In this episode, Erika provides a comprehensive overview of how to conduct competitor analysis and gather valuable information for optimizing your content and SEO strategies.
Analyzing your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses is very important as no brand exists on its own.
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What Erika Does: Head of SEO Branding at Semrush
Noteworthy: Erika is also a public speaker, regular webinar host, and awards judge.
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💡Understanding Competitive Analysis
Erika discusses the importance of analyzing competitors in the context of content marketing and SEO strategy.
She suggests looking at both direct competitors who offer similar products or services and indirect competitors who might compete for the same audience through content marketing.
💡 Obtaining Competitor Insights
Erika recommends various methods to obtain competitor insights, including asking the client for their perspective on competitors, industry mapping to identify relevant brands, and searching for well-performing brands in the wider industry to find relevant keywords and competitors.
💡Four Key Competitor Analysis Metrics: Erika outlines four key metrics to focus on when analyzing competitors:
This shows the importance of not limiting content marketing efforts to Google alone.
💡Keyword Gap Analysis
Erika introduces the concept of keyword gap analysis, where you identify keywords that both you and your competitors are targeting, as well as keywords that your competitors target but you don’t. This analysis helps in understanding opportunities to improve your website’s performance and target new keywords.
💡Checking Competitor’s Social Media and Community Engagement
To gain a holistic understanding of competitors, Erika recommends examining their social media profiles. You should assess the tone of voice, posting frequency, and the topics they cover.
Additionally, you should investigate third-party sites where your competitors are mentioned. This qualitative data can provide insights into content marketing strategies.
SEO Pro extension
Erika Varangouli 0:03
So, so for me that level of competitor analysis, like identifying your competitors, then finding out what they do and then proposing to do the exact same thinking that okay, maybe we have a bit of a better writer to do the same content or recover exactly the same topics is going to be a great approach. But this is just step one, like any any content marketer, any SEO strategy is doing a good job should not just replicate what a competitor does. Also, some competitors are doing a crappy job, in many cases, so don’t just go blindly into what your competitors aren’t doing. That said, it is essential in content marketing, right? No brand exists on its own. So it is competing against others.
First base on search on social media, wherever they may be active, so you need to definitely analyse competitors. But please, please, please make the difference of not just proposing to your clients to do what their competitors are doing. We need to always be thinking how to do better, what is missing? That would help my client rise much higher in search or do much better with their audience. And and that goes beyond just content. Right? It’s also has to do with product with sales with tonnes of things. Right. So any comments or anything so far? Or can we get started? Yes, we can. Okay, perfect. I’ll get started. I’m sorry. I want to hear your news from last week.
But I also got very stressed that we will make it on time. So let me go through the things I want to show you today. And then in the end, we can have a discussion about everything else. stop me and ask me, okay, don’t wait until the end to ask questions as I go. In case you’re missing something. So let me just share my slides. So you can all see them. And I’ll see them now. Right? I hope you are. Okay. So today, we’re going to talk about competitor analysis. All right. So we need to understand who our competitors are. And I will always be trying to show you ways to do that. Even if you have no access to paid tools, right, I know that for the course, you have been given access or you your access will be sorted out anyway to SEMrush as the ranking. So you have access to pay tools. However, when you’re out there, first of all, your client or the company you work for may pay for a different tool, or they may not be paying for a tool at all. So I would advise you advise them to get a tool. Otherwise, there’s a lot of work that you cannot do manually.
However, I’m always going to try and give you ways to get you started that do not require paid tools. Okay? So if you have if you have no answers to pay tools, or if you want to start your search manually, let’s say before you dive into much more detail. Remember in the last or lesson so previous week, we talked about peeking for keywords like the top for keywords that represent their main product or service search on Google with that keyword with each one of those keywords and see what it returns sometimes you may need to make some adjustments like okay if for example, they’re selling shoes, right you if you search just for shoe or shoes, maybe you get to two broad results. But then if you see for example that they sell or a big category of products is leather shoes or women’s shoes for work or Nike shoes, then you can you can sort of go a bit deeper into your search by searching for the exact product categories that you think are bigger based on the website.
Also use those keywords with words like best so let’s say someone sells give me an example from from one of your clients sell something the best garden to okay best car rental. Okay, that is one spammy search and industry. I love it. So best car rental or you can pick their top locations best car rental in Spain, because sometimes maybe your client is not in like where you are. Or use geolocation on Google to search as if you were in that place.
Bass plus this or I don’t know track driving courses provider or supplier or best provider of for x. So use the modifiers. To get like the best. If your client is, for example, relying a lot, their USP is that they’re selling cheap, something, search with cheap plus the keyword on the products and just see who comes up, right? Who comes up on search. Maybe depending on the query and the product, you will get very different pages and websites ranking or maybe some of them will be repeated across different products in searches, and use the same ones on social media. Now, you will have already like checked main social media, but like by looking at your client side, you will see if they’re active on any of them. So you can start there. If your client, for example, is mainly active on Facebook, search on Facebook. However, remember that not many clients are I don’t know the percentage. But many clients do not necessarily choose their social platforms wisely, like based on Audience Insights, or they may not be doing a great job there.
