The term “SEO” is as old as Internet… well maybe not the Internet, but at least as search engines. It has been around for a while and it might sound a bit outdated, but nevertheless it’s a backbone of every inbound marketing campaign and one of the main traffic drivers of the biggest online brands. Speaking about the big players – if they’re using SEO, why shouldn’t you as well?
If you’d like to be the first one in your niche (and it’s never too late to do so), check out these handy tips below.
The first way of spying your competitors is really simple, you can scan search engine results page and check who’s on top. Unfortunately looking for your website along the other ones for hundreds of keywords might be a bit difficult (especially on a daily basis).
You can automate this process and track your visibility in search engines like Google in a more comfortable way. The metric we are talking about is commonly known as “rankings” (yep, you can track them in Positionly). If you’d like to learn more how the metric works, feel free to check out this article.
Basically you have two types of rankings – average and more detailed ones. When speaking about the in-depth ranking analysis, I mean the visibility of a website for particular keyword.
Nowadays SEO isn’t only about being visible for a single phrase. This kind of approach could be a recipe for a disaster. Modern strategy should focus on a different sets of keywords to maximize the probability of being discovered by potential clients. If you won’t appear for a broad set of different keywords, your competitors surely will.
If you’ve executed a proper keyword research, you will be able to track a topic-organized set of keywords. This gives you an overview how well your website is performing in general (and in what areas you’re getting left behind).
In order to track rankings you need to prepare a keyword list. It’s a really time consuming process. There’s no single way to do it. Nevertheless thoughtful keyword research is a must. If you’re struggling with getting new keyword ideas you could refer to your competitors as well.
In order to do that you can use Semrush as a tool of your choice or try the Google keyword tools. Simply type in your competitor’s url address and see what type of phrases he’s trying to rank for or what keyword he uses in his paid sem campaigns. You could apply this method to every other website that stands in your way.
When speaking about backlinks, it’s not a secret that they are a top ranking factor that determines one’s presence in the top of SERPs. There are bad ones and good ones though. Spammy backlinks are a subject for a different occasion (many low quality backlinks might bring a Google penalty on your website). On the other hand high quality backlinks became the target of highly specialized link builders worldwide.
If your competitor is more SEO-savvy, why look for new backlink opportunities when you have a valuable piece of data already on your plate? Check out your competitors’ backlink profiles and aim for high quality backlink opportunities. In order to do this you can try to use Ahrefs (there are other options on the market, but this one seem to be reliable and accurate).
Remember, anything your competitors do, you can do better. Prepare a list of the most recognizable sites in your niche, dig down through their best content and try to investigate from what sites they received a link (pay attention to the type of content too, because you could use it to improve your content marketing strategy as well).
Monitoring your competitors in terms of their presence and visibility in search engines is important, but SEO as a standalone strategy might be risky. In order to make it work for itself, it has to be a part of a bigger plan and… has to be executed over a longer period of time. Not doing SEO yet? Competitive analysis can be a good start.