General SEO

Doing An SEO Competitive Analysis The Right Way – Know What Your SEO Competitors Are Up To With This Free SEO Competitor Analysis Template

by Tom Buckland Updated On February 17, 2019

SEO Competitive Analysis Template - SEO Competitor Analysis Guide

Here’s a simple piece of SEO advice you’ll never get from an average SEO – it’s all about common sense.

Sure, getting a website to rank for some juicy, volume-heavy, money keywords is a tough job – but I, for one, am totally against the idea of making shi!t sound more complicated than it usually is.

And all the SEO jargon you hear thrown around liberally starts right here – at SEO competitive analysis.

SEO competitive analysis is one of the favourite ‘tools’ for SEOs to land clients, because they twist and turn the numbers to instil fear – the strongest of business emotions.

I’ll be trying to put all that jazz to rest in this post while also trying to simplify SEO competitor analysis right down to its bare bones.

So, let’s get to it.

Why Do SEO Competitive Analysis?

True – you can reach almost any SEO goal without worrying a bit about doing SEO competitor analysis.

Also true – you can do all that  faster, cheaper and easier  when you start each campaign with strategic, systematic SEO competitor analysis.

We all want to save money on every single campaign and every single click – and so, using SEO competition analysis to your best advantage is a no brainer.

But how does SEO competition analysis (aka SEO competitive intelligence) save you money?

1. It adds speed to the process. You don’t need expensive trial and error tests. Time saved = money earned.

2. It keeps you focused on your competition. The moment your eyes are off what they are doing is the moment you start playing catch up.

3. You literally make your competitors pay for the insights you get into things like audience sentiment, social trends, organic interests and lead gen templates.

4. If you know what works and you can do it better, you’re already winning.

5. You get actionable inputs. You know which keywords to target, you know what sort of content assets you need to create, you can plan your SEO content strategy better, you know exactly how your link building campaigns should be run and you know when and how much to invest in marketing.

Dollar for dollar, SEO competitive analysis adds more to your SEO efficiency than any other factor.

 

Part 1: SEO Competitor Analysis Starts With Identifying Your True SEO Competitors

Running an SEO agency has its fair share of bottlenecks. The most annoying one that we deal with here at HQ SEO is the sheer lack of useful inputs from our clients.

Most clients – especially the local businesses – have no idea who their competitors are. At best, they know a couple of businesses they want to emulate, and that’s about that.

So, here’s what we do: we take it upon ourselves to find out everything the clients should already have known beforing coming in.

Is it frustrating? Absolutely.

Is it worth our time? Hell yes!

More than anything, every good marketer should be concerned about giving a bang for the buck service to their clients, and without a good round of competitive SEO analysis, we don’t see how that can be possible.

Anyway, coming back to the point, here’s a simple and effective way of getting to know who your competitors are:

1. Business competitors: The ones who directly eat into your market share.

2. SEO Competitors: The ones who eat into your share of organic traffic.

3. Local competitors: The ones who eat into your share of SERP real estate for local searches.

 

Identifying Your SEO Competition – The Snags

As I mentioned earlier, every good business should know who’s hogging their share of customers.

This idea – when translated to online presence – means websites that draw the exact same people you want on your website.

There are many, many ways to identify SEO competitors. We’ll see two of these. Avoid these snags while doing this, though:

1. Don’t ever base your SEO campaign on just a couple of competitors.  You need at least 5 competitors to run an actionable SEO competitor analysis. 

2. Don’t ignore the domains that are buying PPC spots for your keywords.  Even when they don’t rank, they still take people away from your website. 

At HQ SEO, competitive analysis is where most of our ground-up SEO campaigns start. Achieving 600 to 700% ROIs on all SEO campaigns consistently is not easy – we rely heavily on thorough competitor research to get there. To know more, check out our complete process. If you have any questions or you want to request a free quote, feel free to get in touch.

