Competitor analysis is one of the most important and for some, most overwhelming SEO activities. However, you don’t have to develop spying skills, or even know someone inside of your competitor’s organization to gather valuable information about their competitive strategy. Most of the things you need to know about your competitor’s strategy are hidden within your competitor’s website.
Before you start working on your competitors analysis, make sure you identify your potential competitors. You must be completly honest and rational during this pre-step. For example, if you are a small size public accounting firm in Utah, chances are your direct competitors won’t be the Big 4. Focusing your efforts on your direct competitors will ensure that you get the most of your online research.
If you do your competitor analysis right, you will be able to tell what your competitors are doing, where are they allocating their marketing dollars, and where are they focusing their online marketing strategy. This information will give you a great starting point to create your own marketing strategy.
Competitor Analysis 101
Once you have identified your potential competitors, it’s time to take a closer look at their website and their online presence. Trial and error is an insightful and amazing way to learn about your competitors’ marketing strategy, but learning from what they are doing on their website can be even more insightful and less time consuming for you and your company.
Below are 3 great places on your competitor’s website where you can extract valuable information for your competitors analysis.
The value enclosed in Page tittles is often ignored, however, this is the place to start looking for your competitors keywords. What keywords and phrases are your competitors using to promote their company? How do they compare to yours?
Backlining tools such as LinkResearchTools, Open Site Explorer, Majestic-SEO, Ahrefs are some of the best SEO tools to extract lists of the sites that link to your competitors. Who is linking to your competition? Have they partnered with other companies to promote their services?
Social media is a great way to promote a brand’s reputation and visibility. There are many options out there, and the best social media platform for your business will depend directly on your industry. What platforms are your competitors using? Do you see any patterns on the timing of their posts? What topics are they posting on?
By using the techniques and SEO tools listed previously, you can start your own competitor analysis, understand your competition, and even predict shifts in market demand. Remember this is not a one time activity, make sure you monitor your competitor’s website closely and periodically, many authors recommend you do this at least once a month.
If you need any additional resources, there are lots of great articles and books about this topic. My favorite book in this topic is the ART of SEO by Enge, Spencer and Stricchioll, this book an invaluable source of SEO tips and techniques. Additionally, I would highly recommend you invest some time looking at Moz SEO competitive analysis workflow, which graphically illustrates some of the topics presented in this article.