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Understanding Your Competitor’s SEO Strategies Part 1

SEOOne of the most frequently asked questioned we receive from clients is “How do I find out what my competitors are doing?”

One of the best tools to spy on your competitor’s online activities is an organic search competitor analysis website like SEMRush.

SEMRush

My favorite tool to monitor the effectiveness of someone’s SEO campaign is SEMRush.

According to SEMRush they:

“collect massive amounts of SERP data for more than 106 million keywords and 71 million domains, including: AdWords ad copies and positions, organic positions for domains and landing URLs, search volumes, CPC, competition, number of results, and so much more.“

While the data is “limited” to 106 million keywords and 71 million domains (meaning that not every keyword or every domain is in their database), I have not yet encountered a market or a vertical where I was not able to glean insight into the company’s strategies.

Using SEMRush

After creating an account on SEMRush, sign in, go to your dashboard, and enter a competitor’s domain into the field at the top of the page. As an example, I will use Hubspot as the competitor I want to learn more about:

hubspot1

You will notice a trend graph like this one below that indicates whether the website you are analyzing is seeing an increase in organic traffic or a decrease.

hubspot2

In this example, the chart indicates that all the content is working for HubSpot as it looks like their SEO traffic has increased by about a third in the last year and is now over 200,000 organic visits per month.

The next data point I check is the “Organic Keywords” area of the page.

hubspot3

If you click on the “Full Report” link, you get a list of keywords that the website is ranking for 1 through 20 on Google.

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By exporting the file to Excel, you can look through and examine what your competitors are ranking for. Pay attention to any non-branded terms as you will probably end up competing with them for those terms. Hubspot ranks really well for anything related to inbound marketing, so if I had a client in this vertical, part of the discussion would be how difficult it would be to unseat Hubspot from those top positions. Looking at other keywords, where Hubspot is not so dominate, might be a better approach.

The final data point I like to look at is the distribution of the keywords. Is Hubspot gaining more keywords in positions 1-5, or is the bump in traffic over the last year due to a broader distribution of keywords?

hubspot5

From the chart above it is clear that in the last year Hubspot has seen improvement in positions 1-5, 6-10 and 11+ indicating that their sophisticated SEO efforts are paying off with better rankings and increased traffic.

If you would like to increase your traffic and site rankings to a Hubspot level, contact us today to embark on your own path of sophisticated SEO strategies.