Part of any SEO implementation should be a thorough SEO competitor analysis to understand the landscape of the market you want to approach and the keywords you want to target. There could literally be hundreds if not thousands of websites going after the same market that you are so it comes down to, who has the better optimized website. And to beat your competition for having the best optimized website you have to understand what your competitors are doing with their website.
SEO competitor analysis- fundamental competitive information that should always be considered:
- What keywords is your competition targeting – This can easily be discovered by looking at the source code of their website or pages and viewing the meta title, description and keyword tags. Now of course this does not always work because there are some a) very misinformed internet marketers who think these meta tags are not important and b) very unknowledgeable internet marketers who do not understand SEO enough to understand what needs to be done to rank high in the search engines.
- What other unintended keywords are they getting organic search results – Most websites rank for keyword terms they never intended because their on-page content sometimes is enough to rank higher than other pages. The best method I have found to find organic keywords for a competition site is a product called SEMRush that allows you to peek inside of a competitors site to see keywords that they rank in top twenty positions in Google. This data is very beneficial for two reasons: a) better understand how your competition ranks in the search engines and b) new ideas for keywords that you should be targeting.
- How many backlinks have your competition obtained – This can be somewhat difficult to find although there are several tools that allow high level analysis. I use the free version of Majestic SEO but I question how accurate it is because the numbers sometimes bounce up and down, but overall it provides a good indication of the how many backlinks a site has obtained.
- Where do those back links come from for a competitors website – This is even more difficult to find, but the best tool I have found is Market Samurai (which is ironically better known as the best keyword mining tool). The SEO Competition module in Market Samurai provides the websites that hold the top 10 positions in Google for a specific keyword. You can then drill into the page rank and anchor text analysis where you can find detailed information for the top 1000 links for a website – the back link URL, the back link anchor text, the back link page rank, and more. This is very useful competitive information to have and has another great benefit – you can also use this information to find new places to create a backlink to your website.
- What type of content have they created – Viewing your competitors’ websites can be quite enlightening because you can quickly see if they understand the subject and provide enough detail for the reader or if they are just putting up spammy websites. It also provides a glimpse into how well they understand SEO because you can analyze their back internal linking strategy.
- Are they precisely targeting the same market as you – This can have a big difference on your competitive SEO strategy. If there a lot of competitors going after the exact same market, then your SEO strategy will have to be “crisper” than the competition. It might be that they are going after a similar market and just getting the beneficiary of collateral page ranking because no other pages have been optimized. That is where opportunity lies.
Part of every SEO process that we manage with our clients is doing a competitor website analysis for the top ten competing sites. This allows us to design a targeted internet marketing strategy that finds where we can get competitive advantage in the search engines. The result is higher search engine placement for the keywords you want to target.