5 min read
Michael Ryan - Travel SEO Expert
Michael Ryan - Travel SEO Expert

How to Analyze SEO Competitors & Utilize The Data

SEO competitor analysis is all about finding gaps in your strategy by taking inspiration at what your competition is going.

SEO Competitor Analysis & How To Use It.

SEO competitor analysis is all about finding gaps in your strategy by taking inspiration at what your competition is going. Your competitors from a brand perspective might not always be your main competitors when is comes to SEO.

I would suggest looking at the following areas of your competitor’s SEO strategy.

  • Keyword
  • Content
  • Links

What is SEO Competitor Analysis?

SEO competition analysis involved understanding the content, link, and keywords your competitors have included. This will enable you to understand how they’ve created their current organic visibility. By researching this data, it will empower you not to only ensure you fill any gaps in your content, links & keywords but also inspire you to take your strategy to the next level.

In terms, performing an SEO competitor analysis allows you to:

  • Learn what works and what does not in your industry.
  • Find competitors’ weaknesses.
  • Find competitors’ strengths.
  • Understand what SEO tasks you need to prioritise.
  • Understand how difficult outperforming competitors in the SERPs is likely to be.

As I go through the article, I am going to use my brand as an example.

The tools I am going to be using are.

-SEM Rush

-Majestic SEO

You can get a free trial for both these tools if you want to follow the guide for your brand.

Who are your main SEO competitors?

The first thing you need to do is identify your SEO competitors. You can do this in a few different ways.

  1. If you have not got any tools at your disposal, a simple google search of your main service will be enough.
competitor analysis google search

The focus keyword for my site is ‘SEO consultant Essex’ – although I service clients national I optimise the site locally as I tend to convert local clients at a higher rate, so these leads are more valuable.

  1. If using SEM rush, simply enter your domain into the ‘domain analytics’ section and you will get a lit of competitors with common keywords.
SEMRush domain analytics

It is really important to use tools to understand your competition. If you’re a local accountant, you might believe the 2 other local accountants within your area are your main competition. However, let’s say they both don’t have a website. Then they are no threat at all.

Now take your top 4 competitors and jot them down on word.

Analyse your competitors.

Now you’ve found the competitors from a search perspective, you want to analyse how you match up. Since my site has only been indexed for the last 6 months, I have got some work to do to catch up.

In SEM Rush you can add your competitors to the ‘domain analytics’ sections. This will give you information such as Authority score, SEM rush score, keywords, backlinks & referring domains.

I want to give you a bit more context about these metrics as they are significant in understanding the steps you need to take to improve your overall visibility.

Authority score is essential all the information SEM rush has about a domain. So, number of backlinks, referring domain & number of organic keywords the domain ranks for. The domain is then given a score out of 100.

SEM Rush rank is SEMrush rating of the domain’s popularity based on organic traffic coming from Google’s top 100 organic search results.

Organic Keywords refers to the number of keywords the domain ranks for in the top 100 positions of Google.

Backlinks are the number of links that point to your domain.

Referring Domains Is the number of domains that lead to your website. For example, you might have 30 backlinks from one website, this is still only one domain. I’ll go through the importance of this within the backlink gap analysis.

domain analysis comparison

As the above graph shows, in this case, I’m a few steps behind competitors who have been trading for over 10 years vs my 6 months, however, I’m going to show you how I made incremental gains and started generating converting traffic through my competitor analysis.

Keyword Gap Analysis

What is keyword gap analysis?

Keyword Gap analysis is the task of finding keywords that your competitor ranks for, that you do not. These are gaps in your strategy that you can take learnings from to improve your visibility.

How do we find these gaps?

Firstly, if using SEMrush simply click, ‘keyword gap’ this will automatically keep the competitors you used within the domain analytics section.

Once added you will get a table similar to the below, you have a few different options on how to view the data. You will able to see against the following;

Shared Keywords

Keywords that you and your competitor both rank for.

keyword gap 1

Missing Keywords.

Keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but you are not.

keyword gap 2

The next step is to export the data, this will give you further information such as the specific URL that your competition ranks for.

You can then start analysing specific reasons you’re not ranking for these terms but the competition is, they can be any of the following;

  • You do not have a page to optimise for the keyword.
  • The content you are providing the user is limited.
  • The page is not indexed or has technical issues.
  • The page has no authority from backlinks, whether there internal or external.

The below video is a great guide on how to use SEMrush for keyword gap analysis.

Backlink Gap Analysis

What is backlink gap analysis?

Backlink gap analysis is the process of identifying opportunities within competitor’s backlink profiles that you have missed in yours.

How to close the backlink gap

Again, we need to follow the same process as the keyword gap analysis. While on the SEMrush platform select ‘backlink gap’. Again, add the same competitors you found earlier in your research.

backlink gap 3

Once entered, you will be given a few different ways to view the data.

You can look at shared links each domain has as well links your competitor have that you don’t.

Export the data and look at each specific domain and how your competitor was able to generate a link. It could be any of the following and more.

  • Was it a directory listing?
  • A Comment link?
  • An infographic
  • A guest blog article
  • PR coverage

Use this data to understand quick wins, places in which you can generate links within a short period of time. As well as links that might take more content/research to achieve.

The below video is a great source for further understanding of how to use SEMrush for backlink gap analysis.

Whether you are looking to stay ahead of the competition, or bridge the gap, make sure you follow the above steps being guided by the data when making a decision.

Let me know how you get on in the comments below!

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