Understanding how competitors are using content to engage audiences and generate interest in their products or services will help shed light on your approach to promotion. If you take the time to sometimes compare your efforts with those of your competitors, you will stay in the TOP of the SERPs. Founder of the international editorial office “Content” Vladimir Kalyakin will tell you how to properly conduct SEO analysis of competitors.
What does the analysis of competitors give
Why spy on competitors at all? After all, if you do the same as they do, then both will lose – why does the user need two identical offers? In fact, everything is a little different. You don’t need to analyze competitors in order to pick up their ideas and repeat them on your website. Competitive analysis will help you:
- find gaps in your content strategy;
- determine which pages of your site are not at their best right now;
- see which topics are driving a lot of traffic to competitors;
- include them in your content plan;
- for a long time to close the question on what topic to write an article.
Finally, other companies can be a source of inspiration and ideas. Competitor analysis – good or bad – will inspire articles, videos, podcasts, or even special projects.
Finding where you are outperforming your competitors in terms of positioning may require quarterly or even annual research. But there is an easier way – to drive into the search a couple of key phrases on your topic and collect a list of sites that are ahead of you in the search results.
Search engines rely on algorithms to build SERPs. The results for each query are constantly updated, so if you do not develop SEO, you will lose positions. To mitigate the decline and find growth opportunities, you need to track your competitors’ strategies. And it’s better to start with their content.
How to find competitors
If you already have a list of competitors – well, if not – don’t be discouraged, it is quite easy to compile.
Competitors can be direct or indirect. Your direct competitors are any brand, company or person offering the same products or services as you. Your indirect competitors are any brands, companies or individuals that offer products or services that are different from yours, but can meet the same customer needs.
There are several approaches to finding competitors. The first is to enter keywords into the search engine and collect resource addresses from the first five positions.
The second is to study thematic media. Online magazines and blogs that create content on the same topic as you, but collect more traffic, can be a great source of ideas for content and finding potential partners. Your competitors are also likely to publish here.
The third is to use online tools like Ahrefs. Find the Site Explorer tab here, enter a competitor’s domain, and the service will generate a report on it. The Competing Domains report will open in the left column to help you complete the list of sites.
Here at Ahrefs, you can see which competitor pages are getting the most traffic. To do this, find the Top Pages report just below the competing domains report.
You can do the same with any online service you like – SEMRush or Answer The Public. Once you’ve compiled a list of competitors, it’s time to find out which keywords and phrases they are promoting.
How to find out which keys competitors are targeting
Competitor word analysis is about collecting valuable keywords for which competitors rank high and you don’t. The goal is to gain an understanding of the distribution of forces in the niche and the missed opportunities.
A few important points to consider:
- Keywords must be valuable (i.e. high volume, relevant to the business, capable of converting).
- You should have a good chance of staying ahead of the competition in the search results.
Comparing two or more competitors often gives more accurate results. The tricky part is that both you and your competitors can potentially rank for thousands of keywords. This analysis cannot be done manually. Fortunately, there are simple solutions – all the same online tools.
For example, you can use Moz’s Keyword Explorer, or rather, Ranking Keywords analysis (you need a Pro account, but you can use its free trial).
Here you can see what keywords your competitor is currently ahead of you by and look for opportunities to enter the TOP.
Basically, you need to search for popular keywords for which you rank lower than your competitors and that can be improved. Moz’s Ranking Keyword CSV report has a Keyword Difficulty column. It will allow you to identify keywords with a high volume of queries and low competition.
Ahrefs can also be used to analyze competitors’ words. Look for keywords related to competitors’ pages.
Every phrase in this part of the Ahrefs report is a link. Click on it and you will see detailed information about each key: difficulty level, number of external links, popularity. By the way, Ahrefs also estimates how many inbound links it takes for your content to rank in the top 10 search results.
What is the skyscraper principle and why is it important
One of the strategies for effective promotion is the creation of quality content. It not only makes your site attractive to Google and Yandex algorithms, but also attracts potential customers.
When creating content for a website with an eye on competitors, we strongly advise you to adhere to the skyscraper principle – write better than sites from the top of the search results. If one of your competitors specializes in traffic content creation, take their approaches into service, but bring something new to them, make the materials even better.
To do this, carefully study the topic. Find related discussions, identify user pains, see which questions are not yet answered. And then create content that answers these questions and covers those pains. If you can add new data or unique opinions from experts from your company, that’s just perfect!
Now that you’ve gathered information about your competitors’ content strategies, the final step is to take stock and decide how to make your content better. In doing so, consider their (and your) strengths and weaknesses.
You have everything you need to:
- identify competitors whose content should be closely monitored;
- identify your weaknesses and missed opportunities;
- improve your overall SEO strategy by introducing traffic keywords;
- try new tactics to attract leads with content;
- generate new ideas for content.
After analyzing direct competitors, you can repeat the process for indirect ones as well. If some steps seem irrelevant to you, you can always skip them so as not to do unnecessary work. The process is flexible and can be adapted to suit any business, be it investment or retail. Good luck!