SEO Competitive Analysis: Quickly Identify Ranking Opportunities

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On-page optimization is a very important area of SEO. Part of properly optimizing your web pages is grasping keyword search competition. Today I’ll show you how to perform SEO competitive analysis and identify page ONE ranking opportunities fast.

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Keyword Research

I’ve covered keyword research and how to do it before, including the importance of comprehending keyword intent. So refer to those for further details.

You need to know the following before conducting SEO competitive analysis, creating content, and optimizing it.

  • The appropriate keyword to target.
  • The problem your content will solve.

There’s no exact order in which you should tackle both. Some people prefer coming up with an idea before conducting keyword research. Others do keyword research before writing content. However, best practice is to conduct keyword research and then use uncovered queries to create content.

SEO competition should be taken into consideration when deciding on the content you want to produce. Typically keywords with the highest search volume have strong search competitors.

However, don’t let that scare you away from using them. This is because the content itself and other metrics such as user location, keyword intent, etc. are in play. Search engines use numerous signals or factors to evaluate and rank web pages.

Assessing a Keyword’s Search Competition

Ask yourself the following questions when assessing the competition.

Do all competitors have the target keyword in their Meta name and description?

It’s important to have your keyword in both the Meta description and title. The Meta title and description texts appear on the SERPs (search engine results pages) whenever a search is performed. The presence of the searcher’s queries in your Meta title and description increases the page’s ability to rank for those terms.

So the chance of ranking on page one is high whenever keywords aren’t used in the title and description of competing pages.

Do all competing pages have the target term in their URLs, excluding stop words (e.g. to, how, a, etc.)?

The URL of a web page is factored in when qualifying and ranking it. You have a good chance of ranking on page one for a given term when most of the competition fails in this area.

Are the headlines good or encouraging enough to attract clicks?

Headlines can make or break your content because many organizations are competing for the attention of consumers. That is very evident on the SERPs. A good headline attracts and focuses the user’s attention. Hence, you have a good chance of winning a high position if all competing titles are sub-par. You just have to create a better headline.

What are the PA and DA of each competitor?

PA (Page Authority) and DA (Domain Authority) are both metrics developed by Moz. While they aren’t official Google or Bing metrics, they do a good job of predicting ranking power.

PA predicts the ranking power of a web page. DA predicts the ranking power of the website itself. Both provide a score from 1 to 100 with a high number reflecting greater ranking power.

I’ve seen websites and pages with much lower numbers outrank those with the highest. For that reason, I’d recommend not thinking of these metrics as a “be all and end all”. That’s because, in the wild, pages with much lower PA and websites with less DA can outrank more powerful sites.

What is the average keyword density?

Keyword density is the measure of how important a term or phrase is based on how often it’s used on a web page. Knowing the average keyword density will give you a nice range for your content concerning target term usage. You’ll need a tool like SEO Quake’s Chrome or Firefox browser plugin to collect the keyword density of each page.

You can calculate the average by adding up all the numbers and dividing that answer by how many numbers they are. For example, let’s assume that the web pages ranking on the first page of search results for a particular keyword were as follows.

The numbers are in percentages.

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  1. 1.86
  2. 1.04
  3. 0.86
  4. 0.50
  5. 0.53
  6. 2.86
  7. 1.44
  8. 1.99
  9. 3.28
  10. 1.18

We would add those numbers up to get 15.54. Then divide that by 10 (total number of pages analyzed). That gives us an average keyword density of 1.55 percent. So our target keyword density can be slightly higher such as 1.86 percent.

Now You’re a Keyword Competitive Analysis Rock Star

Knowing how to do SEO competitive analysis for keywords ensures your resources are properly put to use. While every content you publish won’t appear on the first page of search results, more will if you assess competition prior to creation.

Lastly, use related terms and/or keyword variations in your content, including word synonyms. Make sure this is done naturally throughout the publication. Avoid stuffing keywords. Have fun.