Search engine optimization (SEO) is getting more competitive each day on both a global and local level. There are more businesses online and recent events have accelerated a greater shift to digital on a localized, regional, national, and international level. How can your local business or company with local branches / stores stand out against the competition?
It can be tough to know what the localized competitive environment for SEO looks like if you operate a small business or a global or multinational organization with several local branches. Google is committed to providing the most meaningful results to all users, which means that location plays a significant role in determining which results appear for various web search results, also known as SERPs.
This makes determining your true SEO competition more challenging than ever since organic results can differ depending on a user’s postal code. Marketers must do the following to participate in local search engine results with Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and Baidu:
1. Find out who their local rivals are with their keywords
2. Compare their SEO results to that of local competitors
3. Investigate local rivals and use what you learn to surpass them
In this article, you will learn how to complete each of these steps to improve local search engine optimization. By doing so, you will be able to produce better SEO results, especially on Google. We also can’t forget about local listing sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Swarm, Bing Local, and other niche search sites.
But Why Is Competitive Analysis Important?
Through competitive analysis, you’ll take a step back and assess the overall market, where you are, who your rivals are, and how the search environment for key terms looks. Even if you are already at the top of the search results for one of your most relevant keywords, there will always be another site competing for your spot and profiting from it.
Some of the advantages of performing competitive research include:
• The opportunity to dig into the customers’ business and get a deeper understanding of it
• You’ll be able to determine who your true consumers are and better target them
• You don’t have to start from scratch to figure out what your rivals have done that has been successful
Thorough competition analysis will provide you with a deep understanding of the market and allow you to quickly test, succeed, or fail. This phase aims to get a good view of your competition at a glance to recognize variables that might be missing from your company’s web presence.
Here are the best practice tips to help you find your top rivals, figure out why they’re outranking you, and map out what you can do about it with white hat local SEO strategies.
Identify Your Local SEO Competition
If you work with a company or are employed as an independent consultant to assist with a client’s SEO campaign, you’re aware of who your competitors are. Some businesses may have excellent offline marketing but insufficient online marketing. It’s a good idea to do your homework to see who you’re up against if you want to be the best.
Therefore, checking for regional versions of your target keyword is the first step in finding local SEO competitors. If you own a bike shop in London, for example, see who comes up when you search for “bike shop London.”
Fortunately, this has obvious drawbacks because you just want to know who is performing for a bike shop in London and see if the results vary based on where you are in the area. If you’re searching manually from somewhere other than London, Google can display different organic data. Other than Google searches and Google Search Console / Analytics, you can go for SEMrush, SPYFU, Moz, Ahrefs, Majestic, UberSuggest, etc.
Determine The Complexity Of The Keyword
It’s a good idea to evaluate the strength of your SEO competitors before you start evaluating particular link-building tactics or on-page SEO. While you can potentially overcome any competitor in any niche and for any keyword, some keywords are infeasible due to the number of resources required. Examine your competitors’ overall domain power using your competitor analysis tool, then evaluate particular factors such as:
• Domain authority
• Country and age of the domain
• Search engine indexing
• Listings in catalogs
• Data on backlinks
• Social signals
• Traffic volumes
Make a list of the details and search for any vulnerabilities that you can exploit. The higher a target competitor’s complexity, the better their local SEO, and the more difficult it will be to outrank them. Concentrate your efforts on rivals who have lower average scores but are scoring well for niche keywords. You can overtake these competitors with localized SEO smarts.
Examine New Keyword Possibilities
Term frequency-inverse document frequency analysis (or, for short, TF-IDF analysis) can be a useful tool for enriching your current content with “proper” keywords that your rivals are using and thereby properly optimizing your pages for search engines, or for finding low-competition keywords that you may have overlooked.
