How To Get The Most Out Of Your Competitors? - Semalt Expert

Has the question "How can I rank higher in Google?" ever crossed your mind? If so, competitive SEO analysis is a good next step when you have completed the basics of SEO. The advantage of the World Wide Web is that there is a lot to discover. This also applies to most of the SEO signals that your competitors send to the search engine.

In this blog, we explain how to do a competitive SEO analysis, what benefits can be gained and how to stay ahead of your competitor and finally what tool you should use to succeed in a thorough competitive analysis. Who wouldn't want that??

Advantages of SEO Competitive Analysis

Doing a competitor analysis can be based on several reasons:
There are plenty of reasons why it is useful to occasionally check what is happening on the market. In our view, these are qualities that belong to a marketer, in this case, you as an SEO specialist. You are the one who sets the course in the field of SEO and is (probably) held responsible for the end results. In order to do that properly, you have to periodically check what is happening on the market.

How do you make an SEO competitor analysis?

There are many ways in which you can discover what your competitor wants or is found for. With this information, you will soon be able to determine whether you also want to optimize your website for these search terms, or whether you want to sail a different course. There are many reasons to come up with why you end up going for something or not. Try to involve other specialists in your choice, for example, an SEA specialist. Perhaps he / she has been advertising for a while on the terms for which you may want to optimize your website and this person can already tell you a bit more whether these search terms work or not. In addition, it is useful to open a spreadsheet in which you note the occasions during your competitive research when competitors are doing better than you.

Now, let's start by determining the essential points you need to know about your competitors.

What keywords does my competitor use?

My first step when I get started with a competitor analysis is: what do my competitors rank on? I always distinguish between two types of competitors: firstly your actual competitors, these competitors are often known from market research. Secondly, your online competitors: other companies that rank for search terms that you would like to be found for. Both types of competitors are important to watch and scrutinize. With your online competitors, the question is always to what extent you can call them a competitor. For example, if they only rank on three terms that you also want to rank on, ignore them. If they rank on a topic with many terms and if they have a large impression share, be sure to include them in your research.

To display the keywords that competitors are ranking for, I use the Dedicated SEO Dashboard. In fact, the Dedicated SEO Dashboard is one of the biggest players in the SEO tools market. This tool provides a comprehensive competitor analysis including domain analysis, keyword research, backlink checker and many more. You can start your research by searching the competition for your main search term or by analyzing the website of your main competitor. In the first case, you should choose Keyword Overview from the menu and type your keyword in the search box. The country of the survey will be set according to the language of the query, but you can also choose it manually from the list.

If you enter your competitor's name under the "competitors" section, you will immediately see what your competitor is ranking on (see image below).

If you scroll a little further down, you will also immediately see your main online competitors.

The elements that you must take into account in this section

Your main competitor in the picture? Then take a look at:
In addition to this report, you can enrich your analysis. With this keyword research tool, you can also see what your competitor is ranking on and you are not yet.

Ideal for getting new content ideas. If you filter in this overview for, for example, keywords with a search volume higher than 200 impressions per month and low keyword difficulty (the difficulty to rank on something), you will quickly find opportunities for which you can write better content.

If you want to see who your competitors are at the keyword level, enter the term you would like to rank for under the heading 'keyword analytics'.

Now that you know what your competitors rank on, you may have gotten an indication of which terms you want to optimize your website on. In this choice, take the steps mentioned below into account and (as mentioned earlier) also involve other specialists in your choice. 

SEO benchmark

Now that you know what your competitors rank for, let's dig a little deeper. That way, you can make a complete benchmark. The result? A complete picture of your biggest SEO competitors.

Compare content

When I compare the content with a major competitor, I look at things such as: Which content works well, but can I write better? What type of content is it (informational, commercial research, transactional, etc.)? What topics is it still missing and can I add?

Compare SEO basics

One of the most important steps? Analyzing your competitor's SEO basics. Look with a web crawler at things such as: anchor texts, the pages with the most internal links, the h1 tags, the title tags, etc. Important signals for Google that you may copy easily. 

Benchmark your website speed

See how fast your competitors' website is. Look at things like: TTFB, TTI, FMP and your speed index score. How do you stack up against the competition? Do you score better or is there work to be done? It is important to also look at the differences between mobile and desktop in your benchmark. Not everyone has a 5G connection ?.

Backlink gap analysis

Check your competitors' backlinks. Receiving backlinks strengthens the authority of your website. By looking at what or who your competitors are getting backlinks from, you can find out what the competitor is doing best, where the opportunities are and which pages are being strengthened by backlinks.

Other interesting factors

When I get started with a competitor analysis, I always feel a bit like a spy. And I can tell you, that's pretty fun. I am always looking for additional opportunities to learn even more about my competitor. The following steps are not necessarily essential, but they can be a nice addition to your research.

Major traffic sources of the competitor

To see which traffic sources are the most successful, I use the traffic analytics report in the DSD (can be found under the heading 'marketing insights'). This report tells me more about the most successful traffic sources. Think of: direct traffic, social media, search engine advertisements, etc.

If you scroll a little further down, you can filter the results even further by pointing, for example: the various search engines from which the traffic comes, or the successful social media channels.

In which markets are your competitors active?

To find out if your competitors are active in other countries, you can do two things: see if they have Hreflang tags in their source code and in addition, you can use the DSD to get an indication of how much traffic these websites are bringing in.

Alerts on competitors

Some SEO tools offer the possibility to set an alert. For example, if your competitor has created a new page, but also when they have changed their title tags. You can often get useful information from this. Where is the competitor going? Where do they see opportunities? Nothing is a secret anymore!  

I hope the steps above have helped you to get a better picture of your competitors. It is useful to periodically monitor your main competitors for things such as: keyword positions, new pages, new links, visibility in the search engine, etc. In this way, you (hopefully) stay ahead of your competitor or beat him / her online.

If you need to learn more about the subject of SEO and website promotion, we invite you to visit our Semalt blog.