Competitor Research to Improve SEO

Value Skewing Competitor Research SEO

A simple SEO strategy is to analyze the top 3 pages for any keyword you want to improve.

Think how your page can beat these by value skewing as many things as possible. How can I make my page more valuable by improving upon them? How can I add unique value?

RankBrain, Google’s machine learning portion of their algorithm, studies user behavior to confirm the best ranking factors for each Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

This means that for any search, backlinks could matter more, or having longform content, or including multimedia. This explains in part why competitor research is vital, since the essential factors differ by SERP.

This means that for any search query, backlinks could matter more, or say in-depth content, or perhaps the inclusion of multimedia among numerous factors. This explains in part why competitor research is vital, since essential factors all differ by SERP.

Here are some SEO-based ideas for your value skewing process…

  • Is the intent of the top content navigational (get to a predetermined site), informational (learn), or transactional (buy)? Make sure your content aligns with this user expectation.
  • Does ranking well seem to require a major brand, either through a successful company or thought leader, for this keyword? This is often represented through high domain authority under SEO tools. Understand the reality that simpler keywords are more difficult to rank for due to high competition, and unfortunately “the rich get richer.”
  • Does the query rely on multimedia such as video, audio, or high-quality images like infographics?
  • How is both internal and outbound linking used? Are they from/to relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy sites? How relevant are keywords within the anchor text?
  • Is this query meant to be relevant locally? If so, do I address the proper cities? Do I have local backlinks to this page?
  • Is my content regularly updated? Freshness and recency is important for many subjects.
  • Is any engagement encouraged through comments, chat feature, newsletter sign-up, and social sharing/liking? This can be immediately like a pop-up form with an offer or something similar or eventually like a reviews widget. Keeping a visitor on-page longer, instead of clicking back to the SERPs, may be important for SEO.
  • Do keywords I include address the whole topic well, covering the necessary word count comparable to top competitors to do so? Does it include synonyms and related subjects? Are these keywords used early in the copy?
  • Does my content effectively use multimedia including high-quality video, audio, and/or images?
  • Is the user experience great? Is the website easy to navigate (and this page easy to access, especially if important) and loading fast (under 3 seconds)? Bounce rates can help to monitor then improve this aspect.
  • How can I earn more links and social engagement versus competitors for this content? Are you reaching influencers and other leaders within your industry? Dwell on this thought experiment… If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
  • Is there structured data and other search engine and visitor usability features such as URL breadcrumbs?
  • How does the title, meta description, and breadcrumbs look to encourage clicks? This also applies to content displayed through rich features. Once I reach the page, am I quickly pulled into the content?
  • Is the content organized well? Is there some lists of bulleted items under an appropriate header? Is this all supported by a table of contents?
  • Is this content readable through shorter sentences and simpler words when feasible? How is the reading level, measured through tests such as Flesch reading ease, considered for my target audience? Content digestibility also improves through more paragraphs, headers, and images.
  • Is consumer psychology addressed effectively? Induce scarcity, reciprocation, and curiosity. Check out 6 Principles of Persuasion to get started here.

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