For the sake of clarity, I’ll be using the example of a local business so that we can fuse the elements of local SEO with general SEO in one go. Here are the parameters:

The website we’re focusing on as an example: www.artistsweb.co.uk

Industry: Web design and development

Location: London

Seed keyword: “web design London” [This is the primary keyword on which your keyword strategy will be based. Most campaigns have multiple seed keywords that create keyword branches that we deal with in separate campaigns. To keep it simple here, I’m basing my SEO competitor analysis only on one seed search term.]

 

Identify Your SEO Competitors: Strategy #1 – Google Search

Works for brand new websites.

 

As far as SEO competitor analysis goes, our end goal is to make our website rank for important keywords. Coming a full circle, it makes sense to start an SEO competitor research campaign with Google.

You can pull out competition data directly from Google by stepping into a customer’s shoes – the most basic avatar of competitive intelligence.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Identify your top 5 seed terms.
  2. Run a Google search (preferably in an incognito window) for each of these.
  3. Note down the first 5 top ranking websites (minimum of 5, that is).
  4. In most cases there will be websites running PPC ads for these. Note down who these are (for each seed term). Remember to disable Adblocker. These are just for your reference – they won’t be acted upon in this SEO competitive analysis guide.
  5. If there are relevant local results, note them down too.
  6. Compile all the results in an Excel file/Google Sheet. Weed out repetitions. We’ll be developing this sheet throughout this SEO competitor analysis guide so that you end up with valuable, actionable inputs.

 

Example

For our example, here’s what a Google search for ‘web design London’ returned:

PPC Ads (Ignore for now)

SEO Competitor Analysis Using Google - HQ SEO

 

 Relevant result: Web Design Choice 

 

Local Results

 SEO Competitor Analysis Local SEO

 Relevant results: The Web Kitchen, KD Design, Bond Media 

 

Organic Rankings (Most Important)

 SEO Competitor Analysis Organic Search

 

 Top 5 results: The Web Kitchen, Web Design London, Creative Steam London, Om Design, Lilo 

 

Identify Your SEO Competitors: Strategy #2 – Google Related (“Similar”)

This step works only if you have a website that’s already ranking for industry keywords. If your website is brand new, skip this step.

 

I’m surprised how most marketers and SEOs are unaware of this simple, free SEO competitor analysis tool that’s right there, hidden in plain sight.

I know this feature has been long discontinued – but hey, it still works! If it didn’t, Google wouldn’t have given it so much organic real estate even today.

So, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Copy your domain name.
  2. Open your local Google website.
  3. Enter your search query as  related:yourdomain.com  and hit enter.
  4. Note down all the top results just the way you did for strategy #1.

 

Example:

Here’s what we got after running  related:artistsweb.co.uk  through Google.co.uk.

SEO Competition Analysis Similar Websites - Google Similar Related

 

 Relevant top 3 results: Webheads, NetDreams, Om Design 

 

Which SEO Competition Analysis Tool Should You Use?

It’s important to have at your disposal a comprehensive SEO competitor analysis tool in order to really make this whole exercise work. I personally prefer to use Ahrefs in combination with SimilarWeb, Moz and SEMRush.

In this post, I’ve kept the discussion limited to Ahrefs and SimilarWeb. If you need to know more about how other tools make life easier through accelerated SEO competition analysis, feel free to drop us a line, or DM me on Twitter.

Identify Your SEO Competitors: Strategy #3 – Using Ahrefs (Advanced, But Easy)

This is the cleanest, meanest SEO competition identification strategy of them all. But you will need to have a premium subscription to Ahrefs.

Remember – using Ahrefs to find competitors is just an advanced way of running Google searches yourself. What it does better is giving you an overview over 6-12 months (it’s pretty important to have this insight).

 

A. Using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
Works for brand new websites.

 

  1. Visit Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
  2. Enter your seed search term.
  3. Note down the top results curated by Ahrefs for you. For now, ignore everything else on the page – we’ll come back to this at a later stage.

