Amelia Fenner Prowle
Amelia Fenner Prowle

Helping Small and Medium Businesses Achieve Their Full Marketing Potential | Digital Marketing Expert

Top Tips For SEO Competitor Research

The world of business and advertising can, sometimes, feel like a dog-eat-dog world. It’s a war for prospects’ attention and a constant competition to beat your competitors to the top of the search results.

Often, this can be draining, but understanding the landscape of competitive organic listings in your industry is key to crafting a strategy that gets you to the top of the search engine results page (SERP).

By conducting a website competitor analysis, you can assess not only the ways to boost your own business but also how your business is different

Therein lies your strength. 

So if you want a leg up when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation, here are our top tips for checking out the competition.

What Are Direct And Indirect Competitors?

Direct competitors are those that are offering or marketing for the same or similar products to yours. Customers will often compare these with yours during the conversion journey before making a purchase.

Indirect competitors are those that don’t necessarily offer the same products or services, but they compete with you digitally for visibility and for web space. These are the competitors that you would target with SEO strategies.

Why You Should Check Out Your Competitors

SEO competitor research is highly beneficial; it can help you to identify any gaps in your advertising or highlight areas where your products or services meet your customers’ needs that you can capitalise on in your content. 

But it’s important not to get hung up on comparing the granular details. 

Running your business and advertising your solutions to customers is a delicate balance between keeping an eye on what your direct competitors are doing while still focusing on the quality and individuality of your own business.

As a digital marketing agency, we know the importance of standing out from the crowd. Therefore, it’s critical that these insights are used to further your own USPs rather than as a guide for your business model.

You can use your analysis of competitive organic listings to gather insights into how competitors run their businesses, how they engage with their customers and the kinds of SEO efforts they’re making. You can then use this information to ensure that your business is competitive – not the same. In fact, modelling your business in the same way as your competitors is not what search engines want to see and is a surefire way to wind up losing visibility and impact. 

Identifying Your Competition

So, you know what direct competition is, but how do you keep track of what they’re up to? 

Luckily, there are multiple ways to keep an eye on your competition and use these insights to strengthen your own business. Here are a few methods we recommend:

Keyword Positions

The best place to start is to analyse who you’re in direct competition with for your core keywords. These are the businesses that you need to be aware of and have a competitive edge over. 

But how do you find out who you’re competing against for your keywords? The easiest way is to open an incognito tab on your web browser (no cookies, please!) and type in the keywords you’d most like to rank for. Once you’re on the search engine results page, you can begin to analyse who’s appearing and what their business has to offer compared to your own.

During this process, you should focus on high ROI keywords, as this is where optimisations can have the biggest impact on revenue for your business.

Website Analysis

Once you’ve identified the most competitive organic listings, you can move on to website competitor analysis. This is a process whereby you look at the websites of other companies that offer similar products or services to yours and analyse what they’re doing well, as well as what they’re not.

You should consider how the products or services are displayed, how they are categorised and any ways that the website has been designed for a smooth user experience. This could include the placement of CTAs, category descriptions or instructive headings.

Remember to consider technical aspects such as how quickly their site loads, how easy it is to navigate and how the user journey is directed towards conversion. These are also key SEO factors alongside the content itself.

Content Strategy

Now, it’s time to understand your competitor’s organic content strategy and consider any necessary improvements to your own. This starts with the meta title and description on the results page: how do they embed the keywords? How do they engage the user to click on to their site?

And once you’re on the site, what style of copy are they using? Is it content rich or short and punchy? Whilst the goal is never to imitate, analysing a competitor’s website content strategy can help you to understand what works and what makes a positive user experience.

Backlink Analysis

Backlinks are a key part of any SEO strategy due to their ability to inform search engines how much authority your site has in your industry. So, when you’re conducting SEO competitor research, you should take a look at other sites that refer to the competitor’s site.

You might also look at their core website stats, including their Domain Authority and Site Health. You can then use this information to help you to craft your own backlink strategy that secures links from high quality sites.

To Conclude…

Competitor analysis is hugely valuable and also something that we’re familiar with as an experienced digital marketing agency. It’s a critical part of how we work to improve the efficiency of our SEO strategies.

If you’d like to know more about our innovative search strategies and how we can use market insights to boost your business, why not get in touch with our team?