gain more organic traffic.