So check with the brands that you saw or the companies that you saw ranking on Google on that social media platform, and the keywords you’re looking for and see what kind of content they share. And then please remember that Google is not the only place where companies that especially audiences are active on right, so how many times for example, or well, we’re all based in different places, too. But like when I when I’m looking for a product, I no longer search on Google 99% of the time, I just open Amazon and check on Amazon. When I’m searching for flights. I don’t search on Google, I go to Skyscanner and a search there directly. Same goes for some industries, right.
But remember that the major places where people search will not always be Google. So if for example, someone sells a product physically on Amazon, search on Amazon as well, to see who comes up, or handmade jewellery on Etsy or an app, you should check on Google Play Store or app store. Or if they’re selling software, you should check on G to their rankings and like which companies come up there. So these are all places where you can start your analysis, you don’t use any tools, you’re just manually searching. And then you should end up with like four or five competitors easily, I think by doing this. Okay. Any questions so far?
sandra Tabansi 7:45
I have a question. Erica. So during this Google search, right, is it best when you say it’s best to do them in an incognito window? Or it doesn’t matter?
Erika Varangouli 8:01
I’ll tell you what it depends. I never do them on incognito. Because for me, it’s also an opportunity to gauge two things before I even use SEMrush. For example. One is to see who bids with paid advertising on some of those terms, right? Because we’re talking about like products and services. Theoretically, they should be commercial terms. Right? So So I expect to see ads. And sometimes those ads, who comes up on that search results page is important.
Number two hours, because I want to see what kind of features Google shows on the SERP for that one. So what I may do is I may change just my location on the on on the settings. So I may just switch from like UK, which is a default to searching as if I’m in the US, for example, if my brand is in the US, but I wouldn’t go for incognito. There’s nothing wrong with that. Personally, I prefer to not do it in incognito. Okay, thank you. No worries. All right.
Peris muthinja 9:16
I like to know, what kind of info Are you trying to get with the
Erika Varangouli 9:23
sorry, what kind of info I’m trying to get with
Peris muthinja 9:26
the ads, like you said that he wants to know which brands are ranking for the ads are paid for ads. Right. So what kind of information for me, since you’re trying to do organic, it doesn’t matter. I used to think it doesn’t matter. Like ads. Companies paying for ads don’t matter. But now you said you try to know which companies are paying for art. So I’m trying I want to know what kind of information do you implicate?
Erika Varangouli 9:56
So there are a lot of scenarios where this may be useful. Even for organic, right. And one of the issues is sometimes that inorganic, people working in organic do not collaborate with Pete, that poses issues on many levels. But for this particular one, like, oftentimes, the brands that are the companies that are bidding with ads are also competing on organic leggings, it’s very, it is quite common to see like, if I’m competing with Nike, let’s say for running shoes, right or with assets, or if Nike is to rank at the top for running shoes. So we’ll add to does or assets or, you know, it makes sense for those brands to also compete.
And you will often see them bidding as well as ranking maybe organically. But it is one of the first things you see. And already you come across brands that sell relevant products or services, it’s not to go into their ads, it’s just sort of cross reference, who’s organically my competitor, and getting a glimpse, because paid ads come usually at the top right. Another thing is that maybe your client is not performing so well, organically, right.
And there are many industries where it will be very hard to compete, because you’re competing against giants. Now, often this big brands do not bid, smaller brands do because they cannot rank organically. So maybe sometimes you will be exposed to smaller brands closer to your clients kind of size, who are bidding, because they cannot compete organically. So again, at this stage, you’re interested in, in writing down some some names of brands and any source of information you can use, you take it, so I don’t go into their paid strategy. But I do write down like I can note down like some names of companies that are bidding for those terms, because obviously for them to bed, they have a legit interest to generate demand this way. So I should look into and how they’re performing.
Peris muthinja 12:20
Okay, so in that situation, if your client is a small brand new guests advise them to be the SCO?
Erika Varangouli 12:27
No, no, I didn’t say that. But I will write down who, who their competitors are. And I will not even go right now at this stage, you cannot advise them anything anyway. So you cannot advise them either for organic or for paid. I’m just saying that you use all the elements that Google has on its page to start collecting information about who your competitors are. Okay. And then I’m going into how you do it when you have a paid tool, right?
So for example, sem rush, I’m using sem rush, because I know that I told you how to use SEO, like SEMrush. Sorry, someone tries to get in, I admit, okay. So I’m using it as an example also, because you can have a free account. So for example, with summers, you can have a free account that you never pay anything for. It has very low limits of what you can do. So you can not like have 5000 keywords, for example, to monitor but you still get access to the feature. So I’m using it as a workflow on how to do competitive analysis. And similar workflows, I think you can find in other tools like Ahrefs, or I’m sure I see ranking has something similar.
So I’m just going to use SEMrush. Right for now, because that’s, that’s the one I know how to do best. So I will show you on screen but roughly explaining the process, right you add your clients domain to organic research, you go to competitors tab, and you export it, I export it right you you don’t have to but I work better on sheets so so I can filter and do stuff as I as I want. And then you go back to domain overview and you scroll down again, here it comes up I looked at advertising research as well and I look at the main paid competitors and I export them to and then I cross reference the two lists and create a list of top competitors from most relevant to least relevant so let me show you how to do this. So let me just share another window. Give me an idea of a website you want to do this for
Chitra Iyer 14:51
Can we do it for the hoods since Gods one sorry, the Thrifty ones. thrifty.
