Essential Elements to Analyze on Competitors’ Websites for SEO Success

  • June 20, 2024
  • SEO
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This week’s Ask an SEO question comes from Sanjay in Coimbatore, who inquires:

“What are the things I need to analyze in our competitors’ site for SEO?”

Sanjay, thank you for your insightful question. When undertaking a competitor analysis for SEO, it’s essential to approach this with a strategic mindset. Merely mimicking your competitors’ SEO strategies without understanding their underlying success factors won’t yield you the desired results.

If you replicate their content, design elements, internal links, schema, and backlinks identically, you risk redundancy, which search engines are adept at detecting. This strategy would make it less likely for your site to stand out and thrive in search results.

Search engines value unique, high-quality content that addresses users’ needs effectively. Rather than following your competitors blindly, focus on what they may be lacking or elements they have included that are irrelevant to search intent. Consistently track and update your strategies based on both your competitors’ changes and your own findings.

Consider organizing your observations in a spreadsheet or using visualization tools to track trends, identify gaps, and justify your strategic decisions. Here’s how you can systematically analyze key aspects of competitor websites for SEO efficiency:

Key Elements to Analyze on Competitor Websites

Schema

Schema markup communicates to search engines what your page content encompasses. While incorporating schema can contribute to creating rich results, it is not a standalone solution for ranking higher.

Tools such as Schema App for WordPress or the seoclarity extension can facilitate schema deployment. Using an SEO tool of your preference (e.g., Semrush, Moz, Ahrefs, etc.), examine which competitors have featured snippets, analyze their schema libraries, and document their types of rich results by page types (e.g., blog posts, product pages, category pages, landing pages, FAQs). Track schema errors, warnings, missing fields, and rich result occurrences regularly to optimize schema usage on your pages correctly.

On-Page Content

When reviewing competitors’ content, avoid adding redundant information solely because it appears on their pages. Instead, consider:

  • Identifying gaps in their content that are relevant and valuable to users.
  • Eliminating irrelevant headers or paragraphs that detract from the main topic.
  • Ensuring essential information is easily scannable and not buried deep in the content.
  • Improving text formatting to enhance readability and user engagement.

Providing concise, direct, and well-formatted content that addresses user needs more effectively than your competitors can significantly improve your website’s SEO performance.

Backlinks

Quality backlinks remain essential, though not all backlinks are equally valuable. Instead of striving for an identical link profile, focus on acquiring relevant, high-quality links and original sources.

Tools like Majestic SEO can help identify valuable links your competitors have. Pay attention to industry citations, organic features on niche blogs, and any unique opportunities like podcasts and webinars where your competitors lack presence. Avoid paying for links as search engines can penalize such practices.

Build relationships with influencers and authoritative sites, focus on securing high-quality links, and consider new content ideas derived from competitor links to enhance your domain’s authority.

Robots.txt, Meta Robots, and Site Architecture

Analyze how competitors structure their websites, prioritize pages, and manage SEO content through:

  • Robots.txt – Reveals their crawl priorities.
  • Meta Robots – Indicates which pages they prioritize for SEO.
  • Sitemaps – Shows updates and priority set for pages.
  • Breadcrumbs – Provides insights into their keyword strategy and site structuring.

Reviewing these elements can help you discover new keywords, better understand competitive strategies, and refine your site architecture to improve user experience and SEO effectiveness.

In conclusion, while analyzing competitors’ SEO strategies, always aim to differentiate and innovate. Implementing unique, user-centric enhancements can significantly improve your chances of ranking higher and achieving sustained success. I hope this comprehensive guide provides valuable insights for your SEO endeavors, and thank you again for your excellent question.

More resources:


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