Taking a strategic and critical lens to identify competitors can help to discover unique and valuable keywords for SEO.
Building a portfolio of keywords is much more than knowing the brand and the products.
Information and tips for finding all potential competitors before to start including URLs and keywords in the competitor analysis and keyword tools.
1. Understanding the relevance and definition of competence:
The world of digital competition is full of a diversity of players.
In many ways, virtual and natural ecosystems are similar.
The same laws of nature can be applied to the virtual world.
Those who compete for the same visibility as competitors, and it is very valuable for keyword research to consider the relevance of the space.
Relevant competitors include:
Direct competitors: Those who sell the same products and services to the same target audience.
Indirect competitors: Those who can sell the same product, but to a different audience or market.
Those who sell a different product or service, but the relevance of their product is so close, competing for a similar audience.
Semantic Competitors: These competitors may not even sell a product, they can only offer juicy and cutting-edge information, newsworthy or essential to gain visibility from the same audience they are targeting.
Direct competitors would be Adobe or Skylum Luminar. These companies offer professional-grade photo editing software.
Indirect competitors can be Snapseed or VSCO.
These companies offer photography applications that can be downloaded to a phone for mobile use.
Semantic competitors can be online magazines trying to grab attention and serve the target audience of photographers.
Open up a world of unique opportunities in keyword research when realizing the breadth of the contenders.
2. Lean on indirect competitors:
While most companies and marketers can point to their direct and obvious competitors, learning how to identify indirect and semantic competitors may require a little more finesse, creative thinking, and understanding of relevance.
Indirect competitors may not always be one step away from the product or purpose, but include those trying to achieve the same visibility in the eyes of the target audience.
3. Learning from semantic competitors:
Industry trends are increasing in the niche, it is vital to keep an eye out for popular industry publications and semantic competitors.
There is a lot of value to be gained by going where the audience goes to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
These semantic competitors can provide insight into the rise and fall of keyword trends and how search engine queries can change over time.
Semantic competitors can also provide valuable information about the emergence of lesser-known or less established competitors.
4. Hand searches and analysis from the top of the food chain:
When considering competitors, look for those at the top of the food chain with a hand search.
This is easily done by using Google to search for an essential term and researching the snippet and SERP with a critical analysis of who’s showing up.
Then dig into how they organize and deliver content with purpose and intention.
In addition to looking at organic rankings, take note of the ads that appear at the top of the SERP.
These paid results indicate that the company or webmaster of a site is bidding and paying for that keyword.
Any company is willing to pay for visibility in the same space where it is definitely a competitor.
Take a look at the content they are creating and the keywords they are not only targeting but paying as well.
Observing who is located in the general space can provide key information on how these direct, indirect and semantic competitors approach the content and serve the search engine.
If someone searches for a few keyword terms that are essential to the brand and each search result provide a list of common suspects, they will most likely be targeting the necessary keyword spaces.
Not only are they on target, but they are also likely to produce content that serves the search engine.
If ranking the competitors has valuable content that generates engagement and promotes visibility with the target audience, targeting those keywords is essential.
Find keyword opportunities and mimic competitor content by making sure to deliver similar information with the same intent, or mine the content for more long-tail query opportunities.
The content should include a more complete and relevant shot that works to fully explore the subject through a single lens, to provide a similar but original asset that deserves to represent and answer a query for a search engine.
Get social and go straight to the source.
Find out which social platforms the audience typically uses, join those platforms, and use social media to identify the competition.
Look at the content of those competitors and dive into the keywords they are targeting with the content and reflect on whether they are providing the same or similar value with the own keyword portfolio.
Research other social forums like Reddit, Quora, or niche groups and websites to get information on what the audience is talking about.
6. Local parcel tracking:
If the goal is to rank in a local search, an essential step in building a local keyword portfolio is to keep track of the positions, results, and keywords in the local package.
The local package is the result box that is placed at the top of the SERP for a “near me” query.
There are so many factors that Google uses when evaluating local content to serve in the snack package.
Getting a position in the local package will not only include updating, monitoring and optimizing the GMB profile but will also depend on relevance, distance and prominence.
To meet the local ranking goal and be in the local pack, need to critically analyze who is showing up and how these positions move.
To continually monitor the local package for ranking, take note of all those competitors and do a deep analysis of their keyword portfolios.
Look for similarities and differences in the specific keyword queries that are targeting and include them in the content strategy.
Take a look at the local links that competitors are getting to other relevant opportunities as well.
Ask why the keyword content is worthy of getting local links and if there are opportunities to do something similar but unique.
Google’s constant update of the local pack will also provide guidance on which competitor is the best candidate for keyword research.
7. Following links and mentions:
Another strategy to identify competitors is to look for links and mentions.
This can include looking for review sites and even affiliate-focused blogs to see who is turning (either paid or organically) into valuable online conversations.
It is even better if one can find reputable and authoritative sites and posts with a large following that provide links and mentions in their content.
This strategy can help uncover not only highly authorized or well-known competitors, but also unique and promising competitors who did something smart or unique enough to be worthy of them.
To find sites and discover competitors, follow the link to the competitor’s page and perform keyword analysis.
Analyze the on-page optimization and find out how the content is positioned not only to satisfy the search engine’s intent but also how to targeted the audience in a way that made it link-worthy.
Researching the competition is an essential aspect of online presence management, but it is not a straightforward operation.
Like many other aspects of SEO, the nuance is in the details.
The competition for space and visibility takes a holistic approach.