When you are optimizing your website to get higher traffic from search engines, you are in fact trying to make your website better than the competition.
Simply put, you are competing for higher rankings with other websites and therefore, you need to understand the basics of competitive SEO research. Here are some important things you need to know about competitive SEO research.
Do Not Guess
The foundation of professional SEO is data analysis. It doesn’t involve guesswork and if a campaign has to be successful, it should be based on strategies derived from analysis of cold, hard facts.
Competitive SEO research is not as trivial as listing 5 or 10 of your top competitors. You need to use professional tools to figure out your real SEO competition.
The first step in competitor SEO analysis is keyword research. In fact, every SEO campaign should begin with proper keyword research. You should start by listing down some of the main keywords that are right for your business.
Keep in mind that your business competition might be different from the SEO competition and this is why you need to do keyword research.
Once you have listed down a list of keywords, the next step is to find other websites that are ranking for those keywords. They are your SEO competition. It’s not easy to do this manually and therefore, you need to use automated tools to figure out your competition.
You can do it manually for 10 or 20 keywords but when you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of keywords, you need these automated tools to do the job.
Use a tool to find the webpages that are ranking on the first page for keywords you want to target. Analyze these webpages to figure out the main keywords that are included in their content.
Take a close look at the headings and subheadings on these webpages along with keywords that are put in bold.
There are several tools available in the market to help you identify the main keywords mentioned in a particular group of webpages. This analysis will help in identifying the keywords or topics that are covered in the content on those webpages.
The data generated from this analysis should then be used to create content for your website.
Domain authority matters a lot. It is pertinent to mention here that Google doesn’t use something called domain authority as it uses Page Rank and several other factors to determine the authority and trust of a particular domain.
Domain authority and other such popular yardsticks are a measure used by several popular SEO tools to determine the authority and trust of a particular domain.
The relative domain authority of your competition should give you an idea of the strength of your competition.
For instance, if a particular tool lists the domain authority of your website as 15 and the average domain authority of your competition as 55, you are facing an uphill battle as they are strong competitors and you will need to put in significant efforts to get ahead of them.
The content quality is one aspect of competitive SEO research. The other and perhaps, more important aspect is backlink research. There are several popular tools that allow you to find backlinks of almost any domain. Once you have identified your real SEO competition, you should use these tools to find the backlinks of these domains.
These tools also tell you the relative authority of these links. It gives you an idea of the numbers as well as the quality of links you will need to overcome competition. Use this analysis to identify targets for obtaining backlinks for your domain.
One of the ways is to reach out to the webmasters of those exact domains and request them to link to a content piece on your website which is better than the competition. You should also use this analysis to identify other backlink targets from where you can obtain authoritative backlinks.
You should also check their backlink history. It helps in identifying the time when particular links were obtained by your competition. In case there is a sudden rise in the number of backlinks, it might help in identifying a popular topic that is attracting a lot of backlinks for your competition.
Use it to update the existing content on your website or create a new content piece to attract authoritative backlinks for your domain.
To conclude, search engine optimization is all about competition. You are competing with thousands of other domains for the same keywords and therefore, you need to have a strategy in place in order to overcome your competition.
Follow the above-mentioned tips to come up with your data-based strategy to get ahead of the competition.
Also, check out the following video for a deep dive on performing these steps using ahrefs.