Performing In-Depth SEO Competitor Analysis
If you are targeting search engines to generate most of your visits, leads, or sales; knowing and analyzing your online competitors is one of the most important tasks to perform. In this post we will outline some of the key steps to perform in-depth competitor analysis and tools that you can use to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.
Who is your competitor?
When it comes to finding top competitors on search engines, the first and foremost important step is choosing top 5 primary keywords that you want to target for top search engines rankings. Use these top 5 keywords to find at least ten top ranking websites on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Find 3 common websites for all three search engines, try to get websites ranking in top 5 position (excluding any portals like ebay, amazon etc.)
Analyze Your Competitor:
Competitor analysis consists of two major components: On-Page Analysis and Off-Page Analysis. To know how your competitors are handling their website’s content, design, and navigation, it is important to analyze their On-Page SEO tactics. In Off-Page SEO, we will try to figure out how and where your competitor is getting links from.
On-Page SEO Analysis Process and Tools:
- To understand how your competitor using its design & content, just browse through competitor’s website and try to compare your website content and navigation structure with competitor.
- See how your competitor is using keywords to interlink pages, how optimized their images and links are.
- For an ecommerce website, it is important to analyze your competitor’s products/services and analyze how your competitors markets its’ products and services.
- Analyze your competitors Meta tags (title, description). A tool that you can use is Screaming Frog – this tool helps you analyze every page for your or your competitor’s website for Meta tags including any broken links as well as image and link optimization.
- SEMRush is another tool that provide a lot of useful data about any website such as top performing keywords for any website, search engine ranking over time, and much more
Off-Page SEO Analysis Process and Tools:
- Off-Page SEO analysis includes understanding ways that your competitor is generating link backs and brand awareness.
- MOZ’s Open Site Explorer is very popular SEO tool used to analyze overall website performance. It provides very useful information about any website such as number of link backs, sources for each link, social presence for a particular website, and much more. Open Site Explorer has its own metrics that it assigns to a website, based on its on-page and off-page SEO performance and provides an option to compare up to 5 websites to analyze their SEO traffic and link authority.
- Another process in competitor analysis is to analyze competitors’ overall brand marketing on social networks or anywhere on the web. Google Trends helps you identify marketing trends for particular brand or keyword with time. Mentions is another social media analysis tool, which helps you identify and track overall social media marketing campaigns that your competitors are using to enhance their brand awareness.
- It is also important to analyze your competitor’s paid marketing techniques, which helps you identify their main targeted keywords. SpyFu allows you to analyze your competitors paid advertising techniques such as how much they spend on advertising such Google AdWords (PPC) and what keywords they are targeting, and even their top performing ads.
There are several SEO tools available online (free or paid) to analyze competitor’s website. I have outlined some of the key steps to perform in-depth competitor analysis and tools that you can use.
Once you have in-depth analysis for your competitor’s website, you should review your current website and improve it in better ways than that of your competitor to achieve higher search engine rankings. By regularly reviewing your competitor’s online marketing techniques this will help achieve maximum optimization of your website.
For more on Optimizing SEO for your website see my earlier post: Optimizing E-Commerce Websites for Better Search Engine Rankings