SEO & Competitive Analysis (from SMX East)

The following is a recap from a session at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East. Follow the conference and session on Twitter.

Why competitive analysis?

The value of competitive analysis in organic SEO:

  • No lonely metrics
  • Managing expectations
  • Steal ideas & strategies
  • Ammunition

No lonely metrics

What can context do for you?

  • It can make more impact
  • Benchmark where you stand against your competitors
  • Makes you more persuasive (or sexy) – like using rich snippets

Competitive Analysis Tool Roundup

  • Keyword research – what keywords are your competitors targeting?
    • SpyFu
    • iSpionage
    • KeywordSpy
    • SEMRush
    • Google Keyword Research Tool
  • Keyword research – what’s actually sending traffic to your competition?
    • Alexa
    • Hitwise
    • ComScore
    • NetRatings
  • Goals and benchmarking
    • Google allintitle:, allinurl:
    • SEOmoz keyword difficulty
    • siteopsus – for bulk allintitle search
    • SEO for Firefox
    • Google AdWords Tool for paid
  • Ranks and traffic
    • Quantcast
    • Google Trends for Websites
    • Google Analytics Benchmarking
    • Advanced Web Ranking
    • SEMRush
  • Link building
    • Majestic SEO
    • Open Site Exployrer
    • Wordtracker Link Builder
    • Advanced Link Manager
  • Social media listening
    • Twitter
      • Follow on Twitter
      • Twazzup
      • Topsy
      • Tweetdeck
      • Tweetbeep alerts
      • The archivist
      • Trendrr
    • Facebook
      • Facebook’s own search
      • SocialSenseFB
      • Like their company page
  • Reputation monitoring
    • iGoogle and Google Alerts
    • BrandsEye
    • radian6
    • socialmention
    • netvibes
    • Sprout Social

Gradiva CouzinGravity Search Marketing

Competitive Research

How much should I be spending on my SEO campaign?

  • How much am I spending now?
  • How large is my market share?
  • How large do I want my market to be?

What kind of content do my competitors have?

  • Training?
  • Introductions?

What do I need to do?

  • Blog mentions – check out Digg,, Yahoo Site Explorer
  • Social media widgets
  • Press releases

Jeff MacGurn, Covario

Where can you compete now?

If you are more established: Decide where you can make progress

Tools for competition research

  • Compete for traffic funnel
  • SpyFu for keywords
  • Google Insights for search

Natural search

  • Open site explorer (has anchor text and page importance)
  • Majestic SEO

Pay attention to

  • Content analysis
  • Add content
  • Add alternative keywords and phrases to your pages to cast a wider net
  • Internal links
  • External links

Dave Cook, TheFind

SEO & Competitor Analysis: This is War

Identifying Targets

Identify broad and niche competitors:

  • Broad competitor: competitor in your market
  • Niche competitor: competitor for a segment of your market

How to identify competitors

  • Take note of competitors routinely showing up for related searches
  • Ask client for 10-20 competitors
  • Survey customers
  • Research industry associates, forums, and networks

Operation Search: Internal Structure

Keyword analysis

  • What keywords do they believe are a priority?
  • What keywords they are targeting that you should?
  • How well are they ranking for their targeted keywords?
  • How are they optimizing their title tag structure?

Content Analysis

  • What keywords are they focusing headlines on?
  • Are they focusing heavily on branding/optimization?
  • Are they optimizing their internal link strucutre?
  • How often are they creating new content?
  • What types of content are they creating?

Technical Analysis

  • How well is their site rendering in the search engines
  • How well are they optimizing their navigation?
  • What are their calls to action? (Are they obvious?)
  • How well is their site being indexed in the SERPs?
  • How clean is their HTML?
  • How quickly is their site rendering?

Operation Anchor: External Structure

Backlink Profile

  • Total number of backlinks (Majestic SEO)
  • Date backlinks were created
  • The pages receiving the most backlinks (Majestic SEO)
  • Anchor text being used
  • What percentage are images/nofollow?

Types of Links

  • What forums are they participating in?
  • What associations/organizations are they members of?
  • What conferences are they sponsoring?
  • What blogs are they guest posting on?
  • Can you tell if they are buying links?


  • What are they doing to acquire these links?
  • What is their content creation strategy? (guest blogging, viral content, free tools, widgets, conducting interviews, holding contests?)
  • Are people reviewing their products on their own site?
  • Where are they getting mentions and what are the sentiment of those mentions?

Enemy Surveillance Program

  • After initial competitor review, revisit every quarter
  • Determine how their strategy is evolving:
    • Rankings increased/decreased?
    • Inbound links?
    • Site grown?
    • Link bait programs?
    • Successes? Failures?
  • How does this compare to your site?
  • Are there any new links, communities, keywords for you to target?

Taylor Pratt, Raven Internet Marketing Tools

4 Responses to “SEO & Competitive Analysis (from SMX East)”

  1. Alexandra

    Hi, you’ve forgotten Competitive Analysis Tool Roundup KeywordCompetitor – it’s at least takes data from the web directly, it doesn’t give you stale data from databases like spyfu and the like…

    Just wanted you to know.



  2. 40deuce

    Another tool you can add to your list is Sysomos ( We offer comprehensive tools for monitoring, engaging, reporting and analyzing for brands in the social web.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  3. Nicki

    Alexandra and Sheldon,

    I’m sure you both have great tools. However, the presenters chose to go with the ones above! I’m just passing resources along 🙂