Erika Varangouli 15:03
Oh, yeah, you mean your clients @thrifty.com?
Chitra Iyer 15:07
Erika Varangouli 15:11
I go here, then I need to choose the country, right, the database and I’m looking at it. So their competitors, especially for talking about browsing thrifty who are active in multiple locations will be different, potentially. Right. So let’s say I choose United States for now. And I go here not doing that well. By but once you get on to this one, right, is it is it definitely this one to try thrifty cars for rent? Yeah. Let me just chat sometime. No. Remember, first t.com
Chitra Iyer 15:55
It is owned by Hertz. Actually the company?
Erika Varangouli 16:02
This is the mother company, right?
Chitra Iyer 16:05
The mother company of thrifty hoods.
Erika Varangouli 16:11
Okay. One, okay. So in the US, you get onto a screen like this, right? It’s the overview is like how many keywords you have rankings for. And then you scroll down, you see more SERP features that they own or tell pages. But going up here, you can go into the competitors tab.
And in this case, you will see that essentially, they’re very early on in their stage probably. Because the main ones you see they’re not really at that level yet to compete against other brands. So I see like their own brands competing against each other, which can be an indication of many issues, which we can discuss separately in our calls. Cheater. I like how to address something like this. But I think thrifty.com Wait, let me just check very quickly.
Erika Varangouli 17:16
So they’re redirected. That’s why Okay, they’re probably maybe
Chitra Iyer 17:23
they have a different one. Remember, I told you they have a different experience in us? And yeah,
so. Yeah, so I think it does appeal to us. Maybe this is why Chitra they are they also technically they’ve done something like really bad, I think, from by the looks of it. But anyway, let’s, let’s use this demo, which looks like the main one, and the one in the US definitely performing. And once you go to the competitors tab, right, you can see who they are competing against. So you have a list of organic competitors, they are ordered by the level of competition, right? So the more common keywords or rankings you have in common with them, the higher they will be, or the level of competition. And you will see here, like how many common keywords you have. Let me just check something here.
Dammit, no, no, no, no, no. Okay, so you will see a lot of information about how many keywords you share how many paid they have, but all you really care about at this level at this stage is clicking here to check what the top ones do like this one looks like their own but in Australia, so I will go to the next one. I’ll go to this one. I will open herds just to see if they’re actually my competitors. Many times you will find examples here of competing against other websites, not because they sell the exact product, but because they are producing relevant content. Right? They may be selling something entirely different. That still rank because they’re targeting the same kind of searches. Okay.
And they’re still important to note down I will discuss a bit more so. So I can see here that yes, herds competitor, Alamo competitor, so all of them. I would no down I would be here and you can export it on a CSV or an Excel file. You can say I want to export just the first 100 If you have specific limitations. And then work on your spreadsheet to sort of understand who the main ones are. If you’re on the platform, all of these are clickable and they take you to another tab which I will explain later down But like the keyword gap between you, and like where the keyword overlap is, so we will discuss a bit later. Now, if I’m showing things too fast, let me know.
But I’ll assume I don’t. So I’ll go to the next stage. So this is organic research, right? These are all my organic competitors. And the graph here, can very quickly show you where you are right? So this is 50. This is the the axis is like traffic, versus Why don’t we remove that search organic search traffic? What was this one? What was this one? Sorry, let me remember keywords. I think this is keywords that you’re ranking for. I’m going to ask the team why remove this.
So yes, this is level of keywords. So you can see the size of the of the circle. And the placement on the graph shows how big you are compared to your competitors. So for example, here, by looking at it, I would understand that thrifty for example, is competing with them. But herds is far far ahead in terms of how much traffic they gain, how many keywords they rank for compared to me, right? This is the the quickest kind of example. Other times you play and maybe up here and maybe the leader in this market, right. So this can be very different. Someone wants to ask something.
Chitra Iyer 21:26
Yeah, that’s me, Erica. So when you hovered over the yellow circle, which is her hertz, which is the best performing one right now, it seems when it says keywords 556,000. Are you saying that it’s ranking for 556,000? Key different, unique keywords?
Erika Varangouli 21:46
It should be the ones that are ranking in search? Yes, it should be that it’s driving traffic from those keywords? How many they’re ranking? And by ranking? We mean, I find that somewhere in the top 100.
Chitra Iyer 22:00
Towards this number, I mean, 556 housing is a huge number of words even right. So yeah, is that that many unique different relevant keywords that will take you to the hoods.com website from around the world wide web,
Erika Varangouli 22:16
Well whether they will take you as a as a tough one to answer because maybe for a lot of them, they don’t rank within the top 10 or top 20. So these are all keywords that our tool has spotted, they rank within the top 100. Right, how many of them read traffic is a different one, but you get the exact look the exact but you get the estimate of the traffic they’re getting from search as well. Right, and you can see their organic traffic is over 4 million, whereas for example, for 350, it’s like 10 times lower than that. Okay. However, the number of keywords is not 10 times lower. So thrifty has 100,000, they have 505 556,000.
