In the B2B space, it's important to be realistic about who your competitors are.
With this in mind, guest host Joyce Collardé from Obility will guide you through conducting a competitive SEO audit in our final Whiteboard Friday episode before 2021 to address your areas of improvement and outperform your competition on the SERPs.
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Hello Moz fans. Thank you for joining me today as we talk about SEO competition analysis for B2B companies. My name is Joyce Collardé. I'm the SEO supervisor at Obility. Obility is a digital marketing agency based in Portland, Oregon, with offices in Austin and Boston, specializing in B2B business.
That's why I wanted to talk about competitive SEO analytics as it is a really crucial part of your SEO strategy and success. As you know, SEO doesn't work in a vacuum. So if you want to improve your SEO traffic, click rate, keyword position and possibly your conversions, you need to be able to take the place of some existing competitors.
Today I'm going to walk you through the five phases of competitive analysis. We'll start by choosing your competitors. Then we will discuss the keyword distribution and what is important to understand the keyword distribution. Then keywords, content gaps and possibilities are discussed. Then we move on to the technical state of your website and that of your competitors' websites.
And we'll be done with the backlink analysis.
Selection of competitors
Choosing competitors is therefore the really important step, especially in the B2B space as the B2B space is very competitive. In this space there are some marketing giants like Oracle, AWS, Marketo and Google that can be considered de facto competitors for everyone.
Unfortunately, with this mindset, you are really missing out on a lot of interesting insights as these websites are so big that they may rank for hundreds of thousands of keywords. Sometimes we see millions of links and have a domain authority of 98. So if you compare yourself to them, it will be really difficult to actually find good nuggets of information about your website.
You will always be at the bottom, and it's very daunting too.
So I would really recommend that you be realistic about who your real competitors are. And nothing is stopping you from refreshing your competitors in six months or a year when you feel like you have outgrown the competitor you have chosen.
One thing that I also want to highlight is that you should have different groups of competitors for each funnel level. For example, suppose your target keyword list contains definitive keywords such as "what is cloud computing?" Your competitors for "What is Cloud Computing?" For example, it could be ZDNet or TechTarget.
Assuming you want to target a "cloud computing solution" then your competitors might be IBM. However, the intent of the user searching for "what is cloud computing" or "cloud computing solution" or "cloud computing software" is very different, so you cannot target the same competitors for every level of the stage funnel.
You will also miss a lot of good insights.
I would also like to point out that your competitors will be very different in different areas of digital marketing or even offline marketing. Your PPC, Paid Search Keywords, or Paid Social Keywords do not match your SEO keywords.
The best way to identify good competitors is to google your target keywords. It really is that simple. And then you see who shows up and what strategies they are pursuing.
Now let's take a look at the keyword distribution. One thing I want to point out is that sometimes we check out competitors who seem like they are ranking for thousands of keywords, and that's a little intimidating.
Ranking for thousands of keywords is not the be-all and end-all, however. You should really watch your keyword distribution. How many of these thousands of keywords are branded, how many are unbranded?
Of course, you can't rank for your competitors' brand names. So you really need to focus on the non-branded keywords.
Do these keywords also have a lot of volume? Are they really difficult to rate? For example, are they ranking hundreds of keywords with zero searches or 10 searches per month? Are these the keywords you really want to target? And if you manage to take your place on the first page, will it really help your overall SEO strategy?
Another good thing is diversification. Are your competitors only ranking for one keyword category or are they targeting different categories? For example, a competitor who only stands for branded or very low search volume keywords, or who only targets a certain category, would not be a very dangerous keyword.
And as mentioned earlier, you shouldn't have the same competitors for every set of target keywords you are working with. So make sure to repeat this step for each group of competitors.
Keyword gaps and opportunities
Next up are the gaps and opportunities for content and keywords. So at this stage you should really think about the keyword gaps – the content gaps between you and your competitors.
It's not just about how often they post or what they target. It's also about what topics they post most often or what topics they focus on most on their product or solution pages. What kind of content do you prefer? Do they only publish blog posts?
Do you mainly publish videos, glossary pages, e-books, white papers and webinars? You really need to pay attention because if all of your competitors are blogging and you then come up with your webinar that people have to sign up for and give you their information, you won't be able to beat them on their own Game.
You have to align yourself somehow with what's available in the competitive landscape.
Frequency is also important. If your competitors post on their blog twice a week, or have a live demo every week, or publish a new e-book every month that they email their customer base, then you need to be prepared for that frequency too.
