When we think about building a website, often the things that most easily come to us are mainly the niche, the content of the website, its look and feel, and its database management system. However, building a successful website is not limited to just that extent.
While selecting a popular niche and creation of suitable content for your website are both extremely important tasks but there is much more to it than what meets the eye, since ensuring success of your website is a very different story.
So, what makes a successful website? There are numerous elements that you need to focus on if you wish to increase the success rate of your website. Some of the most important elements include the use of relevant keywords for your content, having a strong marketing strategy for your site, and promotion of your site’s content across various social media platforms.
If you put in a bit of research, you will find that almost every website with high performing characteristics possesses a well-defined strategy for all of the above-mentioned elements, and more. Among these websites, your competitors are the ones that deal with content that is similar to yours.
If your competitor websites already occupy the topmost positions in the search engine results page, how do you make sure that your site beats the ones that are already on top? In such a scenario, Search Engine Optimization or SEO will help you improve the rankings of your website, that is, the position in which your website appears when someone searches for something related to your niche in a search engine. Improving the SEO ranking of your website essentially means improving the traffic of your website, because the higher your website appears on the search engine results page, the better chance it has of being visited.
There are tons of ways to improve the SEO ranking of your website. For instance, your site’s SEO ranking improves every time you use effectively popular keywords in your content. But, ever wondered, what measures your competitors might be taking in order to improve the ranking of their websites? The answer to this question lies in website competitor analysis.
Online Competitor Analysis:
What does it mean and what is its purpose?
Competitor analysis is basically a strategic management process used in marketing and digital marketing, done by identifying your competitors, both current and potential, and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Speaking precisely, an online competitor analysis refers to a keen assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the websites of your competitors, with regards to the strengths and weaknesses of your own website, usually done as a way to understand your competition and improve your website’s SEO ranking. There are several benefits associated with conducting a competitor analysis. It not only helps you gain an advantage over your competitors, by giving you an insight into their weaknesses but also gives you the opportunity to understand what your website lacks in comparison to other websites. In addition to that, it helps you make adjustments to the strategy you’re using for improving the SEO ranking of your website, so that the newly modified strategy can produce better results.
From whatever has been said so far, it is clear that knowing your competitors closely and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses is a very important part of improving SEO. But how to actually do a competitor website analysis?
The basic steps to conduct an online competitor analysis include:
- Identify who actually are your competitors.
- Gathering information on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your competitors, i.e., performing a SWOT analysis on your competitors.
- Comparing the strengths and weaknesses of your website with that of your competitors based on the SWOT analysis.
- Using the gained inference to your advantage and improving your website traffic and SEO.
As basic as it sounds, in reality, online competitor research can be a tricky job to accomplish manually, especially if you have no idea where and how to start. But there is nothing to worry about, because there are tons of competitive business tools available to help you get started with competitor site analytics.
Competitor Analysis Tools
…and why use them?
Competitor research tools are basically marketing aids to make website competitor research easier for you. While there are tons of marketing tools for competitor analysis out there, deciding whether to use them or not can be confusing. Even if you were to decide to use them, choosing which ones to use is a whole other task. So, including some of the most popular tools to analyse competitors, here are 10 reasons for you why using competitor analysis tools to improve SEO is the way to go:
Strategize Content Research with Buzzsumo:
Current and relevant content is a very basic but equally important part of a successful website. It is easy to make the content of your website relevant to your niche, but how to know what kind of content currently works for the audience? Buzzsumo is one of the best competitor research tools out there when it comes to content management. Being one of the most popular free online competitor analysis tools for content research, it enables you to enter keywords or your competitor’s URL to reveal their top rated content, based on client reactions, total engagement, social media engagement, shares over social media and so on. This makes finding trending content much easier, while giving you a clear insight into what type of content is received well by your competitor’s clientele and what content does not perform very well. While all of this is available for free, Buzzsumo even offers premium plans, with additional features, for members willing to pay for them.
Suppose you are researching a niche before creating a project or building a strategy to increase search visibility. In that case, competitor analysis with a 360-degree view is a must.
Once you decide on your main competitors, analyze a specific competitive domain for all key parameters using the SE Ranking Competitive Research tool. You’ll get a comprehensive list of your rivals in organic and paid search, find competitors keywords and rankings, semantics comparison, and SERP features. Using historical data, you’ll get more insights on the website’s traffic of your rivals, target keywords, popular pages, and plenty of other metrics. Take advantage of all the data on any domain in Competitive Research starting from February 2020.
Find Trending Keywords with SpyFu:
The importance of using top keywords for improving SEO is something every online content creator should understand. Using relevant keywords for your content may sound like a simple job but actually finding the keywords that stand a chance at improving your website traffic can be quite complex without the right website competitor analysis tool. What the freemium tool, SpyFu does is it finds you the most targeted buyer keywords in Google by your competitors, once you enter your competitor’s domain. It also provides you with their ad placements, tracks changes made in their AdWords campaign, and recommends tried and failed keywords for you to avoid among other features. All in all, it’s one of the best marketing tools for competitor analysis.