 

Example

Running the seed keyword  “web design London”  through Ahrefs Keyword Explorer gives us this:

 

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer SEO Competitive Intelligence

 

Note that in most cases these results will be exactly the same as strategy #3 (because that’s what this essentially is).

 Relevant results:  The Web Kitchen, CB Website Design, JB Digital, Creative Steam London, Gumtree 

 

B. Using Ahrefs Competing Domains
If your website is brand new, skip this step.

 

  1. Visit Ahrefs. Enter your domain name and run an overview search.
  2. Find the competing domains tab in the left hand panel and click on it.
  3. Note down the top ten results. The default setting sorts these results in the descending order of ‘common keywords’. This is good enough for now.
  4. Use this step as a ‘validation’ for all the earlier steps. In most cases, you’ll end up with the same domains that you got from earlier.

 

Example

Here’s what we get when we run a Competing Domains search for artistsweb.co.uk in Ahrefs.

 

 

 Relevant results: Bond Media, Creative Steam London, Logicsofts, Om Design, Companies Web Design 

 

Results

At this stage of SEO competitive analysis, you’ll have a list of 5-10 domains that compete directly against your website for the best keywords. The SEO competitor identification ends here.

There’s no fixed formula to rely on here. You should always base your judgment based on organic results, local results, client’s inputs and PPC ads – in that order. Here’s what my SEO competitive analysis template sheet looks like at this stage:

1 - SEO Competitive Analysis Template

 

So, for this example, I have identified top 5 competitors as: The Web Kitchen, Bond Media, Creative Steam London, Om Design and Lilo.

 

Part 2. SEO Competitor Analysis of Backlinks

Alright, at this stage, we have a very reliable list of top 5 direct competitors. Of course, you can extend this up to 10 but let’s stick to 5 for now.

At every stage of SEO competitive analysis, you need to remember that our goal is to eventually end up on the first page, preferably in the top 3 results for as many important business/industry keywords as possible.

Many marketers usually try to avoid competing with industry leaders and obviously high-authority websites. That may be a great idea in the short run, but in the long run, you’ll need to take them on because there’s really no other way of capitalizing on important keywords.

A very effective way of dealing with this problem is identifying relatively less competitive long tail and LSI keywords and search terms. We’ll get to the keyword part of SEO competitive analysis in a bit.

So, at this stage, our focus is on pitting our 5 competitors directly against one another and see what sort of link profiles they have. This is a very, very important step because backlinks are one of the most influential ranking factors. More importantly though, studying the link profile of SEO competitors gives us a clear idea of how to create an effective link building strategy.

At HQ SEO, we use the inputs from SEO competitor research to create link building campaigns that are designed specifically to boost domain authority and gain sustainable organic ranking spikes. If you’d like to know more about how our link building expertise can help you drive more organic traffic to your business website, write to us here.

 

Unlock Unreal SEO ROIs FAST!

Find Out Exactly How Your SEO Competitors Are Building Links

Unearth Keywords That Make You Money

Discover Your Competitor's Growth Hacks

End-to-End Competitor SEO Analysis

 

Domain Analysis Using Ahrefs

To analyse all 5 SEO competitors together, I’m using Ahrefs Domain Comparison Tool. It does pretty much everything we want done here for us. For the sake of better data handling, copy + paste all these results in the competition analysis Excel template we are building (as a new sheet). Note that Ahrefs doesn’t let you export these stats automatically.

Here’s what the domain comparison for our 5 competitors looks like:

 

Ahrefs Domain Comparison For Competitive SEO Analysis

 

For now, let’s focus on the most important parameters. If you know how to read into every aspect of link profile analysis, you can perform that audit for each domain separately. (We’ll be publishing a detailed guide for link profile analysis soon).