I would say from competitive analysis that this is one of the most important stages as you really need to be aware of the kind of opportunities you are looking for.
And it really comes back to what we talked about earlier when we were selecting competitors. You have to be realistic.
Knowing what you are up against is very important. Otherwise, you can repost blog post after blog post after blog post. However, unless you have identified the right competitors or the right type of content that you need to create, all of these blog posts will not improve the performance of your website.
The fourth stage of competitive analysis is technical health.
I think we can all relate to how annoying it is when you get to a website full of 404 errors and the links are broken and too slow. It's just a really bad user experience. And Google is very smart and they know we don't like a bad user experience. If the user experience is bad, other sites will put them above you.
So I mentioned page speed so don't be scared. I know correcting your page speed is always a big challenge. However, I would recommend that you use Google PageSpeed Insights and look at the simpler issues. One thing that keeps popping up is that pictures are too big, too heavy and taking too long to load.
If so, take a look at your main pictures and see if you can make them smaller. Usually, the images that are hardest are the ones that are on your home page slider or in the background on your product or solution pages. So, repairing just a few pages on your website can improve your page speed by a few seconds. We know this is very important to users.
Make sure you do these two steps with your competitors as well.
For example, let's say (you can do this with Moz or do an on-site crawl of each website), say that all of your competitors are missing H1s or meta-descriptions, or have a lot of 404 errors, then you know that this is the main priority that you need to set.
Again, think about your competitive advantage. If all of your competitor's websites are very slow, fix their page speed first. If it's a terrible user experience because you keep encountering 404 errors, fix your 404 errors first.
The final part of the competitive check should be the backlinks opportunities.
So you can use the Moz link detection tool to find out which new and lost links have all been lost. This makes link building a little more accessible than just saying, "Oh, I'm going to be targeting the New York Times," because looking at people's competitors and lost and discovered websites can identify websites that you probably know about or know your competitor. or at least know your industry and so may be more willing to link to you. Especially if they previously linked to your competitor or are currently linking to your competitors.
Be sure to do the same for your own website to identify the links that you recently lost and that you can get again. I would recommend that you repeat this step monthly as you have a better chance of regaining links that you recently lost than if you reached out to someone who said, "Oh, you made a link to me two years ago . Can you please create a link? " I again?"
You are out of that person's mind. So try to keep an overview. You might have a lot of links at first, but if you do this regularly it will be a lot easier to work with.
When we talk about backlinks, I would advise you to look at your competitors' spam score and link variety. For example, I recently did a competitive analysis and found that one of the competitor's spam scores was 23%, which I had never seen before.
It was so high. It was ridiculously high. It made me happy in some ways because it seemed out of reach at first to count the number of external links they had, but then it turned out that most of their links were spam. And with a 23% spam score, I don't think they can go on for much longer.
Link diversity is also very important, as not all links should come from blog posts or links from one type of publication. So when you are thinking of new links to acquire, definitely make sure you have different types of websites linking to you using different anchor text, something so that they don't look spammy and you get it no spam score of 23%.
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That's why I wanted to talk a little bit about this pie chart there. It was how much time you should spend on each of these steps. So, as mentioned earlier, the biggest problem was examining gaps and opportunities. This is where you should spend most of your time.
What is also really important is the selection of competitors that I talked about earlier. If you don't have the right competitors to take the exam, you won't get the helpful kind of insight you are looking for. Technical health would be the third most time consuming and important step in this competitive analysis.
As mentioned earlier, a good user experience is very important. And the last two that should take a little less time are keyword distribution and backlinks. So if you are really, really pressed for time, you can forego the backlinks for the time being and do so later and focus on that part of the SEO on site.
In conclusion, the five phases of competitive analysis that you should include in your own competitive analysis are picking the right competitors, checking the keyword distribution, looking for content and keyword gaps and analysis, and a technical one Carry out verification of your website and your competitors websites and verification of your backlinks and the backlinks of the competitors.
If there is anything else I can leave you, it is really to be realistic. This goes back to the selection of competitors and also when it comes to sales. Be realistic in your target keywords. Don't go for keywords that are extremely difficult if you are a website with a lower domain eligibility or are just starting out with SEO.
And don't go after these B2B giants if you are a medium-sized B2B company. Know that if you feel like you have outgrown your competitors, you can always update this. Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me about competitive research. Now go and check out these competitors.
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