Competitor analysis has been going on since day one in the free market. The moment there were two blacksmiths in town, business owners started trying to figure out how to beat their competition. The advent of Internet marketing has made some of these aspects easier, but it also means it’s easier for your competition.
That means if you’re not doing SEO competitive analysis and your competitors are, you’re going to be at a serious disadvantage. So we’ve put together a list of things you should be looking at, and the tools we use to do it.
The first thing you want to look at when you’re doing SEO competitive analyses is the keywords you rank for and where you rank for them. Then you can look at your competitors, how they stack up for those.
For this we use Moz to help us track where we are, where our competitors are, and how we’re all moving up and down from month to month.
The next thing you’re going to want to look at, is what your competitors are ranking for that perhaps you’re not. For that we use tools like SEMRush and Spyfu.
Now that you’ve got a baseline of where your competitors are stacking up for words that you either have or want, you can start figuring out why.
Tools like SEMRush give a fairly clear picture of what links your competition have gotten in the past. The reason this is important is because many of those links are attainable by you, so you can mitigate the backlink advantage they may have.
In some cases, if the inbound link is broken or outdated you’re able to contact those bloggers or article authors and offer newer or better content for them to link to. For more information on this check out our blog on how to get high quality back links.
Internal Link Analysis
Looking at your internal linking as well as your competitors can tell you a lot about why they may be ranking better than you may be. If they’ve done a better job of cleaning up their internal links than you, it’s better for readers, and also for search engines.
To look at your own internal links we, use Moz’s crawl tool to give us an update each week of our website’s link health.
Since we can’t tap into a competitor’s analytics or Web Master Tools, we have to rely on crawl tools like Sreaming Spider SEO tool to look at all the internal links that a website has. It also gives insights to the site structure. These insights can help you make changes to your website that will help your organic rankings. (if the competitor out ranks you)
On-Page SEO Analysis
Screaming Spider can also give you insight into the on page SEO of your competition. It will give you their H1,2,3 tags, meta descriptions, and the alt attributes for their images. You can see if they’re doing a better job of displaying the tag hierarchy than you are.
You can also look at the page content to see if they’re at optimal levels, and most importantly if yours are. If they’ve done a better job than you have, it would probably be good to get with your designer and see what you can do to implement changes that keep your design integrity.
There are a lot of great tools to see what your competitors are doing online. They provide important information to business owners of what they’re doing, and give actionable items to improve your own website.
Of course with this great power comes the knowledge that you’re not the only one with these tools. So as you improve, your competitors are going to be doing their own SEO competitive analysis to help them move ahead of you. The truth is there’s no secret sauce, all the information you get is available to everyone. The upside to that is that there’s no secrets, and that means unlike the business owners of the past, you won’t get in any trouble for stealing these recipes.