A conventional website analysis involves detailed research of your closest rivals and compares yours and their marketing strategy. An essential starting point for any aspiring business; find your SEO competitors and learn from them, ultimately leveraging their shortcomings. Of course, it is true to say that focusing too heavily on what your competitor is doing may be detrimental; your goal is not to emulate your rivals, but to find ways to improve your performance by seeing how they do business.
Identifying Your Competitors & Analysing A Website
First things first, it is important to acknowledge the fact not all of your SEO competitors will be operating within the same niche as you. For example, if you are targeting the terms “best pizza in Greenwich” you could also find yourself in direct competition with local restaurants, review sites, supermarkets, and pubs. This is where assumptions must take a backseat for strategic keyword research; it may seem rather complicated at first glance, but if the effort is put in you will seek the information you are looking for.
Here are the basic steps you will need to follow to conduct in-depth SEO competition analysis:
1. Identify Competitor Search Terms
These days, finding out which search terms your rivals are using can be surprisingly easy, some of the most popular of which are as follows:
- Ahref’s Keyword Explorer
- Moz’s Keyword Explorer
Using tools like these will help you quickly grasp which search terms are being targeted and how well they are ranking for the same terms. It can also be a great way of identifying golden keywords and phrases you never thought of.
You can of course conduct manual keyword research alongside this with your own base terms and ideas using the tools available as mentioned above.
2. Conduct Content Analysis
Keywords and search terms are only useful when there is a sufficient volume of quality content to back them up. Hence, you will now need to take a look at how the competitor has used its content marketing strategy to rank for its keywords and generated links.
There are some tools available that can simplify this process:
- Moz’s Link Explorer
While studying the content published by your competitors, analyse its quality, depth, relevance, value and appeal. Consider whether it is up to date or outdated, whether there is anything missing.
This can be useful for helping steer your own content in the right direction without falling into the trap of imitation.
3. Web Performance Analysis
Making improvements to your own websites performance should not be about getting ‘one up’ on your competitors; it should be about providing the best possible experience for every visitor you attract, irrespective of the competition.
Still, competitor website analysis can nonetheless be a great way of identifying their shortcomings and ensuring you do not make the same mistakes. This means taking a look at things like site structure and its navigation, page loading speeds and general fluidity, how well they cater to mobile audiences and so on.
When you evaluate your own website, it is important to conduct this analysis from the perspective of the customer. Try not to get too bogged down with the complexities – anything that would not be relevant or important to the customer is not worth taking into account.
4. Identify Good Backlinks
A tactic of questionable ethics, but one that can nonetheless produce positive results;
To pull it off, you will first need to use a tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer or Screaming Frog to find 404 error pages (i.e. dead pages) on a competitors website. You can then use Dead Link Checker to ensure that the backlinks pointing to this page are resulting in a 404 error, at which point you can contact the source sites and make them a better offer.
It sounds like an underhanded tactic, but linking to 404 error pages can actually work against the SEO profile of the source site, chances are they will be more than happy to redirect the link to one of your pages, if you can offer them a better deal.
5. Google My Business
Last up, it should come as no surprise to learn that Google places particularly heavy emphasis on Google My Business Listings. The better your performance and position in GMB, the more likely you are to climb the SERP rankings.
It can therefore be useful to take a closer look at the GMB listings of your competitors; are they regularly updating their listing with new information? What kinds of pictures and visual content are they using? Have they collected plenty of reviews and do they have a high star rating?
An appealing GMB listing is essential for reasons that go far beyond SEO, as this is often the first thing people see when searching for businesses like yours you need to do everything you can to ensure that your listing is at least as attractive as your competitors, if not more so.