How to Conduct a Competitor Analysis — The Complete Guide
Are you wondering why competitor analysis is important? Like sports teams study their opponents to find weaknesses, businesses can examine their competition to improve their SEO strategy.
By closely looking into your competitors, you learn what works and what doesn’t. Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
What is a competitor analysis?
Imagine a competitor analysis as if you were going snorkeling in your competitor’s SEO ocean. You get to explore how they’ve set up their SEO strategies and the keywords they’re aiming for. Pretty neat. It’s like having your secret map to find the treasure before your competition.
Simply put, it’s like stealing a glance at the playbook of the top dogs in your industry. You get to see what they’re doing with their SEO and use that intel to plan your strategies. It’s quite an adventure if you ask me.
The Benefits of a Competitor Analysis
Now, let’s look at why competitor analysis is your secret weapon.
1. Uncover new keyword opportunities.
Doing a competitor analysis opens up a treasure trove of keyword opportunities.
Think of all the keywords your competitors are ranking for that you might have overlooked. It’s like finding a hidden treasure map.
2. Gain a deeper understanding of the SEO landscape.
A thorough competitor analysis provides a clear view of the SEO landscape.
What are your competitors doing right? What strategies are they using? These insights will help you to fine-tune your technique, giving you an edge in the SEO game.
3. Inform your content strategy.
Have you ever hit a roadblock trying to develop new content ideas? Not anymore! By analyzing your competitors’ content, you can draw inspiration for your own.
Plus, you can identify gaps in their content that you can fill, setting you apart from the competition.
4. Discover link-building opportunities.
Here’s the cherry on top: competitor analysis can help you find potential link-building opportunities. You can see who’s linking to your competitors’ websites and identify potential sites to target for your link-building efforts. Neat, right?
We’ve discussed why competitor analysis is crucial, but how do we do one? That’s where the SEO competitor analysis template comes into play.
Competitor Analysis Template
1. Company Name
This portion should list the name of the competitor. The company name provides an explicit identifier for analyzing the rest of the information.
Location refers to the geography of the competitor’s headquarters and any significant branches or areas where they have a presence.
The site can provide insights into local markets, resources, and the business environment that the competitor is operating within.
3. Target Customer
This area should outline the key demographics and psychographics of the competitor’s customer base. It includes details such as age range, income levels, occupation, gender, interests, and other defining characteristics of their typical consumer.
In this section, you will detail the competitor’s revenue figures. The profit could be overall annual revenue, revenue by product/service, or any other significant measure. It gives you an idea of their business’s scale and financial health.
Include the year and circumstances of the company’s founding on the template. This information can give insights into the company’s history, experience, and potential durability.
This section should analyze the competitor’s strengths. Strengths include brand recognition, innovative products or services, strong leadership, effective marketing strategies, etc.
Here, you should detail any areas where the competitor may be lacking. Weaknesses could be poor customer service, high prices, weak online presence, etc. These weaknesses can provide opportunities for your business.
8. Brand Personality
Brand personality refers to the human characteristics or traits associated with a brand. It could be anything from being sophisticated, exciting, sincere, competent, or rugged.
Understanding a competitor’s brand personality can give insights into their brand strategy and position in the market.
The company’s mission statement outlines its purpose, values, and goals. Analyzing a competitor’s mission can provide an understanding of what drives their business and how they view their role within the industry.
In this section, list and describe the services the competitor offers. Include pricing, service features, and unique selling propositions in the services section.
The employees’ portion should include information about the number of employees the competitor has, the structure of their team, key leadership, and any notable talent or expertise they possess.
Describe the products that the competitor offers. This section should include details about product features, benefits, pricing, packaging, and anything else that could provide a competitive advantage.
Composing a comprehensive competitor analysis can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
To make things seamless and more organized, you might find this Competitor Analysis Template extremely helpful. It’s a practical tool that can assist in structuring your research, making it more manageable and ultimately more effective.
How to Conduct Competitor Analysis
Step 1: Identify your competitors.
The first step in conducting an SEO competitor analysis is identifying who your competitors are. Companies that directly compete with yours sell similar goods or provide similar services.
In contrast, indirect rivals may not provide identical goods or services but still compete for the same customers. Use Google and industry-specific directories to identify these competitors.
Step 2: Analyze competitors’ websites and SEO structure.
Once you have a list of competitors, visit their websites and analyze their structure, design, and content.
Please pay close attention to their keywords usage, site speed, mobile optimization, URL structure, and other SEO factors.
Step 3: Evaluate competitors’ keyword usage.
A crucial part of SEO competitor analysis involves understanding the keywords your competitors are targeting. Then, use SEO tools to discover the keywords driving traffic to their websites.
Step 4: Analyze competitors’ backlink profiles.
Backlinks are important ranking factors in SEO. Check the quantity and quality of your competitors’ backlinks using SEO tools.
Evaluate their linking domains, the quality of these domains, and the type of content that is getting most of the links.
Step 5: Review competitors’ social media presence.
Social signals can impact SEO, so evaluating your competitors’ social media presence is essential. Look at their platforms, the frequency of their posts, their engagement, and how they integrate SEO with their social media strategy.
Step 6: Conduct a content analysis.
