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SEO Competitive Analysis: The Definitive Guide

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SEO Competitive Analysis: The Definitive Guide


Marketing is all about explaining to potential customers why your product fits their needs the best. To know that, you need to know what your competitors are offering.

The only way to do that is through competitor analysis – studying what your competitors are doing.

You have to build the best product and the best content you can, and knowing what your competitors are doing is a part of that.

This guide includes best practices that will help you identify your competitors, how they rank, and what you can do about it. And make sure to combine these tips with your favorite competitor research tools! 

1. Identify Your SEO Competitors

You probably already know who the big players in your industry are, but can you name your main SEO rivals?

They aren’t necessarily the same.

In fact, you might have multiple SEO competitors who exist outside of your niche that you need to contend with in SERPs.

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For example, a bakery in New York trying to rank for keywords like “best bread in New York” would be competing with other bakeries for first-page results.

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But if that bakery was also trying to rank a helpful how-to blog, they’d be competing with publishing giants like Food Network and Taste of Home, too.

They’d have their work cut out for them if they wanted to break the top 10 in those SERPs!

This is true in every industry:

Your top SEO competitors are the ones who rank on the first search page of the keywords you’re targeting, regardless of whether they’re your business competitors.

If you operate in multiple niches, you may even have distinct lists of competitors for each service you offer with little-to-no overlap between them.

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Fortunately, finding out who your competitors are is as easy as entering your top keywords into Google and writing down the domains of your main competitors (or entering your keywords into your competitor analysis tool and letting it do all of the heavy lifting for you).

Even if you’re using a tool, it’s in your best interest to monitor the SERP landscape you’re entering into (e.g., if your target keyword is dominated by videos, you probably want to think about creating video content to compete).

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Pay special attention to competitors occupying local packs and the position zero too – you should definitely compete for these coveted spots!

2. Evaluate Keyword Difficulty

Before you begin analyzing specific link-building strategies or on-page SEO, it’s a good idea to assess the strength of your SEO competitors.

While you can theoretically beat out any competitor in any niche and for any keyword, the amount of resources it would take for some keywords renders them unfeasible.

Use your competitor analysis tool to look at your competitors’ total domain strength and then analyze specific factors, such as:

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Write down the information and look for any weaknesses that you can turn to your advantage.

The higher the difficulty of a target competitor, the stronger their SEO, and the harder it will be to outrank them.

Focus on competitors with lower overall scores ranking well for niche keywords.

3. Look For New Keyword Opportunities

Term frequency-inverse document frequency analysis (or, because that’s a mouthful, TF-IDF analysis) can be a useful method for enriching your existing content with “proper” keywords your competitors are using.

This allows you to properly optimize your pages for search engines, or to discover low-competition keywords you might have missed.

Simply put, TF-IDF is a measurement of how often a keyword appears on a page (term frequency) multiplied by how often a keyword is expected to appear on page (inverse document frequency).

SEO Competitive Analysis: The Definitive Guide

When you analyze TF-IDF you might discover that most top-ranking pages for your target keywords share many similar terms and phrases.

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If you aren’t targeting those topic-relevant terms, then you need to either add them to existing applicable pages or create new content to boost your relevance in semantic search.

This concept is a little more complicated than any of the other strategies we’ll discuss but it can quickly become a vital part of creating a comprehensive content strategy.

For example, using TF-IDF, we discovered that high-ranking content for the keyword “coffee brewing recipes” almost always contains specific information about different coffee bean blends, roasting techniques, and types of filters.

4. Analyze On-Page Optimization & On-Site Content

Using your competitive analysis tool to analyze your competitors’ on-site SEO will give you a veritable goldmine of new information to work with.

You’ll learn how often they’re publishing content, what types of content they’re publishing, and which keywords they’re targeting.

Pay special attention to:

  • Metadata.
  • Headline strategies (title length, keywords in the title, proper title tags, etc).

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Try to unravel their internal linking strategies, too. Use this information as a benchmark for your on-site SEO efforts.

Figure out what they’re doing well so you can learn from it, and what they’re missing so you can do it better.

When analyzing content, you’ll want to keep track of:

  • Topical relevance.
  • What types of content or media they’re creating.
  • Video length or word count.
  • The depth of detail covered.

When Googlebot crawls your website, all of these play a significant role.

5. Dig Into Competitor Backlink Profiles

One of the most important parts of a competitive analysis is figuring out where your rivals are earning their backlinks from and using that information to build high-quality links for your website.

Dissecting your opponents’ link profiles is a great way to find new link opportunities.

Again, you’ll need a robust SEO tool for this step – it’s practically impossible to pull off manually.

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6. Examine Site Structure & UX

If you don’t know that Google’s been hyper-focused on improving user experience then you haven’t been paying attention.

Almost all of the major algorithmic changes we’ve seen over the past few years have been focused on UX – better mobile experiences, faster pages, and improved search results.

If your website is slower than your competitors’, unresponsive, or more confusing to navigate then that’s something you absolutely need to correct. I recommend:

To see what your competitors are doing, you’ll want to take a look at their landing pages:

  • Analyze their click depth.
  • See if they have any orphan pages.
  • Check out their PageRank distribution.

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If you analyze competitor sites and see that they’re ranking well despite having an outdated website or terrible mobile optimization, that’s a prime opportunity for you to gain some real estate on SERPs.

7. Learn How They’re Leveraging Social Media

The exact nature of how social media intersects with SEO is hotly contested, but few optimization specialists would disagree that it’s an important element of any healthy SEO strategy.

Of course, that’s because a good social listening tool does way more than up-to-date you on every new cat meme your competitor is tweeting.

