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Winning the Search Engine War: Steps to SEO Competitor Analysis 

Securing a top spot in search results is like going to battle. It requires strategic planning and proper execution. But before you can claim victory, it’s crucial to identify companies offering similar products and services to your market – because, let’s face it, they are your adversaries. They are in direct competition with you for the attention and loyalty of your target audience.

We are often surprised that many of our clients at Invite Them Home come to us unaware of who their digital competitors truly are before we conduct their SEO competitor analysis. It could be that your online rival isn’t the industry leader with the largest market share. They might not be the ones dominating the trade show with their impressive booth. And they may not be the ones who snatched away your last client.

To achieve SEO success, it’s imperative to keep a close eye on your online competitors and constantly monitor their activities. However, the conventional approach of using a few selected search phrases to gauge your competition often falls short. It fails to uncover new rivals and adapt to market changes and search algorithms directly impacting your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. Fortunately, Invite Them Home has field-tested, effective techniques to bring you insight into your competition and win the fight for your customers.

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What is Competitor SEO Analysis?

Don’t be intimidated by your enemy – learn from them! Instead of guessing which keywords to target or what content to create, why not research your competitors and learn from their success? By conducting an SEO competitor analysis, you can gain valuable insights into your rivals’ tactics and use that knowledge to enhance your own strategy.

During a competitor analysis, we’ll examine your direct search competitors and delve into their target keywords, content strategy, backlink profile, and more. This process, sometimes called competitive analysis, allows you to reverse engineer the most successful elements of their tactics and incorporate them into your own strategy.

But it’s important to note that the goal isn’t to copy your competition. Instead, you’ll leverage the data and insights you gather to improve upon their efforts and create better experiences for your website visitors.

By conducting an SEO competitor analysis, you’ll gain answers to key questions like:

  • Who are my true SEO competitors?
  • Which keywords should I be targeting?
  • What does the competitive landscape look like in my industry?
  • What topics should I be covering?
  • Where can I find valuable links to improve my rankings?

There are various methods for conducting a competitor analysis for SEO, but the basic process involves:

  1. Identifying your competitors.
  2. Analyzing what’s working for them, such as their keywords, content, and links.
  3. Leveraging this intelligence to enhance your digital marketing efforts.

Why You Need To Do Competitive Analysis

While some businesses focus solely on keyword mapping, link building, and content optimization, they often overlook competitor analysis, which can greatly benefit their marketing efforts.

SEO competitor analysis is crucial for benchmarking your SEO efforts against your competitors. By understanding how and why your competitors perform in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), you can identify strengths and weaknesses in their strategies.

Knowing your enemy’s weak points allows you to capitalize on areas where your competitors are struggling and falling short, using it to your advantage to strengthen your efforts. You can identify and close gaps in the market, giving you the leading edge.

In today’s competitive business world, you can’t afford to let your guard down. If you get wrapped up in your own business operations and forget about the competition, you risk a sneak attack that could take your company down.

Steps to Defeating Your Competitors’ SEO

AI tools for SEO
Just like any successful battle, you need a plan of action. Here are the steps you need to know to win the war against your industry adversaries.

#1 – Evaluate Your Current Position 

Before you take a look at your foe, take an inventory of your own assets. You can’t defeat your enemy if you don’t know where you stand.

Before moving forward with your SEO checklist, monitoring your current key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial. ITH is here to provide you with a comprehensive digital marketing guide that will help you develop KPIs and evaluate the performance of your website’s search engine optimization.

We establish a baseline to benchmark your SEO performance by analyzing key website metrics and user experience. Then, we’ll continuously monitor your SEO performance to gain valuable insights and measure the effectiveness of our efforts.

You can easily track your SEO performance using free data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Depending on your digital marketing campaign, you can track your performance daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. At ITH, we’ve found that monitoring performance monthly gives us the best indicator of how your website is performing.

Here are a few core KPIs we’ll be closely watching:
Most business owners don’t know what data to monitor or how to interpret it. We won’t just gather the intel, we’ll help you make meaning of the numbers.

Organic search traffic, Impressions, clicks, and conversions:
To increase your website’s visibility and attract quality traffic, it’s essential to see where you currently stand in search engine rankings. We’ll assess how well your web pages rank for relevant keywords and accurately measure your organic traffic. Our (free!) SEO audit includes an analysis of your current organic traffic, complete with trend graphs to track your progress. If your growth rates are not meeting your goals, it may be time to consider an SEO strategy overhaul.

