If there’s one facet of SEO that I can’t get enough of it’s competitive analysis. It provides two benefits essential to seo success: uncovering how your competitors are optimizing for keywords that you also want to rank for, and uncovering new keywords that you might not have considered.
It’s a pretty safe bet that if your competitors are spending budget on trying to rank for a certain keyword, they’ve already done the research to find out why that keyword is valuable. Not that you should take it at face value. You should ALWAYS research keywords from multiple angles, but when you find a competitor optimizing for a keyword, it’s a good sign that they’ve done some due diligence to find out whether that keyword is worth the trouble or not.
Here’s a few of my favorite tools for competitive analysis:
Google Keyword Tool – You’re no doubt aware of how great the Google Keyword Tool is for researching keywords and finding new keywords, but it can also give you a glimpse into what Google thinks of a competitor’s website. Instead of searching based on a keyword, search based on your competitor’s URL. Google will then spit out a bunch of keywords that it finds your competitor relevant for.
SpyFu – SpyFu is primarily a PPC competitive analysis tool. What can PPC information tell you about a competitor? And how is that valuable for SEO? Well, if a competitor is bidding on a keyword – actively paying to ensure that a keyword is visible and gets clicked, then they obviously think that keyword has value. And there’s more…they bay be directing money into PPC that they are NOT directing into SEO!
BacklinkWatch.com – Here’s a free tool for uncovering where a competitor is getting their backlinks from. A great way to find out where YOU could possibly get some backlinks…or not. In addition to finding places that offer good link value, you may find that your competitor is getting backlinks from very low quality websites…websites that maybe should be reported to Google for violating certain webmaster terms…if you get my drift.
Raven Tools – Raven Tools is a hefty, professional grade suite of, not just competitive analysis tools, but all around SEO management tools. It helps you keep track of damn near EVERYTHING and for just $99 per month. This is my ultimate fav and one I use every day. Now, I STILL use plenty of free options as well including the ones mentioned above, but my first and last step is always Raven Tools.
SEO Profiler – THIS IS WHAT I CURRENTLY USE! SEO Profiler does a lot of the same stuff as Raven Tools, but I find that the interface is far easier to use.
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