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Elena Dryamina

How to Disarm Your Online Competitors

Elena Dryamina
How to Disarm Your Online Competitors

Online marketers are like fighters. Every day they are striving for higher rankings and better online visibility. If you are a digital soldier, you’ll understand that knowing who your online rivals are and what they do is crucial for your SEO and PPC victories.

By conducting competitive landscape analysis, you can identify exactly with whom you will compete for customers. Moreover, you can understand your competitors’ behavior on the web battlefield and predict their next steps.

How should you research your online competitors?

You can begin with a few simple Google searches for the same keywords that are important for your business, and then see whose webpages and ads appear in the SERPs. But how much time are you prepared to spend on this activity? Typing queries into Google’s search bar and analyzing search results and competitors’ websites can take hours ,or even days. This time spent also doesn’t guarantee profound and accurate insights into your online rivals’ strategies.

Luckily, there is an instrument for rapidly and efficiently performing PPC and SEO competitive analysis: SEMrush.

SEMrush is a great resource to research which organic and AdWords keywords your web rivals are using. You can also track your competitors’ keyword rankings in Google’s (and Bing US’) top organic and paid search results, and gain other interesting insights into your online competition. SEMrush data can be used by a digital agency, as well as by an in-house SEO or SEM team, for taking a broad inventory of the competitive landscape.

Check out the tips below on how to use SEMrush to heavily arm yourself for a digital struggle and win customers away from your competitors!

Defining and Sizing Up Your Competition

You’d be surprised how easy it is to start gathering competitive data— just enter the domain name of a website into the SEMrush search bar and click Search.

semrush-search-bar

    • Go to SEMrush → Organic Research → Competitors in the side navigation menu. The Competitors Report’s visual, Competitive Positioning Map (1) will give you an instant understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a competitor's domain presence in the organic search results.

semrush-how-to-competitive-positioning-map

    • This report also contains a detailed list of the queried domain’s organic rivals (2). Such metrics as Competition Level (3) and Common Keywords (4) will help you focus on your real competitors.

semrush-how-to-competitors 

To go deeper, click on the given number (5) in the Common Keywords column.

  • You will be forwarded to the Domain vs. Domain tool, which uses a Venn diagram (6) to visualize the share of keywords competitors' domains have in common, as well as ones unique to each website. By clicking the overlapping portion of this visual, you can view common search terms in a text format; non-overlapping parts represent competitors’ unique keywords.

semrush-how-to-domain-vs-domain

  • Since your competition in organic and paid search can differ, you should check out your AdWords competitors. Use the Competitors Report in the Advertising Research section to see who is posing a threat in paid search.

Detecting Competitors’ Best-Performing Keywords

Once you have defined your competitors, you can take a look at their most powerful weapons: keywords.

    • Go to the Organic Search Positions report. Enter a competitor’s domain, and you will see which keywords they are ranking for in the Google (or Bing US) top 20 (7), the positions (8) these keywords are getting, and which of their webpages (9) pop up on the SERPs.

semrush-how-to-organic-positions

    • Use the Paid Search Positions report to see which keywords (10) your competitors are bidding on, their text ads (11) that appeared in paid search results for each given keyword, as well as their exact location (12) on the SERPs.

semrush-how-to-paid-search-positions

Monitoring Keyword Rankings

Once you have discovered which valuable keywords bring your competitors to the Google top 20, you can use them for enriching your own web content or enlarging your set of AdWords keywords.

  • Go to SEMrush → Tools → Position Tracking. This tool allows you to monitor how your rankings are progressing compared to your competitors’ (13). You can create a tracking campaign with particular keywords and get daily updates on your and your competitors’ websites’ position changes in the Google top 100 and in paid search results.

semrush-how-to-keyword-rankings

    • Go to Position Tracking → Tools → Competitors Discovery. This report will show you which domains are gaining or losing web visibility. You can use it to keep tabs on current competitors and instantly spot new arrivals (14).

semrush-how-to-competitors-discovery 

Recap:

  • Define your key competitors.
  • Evaluate their keywords in organic and paid search.
  • Enrich your web content and ad campaigns with valuable keywords.
  • Track your and your competitors’ keyword rankings.
  • Define which keywords work best and focus on them.
  • Routinely monitor your competitors to make sure you don’t miss perfect keyword opportunities.

You can use SEMrush not only to spot great search terms, but also see competitors’ domains’ backlinks and analyze their display advertising activities. Not to mention, you can conduct a site audit, find effective calls-to-action for your text ads and find cheap AdWords keywords too.

How else do you use SEMrush for competitive research? Let me know in the comments!

Elena Dryamina is a technical writer at SEMrush. Her last article was, “How to Find Low-Competition Keywords with SEMrush."

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