Impressions are the starting point of digital marketing. They represent the number of times your search listing or ad is displayed. However, it’s important to note that impressions don’t guarantee attention or engagement.

Clicks indicate interested visitors and are the basis for pricing in most paid advertising campaigns and a mearuree of success in organic search. When a visitor clicks a search listing or ad, they are directed to your website, where the goal is to make a sale or capture a lead.

Conversions are the ultimate goal of every campaign. They represent actions such as making a sale, capturing a lead, or downloading your software. The number of conversions in relation to the total dollars spent determines your ROI.

The goal of all website traffic is not necessarily a sale or a lead. If your website answers a question or solves a problem related to your product or service at the point of customer need, that is a successful event. Providing valuable information when needed supports your customer and lowers costs as your customer service or other staff do not have to respond to the need.

Individual keyword rankings:
Our SEO audit will also measure your individual keyword rankings. This report provides valuable insights into your search visitors and their behaviors. While seeing your company name in your keywords is great, it may indicate overreliance on branded terms. Having more than 40% branded search terms means you’re missing out on attracting new customers.

Domain authority:
Domain Authority (DA) predicts a domain’s likelihood of ranking in search engine results compared to its competitors. While Google doesn’t use DA as a ranking factor, it offers valuable insights into your website’s performance and competitiveness. We have access to tools like Moz and SEMrush to determine your current DA and develop strategies to improve it if necessary.

By monitoring these key performance indicators and making data-driven decisions, ITH will help you fully understand your website’s SEO performance before you begin your SEO competitor analysis.

#2 – Know Who You’re Fighting

You can’t fight effectively if you have your eyes on the wrong enemy. Identifying your true online competitors is crucial for optimizing your search engine and other digital visibility. Knowing who you’re up against in the search results battlefield allows you to aim your SEO efforts at the right target.

While your traditional business competitors may not necessarily be your search competitors, there are ways to identify the latter. You can manually search using search engines or utilize free and paid tools for a more streamlined process.

To manually identify your SEO competitors, follow these steps:

  1. Enter your target keyword in Google or Bing.
  2. Collect the ranking domains and record them in a spreadsheet.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for multiple keywords related to your topic.
  4. Combine the results into one spreadsheet.
  5. Determine which domains appear frequently and in which positions.
  6. Remember to repeat this process for every product, service, and content topic on your website.

Does this process sound time-consuming and tedious? It is! This manual process can be impractical and waste a lot of time, energy, and money if you are aiming to rank for numerous keywords. For sites with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of keyword rankings, relying solely on manual checking becomes inefficient and prone to errors.

Identify Competitors with Professional SEO Tools

To save you time and ensure accuracy, there are professional SEO tools available that can analyze your keyword rankings and identify your true search competitors automatically. Don’t waste your resources chasing the wrong competitors. Unlock the full potential of your website with the right tools.

SemRush, Serpstat, Spyfu, Ahrefs, and SERanking are all great paid services that we subscribe to at Invite Them Home. No matter your industry, these tools can help find your direct business competitors. Paying for subscriptions to these services and learning how to use them is seriously costly, so let us stock your arsenal! (Why do we use all these tools and more? We have found that while they all purport to do everything for everyone, each has strengths and weaknesses and we want to have the best tool for each use case.)

#3 – Spy on Their Content

Content analysis is crucial to achieving success in digital marketing. Content analysis involves a thorough evaluation of existing content to determine the most effective ways to optimize it for search engines. This process allows you to identify areas that need improvement and find opportunities to enhance your rankings and organic traffic through targeted content updates. It is an essential component of the content optimization process.

What is SEO Content Analysis?

As part of an SEO competitor analysis, content marketers assess existing website content and identify areas for improvement. The goal is to optimize the content for maximum visibility and conversion potential. Factors such as keyword density, readability score, internal linking structure, meta tags, backlinks, titles, and headlines are taken into account during content analysis. By analyzing these elements carefully, you can develop a comprehensive strategy to enhance your content’s performance in organic search results against your competitors.

Why Analyze Competitor Content?