So keyword targeted or ranking is five times bigger, but traffic is 10 times bigger, which can be like, it doesn’t matter right now to go into so much detail because that is much more advanced and for later on. But you use it I use this as more of a snapshot, not just who my competitors are, but how do I perform against them? Like if these are the main competitors, I’m competing against where am I am I up here. So the higher and to the right corner you are, the better it is more keywords or more traffic, the lower you are over here or towards the bottom means that you know, there’s still a lot of a long way to go.
And then I would export and sort of check them manually to see that there are which ones are my product competitors. So they’re offering the same thing as well, or which ones I’m competing against because they’re creating content. And I’ll give you very quickly, I’ll just put some fresh air just so I show you what I mean. So you can schematically like visualise it a bit. So if you look at sem rush, right and competitors so similar web offer the same, not the same, but like they have a similar offering, so does a traps.
But Search Engine Journal is not a marketing and online marketing tool. Right Search Engine Journal is a website that publishes news and guides around like digital marketing. So we’re competing against them not because we offer the same product, but because we target relevant audiences with content so we’re content competitors, right. I will mark those things on the spreadsheet that I have exported when I tell you like export it and then write down check manually.
What they do, maybe you want to do it for the top 10 Then maybe you want to do, or more. Other times, you will have many times you will have brands that compete against Amazon or Wikipedia. Especially these are content brands, let’s say that you don’t really want to mark down as your competitor, right? We I don’t imagine anyone will want to go after we compete here right now. So so there are things that you may need to discard at this stage.
And then there are things you want to write down like similar web direct competitor, Ahrefs, direct competitor, search engine, journal, content company, excuse me content competitor. And that gives you an overview as you go about the landscape. Because maybe you are in a, you still have, maybe you still have to compete against brands that do not sell the same thing. That’s you, but they rank for everything you want to target. So then you need to start study them and analyse how they’ve done it, if you want to rank above them. Okay.
Chitra Iyer 26:00
Yeah, yeah, got it. So like in the case of thrifty, it could be, you know, people who write about travel and have travel blogs and driving.
Erika Varangouli 26:11
Yeah, it doesn’t look like it doesn’t look like for example, I don’t know Skyscanner or TripAdvisor here, so maybe not that maybe you will come across like similar, like someone has a branded with hotels is, the longer you stay, the better the prices, so maybe they will be competing against travel blogs a lot. I don’t know. Once I’ve done this, I also go here to domain overview. And I’ll tell you why I do this. I do this. Because you can see like the organic ones. Organic Research, you can see competitors, though you can even click from if you want to go to them competitors. Ah, okay. Pigs are interesting. So maybe there’s no competitive positioning map thing. Okay. So it doesn’t need to be in the US. Alright.
My version is not functioning. The call displaying? Okay. We’ll see competitors from a paid point of view. Okay. So if I click to you tell it will take me to advertising research on my competitors straightaway. And I’ll see here Paints, I’m actually competing against Uber software, 13 keywords that they’re bidding. But still, I would write down many times, you will get many of the same ones that you found. Okay. But like, what are they? What is this flight is they’re probably offering rentals of some kind so so I would only I bought this and cross reference the top 10 of 20 see with an overlap to some of that comes up in that probably level of competition will them stronger than other? Any others that here are not relevant?
Or if for example, I let’s say I check them and they’re alone. But then organic, they’re very small. The offered something different. But I would also see how they may very quickly how organically just out of curiosity because I’m curious to be influenced. And please don’t forget that. Now I’m curious, cheeky got me interested in the current year. So not so bad. It looks like they’re really just new, and they’re, they’re rising fast.
So maybe not much better, but I would want to keep them at the back of my head because to have that think organic growth within a year. Maybe I want to check their websites, what they’re doing. And maybe I will get good ideas that I wouldn’t get. I was looking at the organic ones that are established like herds or ABS burrowing owls are very established ones as well. So just look for outliers. Like that could potentially be a good contact. Yes. Okay. Any questions? Go to the presentation.
Chitra Iyer 29:53
Thank you that was very helpful
Erika Varangouli 29:56
I’m gonna carry on, I’m sure Hold on. On Windows I have to share and uncheck all the time I haven’t thought it through. Right. Okay. The last one, I have done the previous one as well, I will keep repeating it, especially at this early stages you to work as close as possible with your client. Okay, so you need to ask them, you need to ask directly, who are your competitors? Who do you consider our top competitors to be a big year list of two, three people? Maybe they give a list time? You know, no.
But one of the interesting approaches is that your client to have a good understanding of their direct competitors, brands companies offering similar or the same products, whereas you search, you can search competitor, so also other sites that you’re competing against because of the ship. So if your client say is a fee, they say, Okay, we’re competing with a man Chitra to come up in our top, those would be my prioritise competitors. And then I would find that kind of analysis with the ones that I come across as well, that look like they’re important, and I should seek an account, but don’t disregard your client should be able to give you this insights. Question is, if you do this, if you ask the client has created a product that is the first thing and will most likely say, Well, we have no competition no one else has, we have heard it many times. Half of those times, it was not true.
