On the other hand, if the content is sloppily put together, poorly researched, and badly written, this is a major weak point.
Meta titles and descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, but they can increase the click-through rate of articles.
It’s essential to check if your competitors’ sites are mobile-friendly and to make sure that your site provides the same (if not better) user experience on mobile devices.
Content is the most important aspect of any successful SEO campaign, as it needs to be relevant to the targeted search query in order for everything else to fall into place. You should analyze your competitors’ work to identify ways to make your own content more directly relevant to search terms.
You can use Semrush’s “Pages” report to get insights into how well your competitors’ pages are performing.
When I speak about website authority, this means how authoritative Google and other search engines view a domain to be.
Here, you’ll be able to see keywords that at least one of your competitors rank for, but others don’t.
Therefore, it’s vital that your site is optimized to perform at its best and provides a great user experience. Compare your site’s performance to your competitors’ sites and see how it stacks up against theirs.
Here’s an example
However, that’s not to say that all the backlinks your competitors have received will be from authoritative websites. Many of the referring domains could be link farms, spammy sites, or irrelevant sources.
So, the first thing you’d need to do is take note of your authority score to see where you stand.
Luckily, you don’t need to trace the source of your competitors’ backlinks unaided.
It’s important to know that:
Your SEO competitors may differ from your brick-and-mortar competitors.
If you offer a variety of products or services on your site or cover various topics through your blog, your online competitors may vary for each product or service you offer and the topic you write about.
SWOT analysis is the act of examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your competitors’ domains. It’s an old-school marketing analysis technique that has also become popular in the world of SEO, particularly in relation to competitor analysis.
When analyzing title tags and meta descriptions, ask yourself the following:
Are the meta descriptions/title tags keyword rich?
Where are the keywords placed in the title tag/meta description? (The closer to the front, the better)
How descriptive are they? (Does the meta description effectively convey the purpose of the article concisely?)
Do the meta titles and descriptions entice the reader to click through to the page?
Identifying these keyword gaps also ensures you stay competitive.
If you see sites with a high number of common keywords, then you can consider them your competitors.
Hit the “Export” button on the far right, and select the “Excel” option:
Then, on the “Overview” page, you’ll need to add in your competitors’ domains and then hit “Compare”
As you scroll through your competitor’s backlinks, look out for links coming from authoritative sources which can be the likes of news sites and .edu or .org sites.
This could increase your chances of outranking them.
Either way, you’ll have to fight fire with fire. Even if their content is good, you’ll still have to think outside of the box and try to create better content.
Meta titles and descriptions
You might find that you need to improve your site’s performance to be able to compete or you might already have the upper hand.
Click on “Organic Research”, and add the URL of one of your top competitors in the tool and select “Search:”
However, it may not be efficient to do this manually, so I’d recommend using a tool like Screaming Frog to help you.
From your findings, you can learn from their success and apply these insights when structuring your own URLs.
If you come across the same domains consistently appearing in the search results for multiple keywords then this is usually a good indicator that these sites are your main organic competitors.
However, the regularity with which you should perform an SEO competitor analysis depends on how much time you have, as well as several other factors:
The size of your niche
The number of competitors you have
The regularity of algorithm updates
In this section, I’ll focus on content analysis. This involves actually deep-diving into your competitors’ work to determine what makes their content good, and how to identify opportunities to capitalize on areas where they are falling short.
You, therefore, need to assess the quality of your competitors’ backlinks.
So, how do you find your competitors?
Step 1—Manually search for your competitors
In this instance, the SERP spots would probably be dominated by banks and major financial institutions—in other words, highly authoritative sites and seriously fierce competition!
In your spreadsheet, add the AS for each of your competitors.
Keyword gap analysis
Without conducting a competitor backlink analysis, you won’t be able to determine what kind of backlink profile you will need in order to compete.
Is the spelling and grammar on point?
This is where Semrush can do all the heavy lifting for you.
Step 2—Find your organic competitors using Semrush
The more reputable and authoritative the external website, the more ranking power you’ll gain from the backlink.
When analyzing the URLs of your competitor’s websites, consider how they’ve structured them.
As I already mentioned, the first thing you’ll see when you “compare” competitor sites in the Keyword Gap tool are the keywords you have in common with them.
You can use Semrush’s “Organic Research” tool to find out what featured snippets your competitors currently have.
The “Common Keywords” section is useful as it shows you the total number of keywords you share with each site.
All you have to do is paste your URL into the tool and hit “Analyze.”
You can analyze your competitors’ meta titles and descriptions by simply Googling your keyword and assessing them as they appear on the SERPs.
If your competitors’ content could be described as any of the above, you could easily capitalize on this by creating better, more helpful content that will be more valuable to the readers and provide a better user experience.
Set up a Google Sheet and take note of all the top-ranking domains that show up for your target keywords.
This can take a while but luckily you don’t have to copy and paste each keyword you want into a spreadsheet.
Featured snippets refer to the paragraph-long answers you see at the top of the SERPs when you type a question into Google. Besides text-based answers, featured snippets can also appear as tables, top 10 lists, or listed instructions.
and so on.
The results of your last SEO competitive analysis could be totally wiped clean. So you need to start analyzing again from scratch.
If you do, then you will need to compare your content to that of your competitors and look for ways to improve it. If you don’t have similar articles, you should add those topics to your to-do list.
If you see these types of sites linking to your competitor then you will need to up your game and try to acquire links from these sites too.
This could provide you with the clues you need to successfully alter your own campaign for post-update optimization.
With your findings, you can create new pages to target the keywords recently lost by your competitors. Or, you can make improvements to your existing pages that already feature these keywords and try to overtake your competitor.
If you already have a page that covers the topic, awesome!
They focus on measuring the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of web pages, all of which are important factors that provide a positive user experience.
This is the time when search engine rankings are at their most capricious. You may find that your competitors’ rankings have excelled or plummeted overnight. Similarly, you may find yourself suddenly further ahead or far behind your rivals.
This is a tactic known as broken link building and using it effectively can result in you successfully “stealing” the backlink from your competitor, which would be great for your SEO.
This will allow you to better understand how competitive the landscape currently is.
Screaming Frog will not only make it easy for you to analyze your competitor’s titles and meta descriptions, but it can also identify missing and duplicate title tags and meta descriptions.
Focus on the backlinks coming from reputable and authoritative sites with high AS scores.
I’d recommend performing all the analyses detailed in this article every month. This allows you to paint a fuller picture of what’s going on in your niche.
It’s a classic battle tactic: you need to know your enemy in order to defeat them.
Understand your niche better
And the meta description appears right below it:
Moving on, another useful tab in the Keyword Gap tool is the “Untapped” tab: