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5 Key Points for Doing a Comprehensive Competitor Analysis

Do you think there is any chance to succeed in business without a healthy competition?
I have two answers to this question.
Yes, you can succeed in business if you are the only one who represents it in your niche. But it won’t last forever. Your competitors will find you some day.
No, you can’t succeed in business without your competitors. Any kind of competition forces you to work harder and move ahead trying to crash your competitors.
However, what is the solution for those who have just got into the game where “serious” guys reign?
First of all, don’t back down facing challenges and take action.
In this very case, I advise you to focus on detailed competitor analysis.
Read on and you’ll find it out.

  1. Get Acquainted with Your Competitors

I am sure that if you decided to start some kind of business online, you are already aware of your main competitors. There are a few big names in whatever niche you operate. Nevertheless, if you want to identify less “monstrous” but yet competitive brands in your field, go to Google and type a query that your target audience would use to find your service.
For instance, your website offers an email marketing service. And it won’t be hard to guess what query your potential customers would use. The first one that comes to my mind is “email marketing services.”
Here is what Google lays out for this query:
Thanks to the featured snippet I can get a list of TOP email marketing services that I could use for my competitor analysis.
Your next step is to prioritize what competitors you would like to analyze. Pick up a few of them and explore the key metrics first.

  1. Key Metrics to Analyze First

If you want to understand why your competitors rank high in Google, you should get a full picture of their key metrics like domain rating, the number of referring domains, backlinks, and the sums of shares, comments of the target domains on Facebook.
But how to get these stats?
I advise you to use Domain Comparison tool:
Why do I highlight only these metrics among the other ones on the report?
To understand the reasons, I want to give you an explanation for each report I’ve pointed out.

  • Domain Rating shows how strong a backlink profile of a target website is on a scale from 1 to 100.
  • Facebook metric shows the sum of shares, comments, and reactions of the target domain on this social media platform.
  • Referring Domains metric shows the total number of individual websites linking to a target domain.
  • Backlinks metric shows the total number of backlinks pointing to a target domain.

These metrics are the most significant aspects of Google’s ranking system. Thus, pay attention to these stats first of all.

  1. How to Analyze Competitors Content

It is a well-known fact that content is king. Hence, you should create content that both Google and your target audience would love.
Definitely, your competitors who have already found their place in the sun have lots of first-rate pieces of content. Your task is to analyze what content rocks and why.
To get full content analysis you will need to review three reports in Site Explorer tool.

  • The Best Pages by Incoming links report provides you with the pages of a target website based on the number of incoming links. If you want to make an in-depth analysis of links, you can click on the numbers in the “Referring domains” column:
  • Top Content report provides you with the list of the most shared pieces of content on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) your competitor has:
  • Top Pages report arms you with the list of pages that are ranked by the number of organic traffic each of them gets:

Use these three reports and get detailed information on your competitors’ content successfulness.

  1. How to Analyze Competitors Traffic

Traffic equals leads that might turn into your paying customers. I am sure you know how important traffic is for your online business. The more traffic your website gets, the more income your business will get eventually.
That’s why your main competitors dominate your niche online!
However, now it is your turn to come into the spotlight!
And your second step is to analyze competitors traffic. Here are the aspects you should pay your attention to during traffic analysis.

  • Main countries that bring traffic
  • Main sources that bring traffic
  • Main websites that send the referrals

The tool that helps you out here is SimilarWeb. Let’s see what reports you’ll get.

  • General traffic overview illustrates you such metrics as total visits, avg. visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate.
  • Traffic by countries report gives you the information on the countries that send the major part of visitors coming to the website in question.
  • Traffic sources report provides you with the main sources of desktop traffic for the website you’re analyzing.
  • Referrals report shows the websites that send traffic to the domain you’re exploring.

The other useful option that you can use is to compare a few of your main competitors in a single click.
If you lack traffic information, I recommend you to explore the stats that Site explorer tool could offer you. The reports I advise you to view are ‘Organic search’ and ‘Organic Keywords.’
‘Organic search’ report provides you with such stats as:

  • estimation of organic traffic that the website in question gets monthly,
  • traffic value,
  • organic positions of the keywords the website ranks for,
  • countries that bring traffic,
  • top 10 competitors,
  • and some other charts

‘Organic Keywords’ report shows all the keywords that a target website (or URL) ranks for in top100 organic search results.

  1. How to Analyze Link Growth

It is strictly important to build a strong backlinks profile for your website. Hence, you must understand how to prioritize your link building strategies in order to get some juicy links.
If you want to stay informed regarding the situation with acquiring new backlinks by your competitors, you should analyze their link growth.
To get the data you will need the report called “New Referring Domains” that allows you to review how many referring domains the website acquired for the past 7, 30, and 60 days.
Link growth analysis will help you a lot in chasing for quality backlinks that your competitors have already obtained.
Final Note
Competitor analysis is an integral part of the business. You must be well-versed in what’s going on in your competitor’s camp. If you don’t analyze your competitors, it doesn’t mean that they don’t analyze your activity.
Keep an eye on your competitors and dominate your niche!
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About the Author:
Sergey Aliokhin is a Marketing Manager at Ahrefs. He invests most of his time in learning and staying au fait with SEO and Digital Marketing trends and exercise new features of outreach strategy. He likes to spend his leisure time with family, visit specialized sports club, and train in martial arts. Additionally, he prefers reading books on science-fiction and plucking the fat bass guitar strings.