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How to do SEO Competitor Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Online marketing rivalry keeps heating up as more websites are competing for top-ranking positions. And it makes total sense because the first five organic search results account for 69.1% of clicks. So if you want your online business to be successful, it should be able to effectively compete for the highest-ranking positions.

This might seem like a difficult task, but don’t be afraid. SEO tools can make keeping a close eye on your competitors a lot easier. With them, you can gain valuable insights into their performance and discover ways to take your website to the top.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at SE Ranking to learn how to analyze competitors and boost a website’s competitive capabilities.

What is SEO competitor analysis?

Let’s start by piecing together the definition.

Competitor analysis is the process of inspecting your competitors’ websites and getting valuable insights to help you overcome them.

There are different ways to find useful information on competitors. SEO competitor analysis tool offer a wide array of functional capabilities for competitor research, which can help you: 

  • Identify main competitors in organic search.
  • Check a competitor’s website traffic estimate and its cost.
  • Understand how a website is being promoted in terms of SEO. 
  • Find keywords that drive the most traffic. 
  • Compare and expand your own target keyword list.
  • Check key backlink metrics.

You can also take a quick look at your competitors’ paid campaigns to more accurately determine what’s going on in the SERP.

This information enables marketing specialists to form a deep understanding of their business’s niche, detect direct competitors, and adjust their SEO efforts accordingly.

Now, let’s closely observe SE Ranking’s capabilities and how its tools can help you gain a competitive advantage.

Identify SEO competitors

Before doing anything else, you need to define your rivals. SE Ranking’s Competitive Research is useful for finding out who you are going up against in organic search and in paid advertising.

Let’s take a closer look at both options.

In the Organic traffic research section, you can find the Competitors subsection, which offers a list of websites that use keywords similar to yours to acquire organic traffic. From this list, you can get the full picture of the competitive landscape: primary rivals, keywords and backlinks they use, as well as the traffic they get.

Identify SEO competitors

The same goes for the Paid traffic research section. The list in this section includes websites that receive paid traffic for the same or similar keywords, along with essential metrics to measure their effectiveness.

You just might be surprised by the list of websites that compete for the same traffic as you.

This list also includes direct rivals that you may already be aware of, new players in your niche that you may have no idea about, and indirect competitors, including sites like YouTube. These sites might not provide any services or products but still compete for the same traffic.

Discover popular competitor pages

Now, let’s move forward to analyzing pages on the competitor’s website.

Listed under the Pages section are Google’s top 100 organic search results (from the analyzed domain). You can see the percentage of traffic every page gets, the estimated traffic cost, and the number of keywords the page ranks for in the top 100 search results.

By clicking the URL, you can transfer to other sections to get even more details. For instance, you can view keywords, ads, keywords rankings, and so on.

Here are a few ways to use this information:

  • Identify pages that rank for the target keywords. You can sort pages by the total number of keywords they rank for in organic search. This will help you figure out the most comprehensive pages on competitors’ websites.

Discover popular competitor pages

  • Identify pages that have the most traffic. You can see the estimated traffic volume the analyzed page gets with current keywords. The value is calculated using a formula that involves search volume, current rankings, and the expected click-through rate (CTR).

pages that have the most traffic

  • Analyze the content on those pages. Visit the most effective pages to compare their content with similar pages on your own site. This will help you identify strengths and weaknesses to create a better content strategy and fill in content gaps.

Analyze SEO Competitor Keywords

SE Ranking enables users to monitor how their competitors are performing for the same target keywords. This helps in finding opportunities to take advantage of info gained from competitors and maintaining a stronger online presence.

In the Keywords section, you can find invaluable insights into organic traffic research, including the number of keywords for which the website appears in Google’s organic results, total traffic, estimated traffic cost for those keywords, and the number of backlinks.

This list includes detailed information for each keyword, including search volume, traffic, search intent, position, available SERP features, competition, and estimated CPC.

SE Ranking also calculates the difficulty of competition for given keywords. The higher the number, the harder it will be to reach top positions.

Analyze SEO competitor keywords

Here are popular scenarios where this information helps with SEO efforts:

  • Examine best-performing keywords. You can find keywords that have the highest search volume and acceptable difficulty. Discovering these keywords and adding them to your semantic core will ensure that you are not missing any opportunities. 
  • Find keyword gaps. You can find keywords that are used by your direct competitors but not by you. There is nothing wrong with borrowing these keywords and using them for your own projects. 
  • Explore long-tail keyword opportunities. You can apply the filter to search for long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords consist of at least three words and have lower search volume and competition but very high conversion rates. Most websites forget about them, but in fact, they can be very beneficial. 
  • Predict competitor moves with newly added keywords. SE Ranking marks new keywords that your competitors have just started to rank for. This way, you can figure out your rivals’ activities, predict their next moves and respond accordingly.
  • Identify SERP features. SERP features are the special boxes and elements that Google adds to organic results to simplify search and make the SERP more informative. Identifying SERP features is useful for selecting target keywords and optimizing your website.