 

Domain Rating

Domain Rating is the proprietary method that Ahrefs uses to attach a numeric indicator to a domain’s SEO ‘value’ and ‘authority’.

Moz uses a similar algorithm to come up with what they call ‘Domain Authority’.

Domain Rating is an important metric in the sense that it boils down many SEO parameters into one number to give you an indication of how authoritative a particular domain is. This number, by no means, is the final call – as Google has pointed out. A good SEO strategy aims to increase the domain rating over time in order to push the pages up the rankings.

In our case, we can see that Bond Media has the highest domain rating, followed by The Web Kitchen. Our target website (artistsweb.co.uk) has a domain rating of 62.

So, at the first glance, we can guess that our domain has a pretty good chance of taking all of these SEO competitors on by developing a systematic SEO strategy.

 

Referring Domains

Referring domains are the domains that link back to the domain in question.

Having your backlinks spread across a large number of referring domains adds a natural touch to your link profile. So, in general, having a high referring domain/number of backlinks ratio AND a high number of backlinks is a great combination to have.

Ahrefs also lets you export the domain rating data for all referring domains that link back to your SEO competitors. You can export this data and calculate the average referring domain rating, too. Adding this to the overall analysis will give you the benefit of knowing exactly what the quality of backlinks is for your SEO competitors.

 

Backlinks

As far as link building goes, just building a large number of backlinks DOESN’T work (mostly because not all backlinks are made the same).

A backlink is essentially a reference – a vote of confidence, if you will – from one website to another. So, if your referring domain has no authority of its own, there’s no real value attached to the backlinks you get from that domain.

The point is – looking at backlinks as a ‘number’ doesn’t cut it. You need to add a referring domain rating dimension to this.

I do this with a simple tweak.

Here’s what you need to do to get a better view of backlinks to your SEO competitors:

  1. Conduct a referring domain analysis for EACH of your competitor (as discussed).
  2. Export the data to an Excel sheet.
  3. Ignore every other column – just focus on referring domain rating and the number of backlinks the website is getting from that particular domain.
  4. The logic is simple. We want to arrive at a custom metric (I’m naming it ‘DR-Backlink Factor’ for the sake of convenience).

So, the DR-Backlink Factor = [sum (referring domain rating x backlinks from that domain)]/total number of backlinks.

Trust me, it’s no rocket science – just some basic statistical analysis.

Here’s what we get using this method for the competitor The Web Kitchen.

 

Competing Domains SEO Competition Analysis - HQ SEO

 

So, the DR-Backlink Factor for The Web Kitchen is 36.27 – this indicates the real ‘power’ of backlinks to this domain in the context of the DR of referring domains.

Using the same method, we can get the DR-Backlink Factor for all competing domains.

 

Putting Everything in Context

At this stage, we have the following – the domain rating, referring domains, backlinks and the DR-Backlink factor for all competing domains.

The question is – how do we combine these all together to get a better idea of the task ahead of us?

The DR-Backlink Factor already combines referring domains with backlinks – so that’s out of the way.

Now, we have to couple the DR of the individual domain to the DR-Backlink factor. Here’s how:

  1. Calculate the average DR of all 6 domains (5 competitors + 1 target).
  2. Calculate the numeric deviation for each domain from the average as N = (DR-AVG DR)/AVG DR
  3. Calculate the final Domain Performance Power Factor as DPPF = (1+N) x DR-Backlink Factor.

 

The calculations play out like this for our example:

 

DR Backlink Analysis - SEO Competition

 

It might sound a bit complicated – but trust me, it’s not. Our ready-to-roll SEO competitive analysis template does it all for you in an instant. To request access to this template, just drop us a line. You can also DM me at @tombucklandSEO – it’s all good.

 

Note: The domain rating for each domain already takes into account the quality of the backlinks – but we don’t really know what the algorithm Ahrefs uses for this. So, adding your own little touch to the proceedings helps make things clearer.