Find and Analyze Backlinks with Majestic:
Every time a website links another website, a backlink is created. Evidently, backlinks can have a powerful impact on improving website traffic and SEO. The backlinks of your competitors hold a lot of useful information. Majestic, one of the best tools to analyse competitors that focuses mainly on backlinks, provides you with details on your competitor’s backlinks, their usefulness and reliability, with the help of your competitor’s domain. While the free version provides a basic understanding of how it works, based on your needs Majestic can be even more helpful for analyzing backlinks with the premium plans it offers.
Refine Your Marketing Strategy with SimilarWeb:
Understanding the ways of your competitors and their customers is very essential if you want the content of your website to drive in an increased amount of website traffic. Among the numerous tools to analyze competitors, SimilarWeb is one of the most widely used tools for this purpose. In addition to revealing the analytics and online marketing strategies of your competitors, this tool also helps you find valuable leads or affiliates, identify upcoming trends, potential competitors and clients, as well as understand your customers. SimilarWeb offers a limited version to conduct competitor analysis for free, but also has premium plans for more detailed research.
Keep an Eye On the Traffic of Your Biggest Competitors with Alexa:
Want to know how your site is performing with respect to the performance of the sites of your biggest competitors? Look no further. With the competitive benchmarking strategy of Amazon’s Alexa, you can easily understand how the traffic of your website compares to that of your top competitors as well as analyze your site’s traffic statistics. Alexa also offers keyword recommendations for SEO and insights on what your potential clientele might want from your site. Even though Alexa is a premium tool, you can get a 7 day free trial, in order to get an idea on what it has to offer.
Track Your Competitor’s Emails with Owletter:
Keeping track of your competitor’s emails is beneficial for a number of reasons, most importantly for understanding their email marketing strategy. Since it isn’t practically convenient to subscribe to the mailing lists of all your competitors and keep track of each and every one of their emails, Owletter is one of the best competitor analysis tools, designed specifically to do this for you. Owletter maintains a record of the emails of your competitors, thus enabling you to easily understand their email marketing strategy and analyze their performance and use the inference to improve your site’s SEO. Owletter offers a few premium plans to suit your needs, including a free trial period for each plan.
Monitoring Social Media of Your Competitors with Sprout Social:
In the modern times, social media is undeniably a very important source of website traffic. Tracking your competition’s social media posts, messages and total engagement can give you valuable insights on improving the performance of your website. Sprout Social makes this easier for you by providing you with detailed reports on your competitor’s social media content and performance, which makes it one of the best competitor research tools in the field of social media research. Sprout Social offers a free trial period as well, for you to get a glimpse of its features before opting for a paid plan.
Know Which Ads Perform the Best with iSpionage:
If you want to know which of your competitors perform best with respect to PPC (pay-per-click); get an overview on their budget and get your hands on their lists of PPC keywords, then iSpionage is the one of the best competitor research tools for you. iSpionage provides you with years worth of all of that data, thus giving you a clear understanding of the best performing PPC strategies. This competitor analysis tool offers limited free features in addition to its premium plans.
Get Alerts for Every Change Made to Your Competitor’s Website with Kompyte:
Manually keeping track of every little change your competitor makes can be very time-consuming and impractical. Kompyte helps you to combat this problem, by keeping track of your competitor’s sites and social media for you. Whenever your competitor makes a change to their websites or their digital campaign, Kompyte alerts you. Like most of the tools, Kompyte too offers a free trial period with its premium plans.
Get an Overview of Your Competitor’s Website with SEMrush or Ahrefs:
SEMrush and Ahrefs are two of the best all-in-one competitor analysis tools. From content research to digital strategy management to PPC keywords and product listings, these tools offer a wide range of opportunities to improve your site’s overall performance and SEO. Both SEMrush and Ahrefs offer a 7 day free trial period as part of their premium plans.
You may ask, if all-in-one competitor research tools are readily available, why anyone would opt for the tools that offer only a few services. While all-in-one tools may seem cost-effective in the long run and are extremely helpful when you want to get an overview on your competitor’s sites and strategies; tools that offer a more focused range of services can give you comparatively much deeper insights into your competitor’s individual strategies.
The above mentioned tools are only but a few of the best competitor analysis tools out there. While there are numerous tools available on the internet, choosing the right one for you will depend both on your personal needs as well as on the need of the hour.
How to Spy on Your Competitors’ Target Keywords
For an effective search engine optimization (SEO) campaign that drives real results for your website, you must target the right keywords. Optimizing your website for irrelevant keywords will only restrict your website’s ability to rank. While you may already know some relevant keywords to target, though, you can uncover more by spying on your competitors.