Content is a significant aspect of SEO. Analyze your competitors’ content in terms of its quality, diversity (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.), frequency of updates, and relevance to the target audience.
Step 7: Perform a SWOT analysis.
Now, compile all your data into a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
SWOT should highlight where your competitors are outperforming you and where their vulnerabilities lie that you can potentially exploit.
Step 8: Develop your SEO strategy.
Develop your SEO strategy using the insights gained from your SEO competitor analysis.
This technique could involve targeting new keywords, improving your website’s technical SEO, building high-quality backlinks, creating diverse and high-quality content, and enhancing your social media strategy.
Remember, SEO competitor analysis is an ongoing process. Search algorithms change, and so do your competitors’ strategies. Therefore, regularly updating your analysis ensures you stay competitive in your industry.
And, of course, make sure to consider utilizing SEO competitor analysis tools like Website Grader. This invaluable tool provides comprehensive insights into a website’s performance, SEO, and overall online presence.
Competitor Analysis Report Best Practices
1. Embrace simplicity.
Let’s keep things simple, shall we? Refrain from cluttering your report with jargon. Instead, please keep it clean, clear, and to the point. Simplicity is all about making it a smooth read for anyone who picks it up.
2. Stay tidy and orderly.
Trust me on this one. The organization is your best friend when it comes to competitor analysis. Keep your data neat and unearth all the info you’ll dive into. Don’t shy away from charts, tables, and graphs. They’re great visual aids!
3. Make it mean something.
Don’t just list data. Interpret it. An excellent report goes beyond presenting facts—it tells you what to do with them. So, look at your data, find those gems of insight, and translate them into actionable steps for your team.
4. Keep it fresh.
You wouldn’t read yesterday’s news, right? The same goes for your competitor analysis. Businesses evolve, and so should your report. So make updating your report a regular habit. It’s like staying one step ahead in a business marathon.
5. Buddy up for a review.
Have you encountered the quote, “Two heads are better than one?” So get a fresh perspective to look over your report. They might catch something you missed or offer a new perspective. Plus, it’s always good to have a second opinion, right?
Remember, be passionate about your work! Let your love for your business shine through in your analysis. After all, you’re its number-one fan!
Competitor Analysis Example
Let’s conduct a hypothetical example using this template. For this example, let’s say you own a fictional local coffee shop called “Java Hut.” Here’s how the competitive analysis might look in a table format using the “Java Hut” example.
Local community, hipsters
Broad consumer market
Busy people on the go
$20 billion (approx.)
$500 million (approx.)
$1 billion (approx.)
Locally sourced coffee, cozy atmosphere
Quality of coffee
Fast service, low price
Limited marketing budget, one location
Higher prices, less community feel
Fewer locations than Starbucks/Dunkin
Lower quality coffee than competitors
Serve quality local coffee in a community space
Inspire and nurture the human spirit
Deliver a superior coffee experience
Make and serve great coffee fast
Coffee, pastries, community events
Wide range of beverages and food, mobile ordering
Quality coffee and tea, bakery items
Coffee, donuts, breakfast sandwiches
Coffee, tea, pastries, merchandise
Coffee, tea, food items
Coffee, donuts, sandwiches
Conducting a competitive analysis involves several steps, as highlighted in the creation of the table for the Java Hut example.
The first step is identifying your key competitors. These could be local businesses if you’re a local business, or they could be global corporations if you’re in a broader market.
For the Java Hut example, we identified Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, and Dunkin’ Donuts as competitors.
Establishing Categories for Comparison
Next, determine what aspects you want to compare. Our table uses categories like location, target customer, revenue, the company’s founding year, strengths and weaknesses, brand personality, mission, services offered, number of employees, and the main product.
Now, it’s time to gather the data. This section might involve online research, personal experiences, and contacting companies directly.
You could also use industry reports, customer reviews, and social media to gather important data concerning your competitors.
In our Java Hut example, we hypothetically collected data on each competitor’s revenue, number of employees, brand personality, and more.
After filling out the table, you must analyze the data. Look for trends, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
For example, in our table, Java Hut might notice that it can differentiate itself with its locally sourced coffee and community-oriented atmosphere.
It might also see that it needs to expand its marketing efforts to compete with these well-known brands.
Use this analysis to inform your business strategy. If a competitor excels in an area in which your business is weak, consider how you might improve. If your company has a unique strength, consider how you can use that as leverage.
Monitor and Update
The market constantly changes, so updating your competitive analysis is essential. Monitor your competitors to see if they’re changing strategies, launching new products, or showing any shifts in their business.
This process can help you understand your market better, identify opportunities and threats, and make informed decisions to help your business succeed.
Conducting A Competitor Analysis
So, there you go! You’ve just journeyed deep into the land of SEO competitor analysis. Pretty cool, right? It’s like you’ve been on an epic digital safari, examining the mysterious creatures of the SERP landscape.
We’ve uncovered the big “what is a competitor analysis in SEO” question, explored the benefits, and even mapped out a template for you. Remember, it’s not about outsmarting your competitors but learning from them.
Now you’ve got the scoop on how to do an SEO competitor analysis. You’ve got your magnifying glass to scrutinize their SEO strategies, the treasure map to their keywords, and even a spyglass for their backlinks. This isn’t just data; it’s pure gold.