Running an audit of your competitor’s website isn’t that hard. After all, there are tons of tools that do it for you. What can be challenging though, is looking at all of that data that you get and actually understanding what all those numbers mean.
So, in this article, I’ve prepared 10 tips on how to get the most out of your SEO competitor analysis and some things you should really be paying attention to.
#1. Gauge Your Competition Fully
Sometimes people only view sites that are bigger than them as direct competition. It’s important to keep in mind that there’s always another website that’s looking at you the same way you’re looking at your bigger competition.
Sometimes a smaller site can actually make a pretty big impact on your own traffic if they concentrate on dominating a certain sub-niche. So, for example, if you had a car workshop, a smaller wheel store wouldn’t be much of a competition traffic-wise, but they would be able to snatch quite a few customers from you that would only be looking to change their wheels.
#2. Do Lots of Keyword Research
Check which keywords every single one of your competitors ranks for. Take note of each keyword’s metrics and their growth or decline over time. By monitoring that data you will be able to find keywords that have the potential of overtaking the #1 for a massive traffic boost.
Ahrefs has a pretty good keyword ranking tool and much more.
Also, by once again checking on your smaller competitors, you will be able to find a lot of niche keywords that they might be using to divert some of your potential traffic to themselves that would never even have crossed your mind.
Linkio said in a blog post that backlinks are an essential part of competitor research, so be sure to check it out for a compilation of the best backlink monitoring tools.
Knowing the backlink profile of your competitors opens the door for a lot of link building opportunities. For example, you can check which sites they guest blog on (if they do guest blogging) and try to do the same thing since if they have accepted similar articles before, there is a much higher chance of them accepting yours.
#4. Identify Their Most Popular Pages
Which of your competitor’s pages get the most traffic? Which rank for the most keywords? Run an in-depth audit and figure out which one of their pages gets the biggest slice of the traffic pie.
The answer might be surprising a lot of time and it could be a page you wouldn’t expect. Regardless, by breaking it down and analyzing why it’s performing the best you will learn more about the strategies they are using and may even adopt some of them on your own resource.
#5. Which Types of Content Work The Best?
Does your competition publish weekly 2500 word-articles? Do they post videos or podcasts? Perhaps they caught the attention of thousands of users using a huge infographic?
By seeing what type of content works the best for your competition, you can try and implement the same type of content into your own site. Since you’re practically sharing an audience, what worked for them will probably work for you too, but you need to make sure that all of your content fits into your site organically.
Also, if you see that they have tried to, say, turn one of their articles into a video but it didn’t do so well with the audience, you can try and make a better video than them to grab that little extra slice of the traffic pie.
#6. Find Weak Points
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You Can Start figuring out That you will be able to tweak your own strategy to take advantage of that weakness. For example, if most of their traffic comes from social media, it might be an indication that they are struggling to catch people’s attention in search results pages.
Which, in turn, might mean that by focusing your efforts a little bit more on optimizing your title and meta description, you could dominate SERPs in your niche.
#7. Use Your Smartphone
Take a look at the mobile versions of your competition sites. A huge chunk of users actually use their smartphones to browse the web.
According to broadbandsearch mobile traffic has grown by 222% in last 7 years.
So if someone’s resource is poorly optimized, by making yours run better you might be able to snatch that portion of their audience for yourself just because of the device they prefer to use.
#8. Pay Attention To Search Features
Even if you rank quite high in SERPs, your competition might still be winning over the majority of organic traffic using search features like videos, images, or that “People also ask” form which takes up almost half of your screen.
There are a couple of ways of getting around that. You could try investing more effort into trying to reach that sweet #1 spot with loads of popular keywords, or you could try to produce some of your own content that would show up in search features too.
#9. Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are short sections of your text displayed by Google on a search results page and they can sometimes be much easier to overtake than a number one ranking.
Take a look at your competitor’s featured snippets and think about how you can edit your own content to make it more optimized to show up in featured snippets instead of theirs.
Also, be seeing how many featured snippets a site has and whether the monthly count is growing or declining, you can figure out whether they are actively trying to optimize their content for snippets.
If they’re not, your job becomes much easier.
#10. Never Stop Analyzing
Everyone’s strategies are constantly being tweaked, Google rolls out new updates pretty often and each website owner is always trying to optimize it to perform better.
So, competitor analysis work is never really over. You can never sit down and say “well, I guess I know everything about the market now” and you learn something new every day.
So, in order to get the most out of your competitor research, you have to do it constantly. Create backlink strategy, analyze, research and you will be probably winning this game. And by that, I don’t mean every day, but running a few audits every couple of weeks can do wonders and make you much more aware of what’s actually going on behind the curtains of your competitor’s sites.
I hope you found my tips useful and good luck with optimizing your site for search engines!