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A good social listening tool enables you to:

  • Increase website traffic by tracking linkless mentions on social media and engaging with your audience – especially when people are specifically using or looking for your product.
  • Track brand mentions off social media platforms and do the same thing (a good social listening tool should be able to monitor news sites, blogs, forums, etc.).
  • Monitor user sentiment.

Some easy research you can perform includes monitoring:

  • Which platforms your competitors are (or are not) using.
  • How often they publish new content.
  • How they communicate with their followers.
  • Which types of content get the most engagement.

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You may even want to track competitor linkless mentions, user reviews, and PR so that you can see what their customers like about their product or service – and what you could do better.

8. Try To Track Competitor Ad Spend

If you’ve done everything you can to optimize your website and you’re still getting beat in the SERPs, it’s possible that your competitors are simply outspending you and using paid traffic campaigns to generate conversions and sales.

I recommend against trying to match each competitor’s spending tit for tat, but you may find it valuable to monitor their Google Ads campaigns, promoted content, banner ads, paid posts, and more so that you can at least gauge what other people in your niche are spending on advertising.

Conclusion

Now that you have a handle on competitive analysis, the only thing left to do is keep at it.

Continue making small improvements, keeping tabs on your competitors, and monitoring your rankings.

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Eventually, your hard work should pay off and you’ll start to improve your position.

More Resources:


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7 Best Content Marketing Platforms For An Effective Strategy

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7 Best Content Marketing Platforms For An Effective Strategy

“Content is everything.”

At least, that’s one variation of the saying each website owner adheres to. But in the ever-changing landscape of content marketing, content distribution is a close runner-up to the content itself.

Organizations must invest in effective content marketing by leveraging various content marketing platforms as competition becomes more fierce.

How fierce? 47% of companies plan to grow their content teams this year.

Here are seven tools to consider to take your content to new heights.

1. Exploding Topics – Best For Trending Content

Brian Dean founded Backlinko and Exploding Topics, and has been a trusted resource in content marketing since he grew Backlinko from zero to millions of users per month.

Since Dean established his site, he turned his sights on helping others by offering data on growing topics before they take off.

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Exploding Topics aggregates data and uses an advanced algorithm that provides the percentage growth of specific topics of choice.

With access to this data, you can start writing content first to gain a first movers advantage over competitors.

2. BuzzSumo – Best For Social Media Content

BuzzSumo exploded onto the scene in 2013.

Since then, this platform has diversified its service offering to become a powerhouse for serious content marketers.

BuzzSumo offers content discovery, research, monitoring, and influencer insights. The influencer option could exponentially increase the odds of virality for your content marketing efforts.

By navigating to the “top sharers” section, you can pinpoint influencers that have shared articles that may correlate to topics you have written and reach out to the influencers to share your article to expand your content reach.

3. Outbrain – Best For Native Content

Outbrain was one of the leading pioneers of native content and has gained tremendous market share over competitors.

Today Outbrain provides 344 billion monthly content recommendations in over fifty-five countries. Getting started with Outbrain does not involve a significant cost investment.

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To begin a campaign on the Outbrain network, you can set a campaign budget of $20 and a CPC (cost per click) price point of 0.03 cents.

Considering how rapidly you can expand your content marketing reach and strategically retarget users once they have navigated to your site makes Outbrain a no-brainer, pun intended.

4. Patreon – Best For Content Membership

Patreon offers a premium membership model to content creators.

Monthly pledges from patrons have provided content creators with a consistent way to provide quality content while making a living.

Founded in 2013, Patreon quickly became the go-to platform for content creators to establish a loyal fan base.

Content creators span several focus areas, which include videographers, Podcasters, Writers, artists, and musicians.

If you are a content creator that wants to earn a living without starting a blog, Patreon is the way to go.

5. Contently – Best For Content Scheduling

Scheduling content distribution is easy with the help of Contently. You can easily plan times and dates to distribute content across several platforms.

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A feature called Storybook uses proprietary technology to provide a predictive model of which topics will have the most significant impact.

Additionally, Contently provides SEO recommendations and checks the voice and tone of the content. One of the most powerful features Contently provides is access to the premium creative network.

It can be a hassle to vet writers when you are just starting.

Contently has created a premium network of writers you can leverage. Many of these writers have published articles for The New Yorker, Wired, and The Financial Times, among many other established publications.

Contently also provides access to videographers and designers to help create more impactful content through the premium creative network.

If you are looking for an enterprise content marketing platform Contently is a top contender.

6. Scoop.it – Best for Content Curation

Scoop.it is a cloud-based content management platform that discovers and researches content via the web and social networks. Over 30 million web pages are crawled from Scoop.it.

You can quickly scale your curated content needs by leveraging the WordPress integration to publish content directly to your site.

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Leveraging curated content will help establish trust and add additional value to your audience while highlighting your specific industry expertise.

You might be losing out if you are not integrating curated content into your content marketing strategy.

Hootsuite advises a ratio of 40% created and 60% curated content to boot your content marketing efforts.

7. Uberflip – Best For Personalized Content

Uberflip offers several options for content marketers, but one of the most valuable features Uberflip provides is the ability to personalize content for audiences.

As a result, content marketers turn to Uberflip to execute ABM (account-based marketing).

The content destination feature allows marketers to engage audiences with tailored messaging and provides customized layouts and personalized branding.

Given the statistics around personalization, content marketers need to be mindful of tailored messaging.

Conclusion

If your organization is not investing in content marketing, it might be safe to assume you are losing market share to your competitors.

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Content marketing is not an option but a necessity in today’s current landscape.

As a result, several content marketing platform choices exist to get started quickly.

There is no right on wrong options to get started with content marketing.

You have to jump in and get your feet wet.

Beginning with one of the content marketing platforms mentioned above is a good move in the right decision.

More resources: 


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