How to Do SEO Competitor Analysis – Free Tool
What is SEO Competitor Analysis?
SEO competitor analysis is the act of research, monitoring and analyzing the websites of your competitors. The analysis determines the main keywords in which your competitors are competing. It also lets you see how their website is performing in terms of traffic (both paid and organic traffic).
This point may seem straight forward, but from my experience I've realized that one thing many people get confused about is that your business rivals may not necessarily be your SEO competitors. The converse is also true. Your SEO competitors are not always your main business rivals.
The Three Steps in SEO Competitor Analysis
1. Determine your Keywords
This step in the SEO competitor analysis is very important. You want to first determine for which keywords you want to compete. You can use any keyword research tool. I recommend using Jaaxy.
If you're now starting off with your website then it is critical to target keywords with low competition. Do not try to compete with the 'big boys' for top ranking keywords. You'd be starting a battle you can't win. Imagine competing against CNN, Forbes, Huffington Post or Men's Health. Instead, start off broad then keep narrowing down your keyword by making it longer.
For example, if you would not want to compete in for the keyword 'guitar'. That's too broad. The quote search results (QSR) return a result of 184,620 searches per month with 336 websites competing directly for that term. Too much competition. You want your QSR to be below 200. Below 100 would be best.
You'd want to refine your keyword some more. For instance, you could go with 'how to play the electric guitar' that's a very targeted long tail keyword. The competition is only 86 other websites competing for the exact keyword. That's more doable and the search results is still decent enough.
2. Identify Competitors for Your Keywords
Once you've identified your long tail keyword, you'd want to then determine the potential competitors for that keyword. Go to Google. Enter your long tail keyword. Make sure to use the quotation marks like this example, "how to play the electric guitar". Google will then display the top ranking websites for this keyword. Remember to ignore any sponsored search results. Only target the organic results (the results that are not paid ads). You may wish to target the top three to five websites for this keyword. These are your top SEO competitors.
3. Analyze your SEO Competitors
Your next step after identifying your competitors is to perform some analytics. I've been using a particular tool to analyze my competitors. I simply add the website URL of my competitor and it spits out a report that shows a number of key data. I also run a report for my own website. This is important as you want to compare your website with your competitors on every point to determine what to improve.
This SEO competitor analysis report will show you the following important pieces of data:
- The organic traffic volume of your competitor over time (select 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years or all time)
- The paid traffic volume of your competitor (select 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years or all time)
- The number of organic keywords your competitor's website is ranked for
- The number of paid keywords of your competitor (based on Google AdWords)
- The overall monthly traffic cost
- The number of referring domains (also known as backlinks)
- A breakdown of the organic traffic by country
- A breakdown of the paid traffic by country
- How many keywords are ranked and in which positions on Google
- The top organic competitors (which are also your competitors as well)
- A list of the top organic keywords and how much traffic each keyword generates per month
- A list of the top paid keywords and how much paid traffic each keyword generates per month
- A list of the top backlinks
- The top performing landing pages
- A image sample of their media ads
- A so much more neat info.
Why is Competitor Analysis Important?
There are a number of reasons you'd want to perform SEO competitor analysis.
- You need to learn from your competitors. Gain as close as possible to an insider glimpse into your competitors' SEO and keyword strategies and techniques. See what they are doing. Copy it and try to do it better. For instance you may see which keywords are performing best for them. That might give you ideas of which keywords to pursue. Go to the relevant post or page for that keyword and see what you can do better. Maybe they don't have video. You could then write a really awesome post on the keyword and insert an amazing video (preferably your own).
- See what gaps exist. By carrying out competitor analysis you may be able to see gaps that you can take advantage of. The example above of content gaps is one instance. But you could also find gaps in terms of which backlinks they are missing out on. Or perhaps you could discover certain keywords that they are not using at all. You may even be able to discover which segment or segments your competitors are not even targeting. For instance, using the electric guitar example, you may notice that your competitor is not targeting women. Then, you could capitalize of this untapped niche. (on Facebook there are between 6 to 7 million active monthly users who are women above age 18 who are interested in the electronic guitar). That could be a potentially great niche that your competitors are not using.
- Competitor analysis is also important because you want to be constantly ahead of the game. But you can't be ahead if you don't even know where your competitor's business is in relation to yours.