How to undertake an SEO competitor analysis
Many businesses want to rank on the first page of Google, however in order to get your business ranks within your organic results, your business will first have to beat the companies that currently rank their.
So for example, let’s say that your business specialises in selling washing machines online, for your business to be ranked on the first page for “washing machines”your company must beat all the other businesses that are currently ranked on the first page of Google.
And how does Google’s algorithm work out whether your business should be ranked on the first page?
Well, the algorithms will calculate if your business has stronger ranking factors than your direct competitors.
This is where a lot of business owners falsely believe that there are only a few ranking factors which the algorithm takes into account.
In matter-of-fact, there are 4 to be in excess of 200 different ranking factors which the algorithm takes into account.
This means that in order for your business to beat the competition that is currently on the first page of Google, your business has to have stronger ranking factors.
Now when you imagine that some of your competitors might have been investing in high-quality white hat SEO for a very long time, your business might have a lot of catching up to do.
Therefore your agency should have a marketing strategy, yet a marketing strategy can often not be formed until the agency has carried out an SEO competitor analysis.
In essence this is to weigh up how strong your competitors SEO is, for example if your competitors have very strong organic SEO, then it is likely that it will take a long time for your business to overtake these competitors.
Why do we say this? Because as earlier mentioned there are over 200 ranking factors which Google’s algorithm takes into account. So for example, Google’s algorithm will take into account the following:
· Content marketing
· Onsite SEO
· Offsite SEO
· Local SEO- Such as whether your business has a Google My Business account?
· NAP signals
· Business citations
Then Google’s algorithm will calculate which businesses have the strongest SEO, and rank these on the first page. So for example, you might be looking for “SEO Agency Cardiff”- now the businesses that have the strongest onsite and offsite seo, will rank on the first pages organic business results (just do check that they have achieved this doing white hat SEO).
Now, if you can imagine that your competitors, have been improving their organic SEO for say the last eight years solid, then there ranking factors are likely to be quite strong.
For example, you might be against competitors here in Cardiff that have thousands of good-quality, do follow backlinks.
You might be up against competitors that have very strong content marketing which is written by a very respected marketing agency.
You might also be up against competitors that have very strong on-site SEO which has been implemented by a white hat agency.
So the point we are trying to make here is that some business owners think that organic SEO can be improved overnight, when in matter-of-fact often it takes many months, if not years to get a business onto the first page of Google.
So if you are looking for a form of advertising that generates quick results, then we would not recommend investing in organic SEO as it is a long-term process, that requires a long-term investment.
Before any SEO work is undertaken, we would recommend that a competitor analysis is carried out
this doesn’t matter if you run a wedding cake business, or you run a large insurance business, the principles are still the same, you need to calculate how strong your competitors are then form a marketing strategy.
For example the marketing strategy should be that, and here are some of the points that the marketing strategy should cover
· How strong are your competitors backlinks?
· Your competitors on-site SEO
· how strong is your competitors content marketing?
· You should evaluate how good your competitor’s website design is
· Are your competitors using social media?
· How long have your competitors been investing in organic SEO for?
· How many hours approximately is needed by your SEO agency every month
Why undertake an SEO competitor analysis?
Some agencies here in Cardiff, might offer a very low fee for improving your businesses organic SEO.
However because the agency offers such a low fee, you should ask whether they have the time to carry out and competitor analysis which is needed.
Now why do we say that an SEO competitor analysis is so important?
Well here’s the reason, for you to rank on the first page of Google, you have to beat your direct competitors.
That’s the say there’s no point in paying an agency a few hundred pounds per month, and the only building one or two backlinks a month and adding a bit of content marketing, if your direct competitors have hundreds of good-quality backlinks and have been investing in high-quality white hat SCO for a very long time.
Why do we say this, because the investment is likely to be a drop in the ocean, and will not be enough to go up against your direct competitors.
This is why it is far better to pick an SEO company Cardiff which carefully evaluates your direct competitors SEO, and which then set’s more realistic marketing budget of how much is needed to be spent in order to go up against your direct competitors, for example £500 a month investment might not cut the mustard, in reality, your business may need to be spending 10k a month.
The fee might be 20 times the amount, yet realistically this is what might be needed to go up against your competitors, then this might be a more realistic figure that is needed to implement white hat high-quality SEO.
Also, it’s worth remembering that there are many different types of online marketing, for example your business, here in Cardiff, should allocate marketing spend for say:
· PPC (Pay Per Click)
· Social media advertising
· Organic SEO
· Local SEO.