They just thought they had an amazing product and no one else was looking to replicate the other half times where their product was treated. Like one of the kind of new thing you have probably a protest you can take the next lesson next will be about audience analysis, right? So you have to look into all the answers that could be considered relevant target based on those audiences find the competitors that they study, like how they funded, what kind of company published.
So audience analysis plus like asking your client, what brands they considered to be relevant. Okay. If not, that you could you check into like, okay, what are other comps in water industry? Doing very well. So, say I think also someone has a client has an app for training on Xbox or something like that. Right? Um, um, so yeah. Did I imagine it? Let’s see, yes, someone does. It is a positive like personalised thing that you do to train on.
But there are big brands that have like AI, apps or by training. So by doing the first step of industry mapping and understanding landscape, you have a wider picture, you those keywords, the brands that you find at that stage to do that competitive analysis. So for example, peloton comes up during research, could peloton here, if you put your client no one comes up, nothing relevant is happening. Don’t despair, put a brand that is doing really well and is really famous in the wider industry and see what kind of competitors come up for them. And start looking into them to find relevant ones to sort of take inspiration from or what they’re doing or to write down so you can identify the keywords they’re targeting, and then find your own. Okay. And let’s move on to analysing competitors.
There’s four main things you want to get from them, right, how much content they have, what keywords they’re targeting, how they perform for those and other channels. So I think Trey, you said previously, they only care about search, why do we look for paid? I think in content marketing, you can not afford to only care about search. And the more Google evolves, the more users use locations and search engines and social media.
The idea that content marketing is for search is definitely not not going to help anyone create great content. So we don’t look at certain as live when we maybe we focus we analyse more there, but we always need to have our finger on the pulse of others. panels and what is happening on those panels? Remember the previous slide where I’m like, people search on Amazon first people search on Skyscanner. First, depending on what you’re working on, Google may not even be your first choice. Or two great AB on Google, the competition is so big. But our audience also hangs out on YouTube. And that will influence your strategy. These are the four things. Yes, someone come to the tab. Where have you, Rodney?
Roshni Shaikh 35:30
Hi. Hi, Erica. So if you’re looking for a podcast, where do you go searching for is? Is it like? Sorry? Is it like,
Erika Varangouli 35:43
I just remember, I never responded to your email. I’m so sorry. I was in Brighton and everything fell through. I know a lot about podcasts. But personally, for example, I will search on Spotify or Google podcasts, right. But I have an Android. And this is why the other half of the population has apple so they will share they will search on Apple. So So you have to find what those touch points are. For those things. Like if you’re looking for videos, nowadays, like there’s already a lot of studies being published about how especially like Gen Z or Millennials search on Tik Tok, instead of searching on Google, take that with a grain of salt.
Like, it’s not like Google is gonna disappear tomorrow. But use it to understand that we are talking about audiences. We’re about content marketing, we’re talking about targeting audiences with the right content in the right place. And that place is not just Google. Limiting. Yeah, thank you. Alright. So let me go back. Alright, so let’s see how we get this insights how much content they have on their site, what we will call the content index. So first of all, start with a simple site search on Google. Everyone knows how to do it. Do you want me to show it on screen?
sandra Tabansi 37:09
Maybe you can show us? Yeah,
Erika Varangouli 37:12
sure. So yeah. So I’m just going to show you here it’s incognito. But it doesn’t matter, because so you’re on Google. Right? Let me show you exactly how it all. Just so you don’t have any. So you’re on Google and you want to do a site. Slide. Ah, sure this tab. Okay. So you’re on Google, you’re right time again. And then let me type it in full. And then you get like, almost 300,000 results. These are. These are called search operators.
There’s I will find we have a blog posts that has a PDF with all of them. You can use them on search to get specific results by searching with site. And there’s and then the site you want, or you may want to look just for a blog, Google returns the pages it can see for that domain only. Right? So you’re not seeing results from anyone else. You’re just seeing the pages that Google sees for that website. Please remember, never say to a client that you have, let’s say I’m SEMrush. Right, and you’ve done this. You don’t say to me, you have 2000 200,000 78,000 stumped me someone 278,000 pages on your site, because this is not an accurate thing, right.
This is what Google sees. Sometimes it will include pages that are not indexed, maybe because their cache, so it’s not an accurate thing. But it’s something that shows you roughly how big your site is, right? So if I put SEMrush I get almost 300k. What if I put a dress? How many does Google see? Because they’re not HTTPS? Uses chrome Christ, sorry. Okay, they see about 5800 results, right? But if I put SimilarWeb they see 1,900,000. Like, I’m not wondering if Apple just SEMrush how many? Okay? 504 or five. So you need to play around a bit with the right format for this, right. So it shows you just a scale, right? It’s not an exact number to say, alright, this is how many pages they have. No, it’s It’s a scale. How big is their site? How many pages does it have? Someone wants to ask something?
Roshni Shaikh 39:52
Yeah, it’s me. Erica. Did you say ahrefs is not HTTPS?
