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Definitive Guide To SEO Competitor Analysis – How to do competitive research in SEO

by | Updated on: Aug 26, 2023 | SEO, Digital Marketing Guides, How-To Guides | 7 comments

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SEO competitor analysis involves identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to your own. It’s a crucial part of any SEO strategy.

Competitor analysis is a key part of any SEO strategy. By understanding what your competitors are doing, you can adjust your own SEO strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

There are a few different ways to approach competitor research. The first is to simply take a look at their website and see what keywords they are targeting. You can also use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and MozKeyword Explorer to see what keywords your competitors are bidding on.

Another approach is to look at their backlink profile. This can give you an idea of which websites are linking to them and how strong those links are. You can use a tool like Majestic SEO or Moz Open Site Explorer to do this research.

Once you have a good understanding of your competitor’s SEO strategy, you can start to adjust your own strategy to try and beat them. This may involve targeting different keywords, building more backlinks, or creating better content. Whatever approach you take, competitor analysis is an essential part of any SEO campaign.

Competitive analysis is a critical component of strategic planning for businesses. It involves identifying and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors to gain insights and make informed decisions. Here are some key points to understand about competitive analysis:

Definition of Competitive Analysis

  • Competitive analysis is the process of assessing your competitors’ strategies, products, services, and market position to gain a competitive advantage.
  • It helps you understand your industry landscape, identify market trends, and determine potential opportunities or threats.

Benefits of SEO Competitor Analysis

  1. Understand the Market: Learn what strategies are working in your industry.
  2. Identify Opportunities: Discover gaps in your competitors’ strategies that you can exploit.
  3. Benchmarking: Compare your performance against your competitors to identify areas for improvement.

Why To Conduct Competitive Analysis?

  • Gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify gaps in the market that can be exploited.
  • Understand customer preferences and expectations.
  • Stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies.
  • Benchmark your performance against industry standards.
  • Develop effective strategies to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Key Steps in Conducting Competitive Analysis

  • Identify Competitors: Determine who your direct and indirect competitors are. Direct competitors offer similar products or services, while indirect competitors operate in related industries or target the same customer segments.
  • Gather Information: Collect data on your competitors’ products, pricing, marketing strategies, target audience, market share, customer feedback, and online presence.
  • Analyze Strengths and Weaknesses: Assess your competitors’ strengths, such as unique selling propositions, brand reputation, market share, distribution channels, or technological advancements. Also, identify their weaknesses, such as poor customer service, outdated technology, or limited product offerings.
  • Evaluate Market Positioning: Determine how your competitors position themselves in the market. Are they focused on cost leadership, product differentiation, or niche markets? Understanding their positioning can help you identify gaps and potential opportunities.
  • SWOT Analysis: Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to summarize your findings. This analysis helps you understand your own strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your competitors.
  • Identify Competitive Advantages: Based on your analysis, identify areas where you can gain a competitive advantage. This might include improving product quality, enhancing customer service, offering competitive pricing, or leveraging unique marketing channels.
  • Monitor and Update: Competitive analysis is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor your competitors’ activities, market trends, and customer preferences to stay ahead.

Sources of Competitive Analysis Data

  • Company Websites: Explore your competitors’ websites to gather information about their products, services, pricing, promotions, and company news.
  • Social Media: Monitor your competitors’ social media platforms to understand their marketing strategies, customer engagement, and reputation.
  • Industry Reports: Research industry reports, market research studies, and analyst reports for insights into market trends, growth projections, and competitor analysis.
  • Customer Feedback: Collect customer feedback through surveys, reviews, or focus groups to understand their perceptions and experiences with your competitors.
  • Trade Shows and Conferences: Attend industry events to observe your competitors’ presence, product demonstrations, and marketing strategies.

Remember, competitive analysis is not about copying your competitors but using the information gathered to inform your strategic decision-making process. By understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can position your business more effectively in the market and capitalize on opportunities for growth.

Tools for SEO Competitor Analysis

  1. SEMRush: Offers competitive analysis, keyword research, and backlink analysis.
  2. Ahrefs: Known for its extensive backlink database, Ahrefs also offers keyword research and competitive analysis features.
  3. Moz Pro: Provides tools for keyword research, SEO audit and crawl, backlink analysis, and more.
  4. SpyFu: Specializes in competitor keyword research for both SEO and PPC.
  5. Ubersuggest: One of the best all-in-one SEO tools available in market.