The risk is, if you pay a cheap amount, or choose the wrong SEO agency, they may cut corners, if they cut corners then your business may incur an “algorithmic” or a “manual” penalty.
Why it’s so important that your agency carries out an in-depth competitor analysis
There are some digital marketing agency here in Cardiff that will start work on improving the businesses organic SEO without undertaking a competitor analysis.
We would strongly recommend that any marketing agency carries out an SEO competitor analysis, and then uses this information to create a marketing strategy.
What can occur is that if the business does not create a marketing plan after they had carried out a competitor analysis is that they will not know how much work is needed in order to overtake the competition.
For example, there’s no point in an SEO company taking a relatively small fee each month from a company in Wales, if the business needs hundreds of good-quality backlinks in order to rank on the first page of Google. That’s because to earn hundreds of white hat, high-quality backlinks will often need hundreds of hours of SEO work, so a small marketing budget, lets say less than 1k a month, well that’s unlikely to cut the mustard.
What’s needed instead is a Cardiff digital marketing agency, like Top Space that can offer top quality SEO, but set a more realistic price. As there’s no point in paying an SEO company unless they can deliver enough work to get your business onto the first page of Google.
The reason for that is because it will often take a great deal of time to build high-quality, white hat backlinks, so therefore a relatively small marketing budget is likely to be a drop in the ocean in terms of what is needed.
There will always be some agencies that simply say that it is possible in order to obtain a payment from the company, however it’s better to partner with an honest SEO company that will evaluate how strong your competitors are and therefore setting realistic marketing budget of how much is needed.
Is all of the work is white hat?
It’s really important that your business invests in white hat SEO, if your business here in Cardiff does not invest in white hat SEO and the business could incur a penalty
How long does it look like the business has been implementing SEO?
This is one of the fundamental questions that your agency should get an answer to that is, how long have your competitors are roughly been investing in organic SEO.
For example, if your main competitors here in Cardiff have been building strong backlinks, writing content marketing on improving the businesses on-site SEO for say the last nine years, then your business will have a lot of catching up to do.
Therefore because your business has a lot of catching up to do, the marketing agency should be realistic in terms of how long in terms of timescales it will take to get your business onto the first page of Google
Therefore there’s absolutely no point in an agency staying that it will only take a few months to get your business onto the first page of Google, when in matter-of-fact it’s likely to take many months or even sometimes possibly even years.
And why do we say this?
We say this because your company website, is compared directly to your competitors, for example competitors have much stronger SEO than they will rank on the first page of Google
they will therefore set the standard that other companies need to beat.
Therefore your agency should spend time carrying out a competitor analysis, where they should analyse the strength of these businesses
· Content marketing
· On-site SEO
· Meta titles
· Meta descriptions
· Alt text
· Anchor text
· Blog post
· Social media
· Evergreen content marketing
· Do follow backlinks
· No follow backlinks
· Business citations
· NAP information
· The design of the website
· Homepage design
· The businesses bounce rate
· Number of good-quality backlinks
· Whether the work is white hat
· How often the business is adding content marketing
· Internal links
· How many words are written per article
· How long the business appears to have invested in SCO
· If there are conflicting business citations
Therefore your marketing agency should undertake a competitor analysis, and work out how strong your main competitors SEO is.
This information is then often used in order to work out how much time the SEO company will need every single month in order to improve your businesses SEO.
Obviously if you are up against competitors here in Cardiff that have been investing organic SEO for a great deal of time and obviously you will need your agency to spend more time improving your company’s organic SEO.
can help you to create a marketing strategy
if you were to ask any agency what is one of the most important part of the SEO process, they are bound to say content marketing.
That’s because content marketing is needed in order to improve your businesses on-site SEO, so that the agency can add meta titles, meta descriptions, internal links, alt text, anchor text for example.
It also needs to be high quality, white hat so that other businesses will want to link to your website.
A website that has no content marketing is unlikely to be linked to, so your business is unlikely to obtain any do follow, or no follow backlinks.
As any agency in Cardiff will tell you it’s important to have good quality backlinks and to also add white hat content marketing to your website
can help better focus your marketing efforts
having a competitor analysis will allow you to focus your marketing efforts, that’s because you will know roughly how strong your competitors SEO is.
For example if you are up against competitors that have thousands of good-quality backlinks, you will know that a great deal of time will need to be spent earning backlinks in a white hat way.
Equally if you know you are up against competitors in Cardiff that have really good content marketing, and those businesses appear to have been paying an agency for a long time to write content marketing, you will know that your business will need to also invest in high-quality content marketing.
