by Chad Tsang, eStrategist, Milestone Internet Marketing
The traditional competitive analysis for SEO has always been focused on keywords and backlinks; however, as Search Engines, such as Google and Bing, evolve to focus on universal search, competitive analysis should evolve to a 360º approach on universal search as well. The 5 areas we recommend focus on are Keywords, Backlinks, PPC, NAP Citations, and Social.
- Keywords – A successful competitive analysis should go beyond just the discovery of new keywords that can be added to your website. Instead, focus on finding relevant keywords to develop meaningful content. A great tool for this is SEMrush. Simply enter your competitor’s URL into the search bar and let the report run. It will give you the following information about your competitor’s top keywords:
- Competitor’s POS for that keyword
- Average search volume
- Traffic ratio of this keyword compare to competitor’s overall Google traffic
- Trends and etc
- Backlinks – Discovering new backlink opportunities from your competitors can be a very exiting exercise; however, since the link farm update on Google earlier in the year, we really need to access each opportunity more carefully to ensure it’s a good fit for you and that links are coming from relevant authoritative websites. Your competitor can just as easily be a victim of link farm as anyone else! A great tool for competitor analysis of backlinks is Open Site Explorer on Seomoz. You can input your own site on the search bar and add up to 5 competitor’s site. The report will give you insights to the following information:
- Backlink source and landing page
- Anchor text
- Page and domain authority of the backlink
- NAP Citations – NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. A NAP citation works like a backlink for your local listing in a sense; however, it is not necessarily a link. Instead, it is a mention of your hotel name, address, and phone number. A great tool for checking citation source opportunities is WhiteSpark. For this tool, start with the Geo-targeted keyword phrase for the local result that you are after and input it onto Whitespark. Notice the Country, States, Cities, and business type all goes into a different field. The result will allow you to compare citation sources of your competitors and discover opportunities to increase your own.
- PPC – You can gain a great advantage in updating your own PPC campaign by knowing what your competition is bidding on and for how much. SEMrush.com is also a great tool for competitive analysis for PPC. In SEMrush, there is a separate section just for PPC. The information shown in this section is:
- The keywords
- POS and search volume
- Cost Per Click
- Traffic Ratio
- Social – Social media is an important piece of universal search, especially with the addition of Google’s +1 button that affects Google’s search result. Social media is also a great source of citations and a venue to manage brand image. Knowing where you stand among your competitors is very helpful in improving your strategy. For example, on Facebook, the areas we examine include: FB Page, Brand Profile, Tabs, Fan Gate, Booking Capabilities, FB Deals, and Responsiveness.
Much like revenue and sales strategies, competitive analysis of universal search should also be reviewed on an on-going basis. Hoteliers are recommended to follow the 5 focus areas we recommend to devise new strategies and/or updating the existing ones. Remember, in today’s fluid landscape of SEO, not staying ahead of your competition means falling behind.