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Crushing Local Competitors: All Your Questions Answered!

When you look at your Google search history, you may notice that many or most of your searches are specific to your location. Not surprisingly, “near me” searches have skyrocketed by over 500% in recent years. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, which means that the location of your business is more important than ever. If you want to capture the attention of customers searching for businesses near them, it’s crucial to adapt your own strategy accordingly.

With intent-driven search queries increasingly leaning towards local options, your business must be visible in Google and Bing maps and organic search results. At Invite Them Home, we are masters of helping our clients find and defeat their local competition. This comprehensive guide will demystify local competitor analysis, providing insights and strategies to keep you ahead of the curve. We believe an informed client is ideal, so we are happy to share the “recipe,” even though you will most likely need our help and tools to successfully implement your local digital marketing strategy.

Table of Contents

Why do I need local SEO?

In the cut-throat world of digital marketing, having great products or services isn’t enough. You will drown in local search results without analyzing and understanding your competitors’ marketing strategies. Local competitive SEO is crucial to keep your business growing.

As 46% of Google searches involve local content, local SEO is the key to success for all business owners. By optimizing your online presence, you can outshine your competitors and connect with local customers actively searching for products and services in their area.

With local SEO, you can ensure your business is prominently displayed in search results, building brand awareness and attracting more customers. Plus, when you rank at the top of local search results and Google Maps, you’ll enjoy higher visibility, increased website traffic, and more foot traffic to your physical location. This means more sales and overall business growth.

Did you know that almost 80% of local searches on mobile devices result in conversions? That’s why you literally can’t afford to miss out on implementing a local SEO strategy. By optimizing your website for local searches, you can tap into the power of these searches and get the sales process started faster for more customers.

My business has multiple locations. Do I still need local SEO?

The short answer – yes! Whether you have franchises or branches in various cities or states, multiple-location SEO allows you to serve multiple areas and cater to national customers. Boost your search traffic from diverse locations, ensuring your website appears at the top of search results when locals search for products or services in your niche.SEO amateurs tend to make a number of mistakes with multi-location SEO. Invite Them Home will help you avoid these mistakes, such as cramming all location information on one landing page. Instead, we create separate, optimized pages for each business location. These pages should include essential details like the location’s name, address, phone number, location-specific content, testimonials, and embedded Google Maps.

We leverage local citation services to populate databases with accurate information for each location to save time and streamline the process. We optimize your content, title tags, meta descriptions, and more with specific keywords relevant to each location.

Don’t forget to apply a local business schema markup to ensure important information like business hours appears in search results. To maximize visibility, we make sure these pages are accessible to Google, Bing, and other search engine crawlers.

What types of competitors do I need to find?

When you partner with Invite Them Home, we will conduct a competitive analysis to find your direct and indirect competitors. Understanding these terms and their impact on your business is paramount to staying ahead.

Direct competitors

One of the first steps we take at Invite Them Home is to identify direct competitors. These companies operate within the same market and industry as your business, offering products or services that are a near exact alternative to yours. Think Levi jeans versus Lee or Huggies versus Pampers. For a consumer, choosing between your business and a direct competitor is often a matter of weighing factors such as price, quality, brand reputation, and convenience.
Direct competitors pose a significant challenge to your business. Any shift in their strategy – a price drop, a new product launch, a game-changing innovation, or most often, a new and effective marketing initiative – can cause your customers to switch loyalties. Analyzing your direct competitors’ moves and countering them effectively is critical to your survival and success. 

Indirect competitors

Indirect competitors, on the other hand, may not engage you in a head-on battle, but they still vie for your potential customers. They offer different products or services that serve the same purpose as yours, forcing customers to make a choice. An example of an indirect competitor is the competition between a movie theater and at-home streaming. While the products are different – one offers a cinema experience, and the other brings movies – both are solutions to the customer’s entertainment needs.
Understanding indirect competition requires a holistic view of the customer’s choices. While direct competition revolves around similar products, indirect competition revolves around the final objective of the customer. Tracking these competitors involves understanding changing consumer behavior, lifestyle trends, and alternatives your customers might consider. 

Replacement (substitute) competitors

As the name suggests, a replacement competitor provides a product or service that might replace your own. For instance, a Chinese restaurant may take away customers from an Italian restaurant, even though they offer different cuisines.
Replacement competitors aren’t limited to those offering superior or more innovative products. Price competition also falls under this category. A company offering similar products as yours, but at lower prices, can also be a replacement competitor. This type of competition can significantly impact your sales, great enough to potentially replace your product or service in the market. 

What is market maturity, and does it matter for my local marketing strategy?

