If you want to be successful in online business in the long run, you must not forget to regularly monitor your competition.
The more competitive the online environment you are in, the more important you need to monitor. Therefore, in this article, we will introduce you to a way to correctly identify your SEO competition and introduce you to 6 simple steps to analyze it.
Why bother with competition at all?
The competition can show you what activities you have not yet tried and really work in your segment or, conversely, which activities do not bring the expected results.
This is not just about organic search, but all aspects of the business.
Within SEO and organic search, a competition audit can bring you a number of valuable suggestions on how to achieve even better results:
- What type of content is most successful?
- What type of content is not represented in the segment at all?
- What keywords and topics are your competitors targeting and not you? With what success?
- Where, on the other hand, have you overtaken the competition and are you holding a dominant position?
- Does the competition have strong backlinks?
- How does the competition get backlinks? Can you replicate it?
- How is the organic power of competition evolving? Are you catching up or are you holding the lead? Alternatively, have you noticed a steady decline in traffic?
- What search engine extensions does Google provide in your segment?
- How can you get those extensions for your domain and use them to your advantage?
- Has a particular competing site dropped in search results after an official algorithmic update? If so, what changes did they make and what content did they provide?
- Is there a specific content format in the search results?
How to find out who your competition is from an SEO perspective?
While this step may seem relatively simple, there is one thing you should be careful about. It is precisely the fact that not every competition from a business point of view is also a relevant competition from an SEO point of view.
When asked who they perceive as the primary competition in organic search, many of our clients answer the competition from the business point of view. However, the analysis of such competitors may not give us as much relevant information as the analysis of direct SEO competition.
While we take into account client guidelines, we complement them with self-help identification of the most relevant competition in Google.
There are 2 different ways to do this:
- Open your preferred browser.
- Open a search engine at https://www.google.com
- Enter / type the specific keyword you consider most important for your project and press enter.
- Open each webpage that appears in the top 10 search results for a given keyword and save specific URLs in a clear table (don’t forget to indicate the date of each URL, what position it was in and for which keyword).
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each keyword that is relevant to your project.
Keep in mind that search results can be personalized based on your browsing history. Therefore, we recommend manually selecting a competition through incognito mode in Google Chrome.
The first step is simple – register and create your own account. The big disadvantage of this tool is the absence of a free trial. However, you can sign up for this tool for 7 days for only $ 7, which should be enough to identify your SEO competition.
Once you have created an account and are logged in to Ahrefs, all you have to do is enter the URL of your project’s home page in the box just below the main menu and press enter. Ahrefs will then throw away various information about your domain.
The third step is to select the competing domains section. In the left panel, click on the Competing domains section, and you will get an overview of competitors from the SEO point of view, who were selected for you by the Ahrefs tool on the basis of available data. The tool sorts your competitors by the percentage of common keywords, from the most similar competitors to the least.
Remember to rank your competition by keywords that you do not target (“Keywords unique to competitor”).
Best steps to a detailed overview of the competition
Once you have identified your SEO competition, you can embark on a detailed analysis. It should address key areas such as organic strength, organic traffic development, content offered and its performance, basic off page metrics, covered content topics, or backlinks you are missing.
- Identify the organic strength of domains and their trend
One of the first factors that it makes sense to look at in a competitive analysis is the so-called the organic power of competing domains compared to your or your client’s website. In our experience, this metric is best represented by the “organic traffic” and “organic keywords” data from Ahrefs.
- Analyze the best content on domains
Once you’ve identified competitors with great organic potential, the next step is to look at the specific sites that bring them the most organic traffic.
You can easily find these in the Ahrefs data – “Top pages” section. We encourage you to look at the top 5 to 10 landing pages that receive the most estimated organic traffic (this number is an estimate that may not match the actual data in analytics tools such as Google Analytics) and try to find common elements of the content that works best for your segment.
- Don’t forget the off-page competitive comparison
You should evaluate and compare parameters that speak not only about the quantity of backlinks, but also about their quality.
Examples of Ahfres metrics are:
- DR (Domain Rating) – the value of the total portfolio of backlinks for the entire domain. Logarithmic numerical scale from 0 to 100.
- UR (URL Rating) – the value of backlinks pointing to a specific URL. Logarithmic numerical scale from 0 to 100.
From universal metrics these are:
- Number of backlinks – The total number of backlinks to a specific domain.
- Number of dofollow links – the total number of backlinks marked dofollow.
- Number of referring domains – The total number of domains that link to a specific domain.
- Number of referring IP addresses – The total number of unique IP addresses from which other domains point to a particular site.
- Identify content gaps through Content Gap analysis
One of our favorite forms of competitive analysis is Content Gap analysis. As the name suggests, this is an analysis of content gaps or keywords that your competition more or less successfully targets with its content, unlike your website.
This makes it relatively easy to identify where your competition has overtaken you and which direction you’re taking in targeting specific keywords. By preparing content analysis on landing pages that show competition for a given keyword, you can identify the types of content that work best for that keyword.
Competitive analysis is never over. This is a fact you should accept as soon as possible. Such monitoring and analysis should be regularly updated and updated to keep you at the forefront of competition.