SEO competition research: The complete guide

Using TF-IDF tool to create a page after SEO competitor research

How to learn SEO competition research or in fact anything at all? Well, there’s actually doing it, of course. But doing it without knowing what to aim for and what’s actually working doesn’t do you much good. There’s, of course, reading about it. But as far as I’m concerned, the most effective way to learn to do something is to watch somebody do it well.

A large part of SEO efforts is about monitoring what actually works for other people in your particular niche.

So you need to keep an eye on the people that rank higher than you. Then, using specialized tools you’ll be able to reverse engineer the strategies they used. From then on, you’ll be able to implement those same things in your own campaigns.

What do we talk about when it’s about competition research?

Doing SEO competition research means analyzing your competitors‘ SEO efforts in order to augment your own. So how to actually research your competition? Generally, it all boils down to the following steps:

  1. Picking the right competitors — people from your own niche, that consistently rank higher than you.
  2. Figuring out what you’re looking for — from researching their ranking keywords to backlinks, there’s a bunch to discover, and you have to know what it is that you want to find out.
  3. Using a tool to extract the data you’re interested in.
  4. Applying those insights to your own website.

Where in the world are your SEO competitors?

So this might seem like a trivial point. Anybody can name six to eight competitors off the top of their head, right? But, as usual, it’s not quite as easy as it appears.

For any SEO campaign, what you need first (if not foremost) is a list of main keywords you want to rank for. That’s the most basic function of conducting keyword research. Create a so-called “semantic core” for your website and its pages.

Your overall business competitors might not necessarily be the same as your SEO competition. SEO competition research is a part of competition research in general, sure. But SEO competitors are specifically those websites and pages that receive traffic targeting the same keywords as you.

Once you’ve settled on a list of keywords, you can research who in the world is already ranking for them. Those will be your main competitors. Now, you can, of course, use Google and type in all of the different keywords you want. Then you can monitor who’s ranking on Google yourself, no tool involved.

For some this “sans tool” approach works, sure. But for those of us monitoring dozens, if not hundreds of keywords? And those of us who don’t actually relish an opportunity to spend ten hours doing research one keyword at a time? This sounds exceedingly inconvenient.

Of course, the easy way is to use an SEO tool.

So there are two overall types of competitors you want to find

  • The “topic” competitors — the pages and websites that are ranking for the keywords you are interested in.
  • The “domain” competitors — those websites that come up in a search for the whole cluster of keywords that are associated with your entire domain.

1. Topic competitors

Those are simply the pages that currently rank in the top 10 for the specific keyword(s) that you want to target with a particular page. Those competitors should be researched before actually creating a piece of content. Try and figure out which keywords in what order work best for this particular topic right now. Look at the headings and subheadings, the keywords they put in bold, and what is a “de rigueur” of this topic, that is – what absolutely must be mentioned for Google to consider that content helpful. A great tool to use when preparing to create a page is TF-IDF.

It analyzes the competition currently holding the highest rankings and gives you a list of ideas for keywords and topics that you should include. For instance, if you’re writing an article on competition research, TF-IDF might reveal that all of the ranking pages have a point about keyword gaps. That is a signal that Google considers “keyword gaps” an important part of the topic, and you should also put something about it in your piece. Or maybe you’ll need to restructure your entire piece. Let’s say that you see in your analysis that your top competitors for a particular page are all galleries with little text. That’s an indication that Google considers this topic to be in its most “user-friendly” form as a gallery.

Alternatively, if you see a competitor for your particular topic in a Featured snippet, look up what they’re doing and try to get position zero too. That’s what competitive research is really all about: there are best practices out there for everything. Organic search is a lot of things, but never random. Using the best working practices on the web, you can beat your competition much easier.

2. Domain competitors

Those are the domains that rank for the overall keywords you’ve collected, for your semantic core. Those are not just your “ad hoc” competitors. Your site is targeting a certain topic, and those are the websites that specifically aim at the same niche. With any competitor analysis tool, you will get a list of domains ranking for the same cluster of keywords you are aiming at. You can compare not just the amount of keywords you have in common, but also how your website performs against other websites covering your topic in general.

