A thorough SEO competitor research is the foundation for any successful digital marketing strategy. It allows you to understand who your main competitors are, who performs best and why. By carrying out a proper SEO analysis of your rivals, you’ll be able to gather an abundance of best practices, keyword ideas and strategic insights that you can then use to your own advantage by improving your digital marketing campaigns. So how does it work?

How to conduct SEO competitor research

The SEO competitor research process consists of four steps: 1) evaluating your own SEO situation, 2) identifying your main rivals, 3) analyzing your biggest competitors and 4) monitoring them. Let’s take a closer look at each step:

1 Analyze your current situation

Before you start your research process, take a look at your own search engine performance. How much organic traffic and paid traffic are you getting each month? What’s the trend? What keywords are you currently ranking for? Are they relevant and do people search for them a lot? How many of your keywords are ranked on the first SERP? Which keywords would you like to rank for? How many high-quality backlinks do you have? Answering all these questions will allow you to get an understanding of where you are at the moment. At the same time, identifying your most important current and target keywords will enable you to find competitors faster.

2 Identify your SEO competitors

The next step is to figure out who your main SEO competitors are. Remember, since you’re competing on search engines, your rivals won’t just be businesses, they can also be organizations, NGOs, blogs, education centers and more. Use the most important keywords that you identified in the previous step and check which websites show up on the first SERP consistently. Note down these domains and add your biggest business competitors to the list as well.

3 Analyze your biggest rivals

After you have built a list of potential SEO competitors, it’s time to do a more in-depth analysis in order to identify the best-performing ones. Look at different SEO metrics (organic and paid traffic volume, number of keywords, amount and quality of backlinks…) to figure out who performs best – these will be your main SEO rivals. Study their keywords and backlinks to spot best practices that can be used to boost your own digital marketing campaigns.

4 Monitor your competition

A good SEO research process never ends. Since the digital world changes quickly, it’s not enough to merely do a quick SEO analysis for your competitors once every other year. To truly stay ahead of the curve and be able to react in time, it’s important to constantly track your competitors and look for new ones to keep an eye on. This will allow you to identify any threats to your business such as new competitors, features, products, campaigns and new strategies in time.

Conclusion

Mastering growth hacking and digital marketing are impossible without doing a proper SEO competitor research first. The process itself consists of only four steps, but it should be repeated constantly to spot opportunities and risks in time, and to avoid working with outdated data. Finally, the research itself is worthless if it’s not leveraged to take specific actions. Therefore, always make sure you’re using the valuable information you gather to optimize your SEO campaigns via clear action plans and implementations.