Keep Your Enemies Close: How to conduct SEO competitor analysis and get ahead

When it comes to SEO, there’s no doubt that keeping an eye on your competitors is a no-brainer. As the old proverb goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Before implementing an SEO strategy for your business, we always suggest having a deep dive into what, why and how your direct competitors are conducting their activity. In this article, we explain how to get started with SEO competitor analysis and help you understand why doing so is beneficial.

What is competitive analysis for SEO? 

SEO competitor analysis is the process of analysing the links, keywords, content, and scope of your competitors in order to integrate their best practices into your SEO strategy. It enables you to look at what is working for other businesses in your industry and build upon this for your own success. 

Offline, you might employ competitor analysis to visit other stores or restaurants that you are in direct competition with. You would visit them to learn about their products and services and may decide to integrate them into your business offering. The same is true for SEO competitor analysis, and it’s an important strategy to use. 

Why is SEO competitor analysis important? 

Fundamentally, competitor analysis provides you with important information about other companies operating in the same industry or niche. You can then reflect on their SEO tactics and consider whether they will work for your business. You will also likely discover a range of SEO-related issues within your niche that you didn’t previously know about. 

What’s more, through effective competitor analysis, you can consider the links that your competitors use to improve their rankings, which is helpful when determining your own link-building strategy. It’s also a viable strategy for identifying relevant keywords in your niche, and you can then analyse the competitiveness of each keyword. Let’s take a closer look at some simple steps you can take to conduct effective SEO competitor research. 

How to conduct SEO competitor analysis: Five steps 

Step 1: Identify your competitors 

You’ve heard the saying, “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” – this couldn’t be more prudent when it comes to SEO. You must know who your competitors are and what makes them tick. Begin by making a comprehensive list of the businesses in your industry or niche that you’re competing against.

You can also use Google to your advantage. The search engine has all the information you need to learn more about your competitors, so search Google for keywords, products, or services relative to your offer. This will give you a good idea of the companies that you’re up against. 

Step 2: Conduct competitor keyword analysis 

Competitive keyword research helps you understand the difficulty of competing against others when trying to rank for certain keywords or phrases. As part of this process, it’s helpful to try and identify keywords that you and your competitors might have overlooked. 

Make sure you identify the keywords that categorise your competitors and identify high-quality pages for these keywords. These are the pages that you should then focus on, looking at ways that you can potentially outrank the content provided by your competitors.

Step 3: Implement Page Analysis 

Your next job is to look at the top pages on the sites of your competitors. Read through the content carefully and consider how the keywords and phrases interact with one another. This is often known as Keyword Gap Analysis, and it gives you the opportunity to find keywords that your competitors don’t fully maximise. 

When you have a list of keywords that are relevant to your business, you’re able to create pages in order to categorise them. It also makes sense to track your backlinks from your competitors by performing a competitive backlink analysis. Understanding the sites that they link to and how they affect their site’s health, status, and authority will help you as you develop your own link strategy. 

Step 4: Assess their backlink profiles 

When ranking a website, Google continues to prioritise backlinks. As such, you need to create a strong backlinks profile, which you can achieve by analysing that of your competitors. 

You can assess the backlinks that your competitors currently have and decide whether they can add value to your site. You can then model your backlink strategy on that of competing businesses.

Step 5: Execute your content plan 

Once you have all the relevant information from your competitors, you can execute a content plan to improve your SEO. Begin by creating and maintaining a list of internal ideas and keywords, and implement a usage plan that links out to external sites. 

Naturally, you will need to produce excellent content to implement an effective SEO strategy. You should also continue generating detailed SEO competitor reports and continue with keyword research. 


SEO competitor analysis is crucial; there’s no getting away from it. At Terrier, we can help you with competitor analysis and a whole spectrum of other SEO-related tasks. Contact us today to learn about how we can help your brand.

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