Tired of losing the rankings to your opponent in organic searches? If your answer is yes, it is time to do an SEO competitor analysis.
Your competitors are an important source where you can learn about every aspect of your SEO strategy and raise the organic traffic of your site. Specifically, when you perform SEO competitor analysis, you get:
- You can find out what works and what does not work in the industry.
- You can find the weaknesses of your competitors and take advantage of them.
- You can find the strengths of your competitors and copy them.
- You can find out which SEO tasks are the top priority.
- You can understand how difficult it will be to perform better than its competitors on the search engine results page.
In this article, how to make a simple SEO competitor analysis on a site example is given. By following similar steps, you can manage to analyze your competitors for SEO. To do this, you will need three tools:
- Google SEO Competitor Analysis Template, Open with Google
You should not forget that you need to copy the template above somewhere. Just follow the File> Create Copy steps. Without this template, you shouldn’t expect the following steps to be meaningful. If you are ready, you can start SEO competitor analysis.
Identification of Competitors
You must know your opponents before you start doing something. These are sites that compete with you for the keywords you want in organic search.
Competitors for the site you have determined may be one of the pioneers of the sector or may not be one of your commercial competitors. Then you should first focus on how potential customers will search for your services. You should use the Keywords Explorer tool of Ahrefs for this.
If you do not get a result when you enter a keyword in this tool, you should examine the “Also rank for” section and browse the keywords here. Here you can find the most relevant and also the most popular keyword that you selected.
You can see who is in the top five by examining the data of the keyword in detail. For this, you should look at the “SERP overview” section showing the search engine result page. If you do not have a Ahrefs membership at hand, simply search for the keyword you selected on Google.
After this search result, you may have identified the top 5 sites that rival you. But here you should not be mistaken. If you try to find only your commercial competitors, you will make a mistake.
You can compare this to real life trading. If you are a single butcher in a town, you will not have any competitors. In this case, you are always a pioneer in SEO studies. However, when a second butcher comes to town, your opponent appears.
It may not make much sense to stick to a single keyword when trying to find competitors for a blog or e-commerce site. Because these sites can be places targeting more than one keyword. For this, you should examine the “Competing domains” option in the Site Explorer tool in Ahrefs:
- Site Explorer > Domain > Organic Search > Competing domains
In this step, you should analyze the competitive environment and this should be a high level initiative. To do this, you can go through the various data indicating the competitive situation. Using the Ahrefs Site Explorer tool, you can analyze all the sites you compete at the same time:
- Site Explorer> Competing Domains> Analyze
- Domain Rating (Domain Rating): A site’s high domain authority means that the site has a strong link profile. You should examine the values here correctly. For example, if the opponent’s DR value is 50 and your DR value is 30, then there is a competitive situation. However, if the opponent’s DR value is 90, you should know that you do not have much competition.
- Ahrefs Rank: The low Ahrefs Rank value indicates that the site is strong. Even if it gives almost the same message as DR, it is necessary to know that this is different data. For example, when comparing two sites with the same DR rating, you can find that the lower AR value is stronger.
- Referring domains: High amount of referencing domains may indicate that a site is strong. Of course, special attention should be paid to link quality here. You should focus on quality, not quantity, on links.
- Average Organic Search Traffic * and Keywords (Organic Traffic & Keywords): These are very clear data. The higher this data, the better the site performs in organic search.
It will be healthier to receive Search Traffic from SimilarWeb tool.
Formula: SimilarWeb> Competitor Site Address> Traffic Overview (Total Month Total Traffic Number) x Organic Traffic Source Percentage / 30
Even if all of this data tells you something, it will not offer you much to gain in-depth knowledge. For this reason, you need to continue your analysis without a break.
Link Growth Analysis
Link popularity is an important ranking factor in terms of SEO. Therefore, you should examine your competitor’s effort to create links. First you need to review the opponent’s new link purchase status. You can use the Site Explorer tool of Ahrefs for this:
- Site Explorer> domain name> Overview> Referring Domains graph> One year
Here you need to perform a simple mathematical operation to examine the data monthly. First, you should note the total amount of links obtained. Then you should learn the amount of links he had a year ago. You must subtract the amount of links one year earlier than the current link amount and divide the result by 12. Thus, you can find out the amount of links your opponent has received monthly.
In addition, you should also examine the growth trend. In other words, you should examine whether your opponent has a growing link profile over time.
If your opponent has a natural link growth profile, you can try to examine whether this is natural. If you see that there are small and small exits in the link profile, you can understand that this is a natural link growth. If there is a huge increase in momentary momentarily, you may notice that the opponent’s link growth profile is unstable.
