Competitive analysis of the SEO case
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We have heard that the thing that matters most in SEO is the user experience and that’s why we should only target the UX split tests. All we need is increasing number of keywords on these pages.
Consider a sidewalk that doesn’t have any light for looking, but you have dropped a quarter on it. Will you go to the next block having a street light for retrieving it? We know the answer will be a simple no as the majority of marketers receive tunnel vision where their work needs to be targeted.
It is the main reason we are sharing a checklist with our readers through which they will be allowed to make a comparison of their site with their search competitors and figured out the strengths, potential chances and weaknesses of their site on the basis of ranking factors that we believe are vital.
If you aren’t convinced that perfect SEO is not only digital marketing, then read this complete article. As it is understood by any SEO, it is very important to know that the work required to rank a particular term prior to starting optimizing it.
It isn’t tougher for getting frustrated when the technique for ranking a particular term is asked by the stakeholders, and it only targets the content for creating or on-page optimizations they can do. Why? Due to awareness of the fact that there are many myriad factors playing their role in the search engine rankings. There are chances that there will be no optimizing that you can perform for ranking a particular term on the basis of competitive search landscape.
One of the hidden chances is the story that I shared with my clients, but the only method for exposing these undiscovered diamonds is to expand your SEO knowledge above the best practices and search engine results. In order to do so, the place to start is a competitive analysis.
You will get assisted by the competitive analysis in doing evaluation process of the strategies in your competition for determining their plus points and negative points as per your company. There are lots of ranking factors and ideal practices needed to be considered when it comes to SEO and digital marketing. It is extremely tough to know where to start the process. That’s why one of the friends Ben Estes developed a competitive analysis checklist that I created for the Moz community.
This checklist is divided into different sections that show core components from our Balanced Digital Scoreboard. As we have explained before, the main motive of this checklist is to assists you in identifying the potential chances and also areas that are worthy. Also, keep one thing in mind that this competitive analysis can’t be prescriptive in itself. As suggested by the name, it should be utilized for analyzing the edge of your competition.
Before you start, there is a need to identify six companies so that their websites can be compared with each other. In addition to a business competitor or two, these can work as your search competitors. Are you not aware of your search competition? If not, then take the help of Searchmetrics and SEMRush for identifying them. These are the perfect options find out your competitors.
Sample set of pages
You have to select five URLs for every website that will serve as your sample set. You have to review and evaluate these pages against the competitive analysis things. When choosing a sample set, we generally include the homepage of the brand, two product pages, one or two browse pages, and a page that acts as a place for informative/ news content.
You should ensure all the websites have relevant pages when compared to each other so that a fair comparison can be done.
The scoring range for each checklist item will be zero to four. They will be figured out according to the performance of every competitor. As per that, the average performance will be a score of both in that category.
For instance, if there is one unique H1 tag per page in every sample, then all the competitors will get a score of two for H1s that appeared technically optimized. However, the site will get a score of zero or maybe one if a website doesn’t fulfill any of the following needs:
- The sample set includes more than an H1 tag in one or more pages.
- There is a duplication of H1 tags across the sample set of pages in a brand.
Technical optimization platform
Title tags look optimized in a technical manner. There is a need to make this measurement quantitative and can be referred to the technical SEO instead of its writing quality. The sampled pages need to be evaluated on the following basis:
- There should be one title tag on a page
- The title tag should be placed in a correct way within the page’s head tags
- The title should include zero to few extraneous tags. For e.g., No span tags and inline CSS.
The indexation of content is allowed by the internal linking. In addition to the navigation and footer links of the sites, the internal outlines on your sample pages need to be observed. The domains that are consolidated by their crawl budget are checked by this line item by making a link to the indexable and discoverable content on their sites.
Check out an easy to use Chrome plugin for finding out information about the pages that are indexable.
In order to receive a score of two or more, you have to link the sample pages to ones that:
- Make 200 status codes
- Having less than 300 outlinks in a page that includes footer links & navigation.
Presence of Schema markup
This check can be performed easily with the help of the Structured Data Testing Tool by Google. It can be used for finding whether any schema markup is implemented on these pages and if so, is it done in a correct form.