By this point, you’ve put together a manageable list of your main competitors. From then on, you can start analyzing them to find out why they are getting your traffic in organic search.

Analyzing your competitors‘ SEO

Once you’ve got a list of your main SEO competitors, you can start working on looking up what goes into their rankings.

This part of competitor research consists of

  1. Looking up your competitors‘ overall SEO health
  2. Seeing your competitors‘ ranking keywords
  3. Analyzing your competitors‘ backlinks both to their entire domains as well as to any webpage in particular

So let’s start from the beginning — analyze your competitors‘ overall SEO health

Before you start going into specifics, you first need to get an overview of your competition’s SEO success. This will serve as a foundation for your future efforts – you’ll know immediately if they outdo you in terms of backlinks, get information on their domains, and so on.

Different tools represent this “overall SEO health” parameter by different metrics, but nearly all of the modern market heavyweights give you an opportunity to look it up. So Rank Tracker indicates this by the term “domain strength”, while Moz chose “domain authority”, and so on.

Get a list of your top competitors‘ domain strengths compared to your own. From social media signals to the number of pages currently indexed by different search engines, there’s a whole lot of information you need to collect about your competitors‘ domains.

From here on, you can start drilling down into the details of your competitors‘ ranking pages.

Fill the keyword gaps

A very important thing to take care of are your keyword gap competitors. What is the keyword gap? Those are the keywords that your competitors are already targeting, that you aren’t.

By identifying the keywords that your competition is using on their pages, you are seeing what particular topics they are currently targeting that you aren’t.

You should try and find the keywords for which you could start ranking or start ranking better than you already are.

Then you’ll know which keywords you should be adding to the pages you already have, and even formulate a precise content plan that is based on the keywords that your niche competition is already ranking for. For precision, you should perform analysis on a page by page basis. Check any of your pages and compare them to your competitors‘ pages ranking for similar keywords.

This will show, in a very direct way, what exact keywords you should be using on your page. You’ll also get pretty detailed information on the actual keywords, so you will be free to decide which ones are a “must”, and which ones could be just a “maybe”.

Look up your competitors‘ backlinks

You are, of course, free to disregard things like PageRank, which, for the record, still matters.

But we all know how important your backlink profile really is. As far as rankings are concerned, getting more quality backlinks is one of the best things you can do. That goes for your website in general, and for any page in particular.

Having quality backlinks is so vital, on my blog we even ran a guide on how to find an expired domain with some quality backlinks “built-in”. But of course, that’s for new website owners only.

In this context, it’s understandable why researching your competitors‘ backlinks belongs among the most effective link building tactics used by SEO experts.

How to make it work? Well, in reality, niche websites that already partner with your direct competitors might gladly provide you with a backlink as well!

So how to find what websites link to your competitors‘ pages? This is one of the points which you can’t really do manually and will have to resort to a tool’s help.

An especially important metric to monitor here is the amount of “dofollow” links, as those links actually directly impact your rankings. The importance of nofollow links for rankings is moot, but we definitely know that dofollow links are paramount to ranking.

But by far the most important feature that is needed for proper competitor research is a list of your competitors‘ intersecting links. Those are the linking domains that a few of your SEO competitors have in common, which link to a number of them but not to you yet.

I prefer using SEO SpyGlass for this since I’m its developer and can vouch for its functionality. In the tool you’ll get to see all of the domains linking to your one or a number of your competitors, but not to you.

Using SEO SpyGlass tool for SEOcompetitor research of back links
If you find a certain source that links to two-to-four of your competitors in your niche, there’s a pretty high chance that you’ll also get an opportunity to partner with them if you do some outreach.

Link building is just as vital for SEO as anything else, and doing it right can make or break any website’s ranking success.

Monitor the opportunities presented by your competitor research and seize on them in your own SEO efforts.

Keep an eye on their backlink history

There’s another great angle to analyze your competitor’s pages. Try and look up when exactly your competitors received which backlinks for their content.

If you see a sudden rise, that could mean, for example, that the page has been updated. Checking out the page itself you might see that your competitor has stumbled upon a viral topic that ranks very highly right on.

You can seize on that opportunity and update your existing content. Or, if you consciously didn’t cover a certain topic thinking that it would not be relevant, and you find that it’s now become viral, you can create some new material.

