In this article, we’ll cover how you can find out how you stack up with a competitive benchmarking analysis that will alert you to service gaps, potential differentiators, and, most importantly, let you know where you stand in your market!
Identifying Main Competitors
Identifying and assessing your companies main search competitors will give you a wealth of information to apply to your SEO strategy. Analyzing your competitors will give you insight into what works and which SEO tasks to complete first.
1.) Identify competitors through search
The first step is to identify your main competitors before doing anything else. These are the websites that are competing for the same keywords in organic search as you. It is important to keep in mind that your direct business competitors may not always be your organic search competitors.
A simple way to identify who these organic search competitors are is to conduct a search on the keywords you believe that your consumers are looking for. You can do this by either using an online tool or simply putting a search into Google and looking for the top five competitors that show up. You will want to check several keywords and choose the companies that show up the most throughout those keywords.
Related: Types of Facebook Custom Audiences.
2.) Learn about your competitors’ backlinks
In order to properly assess the competition, you must learn more about each competitor’s link building or more specifically, backlinks. Backlinks refer to when other domains link to the competitor’s site. Knowing the number of backlinks a competitor has will help you to better understand their link building efforts and domain presence.
You can check a competitor’s backlinks by using a tool and calculating their backlink growth. You can calculate this by taking the existing links a competitor lost in a month and dividing that amount by the new links they received that month.
For example, if a competitor gets links from 50 new links in a month but loses links from 15 existing links, the cumulative backlink growth is 30%.
When assessing your competitors, look at their monthly grow or decline, is it consistent or inconsistent. This will be an indication of their linking efforts and success, be mindful to look at several months as one-month growth could just be natural or a specific piece of content performing well, but if it is a pattern then you can most likely attribute it to a long-term plan.
Once you get your plan in place, something that might deeply interest you as a next logical step would be to automate your system. Click on the link to learn more!
How To Analyze Competitors
A good SEO strategy will involve a deep dive into the competitor that identifies the areas to focus on that are crucial for your industry and your site, rather than following a simple strategy that might not be beneficial to your specific site. Next, we’ll cover 5 key steps to analyzing your competitors:
Google as a search engine puts a high amount of importance on giving the consumer a good experience. When looking at the competitor, identify the elements that are affecting their site’s organic search ranking, this can feature such as broken links, page load time, easy navigation, or call-to-action elements. All of these affect the placement of a site on Google, comparing your site usability against your competitors will help identify areas to improve.
2.) Site structure
Once Google identified how the page layout algorithm for search queries affects SEO, websites must incorporate proper page layouts in order to have good SEO. Competitors that have a good CSS grid system and have a responsive layout for mobile users tend to have a higher page ranking on Google. The visual layout of a site or page is only part of the site structure, important factors such as URL structure and internal linking are key in boosting SEO.
When looking at the competitor’s site, keep a list of the page layout criteria, and compare your site with your competitors’ to find out how well you’re doing.
3.) Analyze page content
As the content on a website has many criteria to look at, the first step is to compare the content itself such as the average length of content, the usage of keywords, images, and videos incorporated. As for the more technical analysis of content, observe whether there is a blog associated with the websites, how often the blog is updated, social media connections to the content, and the presence of promotional offers. It is also important to take a look at the structure of the content used in the meta titles and meta descriptions throughout the site.
How many keywords do they use in each piece of content? All of this information will help you assess the competition’s SEO competency.
4.) Ranking keywords
When trying to identify who ranks higher in the search engine results, it is important to look at the keywords the competitor is ranking for, to find this out research the following:
- Top ranking keywords
- Search volumes for each keyword
- Amount of short-tail and long-tail keywords
- Amount of location-specific keywords
5.) Social media reach
Assessing a competitor’s social media reach is often not thought of when identifying their organic search performance, however, social media contributes significantly to website ranking. Look at your competitor’s social media sites and compare the level of engagement they receive, the number of followers, and how often they interact with their followers on each platform. Also, check the average number of mentions they get over a period of time on social media.