 

A More Basic Alternative

If you don’t want to keep things a bit simpler, just compare each factor (domain rating, referring domains and backlinks) individually. This will still give you a fairly good idea of where your or your client’s website stands in comparison with the 5 SEO competitors you’ve picked.

 

Competitor Link Profile Growth Analysis

Another dimension to add to your SEO competitive analysis is the rate at which your SEO competitors are building/acquiring links.

Here’s a sample screenshot from the domain overview of The Web Kitchen.

 

Link Growth Analysis - Competitive SEO Report

 

As you can see, the number of referring domains has gone up steadily over the months and years. This is good enough to assume that they have either been acquiring links 100% organically or haven’t really ramped up link building campaigns.

Take the case of another competitor – Bond Media (refer to the image below). The number of referring domains to their website has been on the decline for quite some time. This indicates two things – they have either stopped building links or the quality of linkable content they create has been going down.

Referring Domains Ahrefs - SEO Competition Intelligence

 

These analyses give you a great insight into what the strengths and weaknesses of your SEO competitors are. For example, from our target’s (artistsweb.co.uk) point of view, we could construct our link building strategy so as to overtake Bond Media first by mimicking their link profile and then taking on the next competitor in line.

 

Results

At this stage you should have a complete picture of the target website AND the competing domains.

You can use these stats to outline your link building strategy as well as your content strategy. As we have already discussed, developing an SEO content marketing strategy is an intricate combination of SEO and quality content. So, you’ll need all the directives and inputs it takes to be able to boost your SEO through content. We’ll get to the content part of SEO competitive analysis in a bit.

Every insight you get into your competitors’ link building strategies is worth its weight in gold from the SEO competitor analysis perspective. Our end-to-end competition research services integrate all aspects of link profile analysis to chalk out the path of least resistance (and highest ROIs) for your clients.

Get in touch with us to request a free proposal or to discuss your requirements with our team.

 

Part 3: Competitor Keyword Analysis

Now that we have a handle on where our target website stands in terms of links and domain authority, we can now move towards analyzing on-page factors.

Creating great content is extremely important – but putting it in front of people is equally important.

If you are the kind of website that just puts content out there hoping people will find it some day, let me break the bad news to you – it NEVER happens. Every content asset you create needs to be streamlined in terms of utility, shareability, linkability and – of course – visibility. That’s where keywords come in.

It’s funny how people know that keywords are important, but they just don’t know how to find the ones that WORK.

For example, if your website is brand new, you’re not going to do yourself any favours by running after broad, industry-wide keywords. Similarly, you will get nothing out of focusing on keywords with little relevancy or thin search volumes.

As a part of SEO competitor analysis, here’s what a good keyword should look like for you:

  1. It’s relevant to what you do.
  2. It’s backed by decent monthly search volumes.
  3. Your competitors are not really focusing on it.

Competitive keyword analysis helps you find keywords across categories (broad, phrase, LSI and exact – what have you) that are proven to have a solid searcher intent behind them.

Remember – competitor keyword analysis is just the start. There’s much more to keyword research. Our advanced keyword research services are geared towards covering any and every base in this context so that your content assets keep bringing in organic visitors on a daily basis. To know more, tell us a little about your requirements, and we’ll come back to you with a fully customised proposal.

 

A – Reverse Engineering Keywords

If you don’t have a content strategy in place, it’s good to know what your competitors are ranking for before you start creating content assets. An efficient round of keyword research is exactly what a new website needs to buff up their content assets in the long and the short run.

There are many tools out there that let you find keywords relevant to your website and business. We usually recommend starting with the most robust of them all first – Google Keyword Planner.

Since we are talking about SEO competitive analysis here, we’ll need to tweak the approach just a little bit.

