Here at Woya Digital, we’re passionate about helping businesses do better digitally and our SEO services form just one part of our commitment.
An SEO Overview
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation; the practice of optimising web content in order for it to rank as high as possible amongst relevant search terms and keywords when a search engine user looks up something relevant to a business.
Although there are a variety of search engines used worldwide, most guidance and information relating to SEO is primarily focused on Google, as they hold an over 92% market share. Generally speaking, actions taken to improve visibility on Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) will usually also improve visibility on other search engines too. The higher a business ranks for appropriate keywords and terms, the more exposure it gains to its target audience; which in turn will lead to competitive advantage, increased awareness and climbing sales.
Actions businesses can take to improve their SEO include technical intervention such as coding changes, the creation of relevant and educational content and the proper structure and navigation of web pages within a site.
Where a website appears in search engine listings without a paid-for placement, this is known as organic SERP ranking. Lots can be achieved organically but it is not uncommon for businesses to combine their SEO efforts with paid advertising such as PPC (Pay-Per-Click, where every clickthrough incurs a small cost), CPM (Cost Per Mille, where every 1000 impressions of a listing incurs a cost) or CPC (Cost Per Conversion, where a fee is paid upon completion of a desired action). Before any paid advertising activity is purchased, it is always advised that a full SEO website audit is carried out in order to first maximise the impact of whatever can be achieved organically; to avoid unnecessary spend.
When Should an SEO Competitor Analysis be Carried Out?
Before any SEO plan or strategy is drawn up, the initial state of affairs for the business website in question should be understood.
An SEO website audit allows for businesses to best assert:
- Priorities for areas of urgent improvement or update in order to boost SEO
- The best possible path for an easy user journey and experience based on existing user behaviours
- Whether the current performance of the site is sufficient for a positive user experience
- If accessibility standards on the site meet the current requirements held by search engines
- How best to approach an SEO plan that will be productive and efficient in advancing organic search reach and exposure.
At this stage of the SEO planning process, an SEO competitor analysis can also be impactful. The results of this analysis should feed into the overall SEO strategy formulation as the existing website audit does and so should be completed before any plans are drawn up.
What is an SEO Competitor Analysis?
A competitor analysis is a smaller piece of work than the SEO website audit that will be carried out for the customer audit but should not be underestimated in its power. This is an audit in which information on a competitor’s web presence is studied.
This will provide details on which SEO tactics the competitor is deploying and benefitting from, which keywords and terms are relevant to them, and general information on their website’s performance. All of this can be used to help tailor the business’ own SEO plans – picking up where the competitors are falling short in order to gain competitive advantage, and rank above them organically on SERPs.
Why is Competitor Analysis Important in SEO?
Undertaking an SEO competitor analysis is important as it provides not just information on how the business is performing digitally, but also the standards which it should meet in order to rank with others in their relevant field or industry.
Businesses can work as much as they like on their own SEO strategy and operations but doing so without an idea of the bigger picture will lessen the efficiency of their work and could even render it entirely unnecessary. In some circumstances, SEO competitor analysis may even uncover competitors that business’ didn’t understand were a threat to them. Competitors online often vary from those offline and the market within which they operate differs too.
The Benefits of Competitor Analysis
It is often the case that those working in digital marketing or specific SEO practices must justify their planned resource workload with a business case to others in the business; especially where perhaps not all senior management understand the ins and outs of the work.
It is understandable that not everyone comprehends the need for SEO competitor analysis – and indeed it is not proposed that it happens as a standalone project without a complete SEO website audit as it is externally focused, but there are many benefits to carrying one out. Such advantages include:
Clarity on Keywords and Terms – Keyword Gap Analysis
Where many businesses operate in a single sector or space, it is likely that they will all target similar (if not the same) keywords in order to appeal to their target audience. Understanding how others in the field target such phrases and where they achieve success will help other brands build a picture of how and where they should target them, as well as to achieve the maximum possible results from keyword targeting through organic means before any paid-for advertising is invested in.
Businesses seeking to create and publish relevant, useful, educational and shareable content to their websites and other digital presences understand the need for such content to be well curated in order for it to be optimised. An SEO competitor analysis allows for an understanding of what other brands in the space are doing and to identify areas for improvement, gaps for customers where content could be produced to meet needs, and to find what has rendered success that could be replicated.
Gain Competitive Link Data
Backlink profiles for competitors’ websites can be hugely helpful. Accessing data on what authoritative links direct to competitors’ websites as well as what they link to themselves allows for opportunities for strategic link building and relationship building to be identified.
Web Design and UX Analysis
Gaining insight into how competitors design and manage their branding and online presence as well as what they deliver in terms of digital user experience can help identify opportunities for improvement.
If a competitors’ website is slow to load or non-responsive to devices, it could be that the business is able to gain further advantage in offering a better UX but if the state of play is the other way around, they can look to incorporate improvements. In industries or sectors where the target audience may have specific accessibility needs, it may be that ideas can be taken from others in order to help offer up a better service.
Geographic Locality Targeting
For businesses that operate in a certain geographic location, local SEO targeting should be not underestimated. While general SEO competitor analysis is useful, a spotlight should also be shone on the optimisation of local listings through Google Business Profile.
Google Business Profile allows for geographic targeting through some basic information provision. If competitors haven’t filed their local listings, any business who have will almost definitely have an advantage SEO wise. It is also worth understanding how good competitors are at encouraging review content on Google Business Profile and how/if they respond to such testimonials – as these can be hugely impactful on organic ranking.
Real Customer Reviews
Authentic customer testimonials make for a fantastic marketing tool and there are several independent third-party websites that host such reviews and offer behind-the-scenes analysis tools for them.
Customer reviews provide a great insight into competitors’ customer service approach and business direction but also can be helpful in demonstrating how they are being talked about and linked to online – all of which contribute to SEO rankings indirectly. If a business isn’t giving consumers a space digitally for reviews, they should consider doing so; and if not on the brand’s own website, somewhere high-authority with helpful audit tools and dashboards.
Starting out with SEO Competitor Analysis and Other SEO Services
Woya Digital includes an SEO competitor analysis as part of our standard SEO service; maximising the value of our services to our clients, and ensuring you rank where you should, when you should, for who you should.
Want to learn more on how we can support your business growth? Get in touch!