How to create an effective SEO Competitor Analysis – Part 1
January 11, 2013
How to Create an effective SEO Competitor Analysis – Part 1
The SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), is an integral part of the SEO process and it should not be overlooked. Before you start implementing your SEO strategy in practice and see quantifiable results, it is vital to start working on your SWOT analysis. An essential element of your SWOT analysis is your Onsite SEO Competitor Analysis. According to Sun Tzu, ‘’knowing your enemy is half the battle’’ and adjusting this quote in today’s corporate world, an effective and thorough Onsite SEO Competitor Analysis can offer in the long –run a major strategic advantage towards your competitors!
It is possible to conduct an onsite Search Engine Optimization because the websites of our competitors are available throughout the web. Additionally, there are tools that allow us to measure the efficiency of our competitors’ website in relation to our own. There are two cases to consider when conducting a Competitor Analysis and then adjust your strategy accordingly:
• For the first case, you can conduct a competitor analysis when you have a website by comparing it with your competitors’ websites.
• For the second case, alternatively, you can conduct a competitor analysis, when you don’t have a website. In the case in point you basically start off with your weaknesses. However, keep in mind that the weaknesses can be at the same time potential opportunities that can turn into strengths. In this blog post (separated in 2 parts), you are going to find out some simple and effective tips for the first case.
The list below states some of the essential things that we should pay attention to on our own websites. The ‘’juicy’’ part is related to the on-site SEO competitor analysis, cause knowing the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors will help us implement the best possible strategy for maximised and optimised results! Even if your competitors are established and traditional players within the market, yet with a poor SEO strategy, it is possible to outrank them once you define a clear strategy, starting with your onsite SEO competitor analysis.
On your competitors’ website on their source code, page by page, search and define the keywords that they chose to use. Note if there are any structural problems in terms of characters; (for example the limit of characters including spacing should not be more than 250 characters), so if they exceed the number of characters then it is obvious that their SEO strategy is poorly developed. Additionally you can use the SERP Analysis of Web SEO Analytics in order to analyse the competition on search engine results and become familiar with your competitor’s SEO strategy.
The structure of a URL is of vital importance so check out your competitor’s URL structure. If the URL is too long, with endless subdirectories then again their onsite SEO strategy is poorly developed. A best practice example is this: www.example.com/luxury-accommodation , instead of a long URL structure as: www.example.com/ Greece/Athensacropolishotels luxury-accommodation/. In other words, your URL should be short, descriptive and keyword-rich so as to enhance the chances for an effective onsite competitor analysis.
The Meta title should not be more than 65 characters. The most important keywords should be before the pipeline while your competitor’s brand name should be after the pipeline. If that’s not the case avoid following their lead cause ideally you should aim for something like this: SEO Keywords | Brand Name
Meta Description (which can be found again on the source code), should not exceed the limit of 160 characters, including the spacing. Your attention should be focussed on whether your competitors have eye-catching keywords which are going to enhance their ranking position on Google. If you see that they don’t have eye-catching keywords, then it’s most likely that you have the competitive advantage.
The Meta keyword description review was covered earlier in the Keyword health-checks section. Subsequently, it is important not to exceed the 250 characters limit that Google has set. Also make sure you check if your competitor uses the same keywords in all pages of his website. If the same keywords are used, then we have the so-called phenomenon of keyword cannibalisation.
The best practice for internal linking requires the use of related links so as to navigate the user through your site and direct him back to your homepage. If your competitors have not implemented this practice it is obvious that their SEO strategy is not very well structured. For this purpose, you can optimize the link structure for your pages by using the Link Structure of Web SEO Analytics.
You should also bear in mind that the number of internal links should not be more than 100 (according to Google). It is worth checking if your competitors exceed this number or in contrary if they have no links at all!
Stay tuned for the 2nd part of the Onsite SEO competitor analysis in which you will read about, the Page Load Time, Image Optimization, Heading Tags, XML Sitemap, Website Coding/Code Quality Checks, and Accessibility of the Website, Duplicate Content Checks, and Usability Checks…
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