Conclusion

There are different tools that can be used to boost your SEO success. Getting into the top of Google’s organic search requires quite a lot of analysis, and work.

Along with keyword and backlink research, link building and website audits, competition research is a fundamental part of a successful SEO campaign.

Aleh is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.

The post SEO competition research: The complete guide appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Die Neue Vernunft

Mehr Bilder…

Die Neue Vernunft ist eine Strategieberatung für Marken- und Unternehmensentwicklung. Sie begleitet ihre Kunden systematisch auf ihrem ganz eigenständigen Weg in die Zukunft. Ihr Zielbild: positive Transformationsprozesse und Marken mit wirklicher Bindungskraft für Kunden und Mitarbeiter.

Dieser Wandel wird im Erscheinungsbild ausgedrückt durch großformatige, leuchtende Verläufe, die das gesamte Farbspektrum abbilden. Kleine Partikel darin zeigen die Vielzahl an Elementen, die zu dieser Transformation beitragen.

Das Logo dagegen vermittelt Ruhe, Konzentration und Ausgeglichenheit. Die Typografie umgibt einen klaren Fokuspunkt, den neuen Markenkern.

Agentur
Bissinger+

Source:: designmadeingermany.de

Break Free B2B Series: Ben Wallace on the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ in B2B Marketing

Break Free B2B Interview with Ben Wallace

Break Free B2B Interview with Ben Wallace

How does the air we breathe affect the work we produce?

It’s not a question I’d pondered very frequently, until I had the opportunity to chat with Ben Wallace for the latest episode of Break Free B2B. But it’s one of many considerations that came to light during his illuminating interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis and myself.

As CEO of Link Positive, a clean-energy business development service, and co-founder of soon-to-launch energy optimization implementation startup Minify Energy, Ben consults companies about energy efficiencies, reducing environmental footprint, and creating a more comfortable workspace. As he explains, there are business and marketing implications that go well beyond what is apparent on the surface.

To illustrate this, he urges a focus on the “Triple Bottom Line”: Planet, Productivity, Profit. All three are intertwined, and they are critical to the way B2B organizations present themselves and succeed in the marketplace today and in the critical years ahead, factoring climate change and the values of new generations defining the workforce.

[bctt tweet=“Planet, Productivity, Profit: These components make up the Triple Bottom Line, according to @BenWallace. #BreakFreeB2B #SustainableBusiness“ username=“toprank“]

In our wide-ranging conversation with him, Ben explores sustainability from many angles, including how it functions as a marketing tool, practical ways to make improvements, the concrete effects on employees, and what the future holds.

Break Free B2B Interview with Ben Wallace

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:31 – Following in his father’s footsteps
  • 3:27 – Moving from consumer goods to B2B
  • 10:50 – Shifting to building management
  • 12:11 – The influence of air quality on cognitive ability
  • 16:56 – Equipping old building to meet new environmental challenges
  • 22:27 – Influencing employee health when you don’t own the building
  • 26:00 – The value of green buildings
  • 28:45 – The ultimate in user-centric building design
  • 29:55 – Sustainability as a marketing tool
  • 32:55 – The role of compliance programs in sustainability
  • 34:20 – Focusing on sustainability as a corporate value
  • 37:13 – Have we lost the war against climate change?
  • 42:19 – Does your company need a sustainability audit?

Susan: Ben, could you talk a little bit about an “aha” moment which made you think you could help make workplaces more healthy environments?

Ben: The vast majority of buildings out there don’t have smart sensing and controls in them—about 15 to 20% of the buildings have smart controls, and it’s mostly the class A high-rises for those who can afford it. But now, technologies are emerging with low cost sensors [such as] cloud compute—and the technology is there, especially with some of these born in the cloud, born digital, companies, making it accessible and affordable for pretty much everyone. And, also taking into account that usability factor and making it easy and so it’s not as complex to deploy …

I think the biggest aha there … is occupant experience. And, wellness and indoor air quality is one of the factors that has a huge impact on your cognitive ability. And there’s CO 2 levels … outside they’re around 400-500 parts per million, but in a building, they can rise up especially as people are breathing and you get a lot of occupants in a building … You know, you find you might be tired after lunch and blaming it on the pasta lunch you had, but when it’s quite often the CO 2 levels rising to a point where you’re really more lethargic, and have less cognitive ability.

