One of the most important elements in the SEO process is ‘competitive analysis’—that is, looking into what your direct competitors are doing and devising strategies to beat them. Competitive analysis can be extremely complex because there are multiple factors to consider. But even though it takes a lot of time and resources up front, it will save you a lot of money and effort in the long run.
Tactic #1: Be Smart with Keyword Research
The key is to identify keywords that you can realistically rank for. Let’s say you sell jewelry online. If you are a small business without the budget or the brand authority to compete with giants like Tiffany.com, then ranking for the high competition keyword ‘jewelry’ is practically impossible. What you can do instead if find your niche and seek out related keywords and phrases that you can win. To grow your keyword list, you can:
- Type your competitors into SEMrush to check the keywords they are ranking for
- Use Spyfu to see what keywords your competitors are bidding for
- Use Keyword Planner to generate lists of possible keywords related to your primary terms
With comprehensive competitive analysis, you should be able to determine ‘low competition’ keywords that fewer companies are targeting in your niche. Ranking for these low volume keywords can jumpstart your SEO campaign and eventually cause your traffic to grow exponentially as you build authority and trust. Soon enough, you’ll start ranking for high volume competitive keywords down the line without having to make major new investments.
Tactic #2: Know Who Your Competitors Are
Once you have generated a keyword list, type them into Google and take note of which websites show up in the top results. Do you see the same websites again and again? Those are your top competitors. SEMrush is an excellent tool that allows you to determine their top organic keywords and traffic.
Be sure to find your true competitors. Putting your small online jewelry store up against a giant jewelry retailer does not make sense and will skew your metrics. Instead, find out what like-businesses are ranking for long tail terms you want to target.
Tactic #3: Analyze Your Enemy
You have identified your competitors, and it’s now time to dive deep into their profiles. Start by taking note of their general metrics:
- Link Velocity
- Inbound Links
- Domain Authority
- Domain Age
- Social Shares
These numbers will give you a more comprehensive understanding of who you are going up against. Start downloading their backlink profile to get an idea of how many links you’ll need for your site. You can also analyze your rival’s topical authority and semantic link profile to get even deeper into their strategies.
Based on the averages of the websites you analyzed, how many inbound links do you need to acquire? How many links do you need based on each topical category? How many of these links should have higher domain rank (at least 80)? Set your targets so you can design a backlink acquisition strategy.
Tactic #4: Audit Your Competition’s Social Media and Content
The next step is to look at your competitor’s social media and content marketing strategy. Ask questions like the following:
- How often do they post or share social media updates?
- How many followers have they managed to get?
- How many of those followers are active and engaged?
Look at their Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts, as well as their blogs. By doing this, you can determine the level of social media activity you need to achieve to be in the same footing.
Tactic #5: Determine Your Strategy and any Barriers to Entry
Now that you have a clear understanding of who your competitors are and what they do, you can build your strategy based on the information you have uncovered.
Done correctly, competitive analysis can help you strategically identify what SEO targets to aim at and provide fundamental insight for your overall strategy. This intelligence will form the backbone of your SEO approach and create your campaign’s structure. A great SEO company like SEOValley™ has all the tools and technologies needed to fully examine what your competitors are doing. Arming yourself with data will help you become more efficient with your SEO investments and realize a higher return.