Your website might rank number one for a certain keyword today, but this status is not forever. Over time, other websites – most of them competitors – will learn how to optimize their content and outrank your site. This is why SEO competitive analysis needs to be an ongoing initiative for any business.
Many businesses take competitor analysis for granted, thinking that they’ve done the best they can in their SEO efforts. However, this simply is not the case. There is always something that can be improved to get better results and stay ahead of the competition. Data-driven marketing strategies like SEO keyword competition analysis can help you learn tactics that are working for your competitors and use this knowledge in your own SEO campaigns.
In this article, you’ll get to know:
Let’s get started.
What is Data Driven Marketing?
Data-driven marketing means that every decision made in a digital marketing campaign is based on data collected from research. Most of this data is about a business’s target audience or existing customers.
Search engine optimization falls under the data-driven means of marketing. More specific SEO practices, like SEO keyword competition analysis and competitor analysis SEO, are also examples of data-driven marketing.
The main goal of data driven marketing is to ensure that any marketing campaign answers a customer need or behavior. Information such as online reviews, website traffic and conversion rates is collected to understand what people need or want from a business.
What Is SEO Competitor Analysis?
An SEO competitor analysis, or SEO competitive analysis, involves researching the content and other elements of the content, like the links and keywords a competitor has used. Put simply, it is an SEO comparison between two competing websites in a similar industry or business.
Competitor analysis SEO can include:
• SEO keyword competition analysis
• Competitor backlink analysis
• Keyword gap analysis
• Top content analysis
SEO competitive analysis is effective and efficient because you don’t have to start your research from scratch. You can see what other competitors are doing and apply it to your own SEO efforts.
To be efficient, most marketers use an SEO competitor analysis tool to make the process streamlined and collect massive data without too much work. These tools are also useful in generating competitor analysis SEO reports. Some examples of SEO competitor analysis tools include Ahrefs, SEMrush and Moz.
Marketers learn how to do competitor analysis SEO to keep up their rankings and make sure they remain competitive in their industry.
How To Do Competitor Analysis
Now that we’ve answered what is SEO competitor analysis? it’s time to take a look at how to do competitive analysis in a few basic steps. Note that these are the most common steps, and you can implement them right away.
For a more detailed and in-depth method of how to do competitor analysis, you can take a look at Ahrefs’ SEO competitor analysis template.
Step 1: Identify Your True Competitors
The first step of learning how to do competitor analysis SEO is to recognize the competition.
Moz recommends learning who your true competitors are when it comes to your keywords because not all websites that rank higher than yours for a keyword are your competitors.
You need to be thorough and accurate in the process of discovering your true SEO competition in your SEO analysis. This involves doing SEO comparison and research on multiple keywords and taking note of the top 10 or 20 websites that appear consistently for all of them.
One way to do this is to use a free SEO analytics tool like Ubersuggest and type in a keyword. In the Content Ideas section, you get a list of links and the domains that ranked for the keyword. In this example, we used “pet grooming” as the keyword.
As you can see, one of the top-ranking domains for this keyword is Today.com, which is not necessarily in the pet grooming business but is a news organization.
Since Ubersuggest is a free tool, the number of keywords and top-ranking domains for competitor SEO analysis can be limited. A paid SEO tool like Ahrefs might be needed to dive deeper into SEO comparison data and get accurate results. The Ahrefs competitor analysis tool is more advanced and has countless features that make any part of competitor analysis easier and faster for you.
Step 2: Conduct Page Analysis
The next step on how to do competitive analysis is to look at a competing website and its top-performing pages. What keywords are these pages using and how was it used in their content?
This is called keyword gap analysis. This is the stage of your competitor SEO analysis where you find keywords on a competitor’s site that they are ranking for and your site is not. The Ahrefs competitor analysis tool has a specific feature called Content Gap to identify keywords that rank for specific domains you specify. Here’s what it looks like:
When you uncover relevant keywords that also apply to your business, you can then create a page dedicated to ranking these keywords. When this happens, you have the opportunity to lead customers to your site instead of the competition.