Erika Varangouli 39:59
It didn’t ring return any result by doing that. So
Roshni Shaikh 40:03
yeah, that’s right. It’s
Erika Varangouli 40:08
no, it is HTTPS. So maybe, because they’re following is this right is returning the same. So it doesn’t matter like reef, probably canonicalize. Both. So that’s it. That’s what I’m getting results for. Right. But still, you can see similar web 1.5 million SEMrush, 500,000 Ahrefs, over 5000. So the scales or the volume of content that those websites have, it’s very, very different, not the exact numbers. Again, this is very important, right. So you can start there by just doing this Paris, I hope this was clear. Let me know if you need more.
And I’ll share I’ll make a note to share the search operator so you can use it because it can make your lives amazing. You can search for tonnes of stuff with them on Google. Then you can put the domain plus trail sitemap xml on your browser to get an idea again on what pages they have. And I’m going to show this anyway whether you asked for it or not. So if I put a mirage.com forward slash sitemap or slash XML, you get this right you get when Jesus Christ I forgot to do thank you for bringing me back to order. So I just typed the website. Okay. Let me do it for some one of our competitors. So you don’t think I’m just selling SEMrush? Ah, they don’t have it? Of course. Moz. Okay, what Sitemaps are right side labs are just a file. Okay. So actually, let me try something fun because I think these guys are these the ones that do have fun.
Erika Varangouli 42:18
So what you find here, right Sitemaps are a file that website owners create to tell Google what pages they can find on their website. Okay, this is what a sitemap is. It is destined for search engines, not for people the XML one, and it provides a list of URLs. So in many cases, use of SEMrush follows the same logic and don’t have a long list of URLs you have links to just specific sitemap. So if I want to see for example, their mozcon videos, let’s say, Okay, how many pages do they have for mozcn videos? They have one URL in total. Okay, they have a sitemap for that. Um, it can still show me. Mm hmm. can still sorry.
Erika Varangouli 43:21
And still show me the structure, which is important. And also roughly pages that I can find on the website like you can see that here we have, for example, the sitemap for the features, pages, solutions, pages for news for knowledge base for company for blog, so you can start getting an idea of what this look like. Okay. In many cases, you will get a sitemap, let’s see what thrifty does enter if you will get a sitemap with a list of URLs. Okay, so this is another way to search for how much content a website has Sorry, I’m back on the right tab. I hope this is sharing now. Then manually check their website and identify patterns in URLs.
I’m assuming maybe I should have done this first as a first step, but you just go to the website and sort of use their use their site structure to open up the categories and see how big those categories are. How many pages know how many believe how big is the volume of content you see there you’ll find websites with just a few pages under the main navigation or you would find sites with tonnes and tonnes of pages from the main navigation. And then with paid tools.
You can set up for example a Site Audit on SEMrush write a project and then it will crawl the website and it will return the list of pages on their website. And if you don’t have like a paid one, you can you use, for example, Screaming Frog is another crawler that can do it. It’s not free, but you can crawl up to 500 Pages for free. So again, you can use it to get an idea. Okay? Then, number two insights we want to get what keywords they’re targeting. use Chrome extensions. Alright, Chrome extensions are sometimes your best friends when you’re doing SEO and content, and use it to find their title tags. Title Tags, especially if they’re optimised can give you a really quick idea of what keywords your competitors are targeting. And you should, you will need that. Also, when you’re at a stage where you’re creating a landing page copy, or you’re creating content, you still want to use that extension on that page to see what kind of keywords are targeting.
So I’m using for example, SEO Quake and SEO Pro, which was built by Christina Azarenko. There are tonnes of extensions you can use to find metadata on a page or whether content is okay. You can download them for free and use them on your browser. Then identify keywords from the main site navigation and core pages. One thing that is true for most not all websites, is that usually because they are building their website based on keyword research, what you see, let’s go here.
Let me just thank our goals. So if I go to our notes, right. Usually, the the keywords I’m seeing on the navigation are keywords that are targeted, right there top level, like big volume, keywords. But still, it gives me an idea of what kind of keywords this client or this website is targeting by just even looking here, I’m not going even deeper into it, right? Just look at them.
So look at the navigation, see what links they have on the main navigation. And then you need a paid tool like this, this is going to make your life and your analysis much better, is you go to organic research, and you export the report for a position. So let me just bring it up. So I show you kind of share this one. Can you see my screen? I’m on SEMrush now? Yes. Okay. So let me go here. Put, I don’t remember the, I don’t know, I’ll use this one. It wasn’t a direct competitor. But it doesn’t matter. It’s just a website that let’s say this is your competitor, and you want to see what keywords they’re targeting. So on this report on organic research, if I go to positions can go to organic for example, only. Sorry, my connection is dying. Can you still hear me though?
I lost you. I’m sorry, my laptop is dying, not just my connection. Everything’s dying. Maybe homepage. Okay. Go to organic. Okay. And then what you get is a list of all the keywords that are ranking for the position, right? What are the SERP features for that keyword. So for example, if I click here for homeroom and not click, I can see that that search results page has sidelines reviews indented results image so you see all of that in a glance right, what the search volume is, and which page they’re ranking with. Okay, so you get all of that you can work here or you can still export on a spreadsheet to work with my advice at this point, and this is a good example. You will notice that like this one is a kite car rental phone number chi car rental, LAX, Ky, rent a car, all of them are branded terms, right? And obviously if you’re looking at organic, you’re not going to be interested in ranking as thrifty for kite searches or at least not anytime soon. So I go to advanced filters and I exclude keyword containing kite which is a brand to then see what they rank… that is not a branded term.
