How To Create A Competition Analysis SEO Campaign For Your SaaS Business
When it comes to making it out on top as a SaaS business, content is always king.
Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are two of your most important strategies to attract customers and build relationships with them.
But you have to understand that you’re not the only one vying for attention out there.
As a SaaS business, you also need to understand who your competitors are and what they’re doing in order to stay ahead of the game.
That’s where competition analysis SEO comes in.
In this article, we’ll talk about competitor analysis for SEO then walk you through the necessary steps for an effective competition analysis SEO campaign.
So let’s get started.
What Is SEO Competitor Analysis?
SEO competitor analysis is the process of analyzing your competition’s SEO efforts with the aim of understanding what strategies they are using and how successful those strategies are.
This data can then be used to help you develop effective strategies for improving your own SEO campaigns and intentionally exceeding their SEO efforts.
But how do you exactly gather the data and take suitable action on it? Let’s talk about the steps you can take.
1) Identify Your Competitors
The first step is to identify your competition.
Of course, this has to be data-driven. You can’t simply name competitors on a hunch or list a company you don’t like and label them as a competitor.
You need to do some competitor research and use analysis tools to identify who your competition is.
Research On Your Most Relevant Keywords
Start by researching the keywords that are most relevant to your business and see which websites or domains are currently ranking for them.
The simplest way to do this is to look up that target keyword on Google and see which websites show up in the organic results.
You can also use competition analysis tools such as Moz, Ahrefs, and Semrush to identify which websites are ranking for those keywords and to get more insights into their SEO performance.
Tally The Websites That Consistently Appear
Once you’ve identified the websites that appear in the organic search results, tally the ones that consistently show up.
Don’t just make a list. Record their positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and how frequent they are ranking.
It’s best to put this data on a spreadsheet so you can refer to it easily and even make a score calculation based on their search engine (SE) ranking positions and how often they rank.
The domains that consistently have higher scores are most likely your competition.
Identify What Types Of Competitors They Are
Not all of your competitors will be the same.
Some may have been in the industry longer than you, while others might be a bigger or smaller business. Some competition may even appear for keywords related to your business but not necessarily be competition.
This is why it’s important to identify what type of competitors they are and how they compare to you in terms of size, authority, and resources.
Here are some types of competitors you may need to note:
- Established Players: These are companies that have been in the industry for a long time and have a big presence.
- Leaders: These are businesses that are growing rapidly and are quickly expanding their audience.
- Game Changers: These companies are relatively new and may still have a small audience. But they are the ones growing fast.
- Niche Players: These are small businesses or startups that focus on a specific segment of the market. They tend to target long-tail keywords or other types of keywords that are more specific to their niche.
Find Your Niche Competitors For Each Keyword Cluster
Niche competition is competition in a specific area or field of business.
This is important especially if you have a siloed or clustered website, meaning your website is organized according to topics and keywords.
For example, you may have a cluster for topics about sales, a separate cluster for topics about project management, and so on.
If you have this kind of hierarchical website structure, you may find different sets of competitors per cluster.
So you need to research and identify your competition per cluster or niche. Again, competition analysis tools like Moz can help you with this.
2) Competitor Keyword Analysis
Once you have identified your competition, the next step is to analyze their keyword strategy.
For an in-depth competitor keyword analysis, you need an advanced SEO tool like the ones we mentioned above. These tools usually have a site explorer or similar features that help you identify which keywords they are targeting.
It may also help you find any relevant keywords you’ve missed in your own keyword research.
Additionally, these tools will also allow you to see other important metrics such as their clickthrough rate (CTR) and average position per keyword.
At this point, it’s not enough to just know which keywords your competition is targeting. It’s also important to understand how successful they have been in each keyword or SERP position.
3) Keyword Gap Analysis
Once you know the keywords your competition is targeting and how successful they are in each specific keyword, it’s time to go deeper and perform a keyword gap analysis.
This involves comparing your competition’s keyword list to yours and identifying the keywords they are ranking for and you aren’t.
Doing this requires an SEO tool like the ones we’ve been mentioning in this article. Depending on which tool you’re using, you can see various data about your competitors’ SEO ranking performance, such as:
- Traffic volume
- Traffic share (in percentage)
- Organic traffic
- Traffic from paid sources
- Cost per click (CPC)
By comparing the keywords your competition is targeting and the ones you are, you can identify keyword opportunities for your own SEO campaigns.
This also helps you close the gap by optimizing for those keywords that your competition is already ranking for but you haven’t tapped into yet.
4) Competitor Backlink Analysis
Link building is an essential part of SEO, and competition analysis can help you identify backlink opportunities in this area.
