Why Competitive Analysis Is Critical for SEO Strategy

May 01, 2023   /   by  Roger West

Spying on your competitors isn’t sneaky, it’s good research! In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), uncovering how your competitors are performing allows you to get an insight to factors of success, and helps you identify gaps in SEO strategy. If you’re looking to lead your brand to new discoveries and boost your website traffic, SEO competitive analysis is a great way to start.

What is SEO competitive analysis?

SEO competitive analysis is the process of finding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s SEO strategy to identify opportunities for your business. To do this, you’ll keep an eye on things that have a major impact on SEO performance, like content links and keywords, to see how well those factors are performing. By diving into a competitive analysis, you’re able to see what’s already working for others, instead of guessing what you think will be successful. Running an analysis also allows you to identify noticeable gaps in the competitor’s keywords and backlinks, so you can fill them with your own brand and content as needed.

How to Run an SEO competitor analysis

Instead of flying blind, you can utilize tools like SEMrush to help you compile organic research quickly. Competitive analysis tools can keep track of multiple competitors at once and even create PDF reports to keep on hand. In working with large amounts of data, these tools can be helpful to show who you are competing with, which keywords create the best rankings, how backlinks are impacting website traffic, and which types of content is performing the best.

Get to Know Your Real Competitors

If your brand is going up against a lengthy list of similar businesses, it’s important to pinpoint which ones you are going up against in the world of SEO. You may have a general idea of who your competitors are, but don’t just guess! Your biggest market competitors might not be the ones with the highest rankings and may not have an impact on your brand’s traffic. The only real way to know is by gathering the data.

If your brand is fairly new, entering your top keywords into Google to see which domains are ranking, and writing them down on a spreadsheet is a solid way to start. For most brands, however, trying to sift through hundreds of thousands of keywords and domains is a recipe for inaccurate data. Instead, using SEO research tools is the best way to easily see and compile the list of competitors you’re up against.

Don’t Ignore Keyword Gaps

When your competitors hold a higher keyword ranking or rank for a keyword that you don’t, that’s known as a keyword gap. Uncovering rankings and gaps for keywords is one of the most crucial parts involved in SEO competitive analysis, because ranking for a high-trafficked keyword could be the factor that increases your brand’s return on investment (ROI).

Once you use an SEO tool to identify those keyword gaps, it puts your brand at an advantage to build a new keyword strategy. Upon doing research, you may discover that your competitor ranks for a keyword you don’t, or that your brand is just one or two positions behind for a specific keyword. Using this transparency, your team can then create a new plan of action to implement and improve keywords within your brand’s written content.

Analyze Backlinks

 When a website page links to another related page or source, it’s called a backlink. These links are typically found in written content like blogs, allowing the reader to jump to a new page with just one click. The more backlinks a website has, the more prominent it will be in search results. It’s difficult to rank without links, so identifying gaps in backlinks is just as necessary to stay on top of the competition. Because searching for backlinks is trickier than searching for keywords, using competitive analysis tools helps to show what types of content your competitor is the most backlinked with.

Making the distinction between the quantity and quality of links is important as well, since large amounts of low-quality links might not have the same impact as a smaller number of high-quality ones. High-quality links are links that come from reputable sources, such as trusted news outlets, well-known businesses, or other experts known within your market.

Analyzing links can also point your brand in the right direction. Once you get a better idea of relevant, credible sources and the content generating the most links, your brand can then develop a new strategy to close backlink gaps and get ahead of the competition.

Review Content Types

The possibilities of content marketing are seemingly endless: blogs, product pages, eBooks, graphics, podcasts, videos, the list goes on and on. But are all these types of content necessary when it comes to bettering your SEO ranking? When you create an original piece of content for your website, it holds the potential to show up in the search results, but that doesn’t always mean it will generate traffic. During a competitive analysis, you can see which types of content is performing the best for both you and your competitors. If a major competitor posts blog articles and it regularly gains traction online, you can use that data to decide if your brand would also benefit from following suit.

The Impact of Competitive Analysis

With every piece of data gathered during an SEO competitive analysis, your brand gets room to grow! No competitive analysis is ever 100% complete, and analyzing the competition should be something your brand continues to do over time. If your current SEO marketing strategy isn’t working to its fullest potential, running an analysis provides an easy way to gain insight on how to change it going forward.

Running a competitive analysis is also an efficient way to discover how you stack up in rankings. Even if your brand is on the top of the list for certain keywords, monitoring competitive analysis gives you a better shot at maintaining (or increasing) your ranking, so you won’t lose it to your competitors.

Start Crushing your Competition

Our team of SEO experts at Roger West know that the proof is in the performance. We utilize agency partnerships like SEMrush to create transparency with direct competitors, links, and keywords. Our team also specializes in best SEO practices, creating content that is sure to get the best ranking and ROI possible.

Looking to start crushing the competition? Let’s talk.

Roger West Creative + Code

Roger West Creative & Code is a full-service digital marketing agency that helps companies build brands, generate leads, and keep customers inspired and engaged. The agency provides a dynamic environment for marketing pros to innovate and team up with clients to drive traffic to vibrant places and send messages that pack a punch.