Erika Varangouli 49:50
Okay, so that should include everything that has to do with kite and it’s not branded terms. And then I will order by Volume, because I want to see the ones they rank that have the highest volume, search volume, or the position, which ones they’re ranking top. So like this is a very popular keyword, but they’re not ranking anywhere. So depending on where you’re looking, you can, you can order the list as you want or on your spreadsheet. All right. So use that, let me come back here. And then how they perform.
So you want to use a free website checker to get an overview. When I share the slides, you can see but like SEMrush has, for example, a free page where you can get some information about a website and how it performs like this page looks like that. So free website traffic checker, you can put the domain in, maybe if it’s too small, you won’t get much but it’s worth checking for your client as well. And your competitors who, um, the organic research tool to find their top performing pages and the ranking and ranking URL.
So back here. In this report, if you click on pages, what you see for kite is what their top pages are in terms of traffic. Okay, so kite, then it’s this one for a Los Angeles Airport, then it’s this one, which is part of a campaign, I imagine. There are not tonnes of them. But in other cases, you will find way more pages and they’re ordered by how the one performing the best usually would be the homepage or many times to the rest of them performance. So export all of that on spreadsheets, right? So you can analyse on you can add your input there. And
Chitra Iyer 51:47
Erica, what’s sorry, to butt in, but what’s the colour coding on that screen of the keywords? The bar has,
Erika Varangouli 51:56
that has to do with intent behind the keywords. So it is just to visualise very quickly if that keyword of the keywords that that page ranks for are only like commercial, or if they’re informative. So at this point, I don’t know that you need to really look into that. But it’s something to when you go into each page analysis that you will analyse each keyword separately that it ranks for. Okay, I think the one thing to say is that SEMrush pretty much every element on the page, you click on or you hover over and you get a message explaining what it is. So please use I still use it. And I’ve worked there for four years.
And sometimes I’m like, What is this mean? Or I don’t remember like how it’s calculated. So when you start using it, hover over or click on elements to understand what they are. Don’t imagine for a second that you need to know straight away what they mean. Okay, and then ask me questions as we go if something is unclear, okay. But it will get better by using I assure you. And if you don’t have access to a paid tool, I would still say use any free tools, you can get any free account, you can get for tools, do that, right? Don’t let go of opportunities to have access even to limited data by having a free account.
And then you can also the other thing you can do is manual checks on Google with a target keyword to see who ranks but that obviously is going to be an endless process if you have to do it for a website and all the kinds of competitors and keywords and everything that you want to target. So really, you need some kind of tool or, you know, other cases, I imagine your client will give you that list because they have done and then you can question or you can go over those lists yourself and ask them questions. And then the fourth thing you want to do is where else they’re active outside their website or search, right?
Go to their social media profiles, map the content they’re publishing, like identify the tone of voice, how often they publish, what topics they write about, do they interact with their audience, right? These are all very important things, you will get brands that, for example, may not do well in search, but they have built amazing communities online, or that the tone of voice on their social media is quite different.
And it works really well to engage audiences if they post often or not, like all of this qualitative data that at this stage in your analysis can help you a lot with coming up with ideas for a content marketing strategy. And the other thing you can do as well manually is go on Google use site, use search operators again, right, and yet a mix of content. So this one’s for you, Paris. Let me just do this year. So let’s say I want to see At site SEMrush dot O minus site.com. Piping in the right place and what have I done? I don’t know what I’ve done around
Roshni Shaikh 55:43
Well, I think probably a space between minus and cite my work.
Erika Varangouli 55:49
Oh no, it’s not about you don’t have space this but like, as it’s something I’m saying I’m sorry ah, oh my god, I’m sorry, Emile, I have a fever. That’s my case. I want to search that excluding the website. Oh, my God, I will confusing with that i was breaking Google right now. So you want to search for the term, right? Outside of its website. That’s what mean minus site is look for this. One, but not return any results that are on this domain. Okay.
And you can even search just with a name a trust, because maybe we’ll mention them as a brand on the whole domain. So you will get usually you get like social capital is another account you own. But then you get where else are they mentioned, there are many Backlinko there have mentioned, have their own channel, YouTube will be mentioned here, you will get affiliate results, you get Jeetu, which is a review platform. And then software platform. So you see a lot of like, Okay, where is my competitor mentioned? Who writes about them?
What do they write about them. And in some cases, these listings will be managed by your competitor. So like their Twitter accounts, your YouTube, your LinkedIn. If I open this up, for example, maybe this is an affiliate link, so that tells me that they’re using affiliate marketing to promote their brand, okay, and all of it is quite useful to give you an overall idea of what content they’re producing. Okay, three more minutes, keyword gap analysis, I’ll show you the workflow because I need you to use it once you’ve identified your competitors. Okay, you go here, and keyword gap. All right, and you put I’m sorry, I’m gonna put my competitors because I know them. I’m sorry.
