May 2024

Mastering SEO Competitor Analysis: Strategies, Tools, and Template


Every time we collaborate with a new brand, our first step is to conduct a competitive analysis. It’s a critical process in today’s fast-paced business landscape. This analysis provides invaluable insights into a brand’s market position, gathers information about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and uncovers growth opportunities for your business.

What is Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis involves a detailed comparison between your brand and competitors, focusing on their unique selling points, strengths, and weaknesses across various business aspects. By scrutinizing their market position, sales tactics, and growth strategies, you gain valuable insights to strategically position your brand. This analysis not only sheds light on your competitors but also provides profound insights into your own business, highlighting areas for improvement and opportunities for growth. Understanding your relative position in the market landscape enables informed decision-making and the development of targeted strategies to gain a competitive edge. Essentially, competitive analysis serves as a strategic roadmap for navigating today’s marketplace, empowering businesses to capitalize on opportunities and foster sustainable growth. We’ll explore the tools, methodologies, and best practices that drive success amidst competition.

TIP: Effective competitive benchmarking consists of maintaining control over the process by establishing predefined competitors for analysis. Often, business owners can become overwhelmed by studying an excessive number of competitors. The optimal number of competitors to benchmark against is four to five.

Why is Competitive Analysis Invaluable

Competitor Analysis

In a world where consumers are inundated with options and attention spans are fleeting, businesses must differentiate themselves from competitors to capture market share and foster customer loyalty. Competitive analysis empowers business owners with the knowledge to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within their industry, enabling them to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve.

At its core, competitive analysis illuminates the strategies, tactics, and performance metrics of key players within a given market segment. By benchmarking against competitors, business owners can gain a deeper understanding of their own positioning, strengths, and areas for improvement. Whether it’s uncovering untapped market opportunities, refining product offerings, or optimizing marketing campaigns, competitive analysis provides the actionable insights needed to drive business success.

Additionally, in the realm of digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), competitive analysis takes on added significance. With search engines serving as the primary gateway to online content, businesses must vie for visibility amidst a sea of competitors. Through diligent analysis of your competitors’ keywords, content strategies, backlink profiles, and social media presence, you can devise SEO strategies that enhance your online visibility and attract new customers and/or qualified leads.

Finally, competitive analysis transcends the digital realm, offering invaluable insights into broader industry trends, consumer preferences, and emerging opportunities. By keeping a finger on the pulse of the competitive landscape, you can adapt swiftly to changing market dynamics, capitalize on emerging trends, and mitigate risks posed by disruptive forces.

In essence, competitive analysis serves as a compass, guiding business owners through the complexities of the modern marketplace. Armed with a comprehensive understanding of their competitive landscape, businesses can chart a course toward sustained growth, profitability, and market leadership. As we delve deeper into the nuances of competitive analysis, we’ll explore the tools, methodologies, and best practices that empower business owners to thrive in an increasingly competitive world.

How to Run an SEO Competitive Analysis

Running an SEO competitive analysis requires a strategic approach to gather and analyze data effectively. Below are the key steps to conduct a thorough SEO competitor analysis:

  1. Identify Your Competitors

Before diving into analysis, you need to identify who your competitors are in the online sphere. These are the websites that consistently rank higher for the same keywords as your business. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz can help you identify your top competitors based on keyword overlap, domain authority, and other metrics.

  1. Analyze Competitor Keywords

Once you’ve identified your competitors, analyze the keywords they’re ranking for. This can provide valuable insights into which keywords are driving traffic to their websites. Tools like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner can help you uncover competitor keywords and assess their search volume, competition level, and potential value to your own SEO strategy.

  1. Evaluate Content Strategy

Study your competitors’ content strategy to understand what types of content they’re producing and how it aligns with their SEO goals. Look at the topics they cover, the format of their content (e.g., blog posts, videos, infographics), and the quality of their writing. This can help you identify gaps in their content strategy that you can capitalize on with your own content.

  1. Assess Backlink Profile

Backlinks are a crucial factor in SEO rankings, so analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles is essential. Use tools like Ahrefs and Majestic to identify the websites linking to your competitors and assess the quality and relevance of those backlinks. This can help you identify potential link-building opportunities for your own website.

  1. Review On-Page Optimization

Examine your competitors’ on-page optimization strategies to understand how they’re optimizing their content for search engines. Look at factors like title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and keyword usage. This can help you identify areas where you can improve your own on-page optimization to compete more effectively in search results.

  1. Monitor Social Media Presence

While social media may not directly impact SEO rankings, it can still play a role in driving traffic to your website and increasing brand visibility. Monitor your competitors’ social media presence to see which platforms they’re active on, how often they post, and how engaged their audience is. This can provide insights into their overall online presence and help you identify opportunities to improve your own social media strategy.

  1. Track Performance Metrics

Finally, track key performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of your SEO competitor analysis over time. Monitor changes in your search rankings, organic traffic, backlink profile, and other relevant metrics to see how your SEO efforts are paying off compared to your competitors.

