If you run a business and have a website you will have heard of SEO and probably Competitor Analysis. It’s possible an SEO Agency or Digital Marketing Agency has contacted you to offer the service. But, you still may not be sure what it is, how it works, why it’s beneficial and how it could give your business a competitive edge.
This article will help answer these points;
- What is SEO competitor analysis?
- What will I learn from competitor analysis?
- What actionable SEO data can I expect from competitor analysis?
- How can I win business from my competitors online?
What is Competitor Analysis?
Sometimes also referred to as Competitor Research, Competitor Analysis looks to uncover information about your website and also your competitors’. This includes information such as how much traffic and visitors your website and your competitor’s websites receive. How that traffic is generated, as in which search terms and also how big the search market size is for those keywords.
From a business perspective, you will find out how big the search market is for your products and services and how much of that traffic goes to your website. Perhaps more importantly, how much goes to your competitors. All of the output from this research is in great detail and offers a goldmine of valuable data for not just your website but also your business as a whole.
Example (image) contains – Keyword > Position in Google Organic Search > Total Search Volume per month > Keyword Difficulty (how hard it is to rank for that keyword between 1 – 100)
How is Competitor Analysis Helpful for my Business?
How is this information useful and what exactly will I learn from it that will help my business? You will learn things like;
- What keywords each of your competitor’s websites rank for in Google Search and what page and position.
- You will get an estimate of how much traffic each of those keyword rankings is generating for you and your competition.
- How many searches per month there are for each keyword, both for your site and your competitors.
- Who’s is getting the most search traffic
- How your competitors are generating their website traffic – as in from blogs, landing pages, product information pages.
Competitor Insights – A Goldmine of Information
At this point in the Competitor Analysis process, you will know how much traffic your website gets. You’ll know how much your competitors get and more crucially – you’ll know how they are getting it. Or at least where their website traffic is coming from – in terms of ranked keywords.
This information gives you two highly valuable insights;
- What keywords are generating traffic for your products and services
- How big the market is for these products and services – in terms of monthly search volume.
Example (image) shows – URL of Ranked Keyword > Traffic (visitors per month) > Percentage of Total Website Traffic for that Keyword – for that domain.
Keyword Insights – A Valuable Example
Before we continue talking about the process. Let’s cover how we can gain valuable insights into a potential customers’ search behaviour.
Let’s say your business charters yachts. You rank okay for the keyword ‘yacht charters’ and you are generating website traffic and business through this search term. You are keen to grow your business and ask an SEO Agency or Consultant to carry out Competitor Research for you to uncover opportunities.
During the process you discover that one of your competitors is getting a lot of traffic for ‘boat rentals’, ‘boat hire’, ‘yacht rentals’ and ‘yacht hire’. Collectively those search terms generate three times as much traffic as ‘yacht charters’.
Because your business and industry as a whole refers to hiring a boat as chartering, you are blind to how people outside of your industry (potential customers) search for things. This is why this process can be extremely valuable for your business and it’s growth prospects.
What Happens Next?
Competitor Analysis can be carried out as a one off exercise or as part of a bigger SEO workplan or strategy. At this point you know what seed keywords you should be focussing on. Ideally, your SEO Consultant will carry out further keyword research to build a list of focus keywords based on the keywords uncovered during the analysis phase.
Next, we build our Keyword Strategy. Once the keywords are fully researched your SEO Agency or Consultant will put together a list of focus or target keywords for your website. Because SEO is an ongoing undertaking, you will need to prioritise your target keywords. These can be prioritised on business objectives. Things like high margin products or products and services that are more easily fulfilled may be prioritised over low margin products and services for instance. Or, if you are looking to move into a new product or service, this can be another area of focus for your future SEO plans.
Keyword Mapping in SEO terms is identifying the target landing pages for our keywords. The objective is to have someone searching for a keyword, land on the most appropriate page on your website for that organic search term. Reducing friction is the term used here – getting the visitor to what they are looking for with as little friction as possible.
Mapping each keyword to a landing page on your website is the first step towards building your Content Strategy.
In order to implement the Keyword Strategy, we will need to build a Content Strategy. By this point we have the following;
- Target keywords
- Related keywords to our main focus seed keywords
- Keywords mapped by target landing page
With this information we build a Content Strategy that will identify how your website content will be updated to drive traffic to your website. This could be to update existing on-page content or to create new content. Most likely, it will be both.
Targeting Traffic Growth
The Content Strategy will be implemented over time and will drive new traffic to your website. This process happens usually over many months but for the most successful sites is an ongoing process. Remember that for every organic search ranking you move up, someone has to move down. This creates a never ending push/pull effect with those who are actively trying to grow their business online competing constantly for new traffic.
Conversely, those doing nothing will just slip further and further down the organic search rankings.
Carrying out Competitor Analysis and then using that information to build Keyword and Content Strategies for your website is extremely valuable. It can uncover opportunities for your business to grow and it can give you great insight into your competitors and also your customers search behaviours.