The purpose of analyzing a business competitor, in general, is to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Then, you can use this knowledge to your advantage and compare it to your strengths and weaknesses to better understand the market, improve your small business strategy and create new business opportunities.
The keywords you use directly impact the ranking of your website in search engines, which consequently impacts your traffic, lead generation and sales conversion.
Analyzing the keywords your competitors are using can give you a chance to outrank them, by creating more valuable and targeted content that attempts to rank for the same keywords.
Now that we’ve established the importance of tracking down your competitor’s keywords, let’s get down to business. Here’s how to track down and analyze your competitors’ keywords:
Identify your competitors
Market research is the best way to find out who your competitors are. This can include browsing through local business directories, looking at ads for products and services similar to the ones you offer, sending questionnaires to your customers, searching the internet and more.
Your competitors are businesses that impact your traffic and your revenue. Competitors can either be direct or indirect.
Direct competitors are companies that sell the same product or offer the same services as your business.
Indirect competitors are companies that aren’t necessarily selling the same thing, but they are creating content similar to yours, competing for keywords that you want to use, and perhaps offering a similar product or service.
Either way, they’re all fighting for a customer’s attention in the same way that you are.
Once you gather a list of your competitors, you can use tools such as the Market Explorer tool to visualize your competitors through categories.
Sorting your competitors into categories such as niche players, emerging companies, leaders and established companies can help you not only identify which ones are ranked for your target keywords, but also help you track their future performance.
Identify the keywords your competitors are using
There are a variety of keyword research tools on the market that can help you identify the keywords your competitors are using.
For example, SEMrush allows you to search for certain keywords and filter them by a certain area. You can use it as a tool for a full site audit and learn about the keywords your competitors are highly ranked for in search engines.
If you want to compare multiple competitors against one another, SpyFu is a tool that focuses solely on competitive research.
Moz can be helpful not only in identifying the keywords of the competitors that you’ve already established, but also in identifying websites that target your main keywords as your competitors. Who doesn’t love a good two-in-one deal?
Another site that allows you to compare your ranking keywords to those of your competitors is Ahrefs. This powerful tool can provide you with valuable information as to what’s missing from your keywords to rank your website even higher.
Ask yourself: what do my competitors have that ranks them higher than mine? What is it that I’m missing? What can I do to remedy this?
Use those findings to exploit your competitors’ weaknesses to your advantage and use their strengths for your improvement. Learn from the best.
For example, if your competitors are missing valuable, long-form content that answers common customer questions and concerns, you can create a blog section and optimize the blog for your specific keywords to help drive traffic and improve your ranking.
Don’t be afraid to use long-tail, brand-specific keywords. General keywords will only get you so far because the more common the term, the harder it is to rank for. However, long-tail keywords have lower competition and typically generate more valuable leads who are ready to convert.
Long-tail keywords can be essential in driving organic traffic to your website.
Look at your competitors’ content
Keywords are intrinsically connected to content. By evaluating the most visited pages of your competitors’ websites, you can identify which ones rank the highest for most keywords and have the most traffic.
This can help you identify whether it is their content, the content layout or the utilization of the keywords that are making them rank at the top.
Keep in mind that there are other elements, such as backlinks, that can improve your ranking.
Google’s algorithm works in a way where it identifies websites with more high-quality backlinks and ranks them higher. High-quality backlinks come from websites with a high-domain and trusted authorities. In other words, you can find them on popular sites or learn about them from other experts in your specific industry. You can also learn more about
uncommon link building techniques and eventually develop your own link building strategy.
Just don’t forget that Google performs algorithm updates from time to time and some of them might be major in a way that affects your ranking, so make sure to stay up to date with them and reassess your strategies as needed.
In regards to content, take your time going through the pages on your competitors’ websites. Devote a significant amount of time to analyzing them.
What is it about the content that they create that makes them quality? Can you identify the “magical ingredient” and apply it to your content?
What are the flaws and gaps in their content? Are they missing a specific platform or channel where your target audience hangs out that you can utilize to get ahead?
Tailor your content to your target audience and provide greater value in order to outrank the competition.
If your competitor isn’t doing live streams to communicate directly with their audience, and industry trends show this is something your audience is interested in, that’s a perfect opportunity for you.
Tools like Content Analyzer can aid you in this analysis, as they provide you with information on outdated content, content with low share volume, bounce rate, the impact of your work and more.
The way keywords are utilized within the content matters as much as the quality and readability of the content, so keep those in mind when choosing which keywords to use in your content and in what way to use them.
Learn from competitor strengths and weaknesses
Plagiarized content, absence of optimization, broken links and slow-loading images affecting the speed of your site are just some of the technical issues that can negatively impact a website’s ranking.
By assessing your competitor’s issues, you can understand what things affect search performance and customer experience. You should aim to prevent and resolve these issues on your website, as soon as possible.
Tools like the Site Audit Tool allow you to access the technical SEO of your competitor and perform a variety of checks on their website.
Don’t forget to take a look at your competitors’ website from mobile devices, as well. In a society where people are always on the go, they’re likely to visit websites of businesses from their phones and you want to offer them an impeccable customer experience regardless of which device you’re on.
In regards to weaknesses, you’re probably aware that keyword rankings can change constantly. A lost ranking for certain keywords of your competitor can be an opportunity for you. For example, those keywords might be high-performing but the reason for their loss might be a simple technical issue.
Organic research tools allow you to analyze your competitors’ keywords that are currently declining.
Think like a customer
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when performing a competitor analysis is the perspective of your ideal buyer.
This means that your buyer won’t always be typing “where to buy” the kind of product that you’re selling into a search engine. What customers are even more interested in than knowing where to buy something is what the product that they’re buying can do for them.
Consumers buy to fulfill needs, replace broken items, increase convenience, purchase out of fear and more – everyone is buying for different reasons. However, the one thing everyone has in common is that they’re purchasing in order to gain a benefit of some kind.
Keywords that address the problem your consumers may be aiming to solve can help place your products or services in front of your target audience.
Keep in mind that we never said competitor analysis would be easy. On average, it takes around seven weeks to analyze a single competitor.
This means that if you’re interested in analyzing multiple competitors for the sake of ranking your website higher in search engines, you might want to consider hiring an SEO agency to help you out or do the work for you.
Outsourcing can be scary for you as a business owner because it implies giving up control over certain elements of your business and we get it.
For example, a trusted Los Angeles SEO agency can help you with creating a strategy that will increase your visibility, traffic and brand awareness, improve your return on investment and your customer experience, and increase your odds against the competition.Good luck!
Melissa Gray is a freelance writer and an organizational psychologist. Her focus is primarily on marketing and new digital trends across the world. She is also a passionate gamer, with special interest in narrative design. She writes for Digital Strategy One.