The meaning of spikes may be different at times. Sudden rise may indicate the presence of very well performing content. However, it can also indicate that the site is at the target of a negative SEO attack. You should review the new domains report referring to this:
- Site Explorer> Referring domains> New> set a time period
If the domain names listed here consist of domains that can be called garbage, you are facing a negative SEO attack. You can confirm this by reviewing the newly obtained links for the time interval you have set.
If many of the links here go to the same web page, then the content in question is performing very well. If there is a bumpy graphic, you should examine the “Best by Link Growth” report in the Site Explorer tool. Thus, you can find out which content attracts more links.
If the links in here come from places like guest writers and resource pages, there is an improvement in your competitors’ link building efforts.
After you put all the information you have obtained in the appropriate places on the template, you can continue to do more investigations.
Finding Important Resources
t is very important to identify the sites that you can get links from among the sources linking to your competitors. The person who gives a link to someone else can also give you a link. For this reason, we must contact those people immediately. But remember, we need to take action not only to get links, but to provide resources that really benefit. In order to find these people, you need to check the “Referring domains” section of the Site Explorer tool.
- Site Explorer> Referring Domains> dofollow filter> “links to target”
Here you should especially pay attention to blog content. If a link is exited from different points to an address on a blog, you can evaluate it. You should immediately contact the blogger and try to interact with them on link opportunities.
Finding Incorrect Pages
What is rubbish for one person can be a treasure for another. In the web environment, this rule is extremely true. Therefore, you should try to find broken pages that are rubbish for your opponent. To do this, you need to use the Site Explorer tool.
- Site Explorer> your opponent’s domain> Best by links> 404 not found filter> Referring domains
If you find a broken page with links on your competitor’s site, you should first consider whether this is relevant to your business. If the page is relevant to your business, you can follow the steps below:
you should understand what the broken page is used for.
You should go about publishing similar but better content.
You should find anyone linking to the broken page. For this, you can review the Backlinks report in the Site Explorer tool.
You can suggest them your own content that can be used instead of the broken link.
- You should understand what the broken page is used for.
- You should go about publishing similar but better content.
- You should find anyone linking to the broken page. For this, you can review the Backlinks report in the Site Explorer tool.
- You can suggest them your own content that can be used instead of the broken link.
In the draft table you used, you should fill in the broken link places with the data you get from here. You should not forget to identify the corrupted pages that exist for every competitor you have examined and transfer them to the table.
Traffic Analysis (By Country)
Learning from which countries your competitors are receiving traffic will help you understand what are the opportunities that lie within that niche. For this you need to use the Site Explorer tool.
- Site Explorer> your opponent’s domain> Overview> Organic search tab
You should write down the amount of traffic that appears by country to the appropriate points in the template. To do this, you should consider the top five countries. After entering similar data for the five competing sites you are reviewing, you can proceed to the next step.
In line with all the data you have entered, you identify the countries that offer the most traffic to your competitors. Based on this data, you can give a different direction to your content creation strategy.
What you should be careful about here is that you have not made the mistake of focusing only on traffic values. For example, a site that receives the same amount of organic traffic from the UK and Mexico countries will not have the same traffic per dollar.
Focusing on Organic Keywords
In this step, you should learn what are the keywords that bring organic traffic to your competitors’ site. You should do organic keyword research for this. You can easily handle this task using Ahrefs Site Explorer or SemRush Organic Research tool
Ahrefs> Site Explorer> your opponent’s domain> Organic search> Organic keywords
SemRush> Domain Analytics> Organic Research
In the default settings, organic keyword report keywords are shown according to the country with the highest traffic. If you want to see the traffic coming from a different country, you should click “More” and select the appropriate country from here.
You should now find keywords that might be valuable. For this, you need to get rid of some keywords that blur the water. First, you should exclude branded keywords from the results. For this, you need to use the “Exclude” feature.
After doing this, you should try to find keywords that will have at least 10 positions. To do this, you need to set the Position option Min-10 in the Organic Keywords section.
You should place all the data you get from the report you will encounter in the appropriate places in the template. You should keep in mind that you need to create reports for every five sites, review them one by one, and use filters in all of them.
Focus on Featured Snippet Items
You should pay particular attention to this part when examining your opponent’s organic traffic. The search engine result page features of your opponent will be able to make it stand out in the competition. Because featured snippet items have a 9% higher clickthrough rate than the site that ranks first. You must use the Site Explorer tool to access this data.
- Site Explorer> your opponent’s domain> Organic search> Organic keywords> SERP features filter> Featured snippets> Only linking to target
If you elaborate in this way, you can find out how highlighted snippet elements your competitors have. You should obtain similar data for all five sites and then place them at the appropriate points in the table.
What makes the featured snippet elements important is much different. If an opponent has managed to get here, it means you can do it too. Featured snippets take up a lot of space on the search engine results page. So your priority should be your SEO strategy.
