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Competitor Analysis: How To Crib Off The Competition

Guy Sheetrit October 27, 2016

Competitor Analysis: How to Crib Off Your Competitors

Competitor analysis has long been an integral part of SEO. In such a dynamic field that is prone to rapid change, it is an invaluable method of ensuring that your practices and processes have not fallen behind.

Once you start ranking all your sites well, it’s all too easy to rest on your laurels when it comes to optimization. It could prove really dangerous in the long run.

Cribbing off your competitors is fair game. The internet is an open book for those who know how to read it. A lot of valuable information can be learned by just googling stuff up. Seeing what others are doing, is arguably one of the only ways to ensure you are on the right track. Competitor analysis should be part of your regular routine lest you lose out or worse.

We’ll go over some examples today of how to do this. These will vary in style and manner – take a thorough look and see which methods apply to you best.

Let’s get started.

 

The backlinks

This is an obvious place to start and for good reason. You stand to benefit greatly from combing over your competitor’s backlinks to see what opportunities you can exploit yourself. The real problem is quantity. If your competition is truly competitive they’ll be just as active as you. It ultimately means thousands of links to go through. Hardly fun.

The good news is you can separate the wheat from the chaff and go straight for the quick wins instead.

It comes down to what is commonly known as branded anchor links. These are links that point directly to the main home page of your competitor. Branded anchor backlinks will tend to include links to items such as directories and resource pages. Guest posts are quite common as well.

This means these are easy to duplicate and these backlinks will be doing their magic in increasing the authority of your competition’s website.

There’s a simple step by step process for getting backling competitor analysis covered:

  1. Grab the URL of your competitor’s site and run an anchor report on it. Use a site explorer tool such as the one provided by Ahrefs.
  2. Determine which links are simple URL links or the branded versions we’re looking for.
  3. Check the referring domains for every branded anchor link you can find. This is where you can review them for opportunities and prioritize as you see fit.

It’s important to note here that if you have found a sizeable amount of referring domains you will benefit from moving this data over to a spreadsheet for ease of use.

Content

A little less technical but just as practical!

All writers know the all too familiar feeling of a dried up brain when it comes to new ideas. Your actual content, whether that be copy for a page or more substantial planning for a full campaign, can be a pain to keep fresh and new.

There’s no shame in taking inspiration from your competition. You can revitalize your tired blogs after a review of what the neighbors are up to.

However, there is a line. You obviously don’t want to simply spin or outright plagiarize content from your competitors. Not only is that unethical but you’ll be swiftly punished by Google and other search engines who will easily flag it up as duplicate content.

Putting a new spin on your campaigns or cribbing a certain theme or notion off another company is part of the survival of the fittest. It can even be just the edge you might need to get back on track when you´re out of ideas.

Smoke and Link Mirrors

Sadly we can’t advise smashing out manual link building as the be-all-and-end-all of modern SEO.

The good news is that you can still benefit from targeting the sources of your links to hit high authority sources. Tools like the open site explorer will help you discern what other sites are up to.

Once you have this understanding, you can stick to this practice and mimic the link profile of the bests in the business. If that isn’t your style, you can instead simply work on adjusting your own strategy so that you aren’t competing where you don’t need to. A fresh and relatively untouched area will be much easier to work SEO on.

Grow the followers

You have to ensure that your demographic is being regularly engaged and enticed with great content.

It’s likely the case that as time has passed with your business you’ve already created your own community of customers and vendors or partners. The problem is that your competitors have too!

The good and bad news, in this case, is that in the digital world there is little customer loyalty.

That’s a scary thing to say, but if you’re a brave and proactive worker you can make great use of it. Follower interests will overlap between you and the competition and you can make great use of this fact by whipping up some great fresh content and hitting them with a campaign that they just can’t ignore.

You could even put a twist on this and work with a competitor. Collaborating on a campaign with involvement from two brands can be an exceptionally powerful and novel method of growing and sharing as you SEO.

Analyse PPC

We can’t give an exact step by step tutorial for this one but it is useful enough to bear a mention.

As part of your strategy, you can do well by keeping an eye on their bidding practices. Is there a trend? Are they settling for keywords that might not be ideal but indicate a limit on their budget?

This can inform you greatly on their practices and aid you on a strategic level by helping you position your company and services more accurately.

It can also help you identify new opportunities to move into. We all know that an untapped market in SEO is much easier to optimize. What if you knew from PPC analysis that there was an opening somewhere that you have the resources to get into?

In conclusion

You’ll find yourself opening up a raft of new opportunities if you prioritize competitor analysis. You can go to different lengths in this practice in different ways, but the key thing that makes it such an attractive proposition is that the benefits and opportunities you’ll find will tend to overlap and aid departments and roles other than SEO alone.

It’s a great way to stay up to date and savvy while reaping the benefits.