You can’t expect success relying solely on technical SEO. Content marketing is a massive piece of the digital battlefield. Analyzing your competitors’ content provides valuable insights for keeping your SEO content strategy competitive and up to date. First, it helps you understand your competitive position in the industry, enabling you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, competitor analysis highlights content gaps and areas where you can improve your own content. By studying successful competitors, you can learn from their strategies and avoid the trial-and-error approach.

How to Conduct a Competitor Content Analysis

There are three key pieces for analyzing your competitors’ web content for your own gain:

Step 1: Understand Your Competitors’ Content
To gain insight into your competitors’ content strategy, catalog the different types of content they produce. This includes product information, blog articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, e-books, white papers, presentations, and e-newsletters. By knowing what types of content they create, you can better understand their investment in content, the formats their audience prefers, and the topics and keywords they prioritize.

Step 2: Assess Quantity and Quality
Once you have cataloged your competitors’ content, evaluate its quantity and quality. Look at how much emphasis they place on each type of content and how frequently they publish it. Take note of any indicators of popularity and engagement, such as shares and comments, to gauge how well their content is performing.

Step 3: Analyze Content Topics
Dig deeper by analyzing each piece of your competitors’ content. Pay attention to the title, description, and consume as much of the content as possible. If there is too much to review, start with the most popular or recent pieces. Tag each piece with relevant topics. This will allow you to identify and fill gaps in your competitors’ content strategy.

Develop an Intel-Driven Content Approach

Completing a content analysis shouldn’t be a one-time report. Your competitors are continuously publishing new content and refining their strategies. We regularly gather insights on your competitors’ content strategies to stay ahead.

Additionally, consider analyzing organizations that may not offer competitive products or services but compete for your target audience’s attention. These organizations can provide valuable insights and potentially lead to content partnerships. By collaborating with complementary organizations, you can reach a wider audience and leverage each other’s content strengths.

Analyzing the content marketing landscape takes time, but it is essential for creating standout content. Rather than blindly producing content, take the time to identify the true opportunities that exist and create valuable resources that set you apart from the competition.

#4 – Crack Your Enemy’s Code

Target keywords are a vital aspect of any successful SEO strategy. They keep you focused on creating valuable content and let your audience know you have what they’re looking for whether it is information or a product. However, it’s not enough to do keyword research for your business – you need to know how your competitors use the same keywords.

Competitor keyword analysis, also known as keyword gap analysis, can provide you with valuable insights. You can gain a competitive edge by identifying the keywords your competitors rank highly for, but you don’t.

Here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Focus on valuable keywords that are related to your business and have high search volume.
  2. Choose keywords that you have the potential to rank for or can improve your ranking.
  3. Analyzing multiple competitors can give you a more comprehensive understanding.
  4. For each competitor, fins the common and unique keywords.
  5. Examine the success of each of their content pages, what keywords it ranks for, and the estimated organic search traffic.

The challenge lies in the sheer volume of keywords that you or your competitors can potentially rank for. It is not unusuall for us to see a domain rank for more than 10,000 keywords. Performing this analysis manually can be time-consuming and complicated.

Thankfully, Invite Them Home is here to help!

Selecting keywords relevant to your business and aligning with your existing content is important when conducting competitor keyword analysis. This analysis also allows you to gauge the difficulty of outranking competitors in search engine results and identify opportunities for high ROI.

Before diving into competitor keyword analysis, you first need to find their keywords. Luckily, there are both free and paid tools available to help you with this task. These tools can also help you identify gaps in your current strategy.

Remember, there’s no special trick to determine which keywords are more important than others. It requires a manual keyword analysis that considers their relevance, organic traffic volume, and impact on the current search engine results.

Once you have narrowed down your list to the most relevant and accessible keywords from your competitors, it’s time for a deeper analysis. We look for potential quick wins by examining their ranking changes. Read more about our keyword research services here.

#5 – Sharpen Your Content Weapons

SEO copywriting is the secret to boosting your web page’s visibility on search engines. It involves crafting and structuring your website’s content to appeal to both users and search engine algorithms.

So, why is content SEO so crucial? Search engines like Google and Bing analyze the words on your website to determine its relevance and ranking. While a visually appealing and technically optimized site is essential, quality content is the cornerstone of success.

