SEO will always be at the forefront of blogs that talk about online marketing. SEO is a known and needed practice to learn and master. It is also a fairly overlooked element. Some companies and personalities have made it their mission to educate budding entrepreneurs about the necessity of SEO.
Neal Schaffer, a digital marketing consultant and specialist, is one such example. If you visit nealschaffer.com, you will get a taste of his passion for educating and helping innovative businesses digitally transform their earning models. SEO helps maximize the impact of your results. However, its technicality limits its effectiveness to professionals and saavies, not general users. That is where Neal comes in.
Check out this video showing an overview of how Neal created his SEO process.
SEO Competitor Analysis
When somebody else is doing good in what you want to do good in, make sure you learn from them. While competitors can be an obstacle for you sales-wise, they also make for good teachers. Like other aspects of marketing, the competition has strategies and techniques that might work for you, too.
Schaffer says that the difference between your brand’s strategy and competitor analysis is that you tend to focus on the competition. Once you figure out what gives your competitor the most traffic, duplicate their techniques. Adding content to your website optimized for specific keywords can help you siphon some competitor traffic. It is time to look at the details.
1. Find Your SEO Competitors
Before you analyze your competitors, you have to figure out who they are first. Your primary competitors are the ones who rank for similar keywords. Competitors will often be in the same industry or niche as you. Competitors are unlikely to optimize for every relevant keyword, so look for ones they are not ranking for. Schaffer suggests using content marketing software to help you identify the right keywords.
2. Strategize on Your “Weakest” Competitors
Take things one step at a time. Success does not happen overnight, at least not for the majority of brands and people. Marketers and young entrepreneurs tend to bite off more than they can chew, which often leads to disappointment. Identify who among the competition is lagging a bit behind, such as those with lower domain authority and fewer backlinks. Do not want for great results right off the bat. No car goes from 0 to 60 in a second. Improving your SEO process is not much different from how you would grow yourself. Pick off your weakest competitors that are still “ahead” of you and aim to overtake them.
3. Keyword Gap Analysis
As per Schaffer:
“Let’s now take a look at the keywords we are targeting and find where our weakest competitors are ranking. We should also consider general keyword difficulty to rank for these keywords. These should be our targets for our content creation and backlink campaigns.”
The most important question to ask yourself is: “Which keywords are the most valuable to target?” Some keywords are not obvious, such as in the case back in 2020, during the toilet paper panic. Another concern is your ability to rank well for a given keyword. Consider what you offer and gauge which keywords are best for your business.
4. Top Content Analysis
Since you have already gone over the weakest competitors, you should also look at those at the top. The idea behind top content analysis is to see if you can outrank successful brands by creating better content. Here, your goal is to find hidden opportunities. Coming across uncanny keywords can lead to an uncanny increase in traffic. As Schaffer points out, the low-hanging fruits can sometimes lead to the highest leaps.
5. Link Gap Analysis
All the steps already covered are mainly on-page SEO strategies. So, what about off-page ones? That is where Link Gap analysis comes in. In layman’s terms, this pertains to looking at which websites you should try and get backlinks from. Generally speaking, your Link Gap analysis will uncover websites that are considered highly relevant to your field.
Here is an example: ranking for medical keywords. Those ranking to such keywords often find that the best backlinks are from famous hospitals, like Mayo Clinic. Backlinks from such sites are valuable because Google takes trustworthiness into account when ranking articles for SEO. Besides that, another thing to try is guest blogging. Appearing on another website’s blog can be a good way to get a backlink and increase traffic.
6. SERP Analysis
Schaffer marks this as the “Final Step.” After going through steps 1 to 5, the last thing to do is to reverse engineer winning SEO strategies. There are several content types and techniques that can boost your SEO. Answer the challenges you come across, and there is a good chance for you to beat the competition. Rock Contentconsiders looking at the following:
Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels: These are the special areas of a Google search page where you get a quick answer to the question (featured snippets) or quick bits of information from a highly reliable source (knowledge panels). Not all search engine results have these special content pieces, so you mostly see them with public figures and common questions.
Video Carousels or Image Packs: A picture is worth a thousand words and a video provides the best explanation. Not all questions and concepts are best dealt with through written content.
Maps: Especially useful for local businesses and “local SEO.” So, if you run a local restaurant, then you want to ensure it shows up when people search for restaurants in your area (or restaurants of a certain type). This takes the guesswork out of finding your establishment.
Search Intent: In other words, what does someone want to know when they run a particular search? For example, they might want a tutorial on how to use chopsticks or an expert demonstration of how to tie a shoe. From here, you can build a great explanation, or craft an excellent answer, to drive traffic. Arguably, this is one of the more valuable things you can learn in SEO competitor analysis.
There you go! It may not be your cup of tea, but let us tell you now that it is a cup you must have. SEO is not simple, but that does not mean it cannot be simplified. Keep in mind that Neal Schaffer’s list is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is a good place to start. If you are wondering how and where to start, take a look at Neal’s steps and just begin!