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How to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your marketing efforts and grow your business, you may be surprised to hear that the solution can be found by looking at your competitors. Even if your website is ranking well for certain keywords today, this could change drastically within a few weeks or days. Over time, your competitors will learn how to optimize their content and outrank your site, especially if you stop looking for ways to improve. To keep up with your competitors and ensure that you continue to outrank them, it’s crucial to conduct regular competitive SEO audits. As experts in search engine optimization, the team at FirstPage Marketing knows how difficult it can be to outrank the competition in some industries. That’s why we’ve put together some information to help you understand how to conduct a competitive SEO audit and why it’s well worth your time.
What is a Competitive SEO Audit?
Also known as SEO competitor analysis, a competitive SEO audit is an analysis of the quality of the content written by a competitor and the effectiveness of the links and keywords they are using. In other words, it’s an SEO comparison between two competing websites in a similar industry or business. Running a competitive SEO audit allows you to review your current presence in the market, the presence of your competitors, and how the current search landscape works for important keywords. A competitive SEO audit often looks at the following elements:
- SEO keyword competition analysis
- Competitor backlink analysis
- Keyword gap analysis
- Top content analysis
Competitive SEO audits are effective and efficient because you don’t have to start your research from scratch. Instead, you can look at what your competitors are doing well, apply these methods to your SEO efforts, and figure out how to do them even better. For the sake of efficiency and accuracy, it is often best to use an SEO competitor analysis tool. These tools are highly useful as they can quickly generate in-depth SEO reports, providing you with actionable insights that you can use right away. Some examples of SEO competitor analysis tools include Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz, though there are many other options available.
4 Steps to Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit
To conduct a thorough and effective competitive SEO audit, you will need to perform the following actions:
1. Identify Your True Competitors
First, you’ll need to determine who your “true” competitors are. To put it simply, it is not essential or even viable to try to outrank every site that is above you for certain keywords. To identify which sites aren’t your true competitors, consider factors like current ranking, resources, and time investment.
In most cases, it’s not worth trying to outrank sites like Wikipedia for specific keywords as they have an incredible amount of authority and trust. Instead, focus on the competitors that can impact your traffic and business the most. These competitors will be other businesses in the same industry or other local businesses in the same area that offer similar products and services. These competitors will likely be the websites that contribute the most to your lost traffic, so they’re the ones that you need to beat.
2. Conduct a Page Analysis
Now that you’ve determined who your true competitors are, it’s time to see what they’re doing and if they’re outranking you. If your competitors have several popular pages that are outranking yours, take the time to ask yourself the following questions:
- Which pages rank for the most keywords?
- Which pages have the most traffic?
- Which pages have the highest percentage of their overall traffic?
Even if you think you know the answer to these questions, perform your competitive SEO audit anyway. You may be surprised at what you discover. When looking at these pages, you may discover that your competitors are outranking you for certain keywords or ranking for keywords that you aren’t. This is known as keyword gap analysis.
As part of this analysis, it’s important to look at how many times they are using certain keywords while gauging the quality of their page content. This will give you some insights that you can use to enhance your SEO efforts. For example, if your competitor is ranking for a keyword that you aren’t, you can create a page on your site that is optimized for that keyword. This will give you the opportunity to lead customers to your site instead of the competition.
3. Focus on Effective and Relevant Keywords
By using keyword gap tools, you can quickly identify keywords that you are not ranking well for (or not ranking for at all). With this information, you can determine which keywords are worth focusing on for your business and eliminate the ones that aren’t worth the time. To ensure that you are targeting the right keywords, it is crucial to consider search intent and relevance. For example, if you own a small pet supply store, you would likely be better putting your efforts into keywords like “cat food” and “dog beds” than terms like “cat pictures” and “dog keychains”.
While your business may inadvertently rank for terms like these, you don’t need to worry about competing for them. Instead, think about the products or services you want to promote most and determine which keywords are the most applicable to them. This will help you target keywords that truly matter to your business while increasing the chance of site visitors converting by matching your page content to search intent. Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time to start updating your content, optimizing for new keywords, and creating new pages if needed.
4. Monitor Your Progress
Your competitive SEO audit efforts don’t end here. Once you have updated your content and/or created new pages, it’s time to track the success rate of this content. After all, it’s important to see if your efforts are paying off. If your search rankings and website traffic are starting to increase, then you’ll know that you’ve done something right. If nothing changes, or your rankings are starting to drop, it may be worth looking into other competitors or reconsidering your target keywords.
Regardless of the results, it’s important to remember that competitive SEO audits are an ongoing and continuous process, not a one-and-done task. By keeping yourself informed about what your competitors are doing, you will always have the information you need to improve your marketing efforts and keep yourself ahead of the curve.
To learn more about the digital marketing services we offer or to discuss the marketing goals for your business, get in touch with the team at FirstPage Marketing. We can be reached through our online contact form or by phone at 604-866-2230 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.