The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
New website owners won’t get far into their journey before discovering the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). In today’s hotly contested search engine results, websites slug it out on a daily basis to get top spots. Why? Over 90% of traffic to websites get there from the first page of search engine results. If you’re not on that enviable first page of results, you sink into oblivion online.
Setting up SEO strategies is crucial to success. Most website owners already know that you need meta title, description, and keyword tags to get started, and they know you need to have a certain amount of keyword density in your content. However, one of the most highly successful and important strategies is frequently overlooked. If your other strategies aren’t panning out the way you’d hope, it could be that you’ve failed to do an SEO compare analysis.
SEO Site Comparison Tool
Human beings are competitive creatures. We fancy ourselves as always being up against competition, even if we’re just living everyday life. The truth is, this viewpoint isn’t far from the truth, especially when you consider online web development. With billions of people now online and creating content, even your most profound blog post is going to run up against a huge problem. That is the problem of another million or so people writing about the same subject you are, and maybe they know a little more about competitor comparison than you do.
This often overlooked strategy of search engine optimization is beyond important. When you use a compare web pages tool, you’re in on a very lucrative secret. You now know that the quality of your content alone isn’t enough to make it visible, popular, and shareable online. The truth is, you can’t just be “good” at your content. You have to be better than the other guys. If you want to be the most popular website in your category, you need to spend a little bit of time getting to know your competitors.
What’s the Best Way to Carry Out SEO Comparison?
Now that you know you have a batch of competitors online, you have a secret advantage. You know that you’re not just trying to churn out high quality content that your existing users are going to love. It’s much more than that. To capture the audience you don’t have yet, you’ve got to use SEO compare strategies.
Blueprint for Comparison
1. List your Competitors
An orderly list of competitors is your first step. Who exactly are your invisible enemies online? What are they writing about today and putting up on their social media sites? How’d they get so popular? Before you do anything else or work with an SEO site comparison tool, you’ll need to know at least a list of 5 top competitors. You can go further than that, too. If you want to make sure you’re far ahead of the competition, hammer out a list of 10 competitors or more. However, it’s a good idea to focus on the top 5 competitors that you’ll be going up against. SpyFu has a competitor tool to help you figure out who your top competitors are, for example:
(Image Credit: SpyFu)
2. Study your Competitors
The next step of your comparison is to gather as much information as possible about your competitors. What keywords do they rank on? Do they have a blog? Look at their social media websites, too. How many followers do they have and do they get a lot of engagement under their posts? The more you know about your competitors and the overall arch of their success, the greater the usefulness of any SEO site comparison tool you use in the future.
3. Check Backlinks
Backlinks are websites that link back to your site or one of your competitor’s sites. Thanks to highly advanced public metrics, you can easily see your competitor’s backlinks today, just like you can see your own. Who exactly is linking back to your competitors, how often do they visit their website, and what words have your competitors used to get those backlinks? Sometimes backlinks can be bogus and/or negative SEO. This means your competitors might have actually purchased domain names themselves and then linked back to dishonestly try to increase their link popularity. You can usually spot this very easily by using a free website comparison tool such as SEMrush’s competitor backlink tool:
(Image Credit: SEMrush)
4. Discover Broken Links
A handy byproduct of using a free website comparison tool is that you’ll very quickly discover which pages your website are returning a 404-page not found error message for your users. Believe it or not, this is going to quickly amount to a mass sitewide cleanup that will actually help you get an edge on your competitors. You’ll see their broken links, too, but obviously you don’t have the power to clean those links up. You wouldn’t want to either because the more broken links they have, and the less you have, the better you’re going to perform in future search engine results. Again, there are many tools you can use to find your broken links such as ahrefs tool shown below:
(Image Credit: Ahrefs)
5. Zone in on Referrals
Your competitors will have a list of referrals that come up when you compare your site to theirs, but that’s not going to be what you want to focus in on. You want to find any potential “major fans” of your website. If you’re getting a lot of traffic from a particular link, this is going to show an edge you have over your competitor. These major users of your website might potentially want to join in a partnership with you, allow you to do a guest post, or even contribute some of their own content in the future. If they’re a high quality website, too, then you might have just found a new best friend in your success. While you’re comparing yourself to competitors, you sometimes find partners, too.
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How to Use a Compare Web Pages Tool
Why might you want to use one of these tools? To put it simply, a compare web pages tool allows you to:
- Save time
- Quickly analyze yourself against a batch number of competitors
- Learn more about your website
- Spot keywords you might be missing out on using
- Increase your search engine rankings
That’s the short list. Beyond this brief list, you’ll find a host of other ways your website will benefit from competitive analysis. To get the most out of the tool, it helps to know exactly what SEO comparison is going to show you while you’re using it. The same things that you can check on your own website, you can check on a competitor’s website, too.
Let’s say for example that you have 3 main competitors you want to overtake online. They’re 1, 2, and 3 in results, and you’re stuck at number four. To really get ahead here and become the chief authority on your particular set of keywords, you’ll want to know those three leading websites inside and out. You can use an SEO comparison tool to first learn about your own site, and then you can plug your competitors in to learn more about theirs.