Conducting an SEO SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) can help you make sense of your competitor analysis findings.

Strengths & Weaknesses: These are internal factors. Strengths could include high-quality content or a strong backlink profile. Weaknesses might be poor site structure or slow loading speed.

Opportunities & Threats: These are external factors. Opportunities could be underutilized keywords or emerging trends. Threats might include new competitors or changes in Google’s algorithm.

Remember, the goal of SEO competitor analysis is not to copy your competitors’ strategies, but to find ways to outperform them.

Competitor Analysis: Understanding Your Competition to Improve Your SEO Strategy

SEO competitor analysis is the process of evaluating and analyzing the search engine optimization strategies of your competitors to gain insights and identify opportunities for improving your own website’s SEO performance. By studying your competitors, you can understand what they are doing well, identify gaps or weaknesses in their strategy, and leverage that knowledge to enhance your own SEO efforts.

Here are some key steps involved in conducting an SEO competitor analysis:

  1. Identify Your Competitors: Start by identifying your direct competitors in the online space. These are the websites or businesses that are targeting the same keywords or audience as you. You can use keyword research tools, industry directories, or search engine results pages (SERPs) to find your competitors.
  2. Analyze Competitor Keywords: Identify the keywords and phrases that your competitors are ranking for. This can be done using various SEO tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner. Look for high-ranking keywords that are relevant to your business and compare them with your own keyword strategy.
  3. Evaluate On-Page Optimization: Analyze the on-page optimization techniques used by your competitors. Examine their title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content structure. Look for keyword usage, formatting, and other elements that contribute to their SEO success. Compare their approach with yours to identify areas for improvement.
  4. Assess Off-Page Factors: Investigate the backlink profiles of your competitors. Backlinks are important for SEO, as they indicate the authority and relevance of a website. Use backlink analysis tools to identify the sources and quality of your competitors’ backlinks. Look for opportunities to acquire similar high-quality backlinks for your own website.
  5. Content Analysis: Study the content strategy of your competitors. Analyze the type of content they are creating, the topics they cover, and their content distribution channels. Look for gaps or areas where you can provide more comprehensive or unique content. Identify opportunities to improve your content strategy and create more engaging and valuable content for your audience.
  6. Social Media Analysis: Examine your competitors’ presence on social media platforms. Analyze their engagement levels, follower count, types of content shared, and frequency of posting. Identify successful strategies they are using to engage their audience and consider incorporating similar tactics into your own social media strategy.
  7. Technical SEO Evaluation: Evaluate the technical aspects of your competitors’ websites. Ensure that their sites are mobile-friendly, have fast loading times, and have proper site architecture. Identify any technical SEO issues that may be affecting their rankings, such as broken links, duplicate content, or poor site structure. Address these issues on your own website to improve your SEO performance.
  8. Monitor SERP Performance: Track your competitors’ visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). Monitor any changes in their rankings and the impact it has on their organic traffic. This can help you identify new competitors, track industry trends, and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.

Examples of SEO competitor analysis tools include SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, Ubersuggest and SpyFu. These tools provide detailed insights into keyword rankings, backlink profiles, and overall website performance of your competitors.

Remember, the goal of SEO competitor analysis is not to copy your competitors’ strategies blindly, but to gain insights and identify opportunities for improvement. Use the information gathered from your analysis to refine your own SEO strategy, fill any gaps, and stay ahead of the competition in the search engine rankings.

Video tutorials on SEO competitor research

How to find your competitors online

How to do competitor research in SEO

What Areas to Cover in Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis service

Your competitors are not just there to make life difficult for you! You can derive important lessons about internet marketing from their strategies and also find out what works in your domain of business and what doesn’t  To draw up these lessons and to learn from the competition around you, you need to do a competitor analysis (analyze their methods and strategies). In this post, we have covered all those areas of internet marketing that you must be working on for your own website.

Website Content

Google and some other sources offer you information about a particular website, the number of visitors and various other statistics that are significant pointers to the success of a website’s content. Key in the website address of your competitor and check the statistics as part of your competitor analysis program. Find out which web pages have received more traffic and the keywords that they have used. In the same vein, check for web pages that have not hit the bull’s eye. You have to avoid making those same mistakes! Read the website’s content to find out their marketing messages, the catch phrases and the calls to action.

