Basic SEO Guides Competitor Research

Basic SEO Competitor Analysis – An Introduction

Doing basic competitor analysis before starting any SEO web build is vital. Getting this right enables a shortcut to what’s important to the search engine ranking factors for the target market, and what users are likely to like, as well as a shortcut to understanding the scale, or opportunity of the task ahead.

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Basic SEO Competitor Analysis

Purpose:

  • Doing competitor research allows you to understand what your business competitors are up to in SEO.
  • It also allows you to understand what your ranking competitors are doing in order to win the ranking race.
  • It also starts to give some substance and targets to use for SEO goal setting and monitoring.
  • Finally, good competitor research gives you an insight into what not to do, as well as what to do.

Guidelines:

  1. Once you have your keywords researched you can check rankings for those keywords using any one of a number of SEO Tools. You may want to trim down the number of keywords to a manageable level.
  2. With the rankings you will get, you can start to analyse the market.
    1. What domains / sites are winning? Either by high positions across head terms, or visibility across broad swathes of terms
    2. What URLs are winning? Home pages, or internal pages?
    3. What sort of sites are winning? Big brand sites, homespun blogs, or other types of sites.
  3. Unless you have tools to start to pull all the data you need, which may come from disparate sources, it is usually better to restrict your competitor research to a smallish number of ranking competitor domains – 5-10, and business competitor domains 2 – 5. There are times when it is important not to be ranked no.1, but just ranked ahead of a business competitor is enough.
  4. Start to collate quantitative data on these domains.
    1. How many pages do they have on site?
    2. How many pages do they have dealing with the topics you are looking at?
    3. How long is the content on these pages?
    4. How may external links do the sites or pages have?
    5. What other simple metrics can you use to compare across the sites and pages?
  5. You can also start to build up qualitative data on the domains / pages:
    1. What sort of content do they have on the sites / pages?
    2. How do they do their conversions?
    3. How do they structure their pages and their information architecture?
    4. Are they well-optimised?
    5. Do they have specific types of data on them?
    6. Do they have any features which might be useful?
  6. Once you have the qualitative and quantitative date, it is relatively straight forward to build a spreadsheet / comparison list.  Although it is not likely this list will reveal one particular factor above all others, it will give you targets for each major optimisation factor.
  7. Use that comparison list to flesh out the goal setting list of targets. This will also help to focus on multiple optimisation factors than simply one or two.
  8. Aim to match your competitors across metrics. Use a weighted average which removes outliers to generate targets.
  9. Finally, use the information to commence building the content plan and information architecture.

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Last modified: October 19, 2018