The on-page analysis will show you just a little. It’ll highlight the number of links on the page, the number of words, and then linked/unlinked text. What do your top three competitors have that you don’t have? Are they using more links than you are? Are they less or more wordy? What’s different about their page? All SEO comparison tools look different but here is one example of the layout of an on-page analysis tool:
The analysis will show the headings used on the page as well as any tags. A metadata tool will enable you to see the keywords of your competitor’s site as well. You can even look at their source code to get an idea of what kind of code they’re using that might be more friendly to the search engines than your site. For instance, the tool below is called the Side-by-Side SEO Comparison Tool:
(Image Credit: SEMrush)
Of everything you’ll find in a competitive comparison, nothing is going to be quite as important as the keyword density test. Those top three sites above yours are using certain keywords on their page just like you are, and they’re using those words more effectively than you are. By studying this metric, you’re going to potentially find keywords you’ve failed to use yourself and grab traffic from. For example here is a look at the SEMrush keyword density tool. It shows you your keyword density and your rivals average keyword density as well:
(Image Credit: SEMrush)
All websites link out to other websites. It’s one of the greatest tools online that one site can easily direct you to another site and share even more information and resources. When you do competitive analysis, you’ll learn the ways in which your more successful competitors are using their links to get in good with search engines. You may want to adjust your own linking strategy after the information you gather from your competitor’s linking habits.
(Image Credit: Ahrefs)
Adjusting Strategies Based on Comparison
No one uses SEO to compare strategies just to get to know their competitors. The overarching goal is to take what you learn and:
- Improve keyword density strategies
- Re-organize links and link structure to be more successful
- Use backlinks more effectively
- Use meta tools more effectively
- Increase search engine rankings
The last goal is the most important. People compare their own websites to a competitor’s website because they want to adjust the things they’re doing wrong in their own site design. By getting rid of broken links, using keyword density more successfully, and creating better titles and tags, a website just like yours can finally rise above the current search engine result stalemate and make it to the top of search engine results.
Tips from the Best
SEO experts who’ve mastered the art of getting to the #1 spot for a ranking keyword has often shared their insights as to how they got there. A stream of experts often say the same things over and over again. These few simple tips might help you as you begin your quest to master the art of competitive analysis.
- Know that it works: If you go into any challenging goal without really believing that it works, you might give up very easily or fail to work hard to get it right. Competitor analysis is a very old tradition in marketing and sales. In order to understand how you fit into the landscape and why you fit in where you do, you need to compare yourself to successful competitors. It works.
- Look for success in unexpected places: Some experts believe that you need to go even further than just looking at keywords and keyword density and really get into the topics at hand. What are your competitors writing about? Are you writing about some of the same topics or maybe neglecting areas of content you should be focusing on? Always be willing to adjust your style and really adopt an approach your competitor might be using. The extra work is worth it.
- Keep it fresh and original: One of the chief mistakes people make when starting out a competitor analysis is believing that their goal is to mimic the strategy of the top result on a search results page. While this might happen naturally and organically, your goal and strategy are two different things. Your goal is to get to #1. It is to learn to use strategies you might not be using yet. However, the goal is never to “copy” your competitor’s strategy in the very same way they are doing it. In fact, copying a competitor can actually cause untold and long-term damage in search engine results. The goal is to learn from competitors and then adopt your own unique brands of their strategy.
We hope that you found this article useful.
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The Best Time to Start is Now
If you’re like many site owners, you’ve never performed a competitive analysis or even thought to do so. Many new website owners don’t realize the opportunity they’re missing out on when they ignore their competitors and simply try to craft their own content without paying attention to SEO at all.
Search engine optimization and comparison go together. They’re a natural fit for anxious website owners who have a lot to share with the world. To optimize your site to its full potential, keep an eye on your enemies as well as your friends. Sometimes your content is already top quality and highly successful. It’s just that no one knows it yet because they’ve been using your competitor as the chief authority for your topic or product.
By diving into the rich opportunities of SEO competitor analysis, you’re giving yourself one more tool in your tool kit. For many website owners, they’ll find that SEO comparisons are going to be the missing puzzle to their online success. One free comparison, and you might finally see that missing piece you’ve been neglecting all this time.
Comparing your website against competitors can start in as few as three easy steps or with just those few tips. It’s simple to get started on the journey. Once you’re on your way, you’ll soon wonder why you never thought to compare your website against competitors in the first place.
Diib®: Try Out Our Competitor Analysis Tool Today!
There is no magic tool for success online, but there are so many things you can do to make your website more successful. Comparisons are one of the top ways people like you suddenly reach that top spot in search engine results. Diib Digital offers comprehensive insights into the strategies and strengths of your competitors, allowing you to adjust your strategy accordingly. Here are some of the features you’ll find helpful:
- Keyword and backlink research tools: find what keywords you and your top 6 competitors are ranking for.
- Key metrics: Metrics like bounce rate, CTR and returning visitors, for your specific content.
- Sync with Facebook: See how your Facebook page followers like content you share.
- Talk with the Pro’s: Enjoy a monthly call with one of our growth experts.
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