SEO Competitor Analysis Checklist

SEO Competitor Analysis Checklist is a list of steps to do an SEO Competition Analysis.

    A general checklist from Aleyda Solis:

    1. Identify your potential SEO competitors:

      • your long-time industry competitors sites,
      • the top sites in your industry from Alexa and Similarweb,
      • your Semrush organic search competitors;
    2. Validate your potential SEO competitors:
      • check their current ranked keywords by using Semrush positions and Similarweb search traffic,
      • check your current ranked keywords by using Google Webmaster Queries, Semrush Positions and Similarweb search traffic,
      • select competitors targeting the same or similar keywords than you,
      • expand your keywords identifying related ones that you might have missed by researching with additioanl sources like Google Keyword planner & Suggestmrx;
    3. Compare with your SEO competitors:
      • Keywords (type, relevance, search volume, numbers ranked, ranking positions),
      • Ranked Pages Popularity (page authority, domain authority, exteranl links anchor texts, external links volume, external followed links volume, linking domains volume, followed linking domains volume),
      • Ranked Content (relevance, optimization, search snippet format, social metrics),
      • Complement with Search Results Pages Characteristics for Each Keyword: indexed pages, pages with the keyword in title, type of search result page and number of results shown;
    4. Select target keywords based on:
      • keyword relevance, search volume & profitability,
      • your popularity vs. competitors,
      • your rankings vs. competitors,
      • number & type of competitors in search results pages,
      • your content availability & optimization vs. competitors.

    A general checklist from Raven Internet Marketing Tools:

    1. Identify broad competitors (Sites that compete with the majority of your products/services):
      • Ask client for list of Top 10-20 offline clients (sites that compete with the majority of your products/services);
      • Perform search for Top 5 most important keywords. Add any repetitive listings to competitor list;
      • Survey selection of client’s customers and ask who they also considered in their purchase process;
      • Identify top industry associations and research top companies listed as members;
    2. Identify niche competitors (sites that compete with only a fraction of your products/services):
      • Perform search for Top 10 keywords, adding the top 2-3 listings to competitor list (sites that compete with only a fraction of your products/services);
    3. Keyword analysis:
      • What keywords are they targeting in their title tags? List the current competitor rank and search volume for each;
      • Which keywords are they showing as a priority in their tags (based on keyword positioning)?
      • Are they listing any keywords in their meta keywords tag? This shows that they think they are important;
      • List current competitor rank and search volume for each;
    4. Content analysis:
      • What keywords are they focusing their headlines on?
      • Are they focusing heavily on branding or optimization?
      • What keywords are they using for internal link anchor text?
      • How often are they creating new content?
      • What types of content are they creating? Is it link-bait content or branded content?
    5. Technical analysis:
      • How well are your competitors’ websites rendering in search engines?
      • How are they optimizing their navigation?
      • What are their calls to action — are they obvious?
      • How well is their site being indexed in the SERPs? Are all of their pages being properly indexed?
      • How clean is their HTML? Does it look like they are actively optimizing their code?
    6. Backlink profile:
      • How many backlinks does each competitor have?
      • How many unique domains do they have backlinks from?
      • Can you identify any backlink growth patterns based on the date links were created?
      • Which pages on their site receive the most backlinks (outside of the homepage)?
      • What anchor text is being used and to what pages?
      • What percentage of links are images/no-follow?
    7. Types of links:
      • What forums are they participating in?
      • What associations/organizations are they member of?
      • What conferences are they sponsoring?
      • What blogs are they guest posting on?
      • At what frequency and on what topics?
      • Can you tell if they are buying links?
    8. Link acquisition:
      • Are they inviting guest bloggers to post on their blog?
      • Are they creating viral content?
      • Are they creating free tools and/or widgets?
      • Are they conducting interviews?
      • Are they holding contests?
      • Are people reviewing their products on their own sites?
      • Where are they getting mentioned and what is the sentiment of those mentions?
    9. Determine how their strategy is evolving every quarter:
      • How have their rankings increased/decreased?
      • How many inbound links have they built?
      • How much has their site grown?
      • Did they launch any major link bait programs?
      • What were their successes and failures?

    A general checklist (with examples and advices) from Gotch SEO:

    1. Find Their Keywords:
    2. Analyze Their Site Optimization:
      • Keyword Density
      • META Information
      • Internal Linking
    3. Content Analysis:
      • Word Count
      • Uniqueness of the Content
      • Media
      • Outbound Links
    4. Analyze Their Design
    5. Analyze Their Google My Business Page
    6. Analyze Their Social Media:
      • Video Marketing
    7. Analyze Their Offline Strategies
    8. Analyze Their Backlinks:
      • What is their homepage to deep linking ratio?
      • What is their NoFollow to DoFollow ratio?
      • What is their anchor text distribution?
      • Are they using redirects?
      • Do they have site-wide links?
      • Are they hiding their links?
      • Do they have links from foreign websites?