How to Do an SEO Competitor Analysis

SEO competitor analysis is not just a strategy; it’s an art form. It’s the process of peeling back the layers of your competitor’s online strategy to reveal the blueprint of their success. It’s not for the faint-hearted or the lazy marketer. It requires a mix of cunning, patience, and a touch of digital espionage. And let me tell you, it’s worth every second. Why? Because when done right, it can unlock a treasure trove of insights that propel your website to the forefront of search engine results pages (SERPs).

What to Learn from SEO Competitor Analysis

By reading this article, you will learn:
– The meaning and importance of SEO competitor analysis.
– How to identify competitors, analyze their keywords, backlinks, content, on-page SEO, and technical SEO.
– Tools available for SEO competitor analysis.

What Is an SEO Competitor Analysis?

Imagine slipping into a room where your top competitors are laying out their SEO strategies. That’s what an SEO competitor analysis feels like. It’s a comprehensive examination of how your rivals are achieving their search engine rankings, the keywords they rank for, the quality of their backlinks, the strength of their content, and their on-page and technical SEO tactics.

Why Is SEO Competitor Analysis Important?

Let me put it this way: Ignoring SEO competitor analysis is like entering a gunfight with a slingshot. You’re simply outgunned. This analysis is crucial because it highlights gaps in your own strategy, reveals industry trends, and helps you understand what Google rewards within your niche. It’s a lighthouse in the stormy sea of SEO, guiding you toward the strategies that work.

How to Do an SEO Competitor Analysis

1. Identify Your SEO Competitors

This isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. Your business competitors aren’t necessarily your SEO competitors. I learned this the hard way when I ran an online store selling artisanal soaps. I thought my competitors were other boutique soap sellers, but my real SEO competition was coming from lifestyle bloggers and large retailers I hadn’t even considered.

To pinpoint your true SEO competitors, start with a simple Google search of your primary keywords and see who ranks on the first page. These are the contenders you want to analyze.

2. Analyze Your Competitors Keywords

a. Organic Keywords

Organic keywords are the linchpin of SEO success. They are the terms that pull in traffic without a cent spent on ads. I remember the epiphany I had when I first used a keyword research tool to analyze competitors’ keywords. It was like finding a map to hidden treasure. You can unearth the keywords your competitors rank for, which ones drive their traffic, and how difficult it would be to rank for the same terms.

b. Paid Keywords

Paid keywords can also provide invaluable insights. By understanding which keywords your competitors are bidding on, you get a glimpse into their paid strategy. It’s like seeing their poker hand before making your bet. With this information, you can decide whether to compete head-to-head on these terms or find alternative keywords with a better ROI.

3. Analyze Your Competitors Backlinks

Backlinks are the endorsements of the SEO world. The more reputable sites link back to your competitor’s content, the more authority they gain in the eyes of search engines. By scrutinizing their backlink profile, you can identify link-building opportunities for your own site. It’s akin to finding the hotspots for networking in your industry.

4. Analyze Your Competitors Content

Content is king, but context is God. Analyzing your competitors’ content isn’t just about what topics they cover; it’s about understanding the context in which they excel. Look at the type of content (blog posts, videos, infographics) that drives the most engagement and shares. Are they nailing a particular tone or style? Are they solving problems that you haven’t addressed? This information can shape your content strategy to better resonate with your target audience.

5. Analyze Your Competitors On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is like the interior design of a house. It’s all about making the inside as attractive and functional as possible for visitors. By analyzing your competitors’ on-page SEO, you can glean insights into their use of title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and internal linking strategies. This can reveal not only what search engines like about their pages but also how they improve user experience.

6. Analyze Your Competitors Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the foundation upon which your digital house is built. If it’s shaky, everything else risks collapse. Looking at competitors’ site speed, mobile-friendliness, and structured data usage can show you where they’re getting it right and where they may be vulnerable. It’s a peek behind the curtain at the machinery that keeps their site running smoothly.

Tools for SEO Competitor Analysis

There are tools designed to make this process easier, and trust me, they’re worth their weight in gold. From Ahrefs to SEMrush, Moz to SpyFu, these tools can automate much of the grunt work involved in SEO competitor analysis. They offer a plethora of data on keyword rankings, backlinks, content performance, and more, which can save you countless hours of manual research.


In the battle for digital supremacy, SEO competitor analysis is your secret weapon. It enables you to learn from both the victories and mistakes of your competitors. It’s a continuous process, though, not a one-time task. The digital landscape is always shifting, and so must your strategies.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to copy what your competitors are doing but to outmaneuver them. Use the insights to enhance what you’re already doing well, fortify where you’re weak, and seize opportunities they’ve overlooked. That’s how you win the SEO game.

Common Questions

What is an SEO competitor analysis?

An SEO competitor analysis is the process of evaluating a rival’s website to identify strengths and weaknesses in their SEO strategy.

How do I conduct an SEO competitor analysis?

You can conduct an SEO competitor analysis by using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to compare keyword rankings, backlinks, and traffic.

Who should perform an SEO competitor analysis?

SEO professionals, digital marketers, and business owners should perform SEO competitor analyses to gain insights into their competitors’ strategies.

What if my competitors have more backlinks?

If your competitors have more backlinks, focus on creating high-quality content and building relationships to attract backlinks naturally.

How can I use the findings from an SEO competitor analysis?

The findings from an SEO competitor analysis can be used to refine your own SEO strategy, identify opportunities, and improve your website’s performance.

What if I don’t have access to premium SEO tools?

If you don’t have access to premium SEO tools, you can use free tools like Google Search Console and Ubersuggest for basic competitor analysis.

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Xavier Berkness

Xavier Berkness is the President of PERC, a renowned Digital Marketing Company. With an impressive career spanning over two decades since 1996, Xavier has earned a reputation as a leader in the field of digital marketing. He has leveraged his deep understanding and expertise in building websites to author a highly-regarded book, 'Mastering On-Page Optimization - The Secret Sauce of an SEO System.' Xavier's impactful contributions to the industry have been recognized in a Star Tribune feature, where he was hailed as a 'Mover and Shaker.' Outside the professional realm, Xavier is a nature lover who cherishes time spent near the ocean. He continues to fuel his passion for digital marketing, relentlessly seeking new knowledge and strategies every day. His combination of professional prowess and personal charm make Xavier a trusted authority in the digital marketing industry.