Local marketing maturity measures a local business’s ability to deliver a seamless customer experience digitally and in person. Understanding the stages of market maturity is crucial to building an effective sales process.

To identify the maturity level of a market, you can analyze the level of competition and complexity in the search results. In emerging markets, you will typically find fewer online competitors and simpler search results. These markets are characterized by lower competition and may present opportunities for businesses looking to establish themselves.

On the other hand, mature markets exhibit feature-rich search results with a higher level of competition. To thrive in these markets, businesses need to have compelling content, a strong domain authority, and potentially allocate advertising resources to secure a prominent position on the search results page. By assessing these factors, businesses can gauge the maturity level of a market and determine the strategies required to succeed within it.

How do I find my competitors?

Understanding your competitor’s marketing efforts is crucial in a dynamic business landscape. Identifying your old and new competitors helps you understand what you’re up against and offers valuable insights for strategic decision-making. While some competitors may be clear-cut, others may take a bit of work to uncover.

While conducting extensive competitor research, Invite Them Home will collect about their product or service variety, pricing strategy, distribution methods, marketing tactics, innovation methods, and workforce size. This information can prove invaluable when formulating your strategies against organic competitors. Here are a few of the key ways we scope out your competitive landscape:

Determine Search Keywords and Questions Asked

Competing with your local competitors largely depends on understanding and mastering keywords. These words or phrases, which succinctly describe your products or services, are the guiding stars that lead you straight to your competition.

We help you think about the words or phrases people might use when searching for your products or services. We also include the questions prospects ask. For example, the question “How long does it take to get a new roof?” is very likely to be asked by an ideal prospect, so answering that question in your content is critical. Once you have a list, we can use our professional SEO tools to see which other companies are trying to rank highly for the same keywords.

Once we’ve figured out your keywords, we use them to search for your competition on Google. Add your location to the search to find local competitors. For example, if you own a bike shop in Milwaukee, search “bike shop Milwaukee.” You can slightly modify this phrase to get different results. Try searching for “Milwaukee bike store” or “bikes for sale in Milwaukee.” 

Monitor SERPs

Using Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) for competitor analysis has become a crucial strategy for local SEO. By understanding who your SERP competitors are and how they operate, you can gain invaluable insights and strategies for success.

Your SERP competitors are essentially websites that appear in the same search engine results pages as yours for specific keywords or search terms. One factor that heavily influences SERP is location. To illustrate, a user in Nashville searching for “best oil change services” will see different results than a user in Portland. This geographical influence on search results explains why most SEO tools require users to input their preferred location during keyword research.

In this context, Google has clarified, “When you search on Google, your current location is used to give you more relevant results.” Even if you don’t specify a location in your search query, Google uses your current location to tailor the search results. Although rank tracking can help measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategies, consistent competitor analysis is what keeps you relevant.

Look at our competitor SERP monitoring services at Invite Them Home for more information.

Check out Google Ads

Part of your local strategy with Invite Them Home will incorporate paid search competitors. Even though Google has gradually made it challenging to track competitors’ Google Ads by limiting key metrics, it’s still possible to gain useful insights with the right knowledge and tools.

Comprehensive competitor analysis involves combining data with results, tracking campaign impacts, and adjustments over time. For a Google Ads competitor analysis, Invite Them Home compiles a list of your top keywords and phrases and then runs them through Google Ads Keyword Planner and other tools like Spyfu for keyword refinement. Once we have those keywords, we run a Google search and see who’s coming up first. If it’s not you, we know we have work to do! (Note that no ad will achieve 100% search coverage; it is normal not to see your ad on some searches.)

Conduct market research

Conducting a competitive market analysis is another valuable method of identifying local competitors. This can reveal other companies offering similar services or products.

Social media platforms are a great place to start competitive market research. Analyzing your competitor’s social media presence gives you real-time insight into who’s hot in your market and who’s not. Since many customers now turn to social media for shopping advice and reviews, they often discuss competing products and services and make their purchase decisions based on these discussions.

Browse business directories

Business directories, such as Yelp, Google, YellowPages, etc., offer a bank of information about local competitors. Entering your service type and location in these directories can yield a list of local competitors with customer feedback, providing valuable insight about rival companies and how your target audience perceives them.

What are the best local SEO tools?

There are many competitor analysis tools to help boost local SEO, and more are popping up daily. Many are available for free, but as with anything else in life, sometimes you get what you pay for. At Invite Them Home, we subscribe to several professional local SEO tools to conduct an in-depth competitor analysis:
SERPSTAT has one of the largest keyword databases in the industry. As of the time of writing, they have indexed 7.03 billion keywords and 570 million ads. They also track 1.1 trillion links across 407 million domains. This data is especially helpful when researching more obscure search terms which may be quite important to our customers. We also use this tool for trends and local SEO analytics.