While SEO writing is not a walk in the park, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Though there’s no magic formula for securing the top spot in search engine results, we can leverage our understanding of search engine algorithms to create content that performs better.

One of the most critical aspects of SEO writing is utilizing the right keywords and answering the right questions. This means identifying what people search for when looking for sites like yours or learning about similar products or services. Conducting thorough keyword research helps build a comprehensive list of words and phrases that should be incorporated into your content.

Furthermore, it’s essential to include related terms alongside these keywords. By incorporating words that complement your researched keywords, Google better understands your content’s context. This strategy, known as latent semantic indexing, can significantly enhance your SEO efforts.

Additionally, search engine crawlers evaluate whether your content is written primarily for SEO or with the audience in mind. Striking the right balance is crucial to avoid keyword stuffing, where keywords are overly repeated, rendering the content meaningless to human readers. Successful SEO copywriters create content that appeals to both human readers and search engine spiders.

The language used in SEO writing also plays a role in search engine crawls. If the language is too simplistic and lacks unique words, it may be deemed less valuable. Achieving optimal results requires content that flows naturally, imparts a wealth of information, and strikes a balance between complexity and readability.

You may be an expert in your field, but writing effective web content goes beyond industry knowledge. Our copywriters at Invite Them Home are skilled in forming your expertise into web content that grabs the attention of Google and your audience better than your competition.

Pro Tip: When we talk about “keywords” we mean individual words, phrases, and probably most important in this world of voice search, questions. One of the keys to successful content marketing is to understand what questions your prospects and customers ask when they seek to learn about similar products or services. This means that you need to understand their pain points and needs and incorporate them into your content clearly, giving them the information

#6 – Round Up Backlink Allies

Credibility is essential in today’s digital landscape for both businesses and individuals. Establishing credibility requires more than just a visually appealing website. One strategy that stands out is backlinking.

Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are hyperlinks from one website to another. When a website includes a link to another site, it essentially vouches for the linked site’s credibility and relevance.

Backlinks play a crucial role in SEO as they determine a website’s authority, trustworthiness, and overall ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). A strong correlation exists between the number of websites linking to a particular site and higher organic search traffic.

Competitor backlinks, or links from external sources pointing to a competitor’s website, are important to understanding your competition. By analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles, identifying their sources, and evaluating the quality and relevance of those links, you can gain valuable insights into their online presence, link-building strategies, and areas where they excel or lack in SEO efforts.

#7 – Analyze Their Social Media Propaganda

Harness the power of social media marketing (SMM) to elevate your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. With SMM, you can connect with your current customers and attract new ones while gaining valuable data insights to track your success and explore fresh engagement opportunities.

To gain a deeper understanding of your competition, conduct market research and ask key questions such as:

  1. Who is your competition targeting?
  2. What social media platforms are they using?
  3. Where are their posts getting the most attention?
  4. What platforms are falling flat?
  5. What type of content are they posting to social media?
  6. How frequently do they post?
  7. What tone do they use?
  8. Do they respond to their followers?

Once you clearly understand your target audience and competition, it’s time to refine your social media marketing strategy and effectively connect with your audience.

To understand your competitors’ social media presence, analyze the content they share. At ITH, we help track their posts, stories, videos, podcasts, blogs, infographics, and ebooks. Take note of their hashtags, keywords, captions, headlines, and calls to action. Consider the topics they cover and how those align with their SEO keywords. Pay attention to the tone, style, and format they use, keeping in mind their brand voice and audience preferences. Analyze the types of content they use across different platforms and identify what performs well in terms of engagement or conversions. Look for any content gaps or weaknesses that you can fill or leverage.

While studying your competitors is important, focusing on your core competencies, unique products or services, and subjects of interest to your customers is crucial. Pay attention to customer comments and invest time and effort into creating a strong social media presence.

In addition to analyzing your competition, examine their audience and how they engage with them on social media. We use tools like Facebook Audience Insights or Twitter (X) Analytics to gather demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data about their followers. Consider their ideal customers and their pain points, needs, wants, and interests. Assess how they segment their audience and tailor their content and messages accordingly. Look into how they build trust, loyalty, and advocacy, as well as the value they offer and their methods for encouraging engagement. Pay attention to how they handle negative feedback and their reputation.

