Ranking on Google is not ranking in a vacuum. Ranking is outranking your competitors. When you’ve got very limited space on the first page of the SERPs, you need to be doing better than your competitors.
In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Lidia Infante shows you her recommended strategies for successful SEO gap analysis.
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Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to a new edition of Whiteboard Fridays. My name is Lidia Infante, and I’m the Senior SEO Manager at sanity.io. Today, I’m going to be talking to you about SEO gap analysis, and yes, I know it’s a very unsexy topic, but bear with me because it’s worth it.
SEO gap analysis takes us to the first principles of what we do in SEO because ranking on Google is not ranking in a vacuum. Ranking is outranking your competitors. You’ve got a very limited space on the first page of the SERPs, and you need to be doing better than your competitors to be able to rank there. That means, then, you need to know what your competitors are doing and how you’re going to do it better.
Once you have your set of competitors ready, you’re going to proceed to benchmark yourself against them, and we’re going to be doing this across the three pillars of SEO.
So we’re going to be looking at content, we’re going to be looking at links, and we’re going to be looking at tech SEO. We’re going to look at how our competitors perform from each of those and how we compare.
So when it comes to content, the very first thing that we want to look at is at the estimated traffic by type that our competitors and we have. So when I’m talking about traffic by type, what I mean is like: Are they getting branded traffic versus unbranded traffic, product traffic, editorial traffic? It’s going to be very different depending on the vertical that you’re in, so adapt it to make it yours. We’re also going to be looking at the number of editorial URLs that they have and how much traffic these editorial URLs are getting each on average. And lastly, we’re going to be looking at the number of keywords that they’re ranking for. We’re not going to be looking at all of the keywords. We’re going to be aiming for the range of 1 to 30. Again, you can make this yours. You know your market better, and you know what’s relevant, but that should narrow the entire pool to stuff that’s a little more relevant to your competitors.
Then, we’re going to be looking at links. We’re going to begin with link gap analysis. That is we’re going to look at how many links your competitors have and how many referring domains are pointing to your competitors. Then, we’re going to use this to measure link growth. We’re going to look at how many links your competitors had 6 months ago or 12 months ago if your market is a little slower, and we’re going to get a percentage of growth out of that. That’s going to indicate to you whether your search market is very aggressive with link building and you need to make an effort to keep up or it’s a little bit more relaxed. Then, we’re going to be looking at branded search. So how many people are looking for your competitors’ brands versus how many people are looking for your brand? That’s going to indicate the level of brand awareness that you have within your target audience in comparison to your competitors.
And we’re going to take it one step further, and we’re going to be looking again at branded traffic. There should be a very, very correlated relation between branded search and branded traffic. If you’re first for branded search, you should be first for branded traffic and so on. But if there isn’t, it might be an indicator that you don’t have content within your site that’s responding to the users’ queries about your brand. So that’s definitely a very quick win that you could action right now.