By following these steps, you can conduct a comprehensive SEO competitive analysis that will help you identify opportunities to improve your own SEO strategy and outperform your competitors in search rankings.

SEO Competitor Analysis Report

After conducting your SEO competitor analysis, it’s essential to organize your findings into a structured report. This report will serve as a reference point for your SEO strategy and help you track your progress over time. Below is a list of sections of an SEO competitor analysis report:


  1. Executive Summary

Provide a succinct overview of the key findings from your SEO competitor analysis. Provide insights into the main competitors identified, their strengths and weaknesses. Include any actionable opportunities or threats identified. Also include actionable recommendations to set the tone for the remainder of the report.


  1. Competitor Overview

In the competitor overview section, list the top competitors identified in your analysis and provide a detailed analysis of each. Include metrics such as domain authority (See Glossary), organic traffic trends over time, top-performing keywords, and market share within your niche. Assess their brand positioning, unique selling propositions (USPs), and any notable features or services that set them apart. Additionally, consider factors such as geographic location and target audience demographics to gain a comprehensive understanding of your competitors.


  1. Keyword Analysis

Summarize the keyword research conducted as part of your SEO competitor analysis by categorizing keywords into different segments, such as high-volume, long-tail (See Glossary), and competitor-exclusive keywords. Highlight the top keywords targeted by your competitors, their search volume, competition level, and potential relevance to your own SEO strategy. Incorporate keyword difficulty scores and search intent analysis to prioritize keywords that offer the best opportunity for ranking and driving relevant traffic to your site.


  1. Content Strategy

Outline your competitors’ content strategy based on your analysis. Include details such as the types of content they produce, the topics they cover, and any content gaps* or opportunities for improvement. Evaluate the quality, depth, and relevance of their content compared to your own, considering factors such as readability, engagement metrics (Glossary), and multimedia integration. Identify content themes and formats that resonate with your target audience and leverage this insight to refine your content calendar and messaging strategy.

*A content gap represents a deficiency in available information when users search for specific content. These gaps may arise due to inadequate answers to search queries, outdated information, or unclear presentation of information. However, within these gaps lies opportunity: uncovering topics or keywords untouched by competitors presents a chance to shine. By creating content on these overlooked subjects before others, you can attract valuable traffic to your website.

Furthermore, filling content gaps aids in building your company’s authority. Being the sole credible source ranking in content gap areas positions you as an authoritative voice. Consequently, users are more likely to trust your business and information, recognizing you as the foremost authority on the subject matter

Addressing content gaps also enhances overall content performance by driving increased traffic and leads. This proactive approach not only boosts website performance in search engines but also enhances search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, leading to improved visibility and credibility online.


  1. Backlink Profile

Provide an overview of your competitors’ backlink profiles, including the number and quality of backlinks pointing to their websites. Identify any high-authority websites linking to your competitors and potential opportunities for building similar backlinks to your own website. Utilize backlink monitoring tools to track changes in your competitors’ link profiles and capitalize on new link acquisition strategies as they emerge.


  1. On-Page Optimization

Summarize your findings regarding your competitors’ on-page optimization strategies. Include details such as their use of title tags, meta descriptions, headings, keyword placement, and internal linking strategies.

Conduct a detailed SEO audit of your own website to identify areas for improvement and benchmark your performance against industry leaders. Utilize on-page SEO tools to optimize meta tags, image alt attributes, and page load speed, enhancing the overall user experience and search engine visibility of your site.


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  1. Social Media Presence

Analyze your competitors’ social media presence and engagement levels across various platforms evaluating factors such as follower engagement, post frequency, and any strategies they employ to engage with their audience. Use this information to refine your own social media strategy and increase brand visibility.

Identify key influencers and thought leaders within your niche and explore opportunities for collaboration or cross-promotion. Implement social listening tools to monitor brand mentions and sentiment analysis, enabling you to respond promptly to customer feedback and mitigate reputational risks.


  1. Recommendations

Based on your analysis, formulate actionable recommendations tailored to your specific business objectives and competitive landscape. This may include suggestions for keyword targeting, content creation, link building, on-page optimization, and social media engagement.

Prioritize recommendations based on their potential impact and feasibility of implementation, considering factors such as resource constraints and timeline constraints.


  1. Conclusion

Conclude the report with a summary of key insights gleaned from your SEO competitor analysis and reiterate the importance of continuous improvement and adaptation in today’s dynamic digital landscape.

Emphasize the value of data-driven decision-making and experimentation in refining your SEO strategy and staying ahead of the competition. Encourage stakeholders to remain vigilant and proactive in monitoring industry trends and emerging technologies to maintain a competitive edge in search rankings.


  1. Appendices

Include supplementary materials such as raw data files, visual aids, and additional resources referenced throughout the report. Provide detailed explanations of methodologies used in data collection and analysis to ensure transparency and reproducibility. Consider including case studies or success stories to illustrate the tangible benefits of implementing recommendations derived from the SEO competitor analysis.

