Being in online business can be challenging at times, considering the level of competition that can, at times, be involved in the endeavor. One common challenge faced by plenty of Shopify store owners is the persistent quest for a prominent position on search engine results pages (SERPs).
It’s a recurring story. You’ve invested plenty of time and effort into building your online storefront and designing compelling product pages, but your website isn’t raking in the traffic you were expecting and your metrics falling off the mark when it comes to your expectations. Now you find yourself wondering, what are your competitors doing right? What are the strategies employed by other businesses that have them securing the top-ranking positions on Google Search pages?
These questions fall squarely into the realm of SEO competitor analysis.
Conducting SEO competitor analysis is a crucial step in unlocking your website's full search engine optimization potential. By conducting strategic SEO competitor analysis, you can decipher some of the greatest strategies that successful online brands use to top the SERPS, helping you fine-tune your own SEO content for better results and more website traffic.
In this article by Ecommerce Pro, we take a look into SEO competitor analysis, its importance, and the strategies and tools you can employ to conduct your own.
What is SEO Competitor Analysis
SEO competitor analysis, also known as competitive analysis, revolves around the goal of analyzing your direct search competitors' target keywords, content strategy, backlinks, and other aspects to incorporate their most effective strategies into your own.
Instead of making guesses about the keywords to target, the content to write, or the links to establish, you can investigate the competition, and examine what is already successful for them and what they may be doing wrong.
Why Is SEO Competitor Analysis Important?
The goal of SEO competitor analysis is ultimately to learn about how you can improve your Shopify site’s position on the search engine results page. A competitor analysis lets you understand the strategies that work for your competitors so that you can replicate them, and understand their weaknesses so that you can maximize them to your advantage.
SEO competitor analysis is done so that you can learn about strategic actions you can improve your site position, based on data and not guesswork.
In the following section, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to conduct a competitor analysis:
1. Understand Your Goals:
Before diving into your SEO competitor analysis for your Shopify store, it's best to set some clearly defined goals.
These goals can either be aimed at learning from successful competitors or identifying the areas in which they are falling short. It's important to align your goals with your business objectives. For example, you might want to discover high-traffic topics, product-related keywords that drive conversions, or a combination of both. Keeping your goals and target audience in mind ensures that your analysis remains focused.
2. Identify Your Competitors:
Now that you have your goals in mind, start by noting the websites that rank at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords. Searching Google (and other search engines) for your primary keywords and taking note of all the top results would be the simplest and most obvious way to find your rivals.
The websites you select should be sites of brands closely related to your online business—sites that outperform you.
Pinpoint three to five direct competitors and analyze their keywords. You can find these competitors through manual keyword searches, but this may not be as accurate. You can also use tools like Semrush’s Organic Research to generate reports that identify common competitors across the keywords you rank for.
3. Compare Rankings:
Once you’ve pinpointed who your competitors are, it's time to compare their website performance with yours. Utilize tools like Semrush to analyze and find (and close) keyword gaps. To find keyword gaps, use Semrush’s Keyword Gap tool.
Here’s what you need to look for:
- Missing Keywords: Your competitors rank for these keywords, but you don't. Identify whether you want to bridge the gap by creating new pages to target these keywords. These could include new blog pages, product pages, or categories.
- Low-Competition Keywords: These are keywords relevant to your business that your competitors aren't targeting, think of them as gaps in the market that you can fill—this presents opportunities for you to capture less competitive market segments and dominate.
4. Review SEO Tactics:
Now that you’ve compared keyword rankings, you need to examine the various aspects of your competitor's SEO strategy to find commonalities and opportunities to improve your position.
Key factors you need to assess here include:
- Content Types: Determine the predominant content type among top-ranking pages. Ask yourself how your competitors use keywords throughout the page, and analyze the quality of their writing and content.
- Content Thickness: This is where you compare word, image, and video counts to evaluate your rival’s content depth. When it comes to word count, top-ranking pages usually have 1500 words, so you can work to match this.
- Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Analyze whether competitors use compelling language to boost clickthrough rates. Ask yourself whether your competitors integrate keywords better than you into their titles and meta tags.
- Page Speed: Speed is important when it comes to ranking. You can use tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights to make a comparison of your page's loading speed performance against competitors.
- Backlink Profile: Backlinks are links used by other websites that direct users back to their site. Analyzing backlinks is an important part of SEO competitive analysis and you can use tools like Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool to check your competitors’ backlink profiles. This can provide insights and ideas for your own link-building strategies.
5. Make Changes Based on Insights
After conducting your competitor analysis, you'll have three actions to take from your list. First off you’ll have to develop new pages to target missing keywords. Secondly, you’ll have to create content to fill your keyword strategy. Lastly, you’ll have to improve existing content to make it more SEO-friendly and competitive in the SERPs by incorporating backlinks, meta titles, and descriptions, as well as improving site speed.
Having a targeted approach and implementing these changes based on your competitor analysis will help you improve your website's SERP rankings as well as its overall performance.
Ecommerce and selling online on Shopify can get a little competitive at times, and achieving a prominent position in the SERPs is something we all aspire for as Shopify store owners. If your website isn't attracting the desired traffic or meeting your expectations, you can always conduct an SEO competitor analysis to see what the competition is doing right, so that you’ll know which areas to improve and where to fill the gap to come up on top.
In this article, we've delved into the crucial role of SEO competitor analysis and provided an intro to conducting one effectively. It’s important to note that competitive analysis is part of an ongoing process when it comes to online business, and most shops are advised to conduct one every 6-12 months so that you can keep an eye on your competitors and keep improving your site and SEO strategy so that you emerge on top of the SERPS.
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