At this point, we have in hand 5 top competitors who are, no doubt, doing great in terms of their content marketing strategies. So, we can extract a great deal of information just by looking at the keywords they rank for.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Enter a competitor domain in Ahrefs dashboard.
  2. You’ll get the ‘Overview’ of their performance. Now, click on the ‘Keywords’ tab.
  3. This will give you the complete list of keywords that particular competitor regularly ranks for in the region you’ve selected. For now, go with your local Google website – you can start tapping into international traffic once your content assets go live.

 

Example

For the example we are considering, let’s see what the Bond Media website ranks for organically (using Ahrefs).

To keep things relevant, you can use the Ahrefs positions filter as shown below.

 

Competitive Keyword Research For SEO - Ahrefs

 

As you can see, Bond Media ranks for 44 keywords in top 20 positions (on Google.co.uk).

Again, we need to have some perspective about the ease of ranking – quite obviously you can’t rank for all of these. So, we’ll be using Ahref’s keyword difficulty metric as a guide. I’m setting the keyword difficult upper cap at, let’s say, 40. I’m also excluding branded mentions here to filter out keywords that are of no use to us.

Competitive Keyword Research For SEO - Ahrefs

 

From this analysis, we end up with just one relevant search term –  ‘website designer in London’ .

It’s good enough to be used as a seed keyword when we develop a full-blown content strategy. Repeat this procedure for all competitors and you’ll have a great set of keywords – reverse engineered from the scratch!

 

B – Finding Content Gaps

Ahrefs, as I have said many times before, is pretty much ALL you need to chalk out a great SEO strategy – and that, of course, includes identifying and capitalizing on content gaps.

 

What's A Content Gap?!

A content gap is the apparent ‘need’ that your content aims to serve. Barring a few categories like news and updates, the best performing content assets are the ones that are aligned with what your customers/visitors are looking for.

We’ve often found that working with content gaps becomes much easier when you have an ongoing content strategy.

Here’s how you can find potential content gaps using Ahrefs.

  1. Enter the target domain to generate the ‘Overview’ in Ahrefs.
  2. Click on ‘Content Gaps’ (the left menu).
  3. Enter competitor domains (as shown below).
  4. Set your filters carefully.
  5. Export the data and add it to the SEO competitive analysis file for a quick reference.

 

Example

For the example we are considering, I’ll first generate the domain overview for artistsweb.co.uk. Navigating to the ‘Content Gap’ feature, I’ll then enter all five competitor domains.

It’s important to check the  ‘At least one of the targets should rank in top 10’  filter. This will help you avoid keywords that correspond to less-than-ideal content gaps. You can always expand the reach later on once you have worked with the primary set of keywords.

 

SEO Competitor Research - Content Gap Ahrefs

 

Again, to avoid ending up with too broad/too difficult keywords, I have set the maximum keyword difficulty filter at 45 and excluded the branded mentions. This is what the result looks like:

 

SEO Competition Research - Content Gap Ahrefs

 

So, we are left with with 4 top keywords – website designer, webdesigner, website development, web design and development.

Since these are highly relevant and will probably be our seed keywords for other campaigns, these are excellent finds. While these are fairly broad, you can always add a local modifier to them (e.g. website development London) to get the most out of them on a local level, too. Here’s more about how local SEO adds strength to your overall SEO.

 

Part 4 – Competitor Content Analysis

There are many downsides to having to work in a competitive industry or niche.

But, there’s the proverbial silver lining – you can almost always be sure that your competitors have got their content game heading in the right direction.

So, besides reverse engineering keywords and locating content gaps, you can understand a whole lot more by studying what sort of content they create in order to bring people over to their websites.

Understanding, analysing and dissecting competitors’ content assets can play the role of a bright lighthouse when you’re building a brand new content strategy. Not only do you get to know what content wins clicks, you also get an insight into how to effectively market such content.