Inspect HTML for Meta Keywords
When browsing a competitor’s website, inspect the HTML for the presence of meta keywords. During the 1990s and early 2000s, meta keywords were popular among webmasters because search engines used them as a ranking factor.
Back then, search engines struggled to determine which keywords were most relevant to websites simply by crawling them. To ensure websites ranked for the most relevant keywords, search engines looked for meta keywords. If a webmaster wanted to rank his or her website for a specific keyword, he or she could add it as a meta keyword.
Search engines no longer use meta keywords as a ranking factor, but many websites still display their target keywords as meta keywords in the HTML. To see if a competing website’s target keywords are used as meta keywords, inspect the site’s HTML through your web browser for the presence of the meta name=”keywords” attribute. If you see this attribute, which is typically located near the top of the web page’s HTML, it should be followed a comma-separated list of the competitor’s target keywords.
Inspect HTML for Title Tags
In addition to meta keywords, inspect competitors’ websites for title tags. All HTML web pages are required to have a single title tag. If a web page lacks this meta element, it won’t be valid. So, even if a competitor’s website is missing meta keywords, each of its web pages should have a title tag.
For ideas on which keywords you should target with your SEO campaign, look to see which keywords your competitors are using in their title tags. Like meta keywords, title tags are displayed in HTML. Therefore, you can view them through your web browser.
If you’re using Firefox, click the menu button and choose “Web Developer,” followed by “Page Source.” If you’re using Chrome, right-click anywhere on the web page and choose “View page source.” Once the web page’s HTML has loaded in your web browser, search for an opening and closing <title> tag. Within these tags is the web page’s title.
Specifically, look at the title tag used on the competitor’s homepage. While every web page contains a title tag, the homepage’s title tag usually typically includes one or more keyword the competitor is targeting.
Use Google Ads Keyword Planner
Another way to spy on your competitors’ target keywords is to use Google Ads Keyword Planner. Available through Google Ads at google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner, it offers recommendations on relevant and related keywords.
To use Keyword Planner, enter the URL of a competing website and click “Go.” Google will then crawl the competitor’s website and return a list of the most relevant keywords associated with its content. And in this list, you’ll see the keywords’ search volume, competition and average bid prices.
Although it’s free to use, you’ll need a Google Ads account to access Keyword Planner. You don’t have to purchase ad inventory, nor does your account have to be active. However, Keyword Planner is only available through the Google Ads interface, so you’ll need an account to access and use it.
Check Search Rankings
You can gain insight into a competing website’s target keywords by checking its search rankings. If a competitor’s website is ranking high for a half-dozen or more keywords, it’s safe to assume he or she is targeting those keywords.
Since you don’t own or control the websites of your competitors, you won’t be able to check their search rankings using Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools. But there are still ways to see which keywords your competitors’ websites are ranking for.
You can manually search Google and Bing for prospective keywords to see if a competitor’s website shows up. Alternatively, you can use a backlink analysis tool like Ahrefs to perform a complete ranking analysis. After subscribing to Ahrefs, go to the “Site Explorer” section and enter the URL of a competitor’s website. Next, select “Organic Keywords” to see a list of all keywords for which the site is ranking.
There are dozens of apps, services and other tools that can help you spy on your competitors’ target keywords, but one of the most useful for this purpose is SpyFu. Originally launched in April 2005 under the name GoogSpy, SpyFu allows you to spy on both the organic and paid target keywords of your competitors.
If a competitor is advertising his or her website on Google Ads, SpyFu will reveal the keywords he or she is targeting. Keep in mind, a competitor’s paid target keywords may differ from his or her organic target keywords. Nonetheless, you can find more keywords to target with your website’s SEO campaign by spying on competitors’ paid target keywords.
Analyze Anchor Text
You can learn a lot about a competing website’s target keywords by analyzing the anchor text used in its backlinks. Most webmasters build backlinks using their website’s target keywords, as well as variations thereof, as anchor text. Therefore, if you discover that a competitor is using a specific keyword as anchor text, you may want to target it with your SEO campaign.
To see a competitor’s anchor text, use Ahrefs. Under the “Site Explorer” section — the same section to view the keywords for which a competitor’s website ranks — click the “Backlinks” tab on the left sidebar. On this page, you’ll see anchor text under the “Anchor and backlink” column.
By spying on your competitors’ target keywords, you’ll know which keywords when optimizing your website for increased search engine visibility. Just remember to avoid targeting keywords with an excessive amount of competition. You can expect to encounter some competition for most keywords, but if hundreds or thousands of other websites are targeting the same keywords as you, you’ll face an uphill battle with your SEO campaign.
Last Updated in 2022-12-28T18:53:38+00:00 by Lukasz Zelezny