By looking at your competitors’ backlinks, you will be able to see which referring domains are linking to them.
Since they are already linking to a competing website, that means they are linking to websites that produce content about your topics. And therefore, they are potential sources of backlinks to your websites.
But getting these referring domains to link to your website instead of your competitor’s is much easier said than done.
Here are some steps to help you make it happen:
Check Your Own Website’s Backlink Health
Before you can start competing with other websites’ link building efforts, you need to check your own website’s backlink health or Domain Authority.
Most competition analysis tools have this feature. Just enter your own website’s URL and the tool will show you its Domain Authority compared to other websites in the same niche as yours.
You can also use this data to see which of your competition’s websites have a higher authority than yours, so you can focus on those when it comes to outperforming them in link building.
Perform A Link Gap Analysis
Once you’ve checked your competition’s backlink profile, the next step is to perform a link gap analysis.
This will help you identify potential link opportunities by comparing the websites that are linking to your competition and not yours.
For this, you can use various competition analysis tools such as Moz and Ahrefs. With these tools, you’ll be able to see which referring domains are linking to your competition but are yet to link to your website.
Once you have identified those websites, you can start reaching out and building relationships with them in order to get them to link back to your site.
Bonus Tactic: Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a tactic wherein you search the web for broken links that are related to your topic. Once you find these, you can contact the referring domain and suggest they replace the broken link with one from your website.
This tactic is particularly useful in competition analysis since it allows you to target websites that have already linked to your competition’s content but no longer exist or are not working properly.
By replacing them with a link from your own website, you can get a backlink without having to put in too much effort.
Plus, it also helps the website owner by getting rid of a broken link and providing them with an alternative resource for their readers.
5) Analyze Your Competitors UX & Site Structure
SEO isn’t just about content and backlinks. Your website structure, user experience (UX), and other technical SEO factors can also have a huge impact on your SEO ranking.
In analyzing your competitors’ site structure and UX, you need to check the following aspects of their website:
- Loading time
- Ease of navigation
- Website design
- Internal linking
Once you have identified the areas where your competition is outperforming you, it’s time to make changes to your own website.
What’s more, you should also keep an eye out for keywords that have search results from websites that have poor UX and/or site structure. This may indicate that there is low competition for those keywords, which means you may be able to rank for them more easily.
6) Find Your Competitors’ Featured Snippets
One of the biggest game changers when it comes to SEO is featured snippets, now known as rich results.
A study by Engine Scout shows that featured snippets receive an average of 35.1% of all the clicks for that particular search query. That’s why it’s important for you to specifically look into featured snippets, as they can be a great source of traffic.
Most of the keyword research tools we’ve discussed have some sort of a site explorer feature that will show you any website’s SE ranking performance, including the featured snippets they have.
This will provide you with valuable insights on how your competition is ranking for featured snippets, and what keywords they are using to get those rankings.
But how can you compete for these featured snippets?
Here are a few tips:
Run Your Pages Through The Rich Results Test
You can use the Google Rich Results Test to check if your pages are eligible for featured snippets. This will help you identify any potential issues that might be preventing your pages from getting rich results.
Write Content With An Answer Box In Mind
When writing content, make sure it is written with an answer box in mind. That means giving short but concise answers to common questions people ask about your topic.
This way, Google can easily pick up your content and feature it as a rich result.
Use Structured Data Markup
Using structured data markup can help optimize your page’s chances of being included in featured snippets.
Structured data, such as schema markup, helps search engines understand what type of information is on the page and how it should be displayed.
With it, you can make sure your content is relevant, accurate and up-to-date so that Google can recognize it as worthy of a featured snippet.
7) Find Your Competitors’ Bids For Search Engine Ads
Remember that the race to the top of the SERPs is not just about organic SEO, it’s also about the competition for search engine ads. So, competition analysis should include assessing your competition’s bids for search engine ads as well.
By looking at which keywords your competitors are bidding on and what their bid prices are, you can get an idea of how much they’re willing to invest in paid advertising.
Even if you’re the one leading in terms of organic traffic, you competitors could still outspend you in paid advertising.
If this is the case, you’ll need to consider investing more in your own Google Ad or consider changing your ad to different keywords that aren’t as competitive.
8) Create A Content Plan
Competition analysis can also help you come up with a content plan to help you outrank your competition in the SERPs.
By analyzing what type of content is ranking for certain keywords and phrases, you’ll be able to identify potential topics that you can use as inspiration for your own content creation.
You should also look into what type of content format is performing well in terms of engagement, shares, and backlinks.
Your content plan should have the following data for each content piece:
- Target keyword
- Content type
- Distribution channel
Let’s talk about how each of these factors will come into play in your SEO strategy.
