Running a business requires a lot of research and study. You’ve got to learn about your market, understand your customers’ needs and continuously update your knowledge on your niche.
With all that work to do, it’s understandable that companies might consider cutting corners in some areas – search engine optimization (SEO) research included.
While you might think the only rankings you need to know about are your own website’s, that’s not true.
As well as reviewing your own website’s rankings, you also need to check out your competitors’ SEO and the strategies they’re using to boost their position.
Understanding your competitors’ SEO – including where they’re ranking, the keywords they’re targeting and more – can help you to improve your strategy and increase your chance of beating your competitors to the coveted top spots on search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you’re still unconvinced about the need to assess your competitors’ SEO, read on for an explanation of why it’s so essential.
It’s Easier Than You Think
Assessing your competitors’ SEO might seem like an arduous task, but it’s easier than you think. Your business already has to research competitors to fine-tune your products or services, right? SEO research is hardly any different. Plus, you can utilize the tools you use to assess your own site’s SEO to review theirs.
Many SEO tools offer SEO audits that give you an overview of your website’s position as well as your competitors’. You can use these solutions to understand some of the tactics they use and emulate them.
If you’re working with an outsourced marketing agency, they might offer you some assistance with competitor research as part of their service offering. They not only source the data for you but also interpret it to help you improve your strategy.
Alternatively, if you’re doing your SEO and digital marketing in-house, you can integrate it into your competitor research. While you might need new tools, you can often find free or reasonably priced solutions that will allow you to assess your competitors’ SEO without a huge outlay.
Your Site’s Rankings Depend on Your Competitors’ Strategies
There are many different factors that influence your website’s search rankings, including your budget, the time and resources you allocate to SEO and many more.
One crucial factor is the competitiveness of the keywords you’re targeting and what your competitors are doing with their SEO.
If they are working hard to achieve top rankings and using a variety of strategies, you need to be doing the same. However, if they are overlooking certain keywords or only focusing on SEO periodically, you have an opportunity to overtake them quickly.
The first step towards overtaking your competitors online is to know what they’re doing. You need to research their SEO strategies and keep an eye on what they do online to understand how you can overtake them.
Emulating Your Competitors Can Save You Time
SEO is time-consuming and costly, as it requires a lot of skill and resources to get right. While researching and emulating your competitors won’t completely eliminate the cost, it will reduce it significantly.
By checking what the top-ranking companies in your niche are doing, you can create your own SEO strategy quickly and easily. You will know what is an essential approach and what isn’t.
For example, if your competitors are focusing on certain keywords but overlooking others, you can concentrate on the others to boost your rankings on those pages without spending lots of time and money competing.
Additionally, you can use their strategy to understand which approaches and platforms are worth your while and which aren’t. SEO involves a lot of trial and error, but if you spend time researching your competitors’ past and present strategies, you can use the lessons they’ve learned to influence your business.
One example of this is social media. New platforms are launched regularly, but it can be hard to know which ones are worth your time and energy. If your competitors have created profiles on several new platforms and received limited engagement from their audience despite putting in a lot of effort, you can avoid these platforms and use this information to inspire your strategy.
It’s Surprising Who You’re Competing Against
You might think you know who your competitors are, but online they could be different. In addition to eCommerce companies and businesses in your niche, you might also be competing against blogs and news sites in your industry for that coveted spot at the top of certain results pages.
As such, you need to research who is at the top of your target results pages and what websites you’re competing against for your target keywords. With this information, you’ll have a complete view of your competitors and the online landscape of your industry.
If you just assume you’re only competing with businesses in your industry for keywords, you could inadvertently overlook key competitors.
You Can Learn a Lot From Auditing Your Competitor’s Site
SEO audits provide a lot of valuable information that could help you structure your marketing and online strategies and ensure they’re on par with those of your competitors.
For example, you could see what keywords they are targeting and which they are overlooking and how expensive these keywords are to get a rough overview of their budget.
If you keep reviewing their SEO over time, you can also gain an insight into their strategy and the markets they are targeting. You can then use this information to adjust your strategy and find profitable new ventures for your business.
While the information might seem relevant only to your online strategy, it could, in fact, influence many other parts of your business. That’s why you should consider conducting a thorough SEO audit of your main competitors.
They’re Definitely Looking At Yours
If you think your competitors aren’t checking out your SEO, think again. Any company ranking above you will be reviewing the SEO of its competition and assessing their strategies – it’s what they have to do to stay at the top.
Many larger companies will have an entire team of marketers whose sole job it is to review their competitors and outmaneuver them to keep their site at the top of the most valuable SERPs. You’ll be on the back foot if you don’t conduct your own analysis of your competitors’ SEO and online marketing efforts.
This article has already shown you the various ways in which you can learn valuable information if you audit your competitors’ websites, and this information could help you to beat them to the keyword rankings you need to grow your business. If you still think there’s no honor in spying on your competition, you’re very, very wrong. It’s completely legitimate, and a useful way to learn more about what your competitors are doing online.
SEO Is Vital in 2020
As obvious as it sounds, SEO is more important for your business now than it has ever been before. With the pandemic and shelter in place orders, many individuals are now at home for most, if not all, of the day. This also means they are spending their time online, searching for new items or services to entertain them. We’ve seen the shift specifically in the way online shopping has surged throughout 2020 as more consumers embrace the convenience it offers.
Now more than ever, your business needs to focus on improving its SEO and reaching the top of SERPs. Consumers want convenience and ease of access, and that means they don’t want to search through pages and pages of results for the products and solutions they want.
Anything that your business can do to improve its SEO is crucial to improving your overall success. Researching your competitors’ SEO and using their strategies to inform your own is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve your rankings. If you’re not doing it already, now is definitely the time to start.
It’s easy to think your SEO is the only thing that matters, but remember that you’re competing against other businesses with various strategies, skills and budgets.
By understanding what they’re doing, you’ll be able to get the jump on them and improve your chances of beating them to the most coveted rankings.
So, next time you’re considering your competitor research, you should include SEO audits in your plan. In today’s digitally-driven corporate market, SEO research is a crucial part of any business plan and should form the basis of your sales and marketing strategy.