Here’s how it works:

 

A – Overview of ‘Top Pages’

  1. Generate an ‘Overview’ report for the competitor domain using Ahrefs. If they are using a subdomain or a specific URL prefix for blogs (blog.website.com/content or website.com/blog/content), use that as your baseline.
  2. Now navigate to the ‘Top Pages’ tab from the left menu. Export the details.
  3. This will show you what content assets are ranking for what keywords. This should be enough to give an instant idea about two things: a. If there’s enough room to overtake these competitors through a robust content strategy, b. What content assets generate the best returns in terms of organic traffic.

 

Example

I’m considering the competitor Lilo for this example. Their content assets are curated at lilo.co.uk/blog.

Here are the top pages for their blog:

 

Competitor SEO Analysis Content Marketing

 

What do we see?

  1. There’s next to no organic traffic generated via content. In other words, we’ve got a big, empty canvas.
  2. The content pages that rank are scattered. There’s no clear strategy here to be seen. The content alone pulls in negligible share of overall organic traffic. In other words, they aren’t really worried too much about content marketing – good news for us!
  3. The content assets that rank in top 40 are probably losing out to other specialist domains. So, we need to come up with ways of combining these keywords with industry related topics in order to rank higher than them.

 

B – Overview of The Linkability of Competitors’ Content Assets

  1. Generate the overview as usual for each competitor domain.
  2. Navigate to the “Best By Links” tab (Pages > Best By Links).
  3. Export the results.
  4. Repeat the same procedure for “Best By Link Growth” function.
  5. Repeat for all competitors.

 

 Example

In this case, here’s what we get for Lilo’s blog.

 

SEO Competition Content Analysis

 

As you can see, nearly every content backlink they receive is through one blog post. What does this tell us?

  1. They don’t really have much going on in terms of content based link building.
  2. It’s definitely possible to create and curate content assets that can generate more organic traffic than theirs do.

Now on to the “Best By Link Growth” part.

Again, the same page turns up with 14 new backlinks in the last 30 days. Given that this page was published over three years ago, I’m almost sure that these are natural, editorial backlinks – a testament to the quality of the post.

 

C – Overview of Social Signals

The last part of content analysis is all about how your competitors’ content assets perform on social media.

  1. Generate the overview from the Ahrefs dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the ‘Top Content’ tab (Pages > Top Content).
  3. Export the results.

 

Example

Here’s the social performance of Lilo’s blog.

 

Ahrefs Top Content - SEO Competition Review

 

What do we see here?

  1. Not a lot is happening here. The best conclusion is that they aren’t actively promoting their content across social media.
  2. They are not generating enough content to keep up with the trends.
  3. It’s very easy to get ahead of them in this regard even with a basic social media strategy.
  4. The “Best By Links” page doesn’t even feature here – substantiating our idea that their link building campaigns were centred around that one piece alone.

 

Part 5 – Traffic Analysis (Competitor SEO Template)

At this stage, here’s what you’ll have: a detailed insight into link profile, content, keywords and social media marketing.

It’s possible to end your competitor search right here because you’ll already have all the data you need to reverse engineer an SEO strategy (on and off page).

I, for one, prefer to go one step further and analyse competitors’ traffic channels too.

Here’s why:

  1. Traffic channels paint a clearer picture of the results of your competitors’ SEO strategies and content marketing campaigns. This adds a new perpsective to your competitor SEO template. 
  2. You can clearly see what their strengths are and where they lack. Having this knowledge is invaluable because it can create some ‘quick win’ opportunities for you.
  3. If you can find certain traffic sources that are performing exceptionally well for multiple competitors, you can set them as benchmarks for your particular industry. For example, if you run an e-commerce business and you see that Pinterest drives a ton of traffic to your competitors, you can put Pinterest at the forefront of your social media strategy.

 

Using SimilarWeb for Competitor Traffic Analysis

At this point, Ahrefs falls just short because it mainly deals with organic traffic.

You will NEVER be able to get precise traffic details for any website other than your own, and hence, we’ll be using the next best thing out there: SimilarWeb.

