You’ve carefully crafted your website and implemented your SEO strategy on every page, but you’re still not getting the rankings you want. The next step is finding out who you’re competing against and what they’re doing that you could be doing better. It’s time to engage in SEO competitor analysis.
At this stage of the game, your goal is to learn as much as you can about how your competitors have achieved top rankings. You’ll start by determining who your competitors are and then analyzing their sites to help you find your niche in order to increase search engine ranking.
Your top competitors may be companies in your industry or they may be in another industry entirely, but ranking for the same keywords. To find out who your competitors are, follow these three steps:
- Make a list of your top ten keywords. Use categories to determine the best keywords to study (whole site, specific topics, niches).
- Type your keywords into the top three search engines and make a list of the top five or ten results that come up.
- Take a look at your lists for each keyword and determine which sites show up repeatedly. Take note of these as worthy of special attention.
With your list of top competitors in hand, the next step in SEO competitor analysis is studying those websites with the goal of determining how they perform in each of several key categories. Some great ones to start with include:
- Inbound links
- Page elements (title tags, headers, copy, etc.)
- Social network activity
- Call to action effectiveness
- Site tools
- Link anchor text
- Landing page design
- You can make your own list of elements to study, but the important thing to remember is that you’re trying to find out all you can about how these sites operate and what they’re doing right.
With your SEO competitor analysis data in hand, do some comparisons of their sites against your site. What are they doing better than you are and how can you develop your site to include your newfound insights? The really big companies might have money to spend on certain elements that you can’t compete with; if this is the case, begin looking for a niche you can fill that they may have overlooked.
Ultimately, SEO competitor analysis is about finding out how you can make your site more appealing to your target audience by studying the sites that are the most successful. As you develop your strategy, you’ll almost always discover areas that can be significantly improved in order to boost your rankings and contribute to greater SEO success.