When you look at TF-IDF, you might find that the majority of the top-ranking pages for your target keywords use a lot of the same words or concepts. If you aren’t already targeting such topic-related keywords, you can either add them to existing relevant pages or build new content to increase your powerful search relevance. This definition is more complex than the others, but it can become an integral part of developing a thorough content strategy.
For instance, high-ranking content for the keyword “coffee brewing recipes” almost always contains basic details about different coffee bean blends, roasting techniques, and filter styles, discovered using TF-IDF.
Evaluate On-Page Optimization And On-Site Data
Using your competitive analysis tool to look at your rivals’ on-site SEO would provide you with a treasure trove of new data to work with. You’ll find out how often they publish content, what kinds of content they publish, and the keywords they target. Pay particular attention to the following:
• Strategies for headlines (title length, keywords in the title, proper title tags, etc)
Also, try to work out their internal linking techniques. Then use this data as a starting point for your on-site SEO efforts. Determine what they’re doing right so you can learn from them, and what they’re missing so you can change. When reviewing content, keep the following competitive content ranking factors in mind:
• Relevance to the present
• What kind of content or media are they producing?
• The length of the video or the number of words
• The amount of detail that was covered
All of these factors are important when Googlebot crawls your website.
Examine The Backlink Profiles Of Your Competitors
Finding out where your competitors get their backlinks and using that knowledge to create high-quality links for your website is one of the most critical aspects of competitive analysis. Examining the link profiles of your rivals is a perfect way to uncover new link opportunities. This step, too, will necessitate the use of a powerful SEO tool, it’s nearly impossible to do without one.
Explore the site’s structure and user experience
You haven’t been paying attention if you don’t know that Google has been putting a lot of effort into enhancing user experience. Almost all of the big algorithmic improvements in recent years have been focused on user experience (UX), better mobile apps, quicker pages, and better search results.
If your website is slower, non-responsive, or more difficult to navigate than your competitors’, you must make immediate adjustments. Here’s what you can do to fix it:
• Improve crawlability by optimizing the sitemap
• Ensure that every aspect of your website is crafted with the purpose of the searcher in mind
• Give priority to page speed optimization
Take a look at the landing pages of the rivals to see what they’re up to:
• Examine the depth of their clicks
• Check to see if there are any orphan websites
• Take a look at the distribution of how their PageRank
If you examine competitor sites and see that they are ranking well despite having an outdated website or poor mobile optimization, you might have a chance to acquire some SERP real estate.
Assess How They’re Using Social Media
While the exact essence of how social media communicates with local SEO is fiercely debated, few SEO experts will argue that it is an integral component of any safe SEO strategy. Besides, a powerful social listening tool is important to inform you about your competitor’s move. Moreover, you can use a strong social listening technique to:
• Track linkless mentions on social media and engage your audience to increase traffic when people are searching for your product
• Trace brand mentions on social media. A strong social listening tool should be able to monitor news outlets, blogs, forums, and other social media channels
For research, you can look at:
• What channels do your competitors use (or not use)?
• What is the frequency in which they update their content?
• How do they interact with their audience?
• What types of content generate the most interest?
• Keep an eye on competitor linkless mentions, user feedback, and PR to see what their customers like about their service
Continue Keeping Track Of What Online Rivals Are Spending On Digital Advertising
If you’ve done all you can to refine your website and you’re still losing ground in the SERPs, likely, your rivals are simply outspending you and generating conversions and sales through paid traffic promotions.
Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on their Google Ads promotions, promoted content, banner ads, paid posts, advertising, etc. SEMrush is a good tool to use to keep track of their average paid media campaigns. By doing this, you can get a sense of what those in your niche are spending on digital advertising like Google AdWords PPC vs organic local SEO.
Competitive Analysis Conclusion: SEO Like A Pro
Lastly, the only thing left to do now after mastering strategic analysis is to keep going. Continue to make incremental changes, track your rankings, and keep an eye on your rivals. Your hard work will eventually pay off, and you will begin to boost your status. It’s time to local SEO like a pro and continue to grow!