Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving a website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). There are several SEO techniques a marketer can implement to improve a website’s search ranking: increasing a website’s pagespeed, incorporating keywords related to product or service pages in title tags, and earning quality backlinks are all effective ways to improve a website’s search ranking.
Another tool to find opportunities to optimize a website’s search ranking is a competitor SEO analysis. Performing a competitor SEO analysis helps you stay updated on your competitors’ performance and the tactics that they are using. For example, you can perform a competitor SEO analysis to assess which keywords a competitor is ranking for. Garnering such insights help you strategize and find opportunities to optimize your website’s search ranking. Here are four competitor SEO analysis approaches you can use to audit your competitors’ SEO performance:
1) Identify Top Ranking Keywords
Find out which keywords your competitors are ranking highly for (e.g. on the first page of search results). Then, see how well you are ranking for those keywords and identify if you need to improve your search ranking for these. For example, if you are a Vancouver luxury hotel, you can perform a competitor SEO analysis to see which top keywords other luxury hotels are ranking for and then compare your website’s search ranking with your competitors’. Doing so will help you determine whether you need to optimize your website for those keywords.
In this scenario, you may discover that you rank 12th for the keyword phrase “Vancouver hotel reservations” and one of your top competitors is ranking position 3. In this case, you can create a landing page specifically to rank for that search term or you can include “Vancouver hotel reservations” more prominently across your website. Both tactics are effective and will generate positive SEO results for your website.
2) Identify Top Ranking Landing Pages
After you identify which keyword competitors are ranking highly for specific queries, find out which webpages on your competitors’ websites are ranking for these queries. For example, if you are a Toyota dealership and you have performed a SEO competitor analysis, you may discover that a competing Toyota dealership is ranking highly for the search query “2021 Toyota Corolla” and that they have created a dedicated landing page called “2021 Toyota Corolla”. In this case, you can mimic their SEO strategy by creating a content-rich landing page specifically for “2021 Toyota Corolla” to improve your website’s search ranking for this search query.
3) Identify Title Tag Keywords
The page title is a critical SEO element because Google uses keywords in a page title to gain textual understanding of a webpage. For example, if a webpage has “Baby Clothes” or “Organic Cotton” as its page title, Google understands that the webpage is related to “Baby Clothes” or “Organic Cotton” and displays the webpage for search queries related to the page title. You can perform a competitor SEO analysis and see which keywords competing webpages that rank highly have included on their page titles and determine if you should incorporate these keywords in your own page titles.
4) Compare Domain Authority and Backlinks
Domain authority refers to how credible a major search engine such as Google views your website. The more authority a website has, the greater the website’s likelihood of appearing highly on search results. There are several ways of gaining domain authority and one of the most effective ways is gaining more backlinks. If a website earns a large number of credible backlinks such as from universities or media publications, Google will view the website as credible and of high authority. Google will likely display the website higher on search results for relevant search terms. You can perform a competitor SEO analysis to see which external sites are linking to your competitors’ websites and reach out to these websites to ask if they would link to your website. If these external sites are linking to your competitors’ websites, chances are that they are related to your industry or business and can link to your website as well.
SEO is a highly competitive field as more companies are investing in their website SEO to improve their organic search rankings. By performing a deep dive competitor SEO analysis, you can identify landing pages your competitors have developed, page titles that competitors are using for the landing pages, external links that are linking to competing websites, and competitors’ website authority. Use these insights to optimize your website’s search ranking by creating dedicated landing pages to rank for specific search terms, include relevant keywords in page titles, and earn relevant, quality backlinks from external sites. Implementing these tactics will help you slowly but surely gain positive results from your SEO initiatives!
Written by Ray Wang