How Keeping an Eye On Your Competitors Makes Your SEO Rankings Better

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a critical part of any digital marketing strategy for all types of businesses. Achieving better rankings on Google is the number one thing you can do to drive visitors to your site, bring in sales leads, and grow your business.

There are many things you can do to improve your SEO, but one largely underestimated strategy to strengthen SEO is competitor analysis. Watching what your competitors are doing is vital to refining your SEO strategy and could exponentially improve results for your business.

In this article we will look at the principles of competitor analysis, how they can improve SEO in general, and how you can apply these techniques to ecommerce businesses.

Will Competitor Analysis Improve My Site’s SEO?

Competitor analysis is important primarily because it will let you learn from their strengths and weaknesses. By looking at what they’re doing you can take inspiration from what is working well, with modifications for your own brand and goals.

You can also learn what is not working well for your competitors and make your own improvements, putting you ahead of the competition.

SEO is complex and is only growing more complicated as Google and other search engines develop their processes and algorithms. There are many factors which influence SEO, with keywords being a major component, along with backlinks and other factors. You can conduct a comprehensive competitor analysis of these using certain techniques as well as key online tools: we will discuss how in the next section.

How Can I Use Competitor Analysis To Improve SEO

Reverse Engineer Keywords

Competitor analysis can help you to determine the highest ranking keywords by working out which keywords your competitors are ranking for on Google. Although achieving high rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) comes down to a range of factors, having the optimal keywords is one of the best ways to improve your rankings.

There are a few online SEO tools which will show you the keywords that any given site is ranking for. Ahrefs is probably the best on the market, although you have to sign up for a paid subscription to use it. Free alternatives include semrush and moz.

On Ahrefs, use the Site Explorer function to analyse a URL from any top ranking competitor. The tool will then produce results showing which keywords the site is ranking for, and the search volume of each. See a sample screenshot below:

Search the list for the highest volume keywords which are relevant to your site or your post and be sure to integrate these. You can find the top ranking competitor URLs by performing some searches on terms and phrases relevant to your business – put yourself in the shoes of your customers!

Analyse Backlinks

Backlinks are another factor which has a strong influence on SEO; in fact, it is one of the top two factors which Google considers. Google will rank your site more highly if there are links from well-respected, authoritative sites pointing back to your site. This is because this indicates to Google that your site is also well-respected and authoritative.

The quantity and quality of these links are important. The number of links has an impact from an SEO perspective: obviously, the more links the better. However, even more important is the quality of the links: 10 links from well-known sites will bring better results than 100 links from smaller, non-authoritative domains.

Ahrefs and similar tools have a function (in Ahrefs it is called Site Explorer) in which you can look at the backlink profile of any given URL: that is, how many sites are linking back to that domain and which ones. You can then use this information to work out which sites you should be targeting as part of your own strategy to build more backlinks.

Tools for Competitor Analysis

Along with the tools and functions already mentioned which can help you to analyse keywords and backlinks on your competitors’ sites, there are a range of other great SEO tools which can let you keep an eye on your competitors.

QuickSprout, for example, will analyse your competitors’ sites and give you advice on how to drive more traffic to your site. Semrush, which we’ve already mentioned, can also conduct site audits of both your site and your competitors’, to give you useful insights. Tools like Similar Web will show you how many unique visitors your competitors generate per month and how you stack up.

If you don’t have the time, skills or knowledge to effectively use these tools, working with a digital marketing agency can also be a great option.

How to Use Competitor Analysis for Ecommerce Businesses

The approach of competitor analysis is particularly useful for ecommerce businesses selling products on platforms such as Amazon. Looking at the best-selling products and most successful stores in your niche can help you learn from your competitors and improve your own sales.

In analysing competitors’ high-performing product listings, look at the keywords they are using, their images and product features they include. Also think about how the listing in presented: what marketing techniques are they using to converter visitors into sales?

Conversions are one of the most important things you can do to be successful in ecommerce, along with attracting visitors to your listings. It is not enough to drive traffic to your store; you also need to convince users to buy. For more information on how to increase Amazon conversions, check this guide.


By conducting a thorough analysis of your competitors you can discover how their sites are performing and what keyword, backlinks and other factors are contributing to this success. You can then take this knowledge to develop and improve your own SEO strategy, which will help you to drive more traffic to your site and ultimately grow your business.

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