Competitor research in the context of SEO refers to the process of examining and analyzing the online strategies employed by your business rivals to achieve prominence on search engines. By doing so, you can better understand your industry’s competitive landscape on the digital front.
This research isn’t just about identifying your competitors; it’s about digging deep into their tactics, the keywords they target, the quality and structure of their content, their backlink strategies, and even their technical SEO practices.
One of the primary benefits of competitor research is that it unveils potential SEO opportunities for your website. By recognizing the keywords or strategies your competitors capitalize on, you can integrate them into your own strategy or find adjacent opportunities they may have overlooked.
Additionally, by observing your competitors, you can learn both from their successful moves and their missteps. This can save you time and potentially spare you from committing similar errors in your own strategies.
Competitor research also allows you to maintain a competitive edge. You can adjust your tactics in real-time and stay one step ahead by being consistently informed about your competitors’ activities and performance.
It can offer insights into content strategies, revealing what type of content resonates most with audiences in your industry. Notably, studying competitors can lead to discovering new backlink opportunities. If a certain website links to multiple competitors, there’s a good chance they’d be interested in your content as well.
Beyond the content and links, delving into the technical SEO of competitors can offer a goldmine of insights. Whether it’s site speed optimization, mobile-friendliness, or the use of schema markup, understanding the technical efforts of your competitors can guide your own.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing competitor research in SEO:
Use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz to identify which websites rank for your target keywords. They may not be direct business competitors but are vying for the same digital space.
Review their site hierarchy, navigation ease, mobile-friendliness, page load speed, and overall user experience. Use tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test or PageSpeed Insights for technical evaluations.
Look at their title tags, meta descriptions, URL structures, header tags, and keyword density. Review the quality of their content: depth, relevance, freshness, and engagement metrics like time on page.
Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz can provide insights into the number and quality of your competitors’ backlinks. Look for recurring domains that link to multiple competitors. These could be potential backlink opportunities for you.
Identify which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Discover keyword gaps, where your website might have quality content but could be ranked better than competitors. Note the long-tail keywords they target, offering insights into their content strategy.
Understand the types of content they produce: blog posts, videos, infographics, research reports, etc. Gauge the depth, quality, and frequency of their content.
Areas where competitors aren’t performing well can be opportunities for your business. These gaps can guide your SEO strategy, whether it needs to be stronger content on a particular topic, a missing keyword strategy, or poor user experience on mobile devices.
Competitor research isn’t a one-time task. Continuously monitor your competitors, as digital landscapes and strategies can change rapidly. Adjust your strategy based on new insights and stay agile.
By meticulously following these steps, you’ll gain a clearer picture of the competitive SEO landscape and identify actionable tactics to boost your website’s performance on search engines.