How to analyze your competitors in SEO and find opportunities

Understanding your competition can give you tactical insights to help you spot opportunities.

Before a competition, athletes spend many hours understanding weaknesses to exploit and finding potential gaps on the field.

Your digital marketing should come with the same level of insight and analysis.

Identifying and reviewing your competitors can help you come up with a solid list of potential keywords, find link building opportunities and build your own profiles.

Start analyzing your competitor

When compiling a competitor analysis, it is important to ensure that your analysis tells you that:

  • What the competitor does.
  • How do they do it.
  • What factors do they excel at in their SEO strategy.
  • What are their loopholes?

Using this information, it is possible to create strategies at scale that help you to outpace your competitors and get higher rankings.

The first step is to assess the bigger picture of your competition. You can start by using Google and typing in your main keywords to see which sites appear in the ranking.

Then, you can use tools that help you dig deeper into the process of analyzing your competitors.


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Define your competitors

You can use Semrush to give you a starting point to get to know your competition.

In the Organic Research Report, click competitors tab.

You can use this as a starting point to find out who your main competitors are.

Some of the data points that can help you with this research are:

  • level of competition: Analyze the number of keywords for each domain and the number of common keywords for the domains. The more keywords a domain has in common, the more likely they are to compete with each other.
  • common keywords: How many keywords are common between domains.
  • SE . wordsThe number of keywords each site ranks for.
  • traffic movement: Estimated organic traffic.
  • cost: Cost of traffic based on CPC and estimated volume data.
  • Paid keywords: How many keywords are paid for by Google Ads.

After you have selected the list of competitors, the next step is to take a look at their back cookie.

  • How many unique referral links are they referring to?
  • What is the quality of these links?
  • What is the link speed of the links they got?

Understanding their cookies will help you determine how many backlinks you need to have before you can compete for specific keywords.

In Semrush, go to Backlink Analytics And type in your root domain. You can also add up to four competitors to see backlink metrics side by side.

The overview will give you an idea of ​​how your backlink profile looks compared to others vying to rank for the same keywords.

Pay close attention to how many referral domains you and your competitor have. To scroll down, tap Domain Names At the top of the report, the list is sorted by power points.

If your site has many referral domains, all of them are of low value power pointsyour site may not have enough power to rank against competitors with better quality inbound links.

Various reports in Backlink Analytics The feature in Semrush will let you know the total number and types of backlinks, whether the majority are followed or not, and what types of backlinks there are. The anchor text analysis will also help you to see if link building work has been done and if those links include keywords in the anchor text.

Backlink analysis data will help you in your upcoming search, as it will help you choose keywords that you can realistically rank for.

If your site, for example, has a file power points 25, but your competition average is power points From 45, you wouldn’t be likely to outrank them a rank higher by root. You will have to search for keywords that have lower volume and where pages rank lower power points.

Keyword and content data decisions should be closely intertwined with your backlink analysis as it will allow you to identify “overhanging fruit” keywords and realistic ranking goals.

Traffic Analytics

Semrush Traffic Analytics gives you traffic estimates for your competitors. While Google Analytics shows you how your site is performing, traffic analytics can give you estimated traffic data for your competitors.

At a glance, you can compare how your competition matches when it comes to:

  • Hits
  • Unique Visitors
  • Pages / visit
  • Average visit duration
  • bounce rate

Additionally, you can see trends over time for each of these categories. You will see if competitors have been losing traffic recently or have made significant progress over a specified period of time.

There are countless other data points and reports that can help you deepen your understanding of your competitors, such as top pages, traffic sources, and traffic journeys.

Keyword search

Keyword Research is one of the oldest and least appreciated skills in SEO. Choosing the right keywords can mean the difference between success and failure in SEO.

Keyword research is not exciting, but it is necessary to do the basic work right. Let’s go through a step-by-step process for keyword research.

Think in terms of “keyword groups”

Ideally, you should group your keywords into keyword groups. Start with an “initial keyword”, then look for long-term variants of that keyword.

For example, if your primary keyword is “real estate auction,” some combinations you can use include:

Then you can go to another keyword set and also get variants for that term.

Examples of other seed groups include:

  • Online Mortgage Auctions
  • home auctions
  • Online real estate auctions

Once you’ve done that, you can dig deeper into the use of keywords, questions, and other variables.

Search for long tail keywords

You can use Semrush’s Keyword Magic tool to get these seed sets. Type in the combinations of seeds you’ve discovered, and Semrush will give you a list of possible keywords.

You can group them using match types:

When you find the keywords you want to rank for and keep track of, use the check mark and add them to your Keyword Manager list.

Evaluate the level of competition

Next, you need to evaluate the feasibility of ranking for your chosen keywords. Initial keyword ranking can be your ultimate goal, but you need to decide which keywords you can realistically rank for based on your site’s current degree of authority. If you choose highly competitive keywords, you will never see positive results for your SEO efforts.

Most keyword research tools use a keyword difficulty metric. You’ll want to select keywords that have a good volume but are low on KD. This level varies based on your site’s age, architecture, backlink cookie, and more.

Find keyword gaps

You can expand your keyword list by performing a keyword gap analysis. There may be keywords that you never thought of to rank your competitors.

To perform a keyword gap analysis, go to the Keyword Gap report, type your top competitors in the top bar, and click Compare:

A list of keywords that you and your competitor are ranking for is in the table below. You’ll see which keywords are being shared among all competitors, what keywords are ranking but your site isn’t, which keywords are you ranking but not on top, and more.

Review these keywords, and if there are keywords that seem related, you can add them to your keyword manager list.

Compile your ultimate keyword list

The final step is to collect all of your keyword data in the keyword manager. You can split your lists or create one big list with all your keywords.

By adding keywords from Keyword Magic Research, Keyword Gap Analysis, Competitor Research, and Baseline Evaluation, you will have a comprehensive list of keywords to work with.

Be sure to click Update Metrics to get up-to-date and accurate data on the volume, competitiveness, and keyword difficulty of each term on your list.

Use competitor data to formulate your strategy

At this point, you will have a thorough understanding of who you are facing in the SERPs. You will know which competitors have the strongest cookies, which keywords you can target and have different data points about potential opportunities your competitors have been overlooking.

The data you collected can help you create your final target keyword list and prepare you for the next stage, which includes understanding your target audience and building personal profiles.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of the search engine. Staff authors are listed here.


New in search engine land

About the author

Marcela De Vivo is an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in digital marketing, Marcela travels the world talking about SEO, data-driven marketing strategies, and workflow automation and optimization. Marcella owns a digital marketing agency called Gryffin that is based in California.

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