Analyzing your competitors can give you a huge advantage when it comes to SEO. You can get so much information and insight from looking at your competitors and looking at how other sites are able to get their content to rank. These are the five most important competitor analysis strategies to improve your rankings.
Identify Ranking Competitors
When developing an SEO strategy, it is important to determine your ranking competitors. You probably know who your direct competitors are, but this is different from the competitors that you will be trying to rank against in the search engines. It is important to find out who your ranking competitors are so that you can put together an SEO strategy that has a high chance of succeeding.
The best way to do this is to find websites that put out similar content to you. Look at some of the higher authority sites that are putting out content on the same topics. This will help you determine who your ranking competitors are. If you do not have content yet, look at websites that put out the same type of content that you plan to put out.
Find New Keyword Opportunities
Now that you know your ranking competitors, you can move forward and figure out what is working for them. I love this strategy because it takes a lot of the guess work out. You can look at your competitors’ content to find out what is working well for them.
By analyzing their content, you can find the keywords they use that are working well and go after those same keywords, or similar keywords. The best way to do this is with an Ahrefs or SEMRush account. They are well worth the price.
If you do not have a budget to set up an account for either of these sites, you do still have some options. You can look at your competitors’ content, take note of the keywords they are using, and run a Google search for those keywords.
After that, you can see which keywords your competitors are showing on the first page for. This will help you determine what is working for them. Once you have those keywords, take them and plug them into the Google keyword planner. This will show you an estimated search volume for that keyword, along with the competition.
Determine Keyword Difficulty
Now you can start to determine the keyword difficulty for the keywords you are planning on ranking for. This is an important step because you can avoid wasting time going after keywords where the competition is too high and go after keywords that are feasible to rank for.
This strategy is different from the others because of the type of competition you are analyzing.
One way you can do this is by plugging in a keyword into Ahrefs and it will tell you the estimated keyword difficulty. Assuming you do not have an Ahrefs account, you can also do this manually.
As I mentioned earlier, you are not looking at the same ranking competitors you came up with from the first strategy. To find the competitors to analyze for keyword difficulty, run a Google search for the keyword you want to rank for. Look at the entire first-page results and analyze the websites. If these are high authority websites, it will most likely be difficult to rank for that keyword.
After analyzing the websites on the first page, to add an extra level of research, throw the keyword into the Google keyword planner. It will tell you if that keyword has a low, medium, or high competition. This will help you determine if the keyword is worth going after.
Analyze On-Page Optimization
Look at the content that is ranking well in search engines. This can either be your ranking competitors, or specific keyword competitors. What is their keyword density (what percent of the words in their content are the keyword?) Did they include keywords in the headers? These are important things to consider when you are creating your own content.
Try to pick apart everything about their content to determine what is causing this content to rank well. You will need high-quality content in order to rank high on Google, so try to look at their content and then make your content even better than what is already ranking. This will make ranking your content much easier.
Analyze Backlink Profile
There is not a great way to analyze a backlink profile of a website without an Ahrefs or SEMRush account. The idea here is to determine where your ranking competitors are getting their backlinks from. A backlink is essentially a “vote” that tells the search engine that your website should be ranked higher.
If you can determine where your competitors are getting their backlinks from, you can do your best to duplicate those backlinks. This can also show you how you can go about getting more backlinks as well. For example, maybe you will that your rankings competitors are getting their backlinks from business directories or blog pages. Use this information as an opportunity to try to get backlinks from similar websites. Backlinks are an important ranking factor and they can be hard to get. You can also work with an SEO company to help increase your backlinks.
The first and most important part about competitor analysis in SEO is identifying your ranking competitors. This can help you put together an SEO strategy and guide you in the right direction. Knowing your ranking competitors allows you to find new keyword opportunities. You can go after the same or similar keywords that they are ranking for.
It is important to determine keyword difficulty before trying to rank for a keyword. Remember to run a Google search for your target keywords to analyze the keyword competitors. Also be sure to check out your competitors’ on-page strategy to see how they are putting together their content and if possible, analyze their backlinks.
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