While local competitors can provide some insights, national brands often have a more strategic approach to communication. Focus on analyzing national brands before local competitors, as their social media strategies are more likely to add value to your own. However, it’s always beneficial to observe what everyone is doing and identify what is missing for the consumer.

The final step is to analyze how your competitors plan, execute, and measure their social media strategy in relation to their SEO strategy. We utilize tools like Awario, SEMrush, and Moz to compare their social media performance, rankings, backlinks, and traffic sources with yours. We look into their social media profiles, bios, links, and CTAs. Consider their goals, how they measure success and ROI, best practices for optimizing SEO content and profiles, challenges, threats, opportunities, and trends. Identify their unique selling propositions and competitive advantages to understand how they differentiate themselves from you.

Using social media for competitive analysis in SEO can gain valuable insights into your competition’s successes and failures. This will help you create more relevant content for your audience and identify new market opportunities, gaps, and niches. Social media marketing can be a powerful tool for improving your SEO strategy when used effectively.

#8 – Follow Verbal Commands 

Voice search and AI Chat have revolutionized how we access information, give commands, and purchase online. Whether you’re a busy individual on the go or rely on accessibility features, voice search offers a convenient and efficient way to get what you need. In addition, both Google and Bing are moving to a more conversational search experience where they seek to find your intent, hold a multi-round interaction with you, and then present a single answer with attribution rather than a simple list of websites with the classic small excerpt from each.

It’s crucial to recognize the advantages of ranking for voice search and incorporate it into your digital marketing optimization strategy. By developing a strong voice search SEO plan, you can gain a competitive edge, deliver content in a format your audience prefers, and create a more inclusive website experience.

But what exactly is voice search? It already is used in the majority of on line searches. It of course allows users to search or give commands to devices using speech instead of typing. These devices use speech recognition technology and keyword queries to provide relevant answers.

The benefits of voice search are numerous – it’s faster, more efficient, and perfect for multitaskers. To capitalize on this trend, organizations need to optimize their web pages through voice search SEO.

Voice search SEO involves optimizing your web pages to rank for voice search queries related to your business. Fortunately, the principles of voice search SEO are similar to traditional SEO, and the two strategies should work hand-in-hand for maximum effectiveness.

To succeed in voice search SEO, it’s also essential to have a strong organic search strategy for text-based searches. Your content needs to appear on page one of organic search results to be selected as a voice search answer.

It’s also important to note that voice search has different rules. On smart speaker devices, only one result is presented to the user, unlike text-based searches that display a list of options. This is why a well-crafted voice search SEO strategy is essential.

Smart devices prioritize different ranking factors and select answers in a unique way. They often rely on SERP features like featured snippets, directory listings, knowledge graphs, and more. You need to excel in these areas to ensure your content is selected as the answer to a voice search query.

Voice search technologies dominate the market, including Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana. To optimize your voice search SEO strategy, ITH will focus on all of these platforms, as different devices use different search engines to deliver results.

Why Have Invite Them Home as an Ally for SEO Competitor Analysis

Going to war means having the best skills and weapons available. For expert search engine optimization (SEO) guidance that guarantees a positive return on investment, you need an ally who knows competitor analysis backward and forward. While you could try to tackle it yourself, partnering with an experienced SEO agency will maximize your efforts and free up your time to focus on running your business.

At ITH, clients turn to us because our expertise brings a winning strategy. We can serve as your digital marketing department or augment your internal team, providing unparalleled competence in the digital landscape.

In today’s rapidly evolving technological world, having a great website and exceptional products or services is just the beginning. Your online presence needs to be robust, nimble, and proactive. That’s where we come in.

We understand that some business owners may feel overwhelmed by SEO competitive analysis and generating reports. That’s why we offer a simple approach: look at what your competitors are doing and then do it better. This data-driven marketing strategy is essential to stay ahead of the competition.

When choosing Invite Them Home for your SEO and digital marketing needs, you’re choosing a company with the skills and tools to elevate your company. Our custom-made plans, personal attention, and full transparency ensure you’re fully informed at every step.

Not ready to invest in a comprehensive SEO strategy? No problem. Contact us for a risk-free, no-obligation SEO audit to explore your business’s future possibilities. Team up with ITH today before your enemy invades your market territory!

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