Keyword research requires a lot more than just knowing about the brand and its products. Business owners and digital marketers need to put in the right efforts to understand their digital ecosystem. That includes recognizing the digital space they occupy and identifying who else is present in that space.
Therefore, owners and marketers need to learn the brands that appear above and below them on the search engine results pages. They need to consider the search intent for both competitors and semantic users. It will enable them to attract the attention of a qualified target audience as well as users who may have a general interest in the niche.
Since identifying competitor analysis is an essential part of keyword research, we decided to speak to an expert to learn more. George Papatheodorou is an experienced SEO consultant from the UK and has been working with clients in Essex and nearby areas for many years.
These are some of the insights and tips we learned from him that can help you find potential competitors for keyword research.
Identify Your Competitors
The first step to performing a compositional analysis for digital marketing is to know your competitors. Start by identifying the leading brands and top players in your industry. You may already know the names of some of your competitors, but it is advisable not to rely completely on your current assumptions and knowledge.
Proper research will ensure that you do not miss out on any competitors who may be operating under your radar. These are some of the aspects that you need to accomplish in this step.
- Find the leading players in your industry.
- Identify the websites and brands that use the top industry keywords and attract most of the organic web traffic.
- Recognize the companies or organizations that you need to compete within your industry.
- Marketing channels that you can use to put your brand in front of your target customers.
There are several free and paid tools that you can use to generate a list of websites that share an audience with you. You can identify your competitors from this list for further research.
Compare Market Position
Once you have finalized the list of competitors, you need to start analyzing them. To begin with, you can conduct a SWOT analysis of the competitor brands and their customers to compare the details with your business. One of the easiest ways to analyze this information is to put the data in a competitive matrix.
A competitive matrix is essentially a type of chart on which you can plot and analyze your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, best features, and other qualitative aspects. It will also help you to identify any shortcomings, opportunities, and threats. These are some of the factors that you can consider placing in the competitive matrix.
- Products and salient features
- Benefits of the products and services
- Pricing strategies
- Existing and potential customer sentiments
- Customer segments
You will be able to learn the features that are missing from your products and services. You can also identify what sets you apart from your competitors so you can differentiate what you offer to your target audience.
It will help you conduct the necessary research for content creation so you can appeal to your audiences. You can also identify any gaps in the market that your products and services can fill.
Compare Website Performances
Your next step should be to find out the reach of your competitors’ digital presence and understand where it stands in comparison to yours. For that, you need to collect data that demonstrate user engagement with your competitor websites, which includes:
- Unique visitors each month
- Total number of page views
- Organic traffic sources
- Bounce rates
- Average time spent on the website
- Number of page views per visitor
- Other website engagement metrics
You should be able to find out the brands that your target audience is most interested in, so you can replicate their tactics. It will also help you understand what you need to do to compete with them. You should identify the traffic sources that are working for your competitors so you can utilize them as well.
You should take a closer look at the keywords used by your competitors and compare them to your web presence. For that, you need to use a keyword analysis tool that can identify the keywords driving most of the organic traffic to their websites. You should also identify the paid keywords they are targeting, so you understand their strategies to promote.
In this step, you should be able to:
- Find the popular keywords used by your target customers
- Recognize the content topics your target audience must be looking for
- Find unique ways to differentiate your brand
- Look for niche marketing opportunities
- Discover keyword gaps that you can focus on for your content
- Recognize PPC marketing opportunities
You should also look at your competitors’ backlink portfolio so you can compare their online authority with yours. You should find out the number and quality of backlinks that point to your website or your competitors, especially the ones that you have in common.
If you notice that your competitors have any backlinks with high domain authority that you are missing, you should target getting a link from those websites. You should also identify the potential guest blogging opportunities that your competitors might be using to optimize their web presence.
We hope that we have been able to help you understand the importance of competitive analysis for SEO and keyword research. You should be able to follow the steps to uncover several crucial aspects of your competitors’ web presence that you can utilize. It will allow you to increase your brand visibility on the Internet and search engines and maximize incoming traffic.