Not only that the agency should aim to write better quality content marketing than your competitors, so that your business stands a higher chance of ranking higher.
Therefore your competitors set the standard that your business must beat, for example if they have been investing heavily in organic SCO, then your business should do the same.
However we always recommend investing in high-quality white hat SEO.
That’s the say or backlinks should be built in a white hat way.
How to carry out an SEO competitor analysis
Next we will look at how our agency carries out an SEO competitor analysis
our SEO consultants will therefore look at the following when carrying out an SCO competitor analysis
We will consider the design of your competitors websites.
For example it may become apparent that your competitors have website which are better designed.
For example, let’s say that you run a construction business in the city of Cardiff.
You want your business to rank for conservatories, property extensions and loft conversions.
We spot that your direct competitors have pages dedicated for each service, plus also the evergreen content marketing has been well written.
We will therefore propose to our clients that the evergreen content marketing needs to be written to a high standard.
We may also advise that we should work with the company’s web designers in order to create new pages.
Of course, this does depend on the company’s website, so the same advice can’t be offered to all companies.
Instead our SEO consultants here in Cardiff will need to evaluate your website, and then propose design changes for each different website that our agency works on.
often however a web designer will be needed, to improve the design of the website, for example we may spot that the main menu is difficult to use on the mobile version of the website.
Therefore a PHP web developer might be needed, that’s to improve how the main menu works.
They might be thinking while how on earth does this improve the businesses SEO?
Well, the answer to that question is if we as the marketing agency managed to reduce the businesses bounce rate, then this can improve the businesses overall SEO.
Therefore sometimes by making design improvements to a company’s website, such as improving the main menu, we are sometimes able to reduce a business’s bounce rate for example.
Our SEO consultants will also need to evaluate how well your competitors have implemented SEO.
For example, if the businesses in Cardiff have used “white hat SEO methods, then these are the SEO methods that should always be used, that’s to say you should only invest in “white hat” seo.
However, if the business has not been using “white hat” methods, then we would never recommend to any of our customers that we, or they use that business as part of their SEO competitor analysis.
That’s because we would only ever recommend using “white hat” methods.
And why would we say this?
That’s because, unless “white hat” methods are used by your SEO company, the business could incur an algorithmic or a manual penalty, we therefore only recommend that white hat methods are used.
Making it easy for your customers
A good marketing agency should also look for ways where they can improve the design of the website in order to make it easier for your customers to find or purchase products.
For example during a competitor audit, the marketing agency may spot that your competitors allow for products to be sorted more easily.
For example, let’s say that you sell running trainers, and the competitors allow their customers to sort products by brand, whether they are in stock, size of shoe, and also by the customers budget.
Now in comparison if your website only allows customers to sort products by brand, you are therefore not allowing your customers to easily find the products that they want.
Therefore, a good digital marketing agency may recommend that you allow your customers to have more options in order to sort products, this may reduce the businesses “bounce rate”.
Evergreen content marketing
A good agency will evaluate your competitors evergreen content marketing.
Now you might be wondering what does “evergreen content marketing mean?
well simply put, it is the written text that is added to the main pages of your website.
Now as you can imagine because the written text is added to the main pages of your website, this is often the text that is read the most.
Now, if your competitors have written a lot of “evergreen content marketing”, and for example this might include having an FAQ page, it might mean having main pages which have anchor text which leads to further pages which helps the customer to understand more about the company for example, your marketing agency might want to use a similar marketing strategy
for example, let’s say that your business sells electrical goods online, and your business specialises in selling televisions, which freezers and also washing machines.
A lot of technical information will be used to describe say a washing machine, your competitors may for example allow the customer to click on let’s say “4K televisions”which is uses the anchor text, and then this may lead to a page which describes what the benefits are of owning a 4K television.
Therefore this helps the customer as they can understand more about what the product can offer, and by doing this the business has also created more evergreen content marketing.
By creating more “evergreen content marketing”, if this is done in a white hat way, and work is high-quality then this can help to improve the businesses organic SEO.
Therefore within the competitor analysis, the SEO agency should evaluate your competitors “evergreen content marketing”.
For example, this is an opportunity to make your businesses evergreen content marketing better?
have your competitors used internal links, for example have a used anchor text within the company’s blog posts to lead to the businesses evergreen content marketing, if so does your business wish to do the same?
how has your competitors improve their on-site SCO, for example which titles are using each page, what page h1 tags have a use on the businesses main pages.
What are the meta titles and meta descriptions for each main page.