Social Engagement

This is another important matrix for your competitor analysis. There is a lot to learn from the social media strategies employed by your competitors. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook with some id that doesn’t give away your identity! Then closely observe what they are doing to engage their friends and followers. Your idea would be to understand how the users of social media are responding to the approach of your competitors. What are they doing right? Are they making crucial mistakes in the process? Ask yourself these questions while you observe their workings. Social media engagement is different for different domains. You need to learn the ground-rules for your domain.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is another area to focus while doing competitor analysis. If you are into email marketing as well, there is no better way to figure out the email marketing strategy of your competitor than by subscribing to their newsletter! Study their newsletter or any other form of correspondence at length. Pay careful attention to their time of delivery, their use of words and the email template as well. Study how they are steering clear of spam words and how they are getting the newsletter readers to click and visit their website! You can implement all these lessons when your draft the newsletter for your own website. 

If you want to have a competitor analysis report, you can visit our competitor analysis service

The Correct Way to Identify and Analyze Competitors in Digital Marketing


It is wrong to look at competition as something negative. In fact, if you can channelize your intentions and objectives correctly, your competitors can be your biggest motivators. By looking at the competition around you, you can quickly figure out where you stand in terms of brand presence, market value, strengths and weaknesses.

You conduct your business in a competitive arena, not in isolation. So, your competitors have a profound effect on the way you handle your business. If you shut your eyes to the competition and keep doing your own thing, irrespective of what the others around you are doing, you will soon find yourself isolated in a box.

Competitor analysis in digital marketing

Let us look at how you can identify your competitors correctly, which happens to be a crucial task. Otherwise, you will be pitting yourself against a weak or too strong an adversary.

For example, if you are a startup, your competitor isn’t the multi-national brand, even though they are the market leaders. You need to look at the competition that your company or brand faces from other companies and brands which are nearer to you in terms of market share, brand value and other factors, like financial backup. After all, a startup functioning on a shoe-string budget cannot be held up as a competitor with a brand that has very deep pockets.

Once you have identified competitors which stand more or less on an even keel with your company or brand in terms of brand presence and monetary value, it’s time to look at the technical aspects. In the field of digital marketing, there are two areas where you will be able to identify competitors correctly: on social media and on search engines. You can use various tools for competitor analysis such as ubersuggest, spyfu, semrush, seoptimer or Seven Boats Digital Marketing Tools

The number of followers and engagements that your competitors have on social media give away the identities of brands and companies that are in direct competition to you. Here too, you have to pick up competitors that are on a level field with you.

Being a digital marketing company with predominantly online presence, you cannot be a competitor with a brand that has a strong offline presence due to other factors. A strong brand offline usually translates into a commanding presence on social media networks.

Users who are familiar with the brand through other forms of advertising like TV or newspapers will surely seek out the brand on social media and engage with them. As a brand with little or zero access to these offline forms of advertising and media publicity, you don’t stand a chance and can’t beat yourself up over the fact that your social media presence is a lot weaker.

The same goes for search engines. Brands that have worked on SEO and PPC for years obviously hold a strong edge over your brand, especially if you have just entered the fray. These brands will not make space for you to get into the higher SERPs because they already have a successful SEO and PPC plan in place. Their optimization and online advertising is almost running on auto-pilot! These brands cannot be your competitors, either.

Identify and pick your competitors correctly so that you make appropriate strategies for your own brand. Or, you will be bitter and keep barking up the wrong tree.   

Simple Steps to Outdo Your Competitors on Google

Google is one big world that can often put a newbie in the world of web masters in trouble. The winding ways of optimization on Google is often not very predictable and indeed very inconsistent. The competitive platform is often quit ruthless to the rookies trying to find out some space on the web amongst the larger part occupied by all the big names who have already made their mark in the SEO world.

Competition Edge  

No big market can assure your business a win without a fight. Competition can be unexpectedly stiff when the fight is on with some big businesses. There is no pointing grudging or complaining about it. If you want to be seen in the web world for a long time, just get inside the ring and box your way to success. Measuring your competitors should be the first step of the battle. If you enjoy the competitiveness between the two of you, it is fine. Else, you should change your strategy.