Detecting Content Gaps
Content gaps allow you to find keywords that your opponent has ranked but you don’t even have a chance to rank for. You must fill these gaps. You can use the Content Gap tool of Ahrefs to find content gaps.
Site Explorer> your site’s domain> Content gap
You should write your own domain name in the “But the following target doesn’t rank for” field. In the options above, you must enter your opponent’s domain names and activate the “all of the below targets” option.
When you report in this way, you will come across many different keyword suggestions. You will now have an unlimited resource at hand. However, it is not possible to target all keywords at the same time. For this you should filter.
After applying these filters, you discover keywords that are easy to obtain ranking but also have an acceptable search volume. You should choose the most correct keywords from these keywords and place them in the appropriate places in the template.
Finding Popular Content from Competitors
Keyword research is always an important challenge for SEO. It’s much easier for Google to understand the intentions behind searches than before. For this reason, long-tail keywords should be one of your main goals.
You can try to figure out what your opponent is serving by finding the best content. Content that gets ranking for tens of keywords and content that attracts hundreds of traffic are the points that you should pay attention to. You must use the Site Explorer tool to find the best content of your competitors.
- Site Explorer> your opponent’s domain> prefix> Top pages
If you do not know where your opponent’s blog page is located, you can check the “Top subfolders” option in the Site Explorer tool. If you can’t find anything here, you should check the “Top subdomains” section.
In the report you will get here, you can see that many content is already composed of content that receives a lot of links. This is not surprising. Because links are still an important ranking factor.
The point you should pay attention to in this report is to find pages with a lot of traffic but also low RD value. When you find them, you will find out where you need to create content. Then you should not forget to add all the data you have obtained to the appropriate places in the template.
Finding the Most Linked Content of Competitors
Link means reference. When you have more references, you can have more organic search traffic. You should create a link for this, but first you need to know where to start.
Using the “Best by links” report in the Site Explorer tool, you can identify the content of your competitors that receive the most links. If a content works for them, it also has the potential to work for you.
- Site Explorer> your opponent’s address> Organic search> Pages> Best by links
Once you have reached this report, you should take the top five pages for each opponent and place them in the appropriate places on the template. Thus, you can find out what types of content have generally worked for the competitor. After this point, you should try to steer your content strategy correctly.
Similarly, you might consider using spaces. If a site is based entirely on textual content and gets a lot of links, you can publish it visually and get more links. Here you need to use the technique called skyscraper technique.
- You should create similar or better content.
- You should show the content to anyone who links to your competitors.
- To take advantage of this extremely well performing content, you must use interactions with them.
Just browse the “Referring domains” section to find links to the content of your competitors. Here you can see who is linking to the relevant pages.
Finding PPC Keywords
It is extremely important to check and analyze your competitor’s PPC activities while creating an SEO plan. The biggest reason for this is that if they are paying for a keyword, it shows that the keyword is profitable. In order to find the PPC keywords of your competitors, you should examine the reports in Ahrefs Site Explorer and SemRush Advertising Research tools.
- Site Explorer> your opponent’s domain> Paid search> PPC keywords
- Advertising Research> your competitor’s domain
Based on this report, you can find keywords that are actually easy to target but that your competitor is willing to pay to gain a ranking advantage.
When analyzing the data, you should be careful to review the conversion rates for the keywords you have determined. For example, a keyword with 70 searches per month might have a 20% conversion rate. However, a keyword with 600 searches per month might have a 2% conversion rate.
You should find out which of these will bring you more income. Of course, the keyword with low search volume but high conversion rate will earn more. You should add the PPC keywords that you obtained by acting logically to the template.
Just because your competitor gets an ad to get the advantage of ranking on a keyword doesn’t mean it’s very valuable. You should consider these before choosing keywords. You should decide for which keywords it is important to get ranking.
Review of PPC Ads
By reviewing your competitors’ PPC ads, you can discover title tags and meta descriptions that will increase your clickthrough rate. They want to get their attention by using these ad copies of your competitors who want to attract the attention of customers. You can access the advertisement data by examining the report screens in Ahrefs Site Explorer and SemRush Advertising Research tools.
- Site Explorer> your opponent’s domain> Paid search> PPC keywords
- Advertising Research> your opponent’s domain> Ad Copies
After making this search, you can see the copy of the advertisement by hovering over the yellow “Name” option. You can increase the clickthrough rate of your site by using the phrases included in the ad copies in your own meta descriptions.
When it comes to competitor analysis for SEO, the above is just part of the iceberg. If you know how to use Ahrefs and SemRush, you can get much different and useful data from many different reports. So you can use more detailed tactics in your content, marketing and link building strategy.