SEO is an ever-changing and ever competitive digital marketing component for any online business. That’s why it is important to not only make sure your SEO strategy is robust, but to see how your competitors stack up.

This article will take you through a SEO competitor analysis checklist so you can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding SEO competition insights.

What Is SEO Competitor Analysis?

SEO competitor analysis is a process in digital marketing where a business evaluates and analyses the SEO competition insights of other businesses in their industry. This involves understanding how competitors are performing in criteria such as search engine rankings, what keywords they are targeting, the quality of their content, their backlink profiles, and their overall online visibility,

Why Is SEO Competitor Analysis Important?

We have briefly touched on why search engine position analysis can be beneficial for your company. However, in case you needed even more reason to undergo an SEO analysis, read on for more specific benefits:

  1. Understanding the Competitive Landscape: It provides insight into who your direct competitors are, what strategies they’re using, and how they’re performing in search rankings.
  2. Identifying Keyword Opportunities: By analysing the keywords for which your competitors rank, you can discover new keyword opportunities for your own SEO strategy, including high-value yet low-competition keywords.
  3. Content Strategy Enhancement: Reviewing competitors’ content helps identify what types of content are engaging the audience in your industry, allowing you to adjust and generate fresh content strategy accordingly.
  4. Spotting Gaps in Your Strategy: Competitor analysis can highlight areas where your competitors are performing well and you are not, indicating potential areas for improvement in your own SEO strategy.
  5. Benchmarking Performance: It allows you to benchmark your SEO performance against the competition, helping to set realistic goals and effectively measure progress over time.
  6. Adapting to Market Trends: SEO competitor analysis helps in staying abreast of evolving trends and practices in your industry, ensuring that your SEO strategy remains current and efficient
  7. Technical SEO Insights: You can learn from the technical SEO aspects of competitors, like site structure, page speed, and mobile optimisation. This will allow you to enhance your website’s user experience and search engine friendliness.

In essence, to compare SEO with competitors is important because it equips you with the knowledge to make informed decisions, improve your SEO strategies, and ultimately achieve better search engine rankings and visibility within your industry.

When should you perform an SEO competitor analysis?

An SEO competitor analysis checklist can be performed in many parts of your SEO campaign journey. The most notable times being:

  • During Initial SEO Planning: When first developing your SEO strategy, analysing competitors provides valuable insights into the market landscape, helping you identify key opportunities and potential challenges that may arise.
  • Before Launching a New Product or Service: Understanding the competitive environment can guide your SEO strategy to better position your new products and services in search results so you can hit the ground running.
  • When Revisiting or Updating Your SEO Strategy: SEO is not a one-time task. Regularly scheduled competitor analyses help keep your strategy aligned with market changes and evolving search engine algorithms.
  • When Experiencing a Drop in Traffic or Rankings: If you notice a significant change in your website’s search performance, you will of course want to know how to get back on track! Analysing competitors can help identify what they might be doing differently or better.

Deciding Who Not to Compete With

Before going through with your SEO Competitor Analysis, you may want to decide who you will not include in your competitor analysis. This will save a lot of time as you won’t have to analyse businesses that aren’t ultimately the competition you should be thinking of. Some considerations to knock out competitors include:

  • Relevance to Your Niche: Avoid competing with businesses that aren’t directly relevant to your niche or target audience. Even if they rank for similar keywords, if their products, services, or content don’t closely align with yours, they’re not true competitors.
  • Industry Giants: Be cautious about competing with industry giants or well-established brands, especially if you’re a small or medium-sized business. These entities often have substantial resources and domain authority that can be challenging to match.
  • Different Business Models: If a competitor has a fundamentally different business model (e.g., e-commerce vs. informational sites), their SEO strategies and keywords might not be applicable to your business.
  • Geographical Relevance: For local businesses, competing with national or global brands for the same keywords might not be practical. Focus on local SEO and geographically relevant competitors.

How to Run an SEO Competitive Analysis

Now it’s time to actually run your search engine position analysis. Here are the steps to undertake, whether it’s your first time or you want a refresher on the process:

  • Identify Your Competitors: If you haven’t already, identify who your direct and indirect competitors are. Direct competitors offer similar products or services, while indirect competitors may share some keywords or audience segments with you. Tools like Google Search, SEMrush, or Ahrefs will assist you in finding your competitors based on your target keywords.
  • Analyse Competitors’ Keywords: Research the keywords for which your competitors rank. The aforementioned tools in step 1 can provide insights into the keywords driving traffic to their sites. Identify both the high-performing keywords and the gaps that you can capitalise on.
  • Evaluate On-Page SEO: Examine competitors’ website structure, content quality, meta tags, headings, and URL structure. Tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider can help analyse these elements. Note their content strategy, including the types of content they produce and how they structure it for SEO, and how they are similar and different to yours.
  • Assess Backlink Profiles: Analyse the backlink profiles your competitors use in their content. Look at the quantity and quality of links, the diversity of link sources, and any patterns or strategies in their backlink acquisition.
  • Study Technical SEO: Evaluate the technical aspects of your competitors’ websites, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, and secure browsing (HTTPS). Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly Test can provide valuable data here.
  • Monitor Competitors’ Content Updates and Strategies: Keep track of any major content or strategy updates your competitors make. This can include new product launches, major content campaigns, or shifts in their SEO approach. SEO is always changing, and so is your competitors’ approach.
  • Compile and Analyse Data: Gather all the data into a comprehensive report, whether it’s an Excel or Word document. Compare your findings with your own website’s performance to identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop an Action Plan: Based on your analysis, create an action plan. Prioritise the areas where you can realistically compete or outperform your competitors. This may involve creating SEO optimised content, improving your site’s technical SEO, or devising a more effective backlink strategy.

Compare SEO with Competitors Today

There you have it! A comprehensive SEO competitor analysis checklist that will allow you to take your SEO game to the next level, and stand out amongst the competition.