One of the most overlooked but most important parts of an SEO strategy is knowing your competition. First of all, it would be important to know how to audit your SEO competition. SEO, in most cases, is just a numbers game. How much content do you have on your website, how many other websites do you have linking back to your website, and how long has your domain been active? These are all ranking factors for search engines. For you to know what it will take to be first, it’s important to know where you stand next to your competitors.
Finding Competition to Audit
Before you can narrow down your competition, you need to ask yourself what you want to rank for and where. The best tool for this is, you guessed it, the Google search engine. For instance, if you were trying to rank for SEO in Denver, you can put, “Denver SEO” in the search bar.
- Ads – You will first see all of the ads. I wouldn’t look for competition in the ad spots. They paid a premium to show up there and will not give you any data you can use when you audit them for SEO.
- Local – The second set of results consist of the “Map pack.” These only show up if you performed a local search. These competitors are important when honing in your local competition. However, it is more related to your business profile than your actual website. Some of the competition that pops up might not even have a website for you to audit.
- Organic – These are the websites that you want to be looking at. It is important that you keep a few other items in mind..First of all, is this website a referral site or a directory? If they are, I wouldn’t worry about looking into them. Second of all is it a major national company that has a subpage that could potentially have more SEO equity then you could ever compete with.
Auditing Competitors Links
Regardless of where you stand on how important links are to SEO, they do hold weight. There are a few wonderful tools that can help you with auditing links. Moz has a great tool that can give you a great quick overview. All you need to do is copy your competitors URL and post it in the tool and have it show you 4 key pieces of information.
- Domain Authority – Although this is not your official authority score to Google, it does use a bunch of similar stats that Google uses to rank a site’s authority.
- Internal Links – This shows you how many links live on your competitor’s website from one page to another.
- External Links – This tells you how many links are pointing out to other websites which is important as it shows you that the website is “citing sources” for the information it is providing.
- Linking Root Domains – This tells you how many other websites are pointing back to this domain. Easily one of the most important parts of link building and how you really can compare your website to your competitors.
Auditing your Competitions Content
Content is still king. Making sure your website is just as if not more built out content-wise is important. One of the key strategies that Firestarter uses is to type in an organic keyword we are trying to outrank our competition for and see what websites are coming out ahead of us. From this, we take the page on our website that has that keyword assigned to it and do a comparison of a few metrics.
- Links – We take internal links and linking domains that are pointing to that page. This shows us how the competition is using link building to boost the page’s authority from other content on their site.
- Word Count – This would be how many words live on that certain page. In most cases, the more the better.
- Keyword Usage – How many times is the keyword you’re trying to rank for on that page. We also take synonyms of that keyword and the number of times they’re used.
It is important to remember that your overall goal shouldn’t have more of everything, but instead of being right in line with your competitors. Doing this will give you a good idea of where you should be.
What You Should do With Your Findings
Now that you know how to audit your SEO competition, it’s time to put your findings into action. Chances are after following these recommendations, you need more links and more content. Hiring an SEO expert would be a start, but if you do your own SEO, developing a strategy with your own deliverables would be our recommendation. Don’t ignore these key components of SEO and grow your business!