Undisclosed Advantage 

Not all the advantages of your competitors will be very predictable. There can be some hidden reasons that will give them the edge over you. For example, suppose you find ‘X’ company to have links from ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ companies. That does not always assure you the same success when you follow the same path.

Competitive Analysis 

Can you ever start a fight without knowing every corner of the battleground? You should not even try to, because that will only alienate you from your goal. Competitive analysis is required for measuring the amount of ammunition your competitor has in his armor.  It is important for making the optimizing process heading towards a believable target. Such an analysis requires you to answer a number of questions like, Does the competitor know the market better? What different strategies have they taken? What are their pricing structures? etc.

If none of the extensive methodologies work out, the best thing will be to try out something new. It is always a wise decision to have your unique strategy to outdo your competitors. It is not always something huge that can help you inching closer to success. Just take the tiny step that can impress a large part of the market. You need to win the market to win over your competitors.

3 Quick Steps to Compare Competing Websites


There is truth in the saying that the true wind beneath your sails is usually what you generate yourself. Every website has a different journey and trajectory. You cannot possibly compare yours with others, but at the same time, you cannot dissociate yourself from the competition altogether. Unless you keep up with what the others in your domain of business are doing, you will be like the proverbial emu which buries its head in the sand!

There are valuable lessons to be learnt from the competing websites in your arena. For example, you can pick up something new that they are trying but a weapon which is missing from your quiver. Secondly, you are more aware of what you are doing wrong.

Usually, you are so caught up in your own game that you can barely spot glaring mistakes and missed opportunities on your own website. Your competitors wake you up to the task. Thirdly, you are conscious of other trends that you have to do something about if you don’t want the competitors to run away with the domain’s entire business.

Keeping these in mind, there are three areas where you should focus while checking up a competitor’s website: backlinks, content and technology. Let us take them up one at a time.


Before Penguin update of Google in the April of 2012, SEO executives would scour the internet for backlinks, picking up almost everything in their wake. They would glean the competitor’s backlinks to find out what value each of them is giving to the competing websites. Immediately, they would work to neutralize the positives of these links, adding several junk links in the process.

These links, which had zero value then, suddenly began attracting a negative value post the Penguin update. Websites could no longer hold on to these links. Today, you look at competing websites for link ideas and sources that you have not tapped yet. You can check up the origin of their links and think how valuable these sources may be for your own website.   


Just as you would spend hours and even days poring over Google Analytics and other keyword research tools to develop your own content, your competitors are doing so as well! There is no harm in dipping into their research a little to pick up keyword ideas! You can be sure that they are doing so from your website, if you are a serious player in the game. Pick up keyword ideas from their website and use them to populate your content pages.

The same goes for other content ideas, like the use of videos or infographics. In some genres of websites, videos may be more useful than the written word. You may have missed out on them because you felt that publishing written posts were more effective. You visit the competitor’s website and find their videos shooting through the roof in terms of web traffic. Cue for you to join the game!


This is the bulwark of the website, the very foundation on which the online business runs. The backend coding and programming make all the difference to a website. There is no doubt that you have a robust frame but what about your competitors? What are they doing about improving customer experience?

Factors like page speed and website architecture, including the navigability of the website, on your competitor’s website can add a new leaf to your own site. You can work towards making your site more useful for the visitors, a factor that Google greatly appreciates.

The digital marketing has moved several rungs up the ladder towards sophistication, especially in the methods and means used to bring web traffic. Still, the pillars of the old-world SEO, content and links, continue to hold much importance. What’s more, they are in strong correlation with other players in your business arena. You don’t function alone or decide the rules of the game. You play with your best hand and that includes picking up lessons from other players.

Use the competing websites as guide books. Don’t imitate them. Just pick up their thought process and figure out how you can use them to improve your own site and digital marketing blueprint.

Optimizing for Competitors’ Branded Keywords


SEO was never a blinkers-on approach. You have to keep your options open and on the table at all times. Plus, you have to be ready to change tracks and try something different each time your Plan A doesn’t work.

