Competitor Analysis and its Importance
An integral part of any search engine optimisation campaign is assessing your competition. In order to achieve a page one ranking, better still a top 3 position on SERP’s you are essentially looking to beat businesses that have attained these positions for keywords that you want to rank for.
Analysing your competition will provide you insights into the strategies being used by your competitors and allow you to formulate a clear realistic and cohesive strategy for your own SEO campaign.
Competitor analysis from an SEO point of view can essentially be broken down into two elements;
- On-page assessment- On page assessment of your competitors will involve looking at various elements of your competitor’s website to determine the strategies being deployed by them in order to rank high on search engines. What you need to be looking for includes; use of meta titles descriptions, H1 H2 & H3 headings and the content for each of the pages that are ranking high on SERP’s for relevant keywords including the blogs.
- Off-page assessment- Off page assessment includes analysing the competitor’s domain authority, backlink profile, social media presence and content marketing strategies being deployed.
Defining you Competition
The first step for defining who your competitors are you will need to be clear about the product or service that you provide and the geographical area within which you operate within. This information will in turn help you shortlist keywords that can be targeted during the campaign and in turn find businesses which appear on Page 1 for these keywords. Tools you can use to research keywords are Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, KWFinder. An important aspect while conducting keyword research is to be realistic with the keywords that you shortlist. This means going for long tail keywords or keywords with lesser competition as they would be easier to rank for especially if you are operating in a competitive Industry.
Conducting On-Page Analysis
Once you have shortlisted your top competitors, it is a good idea to conduct an on-page analysis of their websites. Screaming Frog, a SEO software that can allow you conduct this analysis. All you need to do is enter a website’s URL and it will provide valuable information such as the various pages/links on the website, link structure of each of the page, meta titles, meta descriptions including their character count, H1, H2 and H3 headings, their character length and the content length on each page.
This information can also be exported on an excel sheet.
This information will help you put together an overall website structure to effectively target keywords, work on meta information and produce content for each of the pages.
Conducting Off-Page Analysis
This part of the analysis will involve looking at the authority of the competitor’s domain, backlink profile including the strength of these links, social media presence and content marketing strategy of your competitor. There are plenty of tools that can be used to conduct this analysis; Majestic SEO is our weapon of choice to conduct this analysis.
Overview of Competitor Domains
We will need to look at factors such as the overall strength of the competitor’s domain also known as the trust flow, number of backlinks coming in and the number of domains from where these backlinks are coming in.
In order to get an overall view of the analysis it is a good idea to create an excel sheet.
Here is one that we have created.
Download Competitor Backlinks
Using Majestic SEO, you can also download the backlink profile for each your competitor and do an in-depth analysis of each link that is coming in. The excel sheet will contain important information including Target URL, Source URL, Crawl Date, Last Found Date, Trust Flow and Citation Flow of the Source URL and Target URL.
This is important information that can be used during your link building campaign.
Social Media & Content Marketing Strategy
In the past Google has provided contradictory statements about social signals being used as a ranking factor. There has been a lot of research done around this topic and the results have skewed towards the fact that there is a relationship between social signals and a the rank of a website.
Some of the aspects that you need to look at while studying your competitor’s social media presence include;
- Which social media platforms are they using?
- How many followers do they have on each of these platforms?
- How often are they publishing content on these platforms?
- What is the level of follower engagement on these platforms?
- What is the context of the content being posted on these platforms?
- What topics are the competitor’s blogging about?
- Are they using third-party websites to publish content?
Once you are armed with this information you can formulate an appropriate social media strategy for your business. Do remember to create a social media calendar in order to achieve consistency with your social media efforts.
The data that you collect during this analysis will form the foundation for your SEO campaign and allow you to formulate a solid SEO strategy. Our SEO Consultants believe in using a data driven approach while undertaking SEO campaigns and using this approach has always yielded results.