Sifting through SEO Competitive Analysis

Understand the competition

Iron sharpens iron, right? Healthy competition may create opportunities for your business. But what does it actually mean to be competitive within the SEO space? With every other article on the topic of SEO touting miracle cures and “5 easy steps,” it certainly seems like everyone should be a winner. Each Guide to SEO Competitive Analysis article frames success as a given. The harsher truth is that optimization techniques are part of a zero-sum game. There can only be one winner; there is only one coveted top spot of any given set of search results. There is only one “first page” of Google. Competition is fierce. SEO never happens in a vacuum; your business is always ranking relative to the competition.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
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TRUSTPILOT
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EXPERTISE
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GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
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TRUSTPILOT
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EXPERTISE
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G2
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Competitive Analysis is the Missing Piece of the SEO Puzzle

Why Overlooking Your Competition Could Cost You

Consumer decision-making starts with search. Google in particular has become the ultimate chauffeur, driving us from all of our questions to potential answers. These answers range in value from broad to specific, and they may depend heavily on a number of instantaneous factors beyond the control of any one business, including but not limited to: the way a search query is phrased, the searcher’s browsing history and location data, the current ranking methods of algorithms, reported usefulness, and more. It can be impossible to account for everything. And despite the numerous possibilities, each query ends with exactly one front Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

By default, Google displays 10 organic search results alongside paid ads on their first page. On average for any given search, anywhere from seventy to ninety percent of click-throughs come from this first page. There is immense value here for driving traffic to your website. But how can your business’s online presence crack the top ten? Most SEO agencies and articles would have you believe that installing a few plugins and using the right keywords will rocket you up the rankings. At Outpace, we know it isn’t always that simple. Your SEO value is always measured relative to the competition. If you are within a highly competitive search field, remarkable execution of standard SEO practices may not be enough to climb over those in front of you. This is the Art of War; you must channel opportunities through other search paths.

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SEO Competitive Analysis Services FAQ

Answering your questions about competitive analysis

When should we perform competitive analysis?

There is no wrong time to perform competitive analysis. But when planning new content or preparing to launch marketing campaigns, a competitive analysis is likely to lead to more efficient spending. And after the campaign starts, analysis keeps marketing agencies honest by identifying and constructing meaningful, measurable metrics. Normal SEO reporting can help you see how your business is faring relative to itself, but SEO competitive analysis can help you see your business within an industry. Beyond that, if your business is experiencing a shock drop or sudden decline in results, competitive analysis may reveal process failures or changing trends in the landscape.

What should we expect from a competitive SEO analysis?

First of all, SEO competitors may not completely overlap your in-market business competitors. An effective analysis will begin with identifying relevant competition. From there, an SEO audit of the competition arms your business with the data needed to begin analysis. A good audit can cover everything from competitors’ pages and content structures to keyword gaps and backlink profiles. Finally, for a proper agency, analyzing and reporting on the data is an opportunity to demonstrate strategic business acumen. Soft skills and experience-backed intuition come into play, down to the probable search intent of your competitors’ audiences. Ultimately, competitive analysis should inform the strategic decisions of your business’s SEO campaign.

How can we stand out in a highly competitive search field?

Striving to stand out is not always the best way forward. Not every client has an unlimited budget. At Outpace, we may take a more creative approach by rerouting aspects of your marketing through keywords that are less hotly contested but still widely searched. Long-tail keywords, for instance, may present more winnable ground. Our goal is to help you uncover new audiences, or streamline processes for existing audiences that you are losing at key points in the customer journey. And knowing the competition is one of the primary ways we can make determinations about strategy.

There is no wrong time to perform competitive analysis. But when planning new content or preparing to launch marketing campaigns, a competitive analysis is likely to lead to more efficient spending. And after the campaign starts, analysis keeps marketing agencies honest by identifying and constructing meaningful, measurable metrics. Normal SEO reporting can help you see how your business is faring relative to itself, but SEO competitive analysis can help you see your business within an industry. Beyond that, if your business is experiencing a shock drop or sudden decline in results, competitive analysis may reveal process failures or changing trends in the landscape.

First of all, SEO competitors may not completely overlap your in-market business competitors. An effective analysis will begin with identifying relevant competition. From there, an SEO audit of the competition arms your business with the data needed to begin analysis. A good audit can cover everything from competitors’ pages and content structures to keyword gaps and backlink profiles. Finally, for a proper agency, analyzing and reporting on the data is an opportunity to demonstrate strategic business acumen. Soft skills and experience-backed intuition come into play, down to the probable search intent of your competitors’ audiences. Ultimately, competitive analysis should inform the strategic decisions of your business’s SEO campaign.

Striving to stand out is not always the best way forward. Not every client has an unlimited budget. At Outpace, we may take a more creative approach by rerouting aspects of your marketing through keywords that are less hotly contested but still widely searched. Long-tail keywords, for instance, may present more winnable ground. Our goal is to help you uncover new audiences, or streamline processes for existing audiences that you are losing at key points in the customer journey. And knowing the competition is one of the primary ways we can make determinations about strategy.

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