Your sampled pages should have following things if you want to get a score of two here:
- Be free from all kinds of errors
- Schema markup should be present.
There is a very important role played by the quality of schema and can be a reason for the difference of brand who get a score of 2 or 3. Some of the core components that you need to keep in mind are customization of markups, such as article or blog posting on the editorial page, website or organization markup on all the sample pages, and presence of product markup on every product page.
The location of the newly published content is a home. A place for latest content can be the blog of the site or it can be the news section. For example, the Resources section is the home of the Notty for publishing latest published content. Although the line item looks like a binary score (it can be a score of 2 if you have a dedicated part for the latest content or it can be a score of 0 if you don’t have), there are lots of nuances due to which the score of every brand increases or decreases.
Check out whether the home for the newly published content is tougher to find or looks unclear? Go through this process like you are a new visitor to this website.
- Is your site display more than a single home for new content?
- If your site has a content hub, is it relevant to the newly published posts?
We don’t want to go into the technical Search Engine Optimization. It partially consists the performance of every brand that leads up to this line thing, which is mainly the title tags that displayed technically optimized due to the presence of Schema markup.
It wouldn’t be reasonable for running a complete technical audit on all the competitors, but remaining aware about the technical SEO performance of your own website if you know there are some technical problems that required to be addressed. Along with the previous checklist items, it will be wonderful to use these two Ayima’s Chrome Extensions, named Redirect Path and Page Insights. They will offer faster solutions for the common technical SEO problems.
The title tags displayed optimized in an editorial manner. It is the place where we can make the addition of better context according to the complete quality of the titles in the sample pages. The titles won’t be optimized for written quality or distinctiveness if they are optimized in a technical manner. Please note that the keyword targeting isn’t be evaluated here, but instead of that, a broader evaluation of the technical SEO factors would be approached by every competitor of the site.
You can evaluate the titles of every page on the basis of the following things:
- The titles of the site shouldn’t be duplicate to each other,
- The total characters of their titles should be less than 80,
- They look like an accurate reflection of the content that displayed on their pages,
- The domain name should be included in the page titles in a consistent manner.
H1s displayed editorially optimized. The rules for the H1 tags will be the same that applied to the titles for editorial quality. H1 of the all the sample pages should be reviewed for:
- There should be a unique H1 tag in each page and language used in H1 tags shouldn’t be repeated,
- H1 tags who are discrete from the title of their page,
- The page’s content represented by the H1s.
The organic content is supported by the internal linking. Here, you must check out for the internal outlinks outside of header and footer links on every website. This evaluation wouldn’t be performed on the basis of the amount of unique internal links on all the sampled page, but instead of that, it will on the quality of the pages according to which our brands are linked.
There is no doubt that organic content is a very broader thing and work different as per the business vertical, check out some of the
- Find out the links to the informative content, such as research, tutorials, guides or even some of the think pieces.
- Some of the good examples of the organic content are the blog posts on Moz.
- The journey of the user should be continued in a natural way by the internal links, check out the topical progression in the
Internal links of each site.
- Links to the email, subscription forms, service pages, RSVP or products can’t be counted as examples of organic content.
- Ensure the internal links should be varied. If the sample pages are linked to the similar type of resources in a repetitive manner, this will only give advantages to those some pages.
- It doesn’t mean that a brand should be penalized by you due to making links to the same kind of resources many times. While addressing the linking strategies of the sampled pages, utilize your best judgment.
Accurate informational content
The organic content that you find in your sample sets should be utilized for reviewing whether the appropriate informational content is produced by site or not
What is the exact meaning of this?
- The content created should be able to cater the business vertical, cause or area of expertise within the site. For instance, the inbound marketing blog and SEO of the Moz is an accurate fit for an SEO organization.
- The site’s content isn’t purely a promotional one that results in average user doesn’t believe in creating unbiased details. For instance, if a list of Best Digital Marketing Agencies is created by the Notty, then there are very low chances that it will found trustworthy by the users due to our inherent bias.