Obviously, your target keywords should be in your content plan. This is especially important if you’re outsourcing or delegating your content production (which you probably are doing).
You need to make sure that your content creators are on the same page when it comes to the keywords they are targeting and that they are creating content with those keywords in mind.
As mentioned above, competition analysis can also give you an indication of what type of content may work best when it comes to engagement and backlinks.
It’s not just blog posts or text content that can help you rank higher in the SERPs — videos, infographics, podcasts, and other types of content can also do just as well.
After all, infographics are great linkable assets that can garner a lot of attention and backlinks.
What’s more, there is now such a thing as video SEO. By optimizing your video’s descriptions, tags, and transcripts, you can also help it rank higher in the SERPs and even get a featured snippet for videos.
It’s not enough to create great content — you also have to make sure that it reaches your target audience.
By looking at how your competition is distributing their content, you’ll get an idea of what channels and platforms might yield the best results for your own SEO strategy.
For example, if they are getting a lot of traction from social media, then it might be worth investing more effort on optimizing your posts for those platforms as well.
You may even want to consider running ads on those channels or joining relevant groups or communities where you can share and promote your content.
9) Publish Significantly Better Content
After doing your homework on your competitors and planning your content, it’s time to execute that plan and create content that is better than what they already have.
This means going beyond just creating content that focuses on the same topics as your competition. You need to create content that offers value and goes deeper into those topics with more detail and actionable advice.
Here are some tips on how to do that:
Surpass Their Word Count
Most content creators today are aware that longer pieces of content tend to perform better in the SERPs. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and exceed the word count of your competition when you write your own articles.
If they have an article that is around 2,000 words, then try to make yours slightly longer – say 2,500 words or more.
One of the best ways to do this is to write ultimate guides.
These are comprehensive resources on a particular topic that go beyond the basics and provide readers with actionable advice that they can use to make meaningful changes in their lives.
Don’t get me wrong here, though. I’m not saying you should stuff your content with fluff and filler words just so it reaches a certain word count. That won’t do you any good in the long run.
Remember that quality is always more important than quantity when it comes to SEO.
So instead, focus on providing a truly valuable resource that covers all the important aspects of a particular topic in extensive detail. That is what will give you an edge over your competition.
Produce Skyscraper Content
Skyscraper content is another great way to create content that is better than what your competition has.
Basically, you take a piece of content that is already performing well and make it even better by adding more value and updating the information.
So start by searching for existing articles related to the topics you want to write about. Look at their length, format, and structure and then look for ways to improve upon them in each of those areas.
For example, if they have an article with outdated information then update it with fresh insights from industry experts or data from recent studies.
Or if they have an article with no visual elements (e.g., videos or images), add some of your own to make it more engaging for readers.
The goal here is to create something that is significantly better than anything else out there. Something so good that people can’t help but link to it and share it with their followers.
10) Monitor & Benchmark Your Progress
Once you have an effective competition analysis and SEO strategy in place, it’s important to keep track of your progress through Google Analytics, RankTracker, or other more advanced platforms.
That way, you can quickly identify any areas that need improvement or adjustment and make the necessary changes.
One of the best ways to do this is by setting up a monthly competition benchmark report for yourself. It will help you gain insight into how the competition is doing in comparison so that you can adjust your own strategies accordingly if needed.
But what SEO metrics should you track? Here are some of the essential ones:
- Keyword Rankings: Monitor the number of keywords for which you and your competition are ranking.
- Organic Traffic: Keep an eye on how much organic traffic both you and your competition are getting from Google.
- Paid Traffic: If you also used competitor analysis data to inform your paid search campaigns, then track their performance too.
- Backlinks: Check who has more backlinks pointing to their website so that you can identify opportunities to build more links.
- Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of visitors who leave your website without taking any action. The lower the bounce rate, the better.
By benchmarking these metrics, you’ll get a clearer picture of how you’re stacking against your competition — allowing you to make data-driven decisions and adjustments when needed.
This will help ensure that your competition analysis SEO strategy remains effective over time.
Final Thoughts About SEO Competitive Analysis
SEO competitor analysis is an essential part of any successful SEO strategy. It allows you to identify opportunities and threats, as well as adjust your own strategies to stay ahead of the competition.
But you don’t want to just go through the motions. To really get ahead, take the time to create great content that is better than anything your competition has. And in order to keep improving over time, make sure that you are continually monitoring and benchmarking your progress.
If you do all of this, then SEO competitive analysis can be an extremely powerful tool for helping you build a successful SEO strategy and stay one step ahead of your competition.
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