Which anchor text that they used?
How long is the evergreen content marketing?
All of these questions should be asked by your SEO consultant or agency
If you were to ask any good SEO agency, what is one of the most important part of the “organic SEO” process, they are bound to say adding content marketing to the company’s website is important.
Therefore you should look at how often your competitors are adding high-quality content marketing to the company website.
Quality of the content marketing
Your agency should evaluate the quality of your competitors content marketing.
For example, let’s say that you run a solicitor’s practice, you will be competing with many solicitors within your city
those solicitors might be adding high-quality content marketing, this might be written guides which offer advice, the advice might be a couple of thousand words per article.
Some solicitors might be adding these a few times a month, therefore your agency should evaluate how often your business should be adding content marketing
your agency should evaluate the word count of your competitors blog posts, for example if your competitors are adding blog post which are a few thousand words, then your business should also be writing the work to the same length or a greater word count.
Of course word count does not equal quality, that’s the say just because of business rights 14,000 words, doesn’t mean that that is quality work.
However what should occur is that there should be a high word count but also the work should be high quality.
For example, let’s say that you run a business sells electric bikes, you may add a piece of content marketing which evaluates the “10 bestselling electric bikes here in the UK”.
Therefore your article should include references to where you obtained the statistics from, for example where did you obtain the 10 bestselling electric bike statistics from? You may wish to include this in the terms of anchor text and also a backlink.
Your SEO agency might be building white hat high quality backlinks.
However before your agency starts to build backlinks in a white hat way, you should start to evaluate the competition.
For example, your competitors here in Cardiff, you may wish to look at how many backlinks they have
For example, do they have hundreds, or thousands of good-quality backlinks?
The backlinks good-quality?
If your competitors here in Cardiff have thousands of good-quality backlinks (do-follow and also no-follow backlinks), that’s to say they have a mixture of do-follow and also no-follow backlinks, and they have thousands of these, then this will be an indication to your marketing agency that your business will need to do a lot of work.
in order to obtain high-quality backlinks, your business should add high-quality content marketing that other businesses or websites will want to link to
For example, let’s say that your company sells power tools, such as electric cordless drills, you may wish to write an article which includes a YouTube video which explains why your power tools are superior in some ways, and some of the features that your power tools can offer your customers, such as perhaps longer battery life?
therefore let’s say a website which talks about property renovation, or which gives DIY tips, may mention your power tools because they have features which they believe that their readers will be interested in, therefore you may obtain a high-quality do follow backlink.
Do follow backlinks
as most agencies would agree, you need a mixture of do follow and no follow backlinks
No follow backlinks
some marketing agencies just build do follow backlinks, however it’s also important to have no follow backlinks as well
Quality of the backlinks
It’s really important that you obtain high-quality backlinks, the backlinks must also be built in a white hat way
if you want your business to be ranked on the first page, and often it will need high quality backlinks.
Number of backlinks
Also the number of high quality backlinks that your business will need, will depend on your competitors, for example if your direct competitors have hundreds of good-quality backlinks in your business will need more good-quality backlinks.
Yet you should notice that we mentioned good-quality backlinks, because if the backlinks are not high quality and your business could incur a penalty.
Many businesses here in Cardiff have incurred a “link penalty”, that’s because they have low quality backlinks. If your business was to incur a link penalty, then this means that the business could drop-down the ranks.
Your digital marketing agency should look at which social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instrgram that your competitors are using.
for example are they concentrating on advertising on Facebook?
You therefore may wish to have a conversation with your client to see which social media platforms that they wish to use.
Our Cardiff SEO company often uses Facebook and Twitter in order to promote our clients businesses
A lot of companies use Facebook in order to promote their business
a lot of businesses use Twitter to promote their business
a lot of businesses in Cardiff use into the ground to promote their business.
Within this article we have mentioned how our agency may carry out an SEO competitor analysis
For example, they may evaluate your competitors backlinks stop
they may also evaluate your competitors content marketing.
They may also evaluate your competitors on-site SCO.
However, after the SEO competitor analysis has been carried out by your marketing agency, it’s important that all work must always be “white hat”.
If the work is not white hat then your business could incur a manual or an algorithmic penalty stop
the work must always be white hat, this is why so many businesses in Cardiff use top space SCO.
Here at Top Space SEO we can offer the following services
· WordPress web design
· Content marketing
· Link building
· Organic SCO
· Local SCO
· White hat SCO
We are a Cardiff SEO agency, if your business need high quality SEO then why not give our company a ring.
We offer affordable prices for white hat SEO.