Creating an Impressive Competitor Analysis

SEO is all about beating the competition. You want to boost your client’s keyword rankings, putting them ahead of the competition. Most of the time, this is easier said than done. However, if it’s done well and conditions are right, rankings should begin to improve within a couple months, and slowly climb the ranks after that. There are several important steps to take when beginning an SEO strategy. One of the very first steps is to create a comprehensive competitor analysis. Follow these steps to make an outstanding, detailed analysis.

  1. Find the competitors. The easiest way to do this is to ask the client. He or she will know who in the area offers the same sorts of products or services, and who the strongest competitors are. If that’s not an option, Google the client’s top 5 keywords or so, and look at who is ranking above the client. Keep your list fairly short. While the client might have many competitors, pick 5 or so that offer the nearest to the same sorts of things.
  2. Create some documents. To organize your analysis, open a word processing document and make headings for each competitor with a link to their website. You’ll want to take notes for each one, about what they rank for. A spreadsheet can also be helpful, to make a full list of competitor keyword rankings for more reference.
  3. Run reports on each competitor. Begin by checking out each website, so that you know what sorts of sites you’re up against. Then, use whatever keyword ranking tool you like the most to run reports. If you can export the results, put them into your spreadsheet. Then, look through and take some general notes about each one. Does one competitor have the market cornered on a certain specialty, while one focuses more on another? For instance, perhaps your client is a jewelry store. Maybe one competitor focuses on antique jewelry, while one focuses on wedding and engagement jewelry. Don’t forget to run reports for your client, too!
  4. Study the results. With information from your client combined with ranking results, you should be able to come up with a top keyword list for your client, and an idea of how competitive each one is.

Not only will your client be impressed with the amount of research you put into the analysis, but you now have a great reference for when you start working on your client’s strategy. Use your list to determine which keywords to go after, and which competitor to try to beat for each one. After studying how the competitors handle their SEO strategies, you should be able to create an awesome one for your client.

J.D. writes for ArcStone, a top Minneapolis web design, web development, and SEO company in Minneapolis.