Monitor competitor’s search positions

SE Ranking enables users to monitor and analyze changes in keyword competition.

Go to the Rankings Changes section, where you will find a table that includes several categories: improved, decreased, new, and lost keywords.

This data helps you understand whether a competitor’s online presence is growing or declining and for what keywords, as well as whether a small and unnoticeable website can become your direct competitor.

Monitor competitor’s search positions

Let’s take a look at how you can use this information:

  • Examine keywords competitors are actively optimizing their web pages for. Track changes in positions of keywords on the competitor’s website. If the position of a keyword considerably improves, this might mean that your competitor is working towards its optimization.
  • React fast if the competitor outranked your leading positions. You can track and compare the dynamics of ranking results for different keywords. Check for changes in high-volume keywords. This way, you will know when you should react to make sure you are not losing the competition.
  • Take advantage of competitors’ lost rankings. There could be different reasons why competitors’ positions decrease. In any case, it is important to detect these keywords and find opportunities to overcome competitors in the SERP.

Research competitor’s on-page SEO

Another thing that can help you boost your rankings and overcome rivals is performing a detailed on-page SEO analysis. You can analyze your page against important SEO metrics and check content and keyword usage.

Comparing the results of various competitors helps you better understand what content, keywords, and page elements they use.

With this information, you can understand what is missing on your page and how you can improve its performance to overcome competitors in the SERP.

To help you with this task, SE Ranking features a standalone tool called the On-Page SEO Checker.

SE Ranking runs more than a hundred different checks and prepares a detailed report that features the page’s overall quality score, essential metrics, and analysis of various page elements. SE Ranking notifies about critical errors on the page and suggests how to fix them.

Once SE Ranking has analyzed your page, you can go straight to the Competitive Comparison section, where your results will be compared to up to 50 top search results for the target keyword.

You can compare pages by keywords, on-page metrics, or content:

  • Content. SE Ranking reviews the text content on the page: it checks word count and keyword usage, whether headings include keywords, whether there is a proper heading hierarchy, etc. 
  • Keywords. The tool analyzes keywords on your and your competitor’s pages, including what words are used most frequently, and their density. It also shows page elements and where they are being used. This is one of the key aspects that should be analyzed during the competitor analysis.
  • On-page metrics. SE Ranking analyzes the length of key SEO elements like URL, title, and description tags. It also shows page experience and usability scores—loading speed index and Core Web Vital parameters.

Overall, on-page SEO analysis gives you an understanding of what is working best for your competitors, which keywords you have in common and which ones you are missing, and what you can do to improve the SEO of your own website.

Discover link-building opportunities

Backlinks are essential for SEO. Search engines are more likely to rank sites with a decent number of quality backlinks higher in search results. A high number of backlinks from authoritative domains means that the website is trustworthy and should be chosen to rank for a certain search query.

In the Overview section in SE Ranking’s Competitive Research tool, you can quickly check Domain Trust and Page Trust scores, the number of backlinks, and referring domains. This will give you a general impression of your competitor’s backlink profile.

SE Ranking also features the Backlink Checker, which helps in finding backlinks of any domain and analyzing them against over 15 parameters.

The Backlinks tab provides a detailed list of backlinks for a given site along with their URL, target URL,  anchor text, type (dofollow, nofollow), Domain Trust and Page Trust scores, and the date they were first discovered.

Discover link building opportunities

Here is what you can do with information about competitors’ backlinks:

  • Check the link-building strategies of your competitors. By analyzing their backlinks and referring domains, you can understand which link types your competitors used to expand their backlink portfolio. You can also check which pages your competitors are promoting and which anchor texts they use for it. 
  • Monitor competitors’ backlinks. You can see which backlinks work best for your competitors and add the best backlink sources to your link-building strategy. This way, you can discover the most reputable and relevant domains with backlinks to your competitors. After that, do not hesitate to reach out to these domains and arrange for including links to your own sites. If this works for your competitors, it may work for you as well.

Pinpoint competitor’s strengths and weaknesses

Analyzing competitors is essential to the success of any business. By keeping a close eye on their SEO activities and efforts, you can make sure that your own SEO strategy is as strong, if not stronger than theirs.

With tools like SE Ranking, you can quickly identify and assess your biggest rivals. SE Ranking gives you a wide array of instruments to work with to analyze your digital competitors.

With this powerful set of tools, you can identify your competitors, analyze their keywords and positions, and check out their backlink profiles. Most importantly, you can do it almost effortlessly and in one place.

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Diksha Dutt

A graduate of the IIMC, Diksha enjoys talking about self-growth and online learning platforms. Diksha has a passion for education and entrepreneurship, and she has been involved in both fields for over a decade. She aims to help others make more informed decisions about the best online resources, courses, and education platforms. She writes about online learning platforms and online courses on, where she reviews and recommends the best resources for different skill levels and goals. When Diksha is not working, she enjoys reading books, playing chess, and traveling with her husband and two kids. You can follow her on LinkedIn and FaceBook.

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