By providing detailed insights into competitors’ strategies and industry trends, Semrush helps you improve your local search rankings. It allows businesses to track local ranking progress on a ZIP code level and monitor reviews across multiple directories.

Semrush’s Position Tracking tool enables us to consistently monitor your competitors’ daily online performance. This tool is invaluable for tracking specific keywords and device types, keeping tabs on competitors’ domains, and monitoring your search engine performance locally.

SE Ranking provides an all-inclusive tool that allows us to stay on top of your local business’s search visibility. From building, tracking, to managing, SE Ranking streamlines all your SEO efforts in one handy platform.

We can discover whether your keyword rankings in a specific location have increased or dropped. SE Ranking helps us stay on top of all search queries targeted at your business location and get real stats on where your locations are showing up in search results. By sorting these results by type of search, we can easily define the most effective keywords.

In addition to tracking your search visibility, SE Ranking offers robust tools for managing and optimizing your business for specific locations. It simplifies the process of editing, syncing, and managing your local NAPs (Name, Address, Phone number), business listings, and reviews.

Relying on a robust database and user-friendly interface, Ahrefs provides critical insights into various aspects of websites, allowing users to study organic and paid traffic performance, backlink profile, and website structure among other features.

One of the primary functions of Ahrefs is to analyze a website’s organic traffic. Users can view keywords that competitors are ranking for, enabling businesses to fine-tune their SEO strategy. The tool also provides insights into the backlink profiles of competitors. With the fastest backlink crawler in the industry and arguably the biggest index of live backlinks, it offers access to years’ worth of historical data.

Ahrefs helps us understand the external links pointing to a competitor’s website or a specific URL, including the number and quality of those backlinks. Also, Ahrefs’ Site Explorer feature is an invaluable asset, providing a comprehensive report on a website’s performance, including organic keywords, top pages, site structure, and more.

Surfer SEO is one of our “secret weapons” we use to craft compelling local content that reads well and ranks high. Thanks to Surfer’s real-time optimization metrics, we can write amazing content for your website that sets you above your competition.

It provides unique potential headings and question-formatted guidelines to create catchy headlines within seconds. Its real-time metrics guide us on structure and word count while suggesting NLP-ready keywords and images for seamless incorporation into your content. This way, we can build an article ready to rank high to target your local audience.

How can I use my competitors’ keywords in my content marketing strategy?

A major part of your Invite Them Home comprehensive competitive analysis centers on keywords and using them in content marketing. Here’s a breakdown of how it’s done:

Conduct competitor keyword research

We utilize tools like Semrush, Serpstat, or SpyFu to identify the most important keywords used by your competitors. These tools provide valuable insights into your rivals’ keyword strategies.

Create a keyword list

We compile a comprehensive list of the keywords discovered in your competitors’ title tags, meta descriptions, and content. This list will serve as a valuable resource for analysis and incorporation into your own content strategy.


Monitor and adjust

Invite Them Home will continuously monitor the performance of the implemented keywords. We track their impact on your website’s search rankings, traffic, and engagement metrics. With this knowledge, we regularly fine-tune your content strategy based on the insights gained to maximize results. By effectively utilizing your competitors’ non-branded keywords, you can enhance the visibility and relevance of your content, potentially attracting a larger audience and outperforming your rivals in the digital landscape.


Incorporate competitors’ top keywords

Once we have identified and analyzed both branded and non-branded, we integrate them strategically into your content. This could involve creating new blog posts, optimizing existing web pages, or developing targeted ad campaigns. We ensure the keywords are naturally woven into the content to maintain a high-quality user experience. The aforementioned Surfer,, and other tools also allow us to find the keys to the best-performing pages for your target keywords. They expose the questions and concerns of your target audience so that we can include content to help you outrank your local competitors.

Analyze and prioritize keywords

Assess the keywords gathered from your competitors. Consider factors such as search volume, click volume, relevance to your target audience, and competitiveness. Prioritize the keywords that align closely with your own brand and content goals.

How are local competitors different from national competitors?

If you’re wondering if local SEO is really that different from national SEO, you’re not alone. Instead of shunning one side for the other, businesses can find value in both local and national SEO. Whether you’re a single-location auto mechanic focused on local dominance or a multi-state accounting firm eyeing national reach, leveraging both realms can lead to greater success. Here are some key differences to consider:

Keyword Targeting

When it comes to local SEO, the focus is on optimizing for location-specific keywords like “cat groomer in Topeka” or “Sushi restaurant in Portland.” On the other hand, national SEO zeroes in on broader, industry-specific keywords such as “best software development” or “quality patio furniture.”