And so one of the big things that we saw there was the correlation of indoor air quality and productivity. And there’s something called the Cog Effect Study that Harvard has been working on for a few years now that has shown 100% cognitive ability improvement for green buildings that have better indoor air quality.

And so the sad irony about that is many schools, for instance, have really poor air circulation … So the place where you need the most cognitive ability in a learning environment is often suffering the most are those with CO 2 levels. And so that was something that really was brought to light. The people in the building that are the ultimate customers—your tenants, your employees and everyone else.

[bctt tweet=“You might be tired after lunch and blaming it on the pasta you had, but it’s quite often the CO 2 levels rising to a point where you’re more lethargic and have less cognitive ability. — @BenWallace #Productivity #BreakFreeB2B“ username=“toprank“]

Susan: How can agencies make more sustainable choices?

Ben: You can take control of your waste stream and you know, give some upward pressure to your property owners … And as well, thinking about just the smart use of scheduling. I mean, there’s a lot of equipment that runs 24/7 out there and lights stay on. Buildings are the second-largest consumer of energy after transportation in the US. HVAC and lighting makes up somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of that typically.

So, there’s quite a bit that can be done with just some smart scheduling and smart controls. … Start looking at some [energy-saving programs]. US GGBC is a great resource for that, which is the Green Building Council. And the Department of Energy, which is where the ENERGY STAR benchmarking program exists—quite a bit of resources available there …

I think you, as marketers, and as an agency, you can do a few things. One, you can choose clients with that factor as well, just as they’re looking at choosing you based on that. Maybe look at those who are in the emerging new energy economy and sustainability-oriented organizations. But I think just bringing that forward as much as possible, knowing the factors from supply chain and renewable waste stream and highlighting what your employees are doing out in their homes and in their communities as well … Recognizing what you do collectively is something that you could just conscientiously keep track of and look at how to improve your energy efficiency and good corporate citizenship from a global climate perspective.

Susan: Can you speak to incorporating your sustainability efforts into company values and brand messaging?

Ben: Absolutely. We’ve seen an even flow of sustainability messaging over the years. There’s a period of kind of heavy greenwashing that was going on in the ‘80s, in the ‘90s. And so you’ve seen recycling programs and you’ve seen a little bit of energy efficiency with ENERGY STAR products and things like that. But the sustainability and corporate citizenship story can get a lot bigger …

It’s really expanded and it’s more and more important, widely recognized as something especially critical for us. They are sometimes considered the triple bottom line benefits. You’ve got profits and it’s definitely good for profits if you’re saving energy, saving on maintenance, getting a better lease. You are creating a more productive environment—there’s a huge set of layers of profit opportunity.

Really what we come back to so much in this is: how is it supporting wellness and reduced absenteeism and, just a happy productive workforce? But then the planet impact is the third “P” of that … There’s a lot of companies and states and cities that are just plowing ahead with a path to 100% renewable or zero carbon footprint. And so it’s a long haul to get there. But there are ways that you can not only save money and reduce your carbon and start measuring … to get to net zero over time—consuming less energy or producing more energy than you consume is actually going to be positive. There’s opportunities around that from a corporate perspective and roadmap that will align more so with what cities and counties are doing.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Ben Wallace on the ‘Triple Bottom Line‘ in B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Boost SEO teamwork through unexpected collaborations

SEO plays a role in the success of most online businesses, but it’s kept in a silo. SEO focuses on organic traffic online, while other strategies operate independently around it. What happens when you break down the silos and start working SEO into other company functions?

The ‘Rule of 7‘ suggests that people need to see your messages at least seven times before they start to take notice of your brand. By combining your SEO efforts with ongoing marketing, advertising, and other activities, you can start to accelerate the number of times and channels by which people are seeing your messaging.

SEM collaborations

SEO and SEM are really just two sides to the same coin. SEO focuses specifically on monitoring and improving organic traffic to your website while SEM has a broad focus on improving conversions through mostly paid strategies. Many companies consider these two activities different enough to keep them separate, a strategy that makes sense when you look at the individual functions that differ from SEO and SEM.

