Every company wants to be on the first page of Google searches relevant to their product and service lines. But are your competitors beating you to those coveted spots? An SEO competitor analysis can tell you if and how your competitors are jumping ahead in SERP results and offer intel on how to earn a bigger slice of the digital market share.

Before you can uncover untapped opportunities to improve your own SEO strategy, you first need to know what to analyze in your SEO competitor comparison. That way, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what’s working and not working SEO-wise for your top competitors, and discover various avenues to further increase your SEO reach. 

Playing off the variables that we keep top of mind, here are five considerations to include in your SEO competitor analysis template.

Monthly Organic Traffic Estimate

When you’re looking for competitive intelligence, assessing monthly organic traffic to your website versus those of competitors provides a broad but useful baseline. When you consider the impact website interactions have on the buyer’s journey and ultimately purchase decisions, this benchmark can help you assess your online audience’s size and provide clarity around who of your competitors has the largest share of the digital market.

Keywords Ranking in the Top 100

The math works itself out: the more keywords you or competitors have in Google’s top 100 search results, the more opportunities there are for web users to find these sites. While the number of top 100 ranking keywords is an interesting metric in itself when compared to competitors, it’s important to drill down further with a keyword gap analysis.

A gap analysis can help you pinpoint industry-related (versus branded) keywords that competitors rank for and, based on variables like search volume and keyword difficulty, guide you on where to focus your keyword research and future content efforts. This may come in the form of optimizing existing web pages on relevant topics, or developing new blog posts to rank for longer-tail keywords.

Referring Domains

When another website links to yours, it’s a nod to the fact that they trust your website and your content — and both readers and search engines take notice. Your website’s collection of external links, or backlink profile as it’s called, is a matter of both quantity and quality. After all, backlinks from authoritative, high-ranking websites relevant to your industry will carry far more weight in moving the SEO needle.

To this end, your SEO competitor analysis template should account for both variables. While the quantity of backlinks can provide a helpful baseline for your analysis, studying the quality of your competitors’ backlinks can inform your own link-building strategy. Tools like Semrush, for instance, let you see which backlinks are giving competitors the biggest boosts to their SEO and domain authority and, by doing so, help you identify opportunities to generate types of content that are appealing to this external audience.

Popular Pages

The brunt of the traffic that your website (and those of your competitors) earn is often tied to a handful of select pages. Part of an SEO competitive analysis should be finding out what these high-traffic pages are — and sometimes, the answers may be a surprise. Here’s an example that Semrush uses to illustrate this point: one might assume the most popular pages on Home Depot’s website relate to building supplies and construction, but analytics show that the third most popular page is about wallpaper.

By comparing the list of pages that receive the most traffic on your website versus those of a select list of competitor domains, you can garner further insights to guide your SEO efforts. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product or service line, you may find competitors have top-performing pages that fit into a similar campaign and that can help inform your content strategy.

Technical SEO Issues

Part of what makes a website easily understood by search engines and increases its ranking opportunities is a strong technical foundation. This is another area where an SEO competitor analysis can and should provide insights on any underlying issues.

With a website audit, you may find your website has hundreds of broken internal links, or is missing structured data. While this can lead to frustrations for users trying to navigate through your site, search engines can have a more difficult time crawling and ranking your website compared to competitors without this issue. Identifying and fixing these technical SEO issues — as well as others like duplicate title tags and meta descriptions and unminified JavaScript and CSS files — provides quick wins for your website to climb in the search rankings.

A Template to Guide Your SEO Optimization

An SEO competitor analysis is a powerful tool in discovering the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ SEO strategies, while benchmarking your own SEO and areas where you can improve. The key is to know which variables to include in your SEO competitor analysis template so you maximize the ROI of your efforts.

As a digital marketing agency that brings years of experience to the table, Kuno Creative knows what should go into an SEO competitor analysis and how to incorporate these findings into our clients’ larger SEO strategy. From quick wins to long-term plays, we help define and carry out tactics to move up your website in organic search rankings and give you a competitive edge in the digital market. 

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