Approach to Content Creation

Local SEO demands businesses create content catering to their local customers’ specific needs and interests. Think local news, events, promotions, and informative guides. National SEO, in contrast, requires businesses to produce more generic, industry-focused content that attracts a wide-ranging audience.

Link Building

In local SEO, businesses must establish their credibility and authority by acquiring high-quality backlinks from local directories, websites, and blogs. National SEO, however, calls for link-building from authoritative websites nationwide or globally.

Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a game-changer for local SEO, putting businesses (literally) on the map for local search results. Optimizing GMB involves providing accurate and up-to-date business information, customer reviews, and more. National SEO relies less on GMB optimization for success.

Bing Places For Business

While not as prominent as Google My Business, you will also want to make sure that you are attractively listed and actively maintaining your business listing with Bing. We see a surprising number of views and contacts from Bing Places for Business, and it should be part of your content cross-posting plan.

Your Competition

Local SEO can be fierce, with businesses competing for the attention of a smaller, more niche audience. Standing out and offering unique value is crucial. On the other hand, national SEO focuses on differentiating oneself within a broader industry. This is why an accurate competitors search is especially important for local businesses.

Can I do local SEO myself?

You may wonder whether hiring a digital marketing agency to monitor your local competitors is worth the money. Of course, you don’t have to hire an agency. As a business owner or manager, resources are available if you are willing to invest time and effort. However, there are many reasons why it’s a good idea to leave the competitive analysis and your digital marketing to the professionals.

Managing a successful online marketing strategy is no easy feat. It requires extensive knowledge, time, and dedication. This is where a local SEO agency shines. They specialize in helping businesses like yours rank higher in search engine results, ensuring your offerings get seen by the right audience. Here’s why you should consider hiring a local SEO agency like Invite Them Home to monitor your local competitors:

1. Time and Effort: Local SEO is not an overnight job. It requires a consistent and long-term strategy. Trying to handle it all on your own while managing your daily operations can be overwhelming. We take this burden off your shoulders and ensure your campaigns are effectively implemented and optimized.

2. Increased Visibility: With a local SEO agency, your website, local listings, and citations will be optimized to ensure more people find your business online. This results in better exposure, more potential customers, and higher conversion rates.

3. Data Accuracy: A local SEO agency can provide you with accurate and timely data essential for making informed marketing decisions. This includes local audience data and ROI tracking.

4. Up-To-Date Practices: SEO is a constantly evolving field. When hiring a local SEO agency, you hire experts who stay abreast of the latest trends and best practices.

5. Localized Campaigns: A local SEO agency is experienced in targeting specific geographic areas to attract customers. This enhances your online visibility within your service areas.

6. Cost-Effective Solution: Managing a local SEO campaign comes with its own set of costs. An agency can provide an efficient solution at a fraction of the cost compared to hiring an in-house digital marketing team.

7. Optimized Google Business Profile: This is an essential part of local SEO, and an agency can help you create an optimized profile, ensuring it’s up-to-date and performing at its best.

8. Avoid Costly Mistakes: SEO is a complex field where mistakes can lead to penalties from search engines. An agency can help you avoid such pitfalls with their expert guidance.

9. Improved Online Reputation: An agency can help you garner more positive reviews for your business, strengthening your online reputation.

10. Effective Content Marketing: A local agency can craft content that resonates with your local audience, driving more traffic to your site and boosting customer trust and revenue. Take a look at our content marketing services for more information.

11. Quality Link Building: Acquiring quality backlinks from other websites is important to SEO. An agency can assist you in this process, helping your website rank higher in search results.

12. Optimized Website Performance: A local SEO agency ensures your website performs optimally – it is always accessible, optimized for mobile, and has a high page speed. We run regular site audits to make sure your users have a flawless experience.

13. Quality Leads: An agency can help you attract high-quality, qualified leads that are more likely to turn into conversions by targeting specific keywords.

How will Invite Them Home help me beat my local competitors?

Whether you’re a local business with a single location or a national company with multiple branches, Invite Them Home can give you the competitive edge you need. With cost-effective options and free comprehensive SEO analysis, we’re ready to help your business skyrocket in search engine ranks. Contact us for a competitive analysis example and to set up a no-obligation video meeting to discuss your own business. Get ready to dominate your local landscape with Invite Them Home!

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