It’s been said that imitation is one of the sincerest forms of flattery, and nowhere is it truer than in the business of SEO Keywords & Market Research. If a business owner is attempting to draw more traffic to his or her site, the best strategy is to perform a competitor analysis. By finding out which keywords are most in demand, a business owner can build a strategy that helps them figure out how their site compares to others and maximize their competitive advantage.
These SEO tips apply equally to companies of all sizes, from small startups to Fortune 100 businesses, and some tools are standouts because of the accurate metrics they provide. Below are a few steps for business owners to take when creating an SEO competitive analysis and retooling their sites to be more competitive.
Decide Which Keywords to Analyze Competitors Against
While it may seem difficult to the uninitiated, most SEO competitive data is easy to gather and analyze. There are many tools that provide competitors’ keyword data, such as iSpionage and Moz, and they can help users identify the most affordable, accurate keywords to target. With the right competitive analysis methods and tools, users can find profitable yet affordable keywords to boost their own site’s rankings.
These tools used to be complex, but modern versions couldn’t be easier to use. Simply enter a competitor’s URL to determine which SEO keywords they rank for. This yields a list of keywords and it shows where the competitor sits in the search engine rankings, along with their traffic volume and other information. With these tools, site owners can find out which keywords have the right mix of affordability and usability.
Find the Site’s Top SEO Competition
The next part of the competitive analysis process is to find out which sites rank highest in Bing and Google for certain keywords. A great tool for this is Google Keyword Planner; it helps users find out which sites are ranked highest for certain keyword queries, and it tells them which sites have upward or downward trends.
The keyword planner provides ranking content for multiple keywords. A good trick is to export URLs and keywords in an .xls document and use Excel to examine sites by their high-ranking keywords. This step may
seem tedious, but it gives the site owner more analytic power.
Crawl Top-Ranking Competitive Sites
Once a site owner identifies his or her top-ranking competitors, they can dive deeper by examining each of these sites for certain SEO characteristics. There are certain tips to follow during the examination. These include:
Title tags. Find out how the sites use SEO keywords within titles and subheaders on pages.
Content. Determine which types of content are on the competitive site. Blog posts, stand-alone sales pages, product pages and landing pages all have different effects on a site’s ranking.
Internal linking. Determine whether ranked pages are linked from the site’s home page or from other equally important pages on the site.
Content structure. Does the competitor’s site have a great deal of long-form content, or does it use short paragraphs, bullet points and links to other pages?
It’s important to evaluate a competitor’s site and use the information gained to build a solid marketing and keyword strategy. By assessing certain elements of how competitors’ sites are SEO-focused and structured, a site owner can find competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and tailor their own site accordingly.
Check Competitors’ Back Links
Building links and getting other websites to link to one’s content is a core SEO strategy, and one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve a site’s backlinks is to review competitors’ sites to determine how they’re building links. Majestic, SEOProfiler and SERanking can all be used to check links that point to competitors’ site content and to track citation flow, text flow and anchor text.
Moz is another great tool for SEO competitive analysis, but for varying reasons. Site owners can use Moz to check page and domain authority on all top-ranked sites, as keyword research tools make it easy. The domain authority tool is highly affiliated with a site’s ranking capability, which is based on links and their quality. Simply put, link analysis shouldn’t be done without it.
SEO: It’s a Moving Target
SEO is a constantly moving, ever-changing target. Google, Bing and the other main search engines continually update their algorithms in an attempt to match users’ objectives and intent. With the high-stakes, complex field of SEO, it’s not possible to know everything one needs to know to stay on top. However, site owners can get a leg up and improve their sites’ SEO performance by doing a comprehensive competitive analysis.
Knowing the Competition
Some live by the motto “keep friends close, and keep enemies closer”. However, in SEO, it pays to keep friends close and competitors closer. If a person wants to be a successful online marketer they have to know their competitors, which business models and marketing strategies they use, their strengths and their weaknesses. The tools listed here can help site owners watch competitors’ every move as far as marketing is concerned.
The tips and SEO tools listed here are just some of the best ways to improve a site’s rankings and stay in step with the competition. Find out what works on competitors’ sites, find areas to improve one’s own site, and keep making modifications and adjustments in order to capitalize on changes as they arrive.