Quality of content
Yes, you are right. It is a highly subjective issue, but you should keep in mind that these brands are compared to you against each other. Check out the things that you require to evaluate here:
- Are the informative pages where complex topics are discussed must be under 400 words? Please note that it isn’t always bad to have thin content. The intent of page should be kept in mind while evaluating it.
- Are you looking to read the content?
- Furthermore, check out whether the pages include complete valuable details or pages are written in an accurate manner. Conversely, whether the sites include complete generic information or littered with listicles so that it can be founded in millions of different places in the online world?
Quality of images & videos
It is also a highly subjective thing. However, you have to make a comparison of your site with your competitors and remain honest. The judgment of the media items in every site should be made on the basis of following things:
- Resolution (is the images or videos displayed on the site is of high-quality)?
- Is these images or videos are unique (have images or videos taken from the stock resources?)
- Whether the images or videos are repeated on many sample pages.
Audience (sharing content and engagement)
Number of linking root domains
This factor is basically made on the basis of total quantity that links the root domains for every domain, but not total backlinks.
This number can be pulled from the Open Site Explorer of the Moz or even Ahrefs. There is no need to graph them as the measurement is only for the total quantity of LRDs as per the competitor. However, you will get a chance for showing the sheer number of links in the next checklist item by their domain authority.
Quality of linking root domains
Here, we will know about the quality of LRDs on all the websites. In order to bucket the LRDs of every brand by domain authority and counting the accurate number of LRDs by DA, you should utilize the similar type of LRD data that is exported from OSE of MOZ or Ahrefs. You will access the graph that shows their complete LRD quality by signing into the third sheet. It will assist in grading each of the domains.
The people are talking regarding our content. We are looking to utilize the BuzzSumo for this checklist item. You will be allowed to check which sites have written about a specific organization or topic by BuzzSumo. Furthermore, you will also be capable to refine your search results for including or excluding particular terms as required.
You are required to set a timeframe for gathering this details. In order to account for seasonality, you should set this to the last year.
Promoting content in an active way
Your search for finding the number of URLs in each domain shared on social networks can be altered by utilizing BuzzSumo again. Although it can’t be defined an explicit ranking factor, there is always a correlation between the strong social media marketing and perfect SEO. Make sure its timeframe is also one year.
Developing content explicitly for organic acquisition
It may look same as the appropriate informational content, but its main goal is to grill whether pages are created by the competitors for targeting keywords search by the users.
The same URLs should be plugged from the organic content that you found into SEMRush and check whether they are ranked for non-branded keywords. Don’t forget to grade your competitors on the basis of which the sampled pages are ranked for non-branded things.
This section needs to be treated as a UX exercise. You should visit sampled URLs of every competitor because they are your landing page coming from the search results. Are you unclear about which are the calls to action? What can be stated as the further logical step in your user journey? Is there feel in your mind about the accurate information in the right manner while clicking through?
Clearing on-site CTAs
You have to examine what are the calls to action in your sample pages. It is purely based on the UX, so you should utilize your best judgment for evaluating whether they can be understood easily. Have a look at some examples of CTAs for taking inspiration.
Conversions accurate as per different funnel steps
You will be asked by this checklist for determining whether the funnel steps are going in the path of conversions, such as accurate next step from the view of the user.
You can check out every site even if you are a complete beginner in the field of UX without any issue. You may feel confused or frustrated on the document areas located on the pages. User behavior can be defined as the ranking signal, which is a qualitative measurement, but it can assists you in understanding the UX for every site.
The user intent that gets inferred from the content should be matched by the CTAs. Here, you will find out whether the user content is matched by the CTAs from the CTA language & content or not? For example, there is a high chance that the visitor will get irritated or confused if a user is prompted by the CTA for clicking on more information option for taking them to a subscription page.
You will get great assistance from this analysis in a holistic way for identifying the locations that are available in your search results without guessing which practice should be texted after that. After starting this competitive analysis, there will be an emergence of trends among the competition and expose niches where you can get a chance for improvement and outpacing your competition in an accurate manner.
So, what are you waiting for? Boost your own SEO competitive analysis now. Don’t forget to tell us how this process goes through. If your process is stuck in your traffic or you are looking to have an argument with it. Good Luck guys, hope you will get assistance through this process.