Search engine optimization is the process of augmenting a website’s content for it to rank and get more traffic. SEO has taken the digital marketing industry by storm. Attracting traffic has become increasingly difficult with new websites coming up every day. Furthermore, since the competition is intense, adopting the correct strategy and using sophisticated SEO tools are nearly insufficient.
That is where the SEO Competitive Analysis comes into play.
It is the process of examining your competitor's keywords, backlinks, the strategies they have incorporated, and which has worked or not worked.
With the help of a thorough SEO competitive, you could avoid making the mistakes they had made and replicate the elements that had gone right for them, thereby using your competitors as a viable resource. This process can save a lot of time and effort.
Step 1 – Identify the Established Players
The first step involves doing in-depth research on who are the established players or your key competitors and making a list. Next, find out what keywords are most ranked for the pages that have attracted the most traffic.
If you are a beginner, you can find certain tools online that can provide you with a list to identify your rivals in your market niche.
Here, it is important to remember that your competitors in SEO might not be the same as that in the markets. In several cases, smaller businesses proved to have much stronger SEO strategies and, thus, rank higher than bigger businesses.
Step 2 – Proper Google Keyword Research
It is one of the major steps in performing an SEO analysis. You need to consider the keywords that your competitor is ranking for more than you.
Make a list of all the relevant keywords your competitor uses through any available tool online. Then, recognize the differences between your and their keywords and make the necessary changes.
Also, it is important not to check out only the top, established companies in your niche but also the emerging companies that have a solid foundation of SEO. You need to constantly ask yourself questions like why the competitors’ content is ranking more than yours or if the quality of content on their website is superior to yours.
Regular keyword research can give you an impressive insight into your competitors' SEO strategies and help you bridge the gaps and improve your rankings.
Step 3 – Recognising the aspects where you fall behind
After doing the proper keyword research, the next step is to identify your weak points. Every company or website has some weaknesses, even well-established ones. You need to examine the points where you are falling behind, whether in terms of quality of content, authority, backlinks, or even social media engagement.
You can achieve it in many ways. Analyze your competitors' content and check what sets their content apart, whether it is their outstanding quality, thoroughness, number of internal/external links, or the type of content they are producing.
Check if your competitor's website has more authority than your website. In other words, if they have much greater brand recognition or support from a well-established company, it becomes increasingly difficult to outrank them.
You can also compare the user-friendliness features of their website versus your website. Make sure that the products listed on your website are easy to purchase or that there are relevant internal links on your website that can guide the customer to what they might like to purchase.
Moreover, you can also assess the visual appeal of their website that might be attracting greater traffic, like the use of GIFs, videos, photos, etc., and compare it to your website.
Step 4 – In-depth Analysis of Your Webpages
After successfully identifying all the weaknesses in your website, the next step is to analyze the elements in your web pages thoroughly.
Make sure the title of your content has the keyword that you have used to improve its visibility. The search engine will show your content only if it is relevant to the keyword used.
Next, you must also optimize your meta-description to let the search engine know what your content is all about and rank it. Make sure to use the relevant keyword in your meta description.
Also, the headings (H1, H2, H3...) must contain the keywords or the synonyms of the keywords. You can also closely look at how your competitors are using the headings and if it has any significant impact on their overall ranking.
Lastly, a frequently overlooked feature is the URL of the site. It is an aspect that most websites lack, so if you have an error-free URL that can indicate your overall content to the search engine, you have a leg up over your competitors.
Step 5 – Evaluating backlinks of your competitor’s website
It is one of the important steps of running a competitive SEO analysis. If your competitors' websites have superior backlinks from well-reputed companies, it gives them more authority and, hence, a better ranking than you.
It is imperative to remember that not all backlinks are of high quality. Before jumping to conclusions, check if the backlinks on your competitor's website are reliable and from high-profile sources. After checking this, do research into how they managed to obtain it – whether it was through affiliations, media, or any other way.
After completing your research, you will be able to assess if it is feasible for you to get into their recommendations or not and then proceed to take the necessary steps.
Running an analysis can be a long, tiresome process, as you can see. However, when done with the proper tools, it can yield many benefits in the long run. The competition has become extremely intense in today's world when a myriad of websites are coming up every day. In fact, 90% of websites attract almost 0% of the traffic. Furthermore, 90% of the traffic is attracted only by the first 5 websites that show up after a Google search.
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