It is only natural for an SEO executive to think, at one point or another, about going after competitors’ keywords! It is commonplace to think that your competitors are walking away with the business and the traffic because of their stranglehold on keywords, many of which they have branded for themselves. By branded keywords, I mean those keywords and phrases which have the name of the brand or the sub-brand attached to the keyword.

It is not wrong to think that optimizing for your competitors’ keywords is unethical. You can do that by staying within the rules of the game. What you need to know is how you can optimize them properly so that you derive some benefit out of it. Otherwise, it is much ado about nothing!

Evaluate potency of the branded keywords

To start off this process, you need to evaluate the potency of these branded keywords that you want to target. Are they as efficient as you think? Previously you looked upon them with a tinge of envy, but not anymore! Now you need to cast a critical eye and find out their performance on search engines and their dominance of the market in your domain of business. If you find that the numbers are worth going after, move on to the next step.

The next logical step in this process is to conduct opinion surveys among potential buyers. The question to ask is obvious: why are they buying from the brand you are targeting as opposed to buying from a brand like yours? There are various ways of conducting these polls and we are not going into those details in this post.

Once the reasons are in and you compile them together, the flowchart moves to the next step: can you draw away some of those customers? In this step, you can ask your own brand about the same questions that you put up for customers of your competitors. That will give you an idea of where your brand stands in the perception of buyers. If the two results tally enough for you to say for sure that you can go after the branded keywords and draw away people to your side, you should start the core optimizing part of the operation.

Self Hosted Content

There are two ways in which you can strike out on the content required for optimization. One is the self-hosted kind and the other is the third-party hosted variety. Let us examine each one separately so you know what to do with each of them.

To develop content for self-hosted platforms, you need to identify the right keywords and phrases. Not all branded keywords of your competitors will qualify for your needs. Since you have the volume against keyword chart on your side, you know the keywords that are out of your reach. Don’t get too ambitious!

While you write content for self-hosted web pages, you need to focus deeply on the user experience. Remember that you are targeting customers of another brand. It will take more than the customary effort to wean them away.

Third Party Hosted variety

Moving on the third-party content dissemination, you should follow the usual route of using guest blog posts, especially from influencers and opinion makers in your line of work. You can ask them politely to give their two cents or even get an external reviewer, paid of course, to write some reviews about your products and services. Opting for sponsored content is also something that you can use.


Finally, when the content pages of both types are filled up, it is time to amplify and promote them across the board. Here, too, influencers play a large role in getting your content the kind of exposure it sorely needs. Of course, you need to get your own group of loyal customers on your side. Their bit in plugging your content is always an added impetus. Social networks are quite valuable in this regard.

Legal Precautions

A note of caution: Before you embark on this plank, get in a word with legal experts about copyright issues on branded keywords and the like. You don’t want legal hassles and I’m no legal eagle to guide you here!

Author:- Debajyoti Banerjee is the Founder, Director & CEO of Seven Boats - A leading digital marketing agency & digital marketing training institute in India since 2011. He is a TEDx Speaker, Google & LinkedIn Certified Digital Marketer & Trainer, Brand Strategist, Consultant & Entrepreneur. B. Tech in computer engineering & post graduate diploma in Marketing, Debajyoti has 18+ years of domain experience and successful track records in digital marketing services & digital marketing training with 500+ clients & 100K+ students in 165+ countries. He has been invited & felicitated by 25+ Top B Schools & universities including London Business School, AICTE ATAL FDP, UGC-HRDC, IIM Shillong, IIM ROHTAK, IIT KGP, IIT Guwahati, Calcutta University, Ranchi University, St. Xavier’s, Brainware, Techno India, JIS Group, Jaypee Group, Shikshayatan Foundation, IIEST Shibpur, Bhavan’s, ICFAI Business School, GITAM Deemed University, Swami Vivekananda Group of Institutions & many more. He has been awarded with more than 20 national awards and he has received notable media coverage. Learn more



  1. Rajendra Gope

    Nice blog. very informative. Thank you.

  2. Riya Kumari

    You are one of the best internet marketing experts.

  3. Debosmita Mandal

    This article is very informative. Thank you

  4. Varsha Agarwal

    This was very insightful. Thank you.

  5. Sahil Manmode

    Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article.

  6. Sikander Kumar

    useful content

  7. Yash Kumar Shaw

    You are one of the best internet marketing experts.


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