However, when SEO and SEM are collaborating, you can often get better results for both departments. Both activities rely heavily on targeting keywords to draw in more people. By sharing keyword data and insights, both departments can work on targeting and optimizing for the best keywords and phrases, creating a more unified approach that puts content and ads in front of the same audience consistently.

When a website is well optimized, it can improve the results of SEM campaigns. Good SEO practices help Google and other search engines to consider your site as a legitimate source of information. This is good for your organic search placement, but also for your ad placements since search engines are more likely to promote more credible websites.

SEM is also vital during the early stages of an SEO campaign. By using PPC ads as you work on your SEO for a new website, you can start getting more traffic and legitimacy that may speed up your long-term SEO results and help you reach your goals faster.

CRM collaborations

If you’re using a CRM (customer relationship management) software, you can have a powerful impact on your SEO by utilizing the system to complement ongoing SEO activities. The three most distinct benefits of this collaboration are:

1. Insights about other companies your customers use

CRM systems can help point you toward other services or companies that your customers engage with on a regular basis. With this knowledge, you can approach those companies for guest posts or content collaborations. You’re more likely to get a “yes” if you can show the other company how your customers are related and the value you can offer that’s complementary to what they already offer.

The more relevant, high-quality links you’re getting, the better the results you can expect from your link building strategy.

2. Keyword insights related to holistic customer experiences

SEO analytics are great for showing you where customers can from and which keywords they searched to find you. But what happens if that customer took an unconventional journey?

CRM software is better at tracking the full customer journey, allowing you to gain some insight into the circumstances that brought a person to your website. You’ll be able to see when and where they engaged with you, along with keywords and phrases that may have influenced them along the way.

3. Unified content on all platforms

CRM systems let you see what’s going on all around so you can see how well your messages are mashing up. Whether you’re hosting expert webinar presentations, publishing a series of blogs about a relevant topic, or posting short social media videos, you’ll be able to see how these things are impacting your customers positively or negatively.

Having more data is necessary for successful SEO. You need to know what’s working, where, and why. CRM lets your SEO team draw from more complete data while ensuring that every outgoing message lines up with your ongoing SEO strategy.

SMM collaborations

If you’re not already combining SEO and social media marketing (SMM) activities, it’s time to catch up. Social media isn’t a good place to worry about keywords and typical SEO strategies, but it’s a very complimentary service that can drive a large amount of traffic to your website directly or to the search engine to look for you.

Messaging and brand voice displayed on social media should match that on other platforms and throughout your content marketing. Social media is a unique platform that’s more informal and comfortable for people wanting to interact with your business. While SMM doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it has an enormous indirect benefit and helps get your content in front of more people, resulting in more backlinks, more engagement, and higher traffic numbers overall.

Give your SMM team guidelines about how to effectively promote your SEO optimized content. SEO teams should make it incredibly easy to share content on social media (high-quality images, easy quotes or snippets, and the works). They should include social media features integrated into the website itself, while SMM teams should put in the work to make sure SEO content is getting out in front of their audience when it’s appropriate. In this way, both teams can help each other succeed.

Marketing collaborations

Traditional marketing has very little overlap with SEO. Since traditional marketing is more concerned with marketing that makes sense in the real world, rather than on the internet, it’s a completely different type of marketing. However, there is an important point of overlap that shouldn’t be ignored. Both marketing and SEO work with specific customer data, refining your brand messages and outreach based on who and how you’re reaching the most people.

Marketing is concerned with knowing as much about your customers or potential customers as possible. If you have a marketing focus that’s not exclusively limited to online marketing, it’s still important to combine these two departments to allow them to share their data back and forth.

The goal of collaborating

At the end of the day, you want to present a unified brand image that gives people the right impressions no matter how they access your brand. Your messaging may vary from platform to platform, but your brand voice should always be the same. All your teams should be working together to reach the same broad company goals and milestones.

When you start from the top and work your SEO strategy into every facet of your business, it’s easier to accomplish or even surpass your goals.

The post Boost SEO teamwork through unexpected collaborations appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com