Featured image by ZinetroN
Along with all the other tools you use to manage your SEO strategy, reserve a place for competitive analysis. Read on to learn more about that.
RELATED ARTICLE: A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE OF SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING
Successful SEO marketing means that you can never stand still, because customer preferences and SEO best practices are always in motion. You’re constantly on the lookout for new SEO trends and tweaking your messaging, language, channels, and more.
Marketers have a whole arsenal of tools and techniques for doing this. These include reading thought leadership pieces by SEO gurus, using a keyword research tool, and tracking SEO KPIs on your owned assets.
Alongside all these tactics, reserve a place for competitive SEO analysis.
What Is Competitive Analysis?
Competitive analysis essentially means learning from other people’s mistakes—and from their successes. Instead of taking a trial and error approach, or applying strategies designed for other industries, competitive analysis lets you dig deep into your nearest competitors’ SEO strategies. Then you can shortcut to the most effective tactics for your vertical.
Here are five ways that competitive analysis can help you make your SEO strategy even more effective this year.
1. Look for Keyword Inspiration from Your Competitors
SEO today is a far more holistic concern. As such, it encompasses content quality, site performance, user experience (UX), social media presences, and topic clusters. Nonetheless, keywords still form the backbone of any good SEO strategy.
Analyzing your competitors’ web content can reveal which are their top-performing keywords. Equally importantly, it can tell you which of their keywords they aren’t maximizing. You might be surprised to find some blatant keyword gaps. You can take advantage of these gaps to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs).
At the same time, look to see which longtail keywords drive the most organic traffic to their site. Check to see which of those result in high conversion rates and how authoritative their ranking is for that keyword. Sometimes, a competitor has built up a huge archive of engaging content around a valuable keyword, to the extent that it’s not worth it to try and compete. Knowing which keywords not to aim for is just as important as knowing which ones to target.
2. Use Competitive Analysis to Identify the Topics That Move Your Audience
Ultimately, solid SEO means addressing your audience’s concerns and answering their deepest questions. And that requires you to truly understand their needs. Competitor analysis can shine a light on your audience’s pain points. This helps you develop engaging, valuable content on the topics that interest them.
Check your competition’s blog posts to see which ones are performing best. Then look for ways to write a post that’s even better. A post with high traffic but a high bounce rate tells you that the topic is important to the audience. However, your competitor did not address it meaningfully enough. This is a golden opportunity for you.
Your competitors’ customer reviews can also be a gold mine. Look for issues that get repeated frequently, both positive and negative. This will tell you what’s top of mind for your shared audience. Also check for which hashtags, keywords, and questions come up on their social media feeds.
3. Measure Website Performance
In the last few years, search engines like Google have made it clear that user experience (UX) is a significant SEO ranking factor.
That means that websites that are slow to load, aren’t responsive or stable on mobile devices, and have substandard internal search experiences lose SEO “points.” Although you want to make your site run as fast and smoothly as possible, it also helps to check out how it compares to the competition.
You might think that you’re doing as well as possible. But competitive analysis might help you to see that your nearest rival’s site is twice as fast to load on mobile, it could spur you on to invest even more energy in website performance.
4. Optimize On-Page Content Strategies
Alongside keywords and topics, on-page content optimization also plays an important role in good SEO strategies.
That means deciding issues like what type of content to post, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, case studies, and so on. You need to also decide how long your content should be, how often to publish new and refresh evergreen content, how to structure posts, and more.
Use competitive analysis to look at your competitors’ best-performing posts. Also, check out their overall website traffic volumes and conversation rates. This can help guide you to the best tactics. Consider how well they’re putting metadata like headings and image tags to work. Then examine their internal and external linking strategies to see if you can overtake them in building a network of authoritative backlinks.
5. Use Competitive Analysis to Polish Your Social Media SEO
It’s hard to quantify the effect your social media presence has on your SEO rankings. However, it’s generally agreed that “social signals” do have an impact. Strong brand recognition on social media, with plenty of positive follower engagement, helps reinforce your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines and spills over into good SEO vibrations.
A close look at your competitors’ social media strategies can help you refine your own. Track which platforms drive the most traffic to their site, which have the most reach for their content, and which influencers spark the most engagement. Then you’ll know who to target and which channels to focus on for investment.
With regard to competitive analysis, it’s also a good idea to examine the hashtags and keywords they use on each platform. This can help you to see which are the most successful, and no less importantly, which hashtags and keywords are used the most by their followers.
RELATED ARTICLE: IMPORTANT METRICS TO MEASURE SOCIAL MEDIA PERFORMANCE
Let Competitive Analysis Guide You to SEO Excellence
With SEO best practices changing so frequently, you need all the help you can get. Competitive analysis can help you home in on the topics that your audience is really interested in. It can aid you in refining your keyword choices, enhancing your social media presence, boosting website performance, and improving your on-page SEO tactics. In short, with competitive analysis you can grow your business even further.
RELATED ARTICLE: CREATING AN ECOMMERCE WEBSITE: THE BASIC STEPS