Top Tips and Tools for Awesome Competitor SEO Analysis
Bad news, team. It’s not all about you. That’s why we’re here to talk you through the importance of competitor SEO analysis.
Sure, you’re wearing a fancy website like you were born to it, your keywords are sparkling with potential, and your blog is downright naughty when it comes to optimised content… what does it matter what anyone else is doing?
The truth is your SEO efforts don’t live in isolation. That makes competitor analysis one of the most fundamental SEO services. Search engine optimisation is about making the best out of your digital presence to rank as highly as possible in search engine results. That means SEO isn’t just about how good you look, it’s about how good you look against the competition.
If you want a comprehensive understanding of what you’re doing right, and how to do it better, competitor analysis is a great place to start.
What are the benefits of SEO competitive analysis?
1. Explore the reality of your keyword opportunity
Desperately trying to rank for ‘buy Nike shoes in Kuala Lumpur’? The chances are that Nike is going to be offering some stern competition when it comes to that number one spot on Google.
Competitor analysis provides the tools to understand what your competition is targeting, and understand how likely it is you might be able to take a slice of that delicious search engine pie. It’s also an important way of ensuring your own goals and targets are achievable and realistic.
On the flipside, competitor analysis offers an equally interesting opportunity to target keywords utilised by competitors. Analysing specific terms used by your competition can provide some powerful insight into high-performing keywords that you can aggressively target to increase your own market share.
2. Be informed and inspired by your competitor’s success
You might think you’ve got the finest optimised site in all of internet-land, but a good competitor analysis can hold a revealing mirror up to your efforts. Looking at competitors’ sites, how they rank, and what they’re doing better, can provide a catalyst for you to tweak your own SEO efforts for better results.
Good SEO analysis of competitors provides more detail than a brief overview might. It provides actionable data on high-performing content and areas of a competitor’s website that can enable strategic decision-making which generates an important competitive advantage.
3. Discover a gold mine of backlinks
Backlinks are a gold standard of successful SEO. That means building backlinks is an important part of search engine ranking. Competitor analysis can offer a powerful tool for building this resource.
Your competitors are likely to be brands operating in the same sector as you. If they’re not, you’re probably doing your competitor analysis wrong. That means backlinks from particular websites and domains to your competitor’s website are ripe for good link building efforts on your side too. If they’re linking to your competitor, chances are they’ll find what you’re offering equally interesting. It’s up to you to leverage that interest to build positive relationships and content that help generate backlinks to your own website.
What are the best tools for competitor SEO analysis?
Step 1: Find and explore your competitors
You’re probably the person who knows your market best, so the first place to start is with your own knowledge of competitors. Identify 2 or 3 key market competitors and work from there. But the digital space can work a little differently to your extensive rivalry with the company down the road. There isn’t the same geographical determination when it comes to competition.
Semrush offers a helpful tool to identify key competitors in the digital landscape. Simply input your own website address, and check to see what ‘organic competitors’ they throw your way.
KWfinder is another extremely handy tool when it comes to competitor identification. Using their SERP Analysis functionality you can input a key search term or phrase relating to your brand’s offer, and the results will show you a list of the top performing SERP rankings on Google to compare against.
Buzzsumo is a widely used analysis tool for content performance and social media share metrics. Similar to the SERP Analysis tool on KWfinder however, it can offer some powerful insight into the top performers in a variety of content areas.
Step 2: Explore the backlinks
Like we discussed above, backlinks are one of the big wins of SEO. Discovering domains linking to your competitors can offer some powerful and actionable information on how to build links to your own website.
Moz Open Site Explorer is a simple, user-friendly tool that can easily check backlinks to a website. Simply enter the website, and the tool will fire out some general overviews of the page performance alongside a list of top backlinks. It’s free for a basic overview, or pay for more detailed analysis.
Ahrefs is a powerful and comprehensive SEO tool that’s widely favoured by SEO experts. It requires a subscription to use, but provides hugely detailed analysis of everything from keywords to backlinks.
Majestic is another widely respected link analysis tool. The basic overview will offer a summary of the aggregate data around backlinks to a given website, with paid-up subscribers offered detailed analysis broken down to individual domains.
Step 3: Identify your target profile
Once you’ve had a look through the links and understood what your competitors are doing well, you should have a good idea of how to target your own resources. A more detailed data-driven approach to this comes from specifically exploring pages and keywords that your competitor is gaining good traffic from.
Screaming Frog is a site crawler tool that’s widely used to analyse site structure and technical elements. However, a bit of clever understanding can turn it into a helpful competitor analysis tool. Input your competitor’s URL and set Screaming Frog to crawl it, then check the title tags and meta-descriptions of the pages to handily see what keywords they might be looking to gain traction with.
Semrush once again offers a great analysis tool for understanding keyword performance of competitors. Searching your competitors using this tool will provide a handy analysis of the terms driving the most traffic to their site.
Spyfu could rightly be in the backlink analysis section also, but it’s equally helpful as a keyword explorer for SEO analysis of your competitors. It’s free for basic features and paid for more detailed analysis.
Similar Web is another all-round tool that helps provide useful insight into backlinks, website performance and keyword data. Again, it’s pay for full access, but the basic search gives a great overview of site performance alongside the top 5 performing keywords.