In SEO, it is important to keep an eye on the competition. Not only those websites and businesses in your niche that compete directly against you but those sites that fill the rankings and get huge amounts of traffic through search engines.
Now, if we are going to do an analysis of the SEO competition, let’s start at the beginning:
How to identify your competitors in SEO?
If you have a restaurant, you may have very well located your competitors: restaurants in your area, your theme, with a similar concept or that are directed to the same audience. In a blog or an e-commerce, it may not be so obvious.
- Search your day to day: The daily experience is a source of knowledge. If you start in a sector you should know some examples of people or companies that are doing things similar to you. It is your natural competence.
- Search in listings and communities: The web is full of useful resources such as tops, rankings, prize lists and small communities that know different sectors at your fingertips. Search terms such as “online table games” or “best design blogs.” Prize deliveries are usually simple ways to get a list of the best exponents of something. In blogs and specialized forums on a topic, you can raise any doubts you may have in the community, not only to identify competitors but to evaluate qualitative aspects.
- Search in Google: The most complete and realistic way to find your competition is to search for the keywords you want to position and see which pages are in the top positions. It does not matter that they do not do the same as you, if they go out there they are competition to beat. The reason why it is good to leave it to the end is that developing a keyword plan requires a prior investigation of the competition. Once you have identified the main competitors and by what terms they are trying to position, you can create a keyword plan and check if a competitor escapes you.
In this sense, the discovery of new competitors has to be a constant process. You may discover them after a long time knowing the market: the Internet is fast and immense.
Now that we have identified our competence, it is time to analyze it. Do we know how?
How is the web architecture of your competition?
What will give you the key to a website is how its content is structured: What is the name of the categories? How do you group your pages? How do you show the information? How do you link the internal content? This gives you information about what pages and areas of the web are being prioritized.
All this will give you information about what keywords you are using to position yourself, what topics you touch and most importantly, in what areas you can overcome it or which ones you leave unexploited so that you can occupy that place.
To do this, it analyzes which pages are linked from the home in addition to the main menu, how the content pages (articles, products, etc.) are linked to each other. In short, in what baskets your competitor is laying eggs.
How is the content of your competition?
The content of your competitors’ websites gives you information about what audience they are targeting, what is successful and what is not, what they offer the client and what opportunities they miss:
- What content is there on the site? It is not the same that includes a technical and specialized language that is close and understandable all over the world. Look at what the content consists of: They offer step-by-step guides, they have a blog, about what they write, they have controversial articles or rare articles … This can give you an idea of which target audience they are targeting and what value they offer them.
- How much content do they generate? Do you experiment with new formats and concepts? It is important to know what emphasis you are putting on content generation. If you compete against a website that is not updated regularly or whose content is bad, you will have easy to overcome with some effort. If you fight against a website with a huge investment in content, you must be creative to overcome them.
- Format: They have presentations, videos, audio, infographics, content generated by the user … or is it all text? The content of your competitors gives you a vision of your strategy and how you can improve it or go to a profile that you are not paying attention to. Can you provide a differential value by generating the content of this type? Can you provide links, external resources or any material that makes what you offer more complete?
- How does it work? Knowing what works with others is a way to validate hypotheses about your own content. Be careful, if it works for another, it does not mean that it will work for you. Even if you have very similar audiences, they will never be exactly the same.
- How do they convert? Do you offer a newsletter, have a share to download or does its purpose imply in no visible point the conversion? The elements visible to conversion give you information about the business strategy of your competition and its profitability models.
And remember, if you can take something that has already made another and improve it, do it. If it is clear which niche they leave unattended, take advantage of it. If they fall into errors, learn from them without committing them yourself. And above all, try to innovate with concepts that they have not experienced yet.
What profile of links does your competition have?
The profile of links will tell you what SEO potential each page has regardless of how well optimized it is, to know if the sector in which you move is very competitive or not. Among other things it lets you know:
- Against whom you are facing: You can discover if that web that covers all the interesting searches is there for a great optimization or for a huge profile of links. It also gives you an idea of the magnitude of the profile of links against which you are facing, and what you will have to generate to compete in equal opportunities.
- How they get links: Investigating your link profile you can know what kind of pages are getting links. If government institutions or university pages are doing something with the competition, what blogs are talking about your sector, what niche directories that contribute value are being ignored, etc.
- What contents receive links: Analyzing what are the pages of a website that receives more links is easy to see what content has been more successful. The normal thing is that the home is the one that stands out above the rest, but after this will be the contents that have worked best at the level such as link building.
The two most relevant metrics to identify the authority of a website are the number of links linking to a website and the number of domains from which they link. Be careful, it is important to also measure the authority of the pages that link to see if those links are of higher or lower quality. Some tools like Open Site Explorer of MOZ give us data of Domain and page authority.
Once you have identified your competition and know where you are, decide what you need: If you are at a disadvantage, the idea is that you invest in actions focused on achieving links and on-site optimization as the main purpose. Do not forget to go to niches, or focus on the long tail. If your competition has an advantage, you can not play the same game as them and expect to win. As you progress, you can work more on finding creative ways to differentiate yourself and get branding; while if you have a leadership situation you may prefer to involve your community in the generation of content and to look for formulas to increase the conversion generated by that traffic.
How is the SEO strategy of your competition?
With all this data it is easy to understand what your competitors are doing. Which is the reason why they score well for some terms and bad for others, how they structure their content, how they get the links and in what content, etc.
If you know what your main competitors do, you know the market and have done good keyword research you have all the necessary information to create your own strategy not only SEO but online marketing.
Now that you have your strategy defined, do you want to learn how to generate the links your website needs?
SEO competition analysis tools:
- MOZ Open Site Explorer: A link profile that does not analyze in detail, but detects what is important. It is updated monthly, it is somewhat slow.
- ahrefs: It gives you a broad link profile and it is constantly updated.
- Majestic SEO: It allows you to analyze the profile of links of your competition and the value of each link in authority and trust.
- SemRush: It gives you an estimate of SEO and SEM traffic generated by your competition and your link profile.
- Alexa: In addition to its own link indicator (which would take with tweezers) gives us a traffic estimate.