It’s just your name. And then I’m gonna put a dress. And I want to put let’s stay in but for now, and I want to use the United States database. So four United States compare what this shows me, right is the keywords that we have in common. How other how many other keywords I’m ranking for that they don’t and how many they rank for it, I don’t just again, save and draft I can show you very quickly an idea of the size and how big the overlap is. But what you want to do is go here, okay, and check which ones are the ones either share or are missing, right I missing 5000 keywords that one or both of my competitors are ranking for but I’m not like this one Google search from zero I don’t write a trust 48 Miles steed.
So you can find like untapped and all of them. Once you hover over them. You will see what I mean what the differences are right week is like when you rank lower than one or more of your competitors. So use these filters because they can give your Only good idea or expert that keyword work on spreadsheets, it’s up to you. But what you see here is how many of those keywords you have, they don’t how many you have in common, and then where you rank, right.
Erika Varangouli 1:00:17
And then I go back, we need to also ideas from social media. So while top performing posts will get the most engagement, third party sites that will help in the previous step, then maybe content you discover on your own like you go on a website like sem rush, and you will find a section with ebooks that they cannot be found like on Google, right? Because they’re behind a login. So write down ideas of like, what are they doing, they have a lot of ebooks that you can download, or a lot of webinars that you sign up for. And now is the exciting time. Now it’s over to you. And this is what we will do next week.
This is what Claude needs. I want you to start your content marketing strategy. So I want to get an idea of how I am doing against my competitors. Please share an initial document with me identify my main competitors in search, how they are performing compared to my site, and an initial list of terms and keywords you suggest I focus on right to improve my performance. You can send it to me in any format you want like a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, I don’t know, notes, emojis, whatever works.
And if I can have it by next Tuesday, it would be great. Please remember, ground rules, any questions, you reach out to Cloud Endpoint, you can do that. You can use AI. But please disclose if you do that. And then if you don’t manage to do that for next week, please let me know in advance as well. And then please deliver the week after because we need to get on with our strategy. And that’s it. Okay, is everyone asleep? No. All right. Cool. I talked a lot and I hate doing that. But I really wanted us to to finish competitor analysis this this week. Do you have questions? Yeah,
Mae Josémaria O. 1:02:43
I wanted to know if you’re going to be sharing your slides and video later on. Yeah, absolutely. Yes. really choppy?
Erika Varangouli 1:02:50
Erika Varangouli 1:02:52
So the recording takes a few hours usually to come through. But I will share this week. Like tomorrow, not like last week when I was a rights and then nothing else existed. And the slides Yes, for sure. I will also upload to the shared folder.
Mae Josémaria O. 1:03:07
Okay, yeah. So one of the things I missed out on when I logged in and logged out, so my network was I didn’t get the parts. There are some colour coding, I think on that research or something, and I didn’t understand, because I missed it. Basically, I didn’t understand what it was about
Erika Varangouli 1:03:28
that. I mean, it’s not it’s not really important at this point. Anyway. So that’s what I said, I think it was Trump who asked for actually I don’t remember. But it’s not something you have to use right now.
You can see recording where I said like what it is, but also, it’s not something that you’re going to use at this stage.
Mae Josémaria O. 1:03:52
All right, thank you.
Erika Varangouli 1:03:53
No worries. Paris, did you have a question or something to say?
Peris muthinja 1:04:00
No, no, no.
Ah, I can see your raised hang. And I’m like peris really wants to say something
Peris muthinja 1:04:05 that at least I wanted you to show us something. What do you do then?
Erika Varangouli 1:04:11
That’s fine. Anyone else have any questions? No. Okay,
Chitra Iyer 1:04:21
Hi Erica Chitra here with one so the recommendation that we send for next week is only for organic search right now. We’re gonna get into social media and other communities, forums, platforms, etc.
Erika Varangouli 1:04:36
Well, look, I showed you today where I look, even when I want to build an organic strategy. It’s up to you to decide how much of it you want to do. And in your document you can include or not include, and you’re gonna explain why as well. So it’s entirely up to you. I’m interested in how you approach it.
Roshni Shaikh 1:05:01
Sorry, Erica, I have a question. The, the audit we are going to be doing, is it like a part of the paid project? Or is this something that we do to land the client? I’m sorry, I’m confused, because sometimes we also perform audits to learn the client,
Erika Varangouli 1:05:20
no, no, no, this, consider that your Claude has reached out and he wants to work with you. So right now he wants to see an initial stage of this project, which is like, he asks you to identify his competitors. And then like, what do you suggest we start with for the strategy?
Roshni Shaikh 1:05:39
So this is where I’m the deliverables? The competitor analysis is one of the deliverables? Yeah. Okay. Okay. Cool. Thank you.
Erika Varangouli 1:05:48
Sandra, do you want to add something?
sandra Tabansi 1:05:50
Yes. So you said we could use any format. And we mentioned just word and can I also use Google Docs?
Erika Varangouli 1:05:58
Yeah, I prefer it as well. So it’s up to you entirely. Honestly, I use the Google Suite so it’s easier to share as well and everything so please do if you can
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