A common mistake many companies are making is going straight to optimization, link building, and content creation. Without even considering what their competitors are doing. Generally, it would be a reckless move because you can’t win the game without knowing your opponents. Just like in the game of chess, you can’t beat your opponent without knowing what he is doing and planning on the board. The same goes for your marketing race when trying to push your company toward success. The importance of competitor analysis, which is absolutely necessary, lies in acquiring enough info in the initial stages. It’s an essential part of any SEO campaign, and shouldn’t be underestimated. Only with detailed analysis, you will be able to have a clear vision about how to proceed.
The competitor analysis and its importance
One of the aspects of competitor analysis many fail to understand is that it saves time in the long run. Even though you might need to initially invest a lot of time and effort, it pays off quickly. You see, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel if someone already did it. By the same token, there is no need to waste time testing various strategies when you can immediately use those who work. That’s why many companies hire SEO experts in initial phases, and further, to help them avoid such mistakes.
To point out, if you want to be among the best, you have to learn from the best. And the same rules apply to your company’s marketing and your website SEO. Always pay close attention to what your competition is doing, analyze their moves, and never drop the guard. So, let’s try to explain with more detail why competitor analysis is important and how to make use of it.
SEO Competitor Analysis – what is it?
Usually, it’s a process of investigating other companies’ websites and marketing strategies. But that doesn’t mean you are researching only those who are above you, for example, in the ranking. Of course, you will need to see why the top-ranking companies are taking top positions. To learn what they do and how they do it. And use that knowledge to your advantage. But, you will also need to investigate those below you, once you are in the market.
Remember, they are all doing the same thing, investigating each other, so you need to stay on track and prevent them from ranking higher than you. And the right way to do it is to continuously learn, audit, analyze, and adjust your strategy. Once you have all the information, you can easily optimize your website to rank higher in SERPs.
What else is it good for?
The importance of competitor analysis is not only in “borrowing” the ideas, and compete for the same market. It’s also in understanding what is necessary to avoid mistakes. With in-depth analytics, you will be able to extract info about all the ups and downs of your competition. It will prevent you from making the same mistakes and speed up the process of becoming competitive with others. In essence, it’s all about making informed decisions, and skip the difficulties and traps along the way. It is also a good way to discover your competitors’ weaknesses and leverage on it. And, eventually, to discover weaknesses in your SEO strategy and improve it.
Important steps when analyzing competitors
Start with finding the right SEO tools
Fortunately, you can find many tools marketers use to analyze competitors:
- SEMrush – a popular tool to check strategies in SEO, content, social media, and others that competition is using.
- QuickSprout – this tool allows you to learn information about websites that are similar to yours so you can outrank them.
- SpyFu – offers a quick way to see where your competitors rank on Google, and what means they use to do it.
- SimilarWeb – acquire excessive information about the customer base, top content, and best keywords others are using.
- BrightEdge – a powerful platform with many great features to follow and analyze your competition.
- and many more.
Each of these SEO tools offers interesting features. Not always the same, but you can combine them to get a clear picture of what your competitors are doing. From their organic and local ranking to keyword analytics, they give you insight into much useful information. And some of them, the possibility to compare with ease.
Discover your competitors
By using the right tools, you will be able to determine your main competitors. Check the keywords you plan to rank for and see who is taking the top positions. Once you have them, try to understand their marketing strategy, their social media campaigns, and identify areas where you can improve.
There are two main factors to pay attention to:
- Your competitors’ unique selling propositions
- Typical features of your targeted audience
The first one is a specific product or a service that makes your competitor more attractive than others. The second one is the expectations and interests of your targeted audience.
Analyze competitors backlinks
This is a good way to find websites that are not linking to you but are linking to your competitors. Often called the backlink gap, it will allow you to fill those backlink gaps and improve your ranking. With a detailed analysis, you will be able to see in-depth information about their internal and external linking.
Just like with backlinks, this is a good way to discover keywords your competition is ranking well for, and you are not. In general, it will allow you to adjust your strategy. You can try to work your way up, if possible, by implementing the right keywords into relevant content. Or, to create new valuable content and do the same. Or, to manipulate your links and other SEO elements.
Check strengths and weaknesses
One of the reasons to always proceed with competitor analysis is to discover your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. But also, to discover your own strengths and weaknesses as well. When you realize such information, you will be able to take advantage of weak spots in your opponents’ strategies. Also, you will be able to improve and enhance your website authority, overall value, local search ranking, and fix other issues.
Given these points, it’s easy to understand the importance of competitor analysis and how it can help you in the future. We say in the future because it’s not a one-time task. You should use it when creating your SEO strategy, and continue to use it as long as you are in the market. It’s essential to regularly implement this strategy into your marketing workflow. Only then you will be able to respond on time and stay in top-ranking positions. Which, overall, helps you improve your business through various means like increased traffic, better ROI, low bouncing rates, and so on.