Before we begin, it’s important to understand that there are multiple ways to approach an SEO competitive analysis. Choosing the right kind of competitive analysis depends on factors like:
Whether you are local vs national
This particular SEO competitive analysis guide will help you to identify missed opportunities for quality traffic from the search engines by looking at your competition and how they rank for certain keywords.
We’ll use an example to show you how to compare your target keyword(s) with your competitors. By looking at how you rank for your keywords vs your competitors you can identify missed opportunities for increased, qualified traffic to your site.
The screenshots below are generated using our favorite competitive analysis for SEO tool SEMRush (get a 7-day free trial through this link).
In our example below, our client wanted to rank locally for the keyword “commercial roofing jobs near me.”
Before doing your competitive analysis, you first need to do thorough keyword research. Pick your keywords thoughtfully. Make sure to consider the following:
Intent – does your keyword signal your customer’s intent to buy or at least be in-market to buy?
Volume – does your keyword get searched? Not only does it get searched, but if you are only after local customers, make sure you check your local search volume.
Competitiveness – is your keyword incredibly competitive to rank for?
2. Compare your rank to your competitor(s)
After you’ve selected your keywords and used a position tracking tool to check your local rank for each keyword, add your competitors to identify what their rank or position is for the same list of keywords.
Pictured above, you can see that “yourwebsite.com” does not show up in the Google organic 100 (hence the “-“) and “competitor.com” is in position 5.
Because the local competitor is able to get on page one (in position 5) and our customer does not show up at all for the same keyword in the same area, we have identified an opportunity.
3. Check your competitors content
Once you’ve identified a missed opportunity, you need to do a content analysis. For our customer, we used Google to search the target keyword, “commercial roofing jobs near me.” If you are doing this and you use a local intent term like “near me” make sure you are searching in your target city.
Find the page on your competitor’s site that is ranking for your target keyword and note what content they have that you don’t.
To take it a step further, we use SEMRush’s SEO Content Template to analyze the content of the top 10 search engine results for your target keyword in your target city.
This will help you identify what content to include on your page in order to increase your rank for your target keyword.
4. Create better content
To help you outrank your competitor(s), create better, more thorough content. In the SEO industry, we call this “skyscraper content.”
Skyscraper content is exactly like it sounds. It’s building a higher, better version of the content. You do this by getting really obsessed with the customer and writing about everything related to your target keyword.
In our example of “commercial roofing jobs near me” we would write about everything the searcher might like to know about commercial roofing jobs:
What the work is like
What the pay is like
Add more details about job responsibilities and requirements
Add links to job postings on other sites like Indeed
You get the idea.
Content, not just for content’s sake, but really good, user-focused content is one of the hardest parts of SEO to get right. But, if you do it right it can have the biggest impact on your website.
A good competitive SEO analysis hinges on really good keyword research. You don’t want to waste your time focusing on the wrong keywords. At the same time, a competitive analysis can help you validate the opportunities of your selected keywords. Like the example in this article, we know the keyword is valuable because there is local search volume and a local competitor currently ranks on page one for the keyword.