Competitive analysis helps you evaluate your competition’s strategies to identify their strengths and weaknesses relative to your own strategy. Digital marketing and SEO have many different ranking factors and best practices to consider that can be challenging to know where to begin.
The first step is to identify from five to ten brands to compare your website against. These should be your search results competitors — those that appear in search results for keywords you are targeting as well.
For each of the competitors, select five types of pages as your sample set. These are the pages you will conduct the analysis on. When selecting a sample set, go for different kinds of pages:
- The Homepage
- One/Two Product Pages
- Browse Pages
- The Content Page, usually where the blog posts are posted.
For a fair comparison, you should evaluate the equivalent page against each other. The next step is to spot the weaknesses and strengths of your competitors. Below are a few key factors to look at.
This gives you an indication of how competitors place their keywords in their content. You can use the keyword density analysers in various SEO tools to determine this metric.
Check the density for your target keywords and compare it to your competitors’. Repeat this process for all the competitors on your list. Overall you can find the average keyword density among your competitors; giving you an idea of how often to use a particular keyword on a page.
Metadata is also a ranking factor that can be optimized. Analyse your competitors’ metadata by looking if they use keywords in it, how their descriptions are structured and whether they have alt text on images.
If you find any one of these things missing, then you have an open opportunity to outrank the competition by fully optimizing your website.
Do an analysis of the different external links pointing at your competitors’ websites. SEO tools can help you find this information. You can determine the link profile of your competitor, seeing how many high-quality links you might need to outscore them.
The idea behind mirroring a competitor’s link profile is that, by getting links similar to your competitor you should get similar rankings as them.
However, before committing to mirroring, keep in mind that not all links are the same. If your competitors have managed to secure their place in the search results via inauthentic methods (black hat) then you should better avoid mirroring.
Don’t be tempted by short-term results. Instead, focus on building a long-term SEO strategy that works for you. The best links are the ones that are hard to get. Do your research and keep on building high-quality links, even if it takes time.