How can you analyse and compare your rivals’ SEO to your own?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Given that you will probably be glancing every now and then at how your competitors are doing anyway – it’s difficult to resist checking whether they are ranking higher or lower than you for a particular keyword – it makes sense to know how to undertake a more formal analysis of their search engine optimisation (SEO).

It’s worth remembering that while simply copying your rivals’ approach to SEO is not a fast ticket to success – after all, you’ll need to figure out the best ways to beat them, not merely match them – a competitor analysis can nonetheless provide vital insight into how your own site could do better. 

The five steps to a successful competitor SEO analysis 

There are five basic components to an analysis of your rivals’ SEO that will actually provide the information you need about where your competitors are going right or wrong – and by extension, what moves you could make to better challenge them in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

These are (1) determining your critical keyword themes and the sites competing with you for such themes; (2) conducting an organic ranking audit; (3) analysing the top-ranking pages; (4) identifying the elements valued by search engines; and (5) developing a plan to improve on these elements for your own site. 

Even a relatively basic analysis can go a long way 

As we mentioned above, picking out keywords and competitors is an important part of an effective SEO competitor analysis. If you have a keyword strategy already, this should be a straightforward step – and if you don’t, our team here at Piranha Designs can help to put one together for you. 

Some rudimentary keyword research can be carried out through the use of a tool like the free Google Keyword Planner. However, pinpointing your competitors from an SEO standpoint can be a little trickier, as they aren’t always the same as those your marketing team may have in mind. Remember that both large and small ecommerce sites can be SEO rivals of yours, as well as media companies and sites with different business models. 

Then, there’s the SEO ranking audit to undertake. You could do this with a dedicated enterprise SEO platform or even just manually with a spreadsheet, documenting how highly various rivals are ranking for certain keywords. 

Finally, once you’ve got such invaluable ranking data, you’ll need to start scrutinising and making some conclusions from it. It is at this stage that you will need to dissect the competitor pages that are outranking you, and consider just what is making those pages so special in the eyes of Google. 

It could be that certain high-performing competitor pages have more content than yours, or are optimised more effectively for the keyword themes you have identified. Perhaps they’re simply more engaging to read, which makes it more likely that the average reader will remain on that page, instead of simply leaving (‘bouncing’) a few seconds after arrival? 

Take your next big step to SEO success with Piranha Designs 

We could go into greater detail about how your business could make leaps and bounds online – but of course, we only have so much space here. So why not contact the Piranha Designs team to discuss how we could devise a search engine optimisation strategy that delivers big results for your brand?

Lost a few backlinks with your site migration? Here's how to fetch them back

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, February 05, 2019

You can't expect your site to fare particularly well in Google's search rankings if you neglect the task of collecting backlinks. That's because Google's algorithm has long counted a backlink as a vote of confidence in the linked-to site; that tradition has held since the search engine's 1990s genesis.

For that reason, as your site wins hard-earned backlinks, you should treasure them. Alas, some of those backlinks could disappear without you realising – perhaps because you have migrated your site from one platform to another and inadvertently left backlinks behind.

Why can site migrations break your backlinks?

In replatforming your site, you are almost definitely going to produce new URLs for it. If a migration led you to change the URLs of pages that had attracted backlinks, you should have put in place 301 redirects for all of those pages to keep the SEO juice flowing.

However, if you omitted this particular readjustment, you might have been left with a large pile of faulty backlinks. Fortunately, you can reconnect those links – here’s a step-by-step guide to how.

Where we're going, we do need URLs

You don't have to jump into a time-travelling DeLorean to find out how sites used to link to yours – just use the Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org to uncover lots of pages from years gone by. With a tool like Screaming Frog, you can use the Machine to extract many legacy URLs.

Still, how can you quickly tell which of these links work and which don't? Turn again to Screaming Frog. Switch its crawler to list mode, upload or paste the ageing URLs you have amassed, and click start to leave Screaming Frog detecting which of these URLs are properly resolving.

A URL would be improperly resolving if it leads to a 404 page, so you should consider getting a 301 redirect in place for each one. However, you also ought to make sure each redirect is to a page that is as close in relevance to the old one as possible; don't just redirect all of those outdated URLs to your homepage.

With some of your old backlinks having possibly faded in SEO power over time, you might want to augment them with a few new ones. We can add those, thanks to our search engine marketing packages – just call our Gibraltar head office on (+350) 200 45599 to learn more about what these plans entail.


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