Step 2a: Conduct a Competitor Backlink Analysis
Another aspect of how to do competitor analysis is to check for a site’s backlink statistics. A competitor backlink analysis involves looking at which sites are linking back to their content and how it is affecting their domain rank and authority. You can gain valuable insight with this data-driven technique and conduct a similar link-building strategy to replicate their results.
You can look at these qualities from a competitor’s backlinks:
• Number of backlinks
• Domain authority of linked sites
• Relevancy of linked content
Once you know what your competitors are doing in terms of acquiring backlinks, it will be easier for you to create a similar strategy and implement these for your own site.
Step 3: Focus on Keywords With High ROI
A popular business can rank for dozens of top competitive keywords. Does it mean you need to compete too? Not necessarily. Besides, large companies have the budget to ensure that they will always rank for the top keywords.
SEO expert Neil Patel recommends focusing your competitor SEO analysis efforts on keywords that will make you more profit or revenue. Taking the example of the pet shop business, there’s no point trying to rank for “best dog keychains” when it only sells for $2 each.
Think about your high-profile product or service and focus your efforts on ranking for keywords that will bring you more leads for this specific product or product line. Or, create content that is especially unique and relevant to your customer base that your competitors have not thought to create.
In a solid competitor analysis SEO campaign, success mostly depends on finding a gap or disconnect between the competition and the audience and filling in that gap. It can be a low-competition keyword or a simple, helpful article that is highly searched for which your competition has not yet created.
Step 4: Create and Execute a Content Plan
Now that you’ve collected data, the next step is to use this data to create an SEO competitor analysis report. Based on the report, you can build your SEO content strategy. To start making your content plan, create a keyword list or a content ideas list and save it in a simple spreadsheet or use a tool like Ahrefs.
The Ahrefs competitor analysis tool also has a built-in feature of adding selected keywords or content ideas into a specific list so you can export them in a spreadsheet and create a quick SEO competitor analysis report.
Step 5: Track Your Progress
Once you have published new content or re-optimized old ones, you need to track their performance. Regular keyword audits should be done and competitor analysis SEO reports generated to check whether or not your competitive analysis strategy worked.
You can use any free SEO tool for this, but in Ahrefs, you need to go to Keywords Explorer and type in the target keyword. Then, on the left-hand side, click on Traffic Share by Pages. This should show you the top pages and their position. In the example below, Ahrefs pulled up the top pages for the keyword “dog groomer.”
Step 6: Cover All Bases With an SEO Competitor Analysis Template
There is more than one way to implement an effective competitor analysis SEO. You can use a free SEO competitor analysis template to guide you. Having a ready document on hand helps you save time and be organized with your SEO competitive analysis project. A template also makes an SEO competitor analysis report more accurate and faster to generate.
Of course, a thorough competitor analysis is an undertaking that requires time and resources, but the results are worth it. If you’d rather outsource the work, you can hire a digital marketing agency specializing in specific SEO services like SEO competitor analysis, franchise SEO and local SEO. Thrive is a reputable agency with years of experience in SEO competitor analysis.
What is data driven marketing without factoring competitor data into the equation? Not all business owners can commit to learning how to do SEO competitive analysis, as they are overwhelmed with unfamiliar concepts and it can feel like a daunting and complicated process.
Others may lack the time to learn the ins and outs of generating competitor analysis SEO reports using software. However, it can be as simple as looking at what your competitors are doing and then doing it better.
Despite this, many business owners shy away from implementing competitive analysis SEO because they don’t have the people or resources to do it. In this case, hiring a digital marketing agency like Thrive could prove the best decision for your business. Thrive provides premium SEO management services that include competitor analysis SEO, so contact us and let’s get your data-driven marketing strategy started.