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
- 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.
- 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.
- With the rankings you will get, you can start to analyse the market.
- What domains / sites are winning? Either by high positions across head terms, or visibility across broad swathes of terms
- What URLs are winning? Home pages, or internal pages?
- What sort of sites are winning? Big brand sites, homespun blogs, or other types of sites.
- 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.
- Start to collate quantitative data on these domains.
- How many pages do they have on site?
- How many pages do they have dealing with the topics you are looking at?
- How long is the content on these pages?
- How may external links do the sites or pages have?
- What other simple metrics can you use to compare across the sites and pages?
- You can also start to build up qualitative data on the domains / pages:
- What sort of content do they have on the sites / pages?
- How do they do their conversions?
- How do they structure their pages and their information architecture?
- Are they well-optimised?
- Do they have specific types of data on them?
- Do they have any features which might be useful?
- 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.
- 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.
- Aim to match your competitors across metrics. Use a weighted average which removes outliers to generate targets.
- Finally, use the information to commence building the content plan and information architecture.