By refining each section with more details and actionable insights, you can create a comprehensive SEO competitor analysis report that serves as a valuable resource for informing strategic decision-making and driving sustainable growth in organic search traffic.

Competitor Analysis Tools

Here’s a list of tools you can use to conduct competitor analysis across various aspects of SEO:

  1. Keyword Analysis:
  • SEMrush: Provides comprehensive keyword research, including competitor analysis, keyword difficulty, and search volume.
  • Ahrefs: Offers competitor keyword analysis, keyword explorer tool, and SERP analysis to identify top-ranking keywords.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer: Allows for keyword research and competitor analysis, including keyword difficulty scores and SERP analysis.
  1. Backlink Analysis:
  • Ahrefs: Known for its extensive backlink database and competitor backlink analysis tools.
  • Majestic: Offers backlink analysis, trust flow, and citation flow metrics for assessing link quality.
  • SEMrush: Provides backlink audit tools, competitor backlink analysis, and link intersect feature to identify link-building opportunities.
  1. Content Analysis:
  • BuzzSumo: Allows for content analysis, including social shares, backlinks, and competitor content research.
  • SEMrush: Offers content audit tools, topic research, and competitor content analysis for identifying content gaps.
  • SpyFu (My number one pick): Provides competitor content analysis and keyword research tools for uncovering top-performing content.
  1. On-Page Optimization:
  • SEMrush: Offers on-page SEO audit tools, including site health checks, content optimization, and competitor analysis.
  • Moz Pro: Provides on-page optimization tools, including site crawl, keyword tracking, and competitor analysis features.
  • Surfer SEO: Offers on-page optimization tools, including content editor, SERP analyzer, and competitor analysis for optimizing content. h
  1. Social Media Analysis:
  • Sprout Social: Provides social media management and analytics tools, including competitor analysis and social listening features.
  • Hootsuite: Offers social media management tools, including competitor analysis, audience insights, and content scheduling.
  • Brandwatch: Provides social listening tools, sentiment analysis, and competitor benchmarking for monitoring brand mentions and competitor activity.
  1. Overall Competitor Analysis:
  • SEMrush: Offers comprehensive competitor analysis tools, including domain overview, traffic analytics, and keyword gap analysis.
  • SimilarWeb: Provides website traffic analysis, audience insights, and competitor benchmarking for understanding market share and industry trends.
  • Google Analytics: Offers website traffic analytics, audience demographics, and benchmarking tools for comparing performance against competitors.

These tools can help you gain valuable insights into your competitors’ strategies and performance across different aspects of SEO, enabling you to make informed decisions and optimize your own SEO efforts accordingly.


Domain Authority: Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts a website’s ability to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). It is based on various factors such as the quality and quantity of inbound links pointing to the website and serves as a measure of a website’s credibility and authority in its niche. Websites with higher DA scores are more likely to rank higher in search results.

Benchmarking: Benchmarking is the process of comparing your company’s products, services, processes, or performance metrics against those of competitors or industry leaders to identify best practices, areas for improvement, and opportunities for innovation. It involves analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to establish performance standards and goals, ultimately driving continuous improvement and competitive advantage.

Backlink Profile: A backlink profile refers to the collection of inbound links pointing to a website from external sources. These links are crucial for search engine optimization (SEO) as they signal to search engines the credibility, relevance, and authority of the website. Analyzing a website’s backlink profile involves assessing the quantity, quality, and diversity of backlinks, as well as identifying any potentially harmful or spammy links. A strong and diverse backlink profile can improve a website’s search engine ranking and visibility, while a poor backlink profile may have a negative impact on SEO efforts.

On-Page Optimization: On-page optimization refers to the process of optimizing individual web pages to improve their search engine rankings and attract more organic traffic. It involves optimizing various elements directly on the webpage, such as meta tags, headings, content, images, and internal links, to make them more relevant, user-friendly, and accessible to search engines. On-page optimization aims to align the webpage’s content and structure with targeted keywords and user intent, thereby enhancing its visibility and relevance in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Long-tail keywords refer to search terms that are notably more precise and less fiercely contested compared to head terms, also known as short-tail keywords. These keywords often comprise longer phrases consisting of 3, 4, or 5 words, although shorter phrases with lower search volumes within a similar topic can also fall under this category.

Engagement Metrics: Engagement metrics are quantitative measures used to assess the level of interaction, involvement, and interest that users exhibit with a particular piece of content, website, or digital platform. These metrics include but are not limited to likes, shares, comments, clicks, views, time spent on page, bounce rate, and conversion rate. Engagement metrics provide insights into the effectiveness and appeal of content or digital marketing efforts, helping businesses understand audience behavior, preferences, and satisfaction levels. They are essential for evaluating the success of marketing campaigns, optimizing content strategy, and fostering meaningful connections with target audiences.






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