SimilarWeb is a premium traffic analysis tool that runs extrapolation tests to come up with pretty accurate traffic stats for any website. You’ll need a premium subscription to access all the details, but a free trial is just about enough to get you started.

 

Example

I ran a competitor website (for The Web Kitchen) through SimilarWeb and here’s what it returned:

 

A – Website Audience

This is the overview of the total traffic – similar to what you’ll see in your Google Analytics dashboard.

 

Website Audience SimilarWeb - Competitor Google Analytics

 

For our example, the competitors is getting roughly 17,000 visits per month – pretty impressive.

Things to note:

  1. Their traffic has nearly doubled from November 18 to January 19. Why? Is it something seasonal?
  2. An average on-page stay of less than 1 minute is never a good sign. What is it that they’re doing wrong (so that we can steer clear of repeating their mistakes)? Bad conversion rate optimization? Poor technical SEO

 

At this juncture, it’s important to point out the importance of having the technical ends of your website all in the right place. Having bad UX sucks – just as much as having a Google-hostile website. A thorough technical SEO audit helps address back-end problems that you probably don’t even know are there.

Want to know how such an audit can unlock invisible SEO bottlenecks? Write to us here to get started.

 

B – Top Countries

This is straightforward. They are drawing nearly all of their traffic from the UK – which is how it should be, given that they serve customers in and around London.

 

C – Marketing Channels

Traffic Channels For SEO Competitiors - Analysis

Direct Traffic – Are they doing a lot of offline advertising? (Here’s more about what direct traffic really means to a webmaster).

Email – Non-existent in this case. I’ll make a note in my SEO competitive analysis sheet to build multiple email campaigns.

Referrals – About 5%. Much of this comes from backlinks (as we can cross-check in Ahrefs). This gives us a good idea of potential link building partners.

Organic – Over 65% – Good on them! If done correctly, we can emulate their organic search performance, too.

 

D – Referral Traffic Analysis

Check out their top 5 referrals.

Competitor Referral Traffic Analysis

1. Awwwards – Website design awards (highly relevant, make a note). 😀

2. BridgeU – Probably a client of theirs. Footer links. 😐

3. Climate Kic – Same as above.😐

4. Tsohost – A web hosting company. Possibly a referral/paid partnership. Gives us a great affiliate marketing idea. 💡

5. Audio Content Fund – Footer links. Not really relevant. Ignore. 😒

 

E – Social Traffic

competition social media traffic analysis

Facebook heavy social traffic.

Why?

  1. The web design industry is highly visual. Facebook allows for better visual engagement than Twitter.
  2. They are not doing much in terms of Pinterest or YouTube – A note to myself. 

 

F – Paid Searches/Adverts

Nothing to see here.

They probably are doing just fine with the amount of traffic they are generating organically. If we are to catch up, we probably need to set aside some PPC budget – at least for the first 6-12 months.

 

Get It Right And SEO Competitive Analysis Will Pay For Itself In No Time!

SEO competitive analysis is the foundation of every good SEO campaign. It not only guides your campaign in the right direction, it keeps the overall marketing expenses down, helping you get more out of every marketing dollar/pound spent.

At HQ SEO, competitive analysis is an integral part of our end-to-end digital marketing services. Each service we offer – from link building to local SEO and content audit to digital PR – integrates one or more elements of fully customised competition analysis reports to add that much-needed competitive edge to proceedings.

To know more, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Alternatively, you can request a quick, free proposal right here by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.

 

Share

About Tom

Hi, I'm Tom, Founder & Director of HQ SEO. I live and breathe SEO. I hope you enjoy my findings. Interested in SEO?
Let's Connect.

Get More Clicks & Higher Rankings

Get in touch to see how we've helped rank over 100+ clients worldwide, generating tens of thousands of leads and millions in additional revenue using smart inbound marketing strategies.

Get my free proposal

We Help Our Clients Make More Money

Get my free proposal