What Is Competitive Intelligence For SEO?
Doing competitive intelligence on your digital competitors can help you boost your own SEO in three ways:
- Helps you prioritize what your SEO program needs to accomplish
- Shows you the competition's SEO strengths and weaknesses
- Presents you with marketing opportunities you may not have previously considered
With that being said, what is competitive intelligence for SEO anyways?
It's collecting and analyzing both on and off-page SEO factors information. Since no two websites are ever the same, you need to look at all factors as a whole picture, and not concentrate solely on glaring error. Suppose one of your online competitors has missing meta description tags; is that all you should pay attention on your site? No, not by a long shot.
On-Page SEO Factors To Collect
Using almost any web audit tool out there, you can collect the following web page element information:
- Page Titles
- Page Meta Descriptions
- H1/H2 Tags
- Internal Links
- Robots.txt File
- Image Alt Text Tags
There's more you can gather, depending upon what tool you use, but these factors are a good start. Is there missing or duplicate title and description tags? Are they too long? Too short? Do any of the pages have H1/H2 tags at all? Are the images optimized with alt text?
Another critically important on-page factor is blogging. Do they have a blog, and if so, are they posting regularly? Is the content relevant and interesting? Is the blog material getting social shares?
Once you look at these, you can get a pretty good idea if any SEO has been done to their pages and posts. Make a note of weaknesses you record.
Off-Page SEO Factors To Collect
Using a link scraping tool, get as many of the competition's backlinks as you can find. I'd use at least two, and possibly three link analysis tools to get as complete an inventory as possible. Once you've done that, take a look at these elements:
- Is the anchor text overly optimized with keywords, or is it mainly branded text?
- Do the linking domains look like relevant, authority sites in the business niche or vertical?
- Are there any .edu or .gov domains linking to the competitor's site?
You also want to look for domains that are obviously spammy or have nothing to do with the business vertical.
If the competition has a strong link profile, you can make note of the links that are very authoritative and relevant, and plan an outreach campaign to get a link of your own from those sites.
Other off-page SEO factors to look for include listings in local business directories, such as Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Hot Frog, Angie's List, etc.
In addition, go look at their social media accounts. Are they posting regularly? Do they have interesting content and do they get interaction from followers? A strong social media presence is helping them drive traffic to their pages to boost their sales.
Now that you've gathered both on and off page factors, take a look at all of them in a big picture view. See what the competition is lacking, and plan your own SEO improvements based on this analysis. Set up a project timeline and start knocking out action items. Measure your SEO changes with rank tracking software and Google Analytics to see how well you're doing.
Want to learn more about on and off page SEO elements? Make plans to schedule an SEO training class with Invenio. Take a look at our courses, then contact us to put yours on the calendar.
Until we meet again, stay safely between the ditches!
All the best to you,
Image courtesy of flickr.com