It’s not the destination, it’s the journey

I often agree with the phrase “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Whether it is a road trip with friends, a weekend getaway, or a new business goal, sometimes I don’t know and don’t need to know the final destination. SEO is not one of the times that I follow that sage advice. With Search Engine Optimization, we need to know our goal at the end of the day or what keywords and content to be aiming for. One of the best ways to do this is by conducting an in depth competitor analysis for SEO. In this article, we’ll go through our top 3 steps for conducting this analysis. 

Identifying Top Competitors

The first step in this competitor analysis is to identify who your top competitors are. This can be done on a local, regional, or nationwide basis. Oftentimes for smaller companies, these competitors will be more locally based. You can start by using resources such as Google Maps, local directories, and industry-specific platforms to discover businesses that are comparable to yours that target the same clientele or demographic customer. Make a list of these competitors and prioritize based on their relevance and market presence.

Analyzing Their Online Presence

Once you have identified your top competitors, you can begin to analyze their website and online presence. Visit their websites, research their social media profiles, read through their Google My Business listings and you can start to understand how they present themselves to local customers. Pay attention to the following key aspects:

  1. Website Design: Review the website design, main navigation, and overall user experience. Are there any key design techniques or ideas that you see repeated from site to site? Note any unique features that could be attracting visitors and helping convert them into sales.
  2. Content Quality: Read through their website content and blog articles and look for topics, keywords, and phrases that are used repeatedly. These keywords and phrases are likely going to be an important part of your SEO efforts on your new website. Review the quality and relevance of their website content to what consumers would value and appreciate.
  3. Customer Reviews: Check their online customer reviews and testimonials on platforms like Google, Yelp, and social media channels. Assess the sentiment, frequency, and perceived engagement level of reviews. While doing this again note any often repeated words or phrases as these are ideal keywords to use on your website.
  4. Social Media: Examine their social media profiles to see how they engage with their audiences. Look at the type of content they share, follower engagement, frequency of posts, and interactions with customers. This will again give another insight into keywords or topics you should be including in your SEO and marketing efforts. 
  5. Google My Business Optimization: Explore their Google My Business profile for completeness, accuracy of business information, photos, and customer reviews. Note any special features or promotions they use to attract local customers.

By doing this analysis, you will likely start to see common words or phrases that you might not have thought of. Be sure to make note of anything that stands out to you that you had not already thought of for your business. By doing this analysis, you will also begging to see where your competition might be missing some key opportunities and cash in on those opportunities yourself.

Performing Keywords and Content Analysis

Keyword research and content analysis are essential components of competitor analysis for local SEO. Use keyword research tools to identify the keywords your competitors are targeting for local search. Analyze their website content, blog posts, and landing pages to:

  1. Identify Targeted Keywords: Look for keywords related to their products or services, location-specific terms, and long-tail keywords they use to rank in local search results.
  2. Assess Content Quality: Evaluate the depth, relevance, and engagement level of their content. Note the use of multimedia elements, internal linking, and calls-to-action within their content.
  3. Identify Content Gaps: Identify topics or areas where your competitors have gaps in their content coverage. Look for opportunities to create more comprehensive, valuable, and optimized content that addresses these gaps and resonates with local audiences.

Valuable insights to improve your SEO

By following these steps and conducting a thorough analysis of your top competitors’ online presence, keywords, and content strategies, you can gain valuable insights to improve your own SEO efforts. I’m all for jumping in the car and going for a road trip with no destination planned out. But I’m not about to start and SEO effort without knowing where I need to be aiming at. Your SEO efforts are all about the destination and the journey. 

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