Competitor Analysis for small Business SEO

Looking to gain that competitive edge against other local businesses? This guide explains all!

Identify your competitors

In the first stage of your competitor analysis, you need to understand who your main competitors are. You can do this by using online tools such as SEMrush. Here you will find your top organic competitors and view full reports to learn more about them.

Find their competitive keywords

Once you have found your competitors, you need to analyse the keywords they are currently succeeding in. Using SEM rush, enter your competitor’s URL into the search bar and click on “positions” under the “organic reach” section. This is where you will find the keywords they are currently ranking under.

Evaluate Keyword Difficulty

Now, you may think the next step would be to compete for these keywords, but this could be more work than initially thought. For example, if one of your competitors happens to be a big-name brand, they will likely beat you for almost any short-tail keyword. To truly compete against your competitors, you need to look at their total domain strength and analyse specific factors:

  • Domain authority
  • Domain country and age
  • Indexing in search engines
  • Backlink data
  • Alexa rank
  • Traffic volumes
  • Social signals

The goal here is to find your competitors Achilles heel. Once you do, you can then make the necessary changes to your own website to get that competitive edge. For example, you can focus on competitors with lower overall scores that rank well for niche keywords and see how you can beat them.

Analyze On-Page Optimization & On-Site Content

Let’s now dive deeper into their content and optimisation. You will want to identify how often they share content, as well as the specific keywords they target. Pay special attention to:

  • Metadata
  • Headline strategies
  • Inbound links
  • Outbound links
  • Topics covered
  • Topics missing

When looking through each individual piece of content they create, make note of the following:

  • Topical relevance
  • Content formats (video, infographic, text)
  • Video length or word count
  • The depth of detail covered

Dig into Competitor Backlink Profiles

An essential part of the competitive analysis is learning where your rivals get their backlinks from and using this information to build high-quality links for your own website. Again, you will need an SEO tool such as SEMrush for this step. You won’t be able to do it manually.

Examine Site Structure & UX

If your website is slower, less responsive or is harder to navigate than your competitors’ then this must be fixed. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Optimise your sitemap for better crawlability.
  • Prioritise page speed optimization especially for high-value landing pages.
  • Ensure every element of your site is built with searcher intent in mind.

To see what your competitors are doing, you’ll want to take a look at their landing pages:

  • Analyse their click depth.
  • See if they have any orphan pages.
  • Check out their PageRank distribution.

Try to Track Competitor Ad Spend

If you have done everything you can to optimise your website but still cannot beat your competitors in SERPs, this could be due to them simply outspending you. They will also likely use paid traffic campaigns to generate conversions and sales.

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