A Detailed Guide to Doing a Competitor Analysis with SEMrush

While we all want to make our path and blaze new trails, sometimes the best way to make the best possible outcome is to follow the path that already exists. Learning from others is part of the human experience and part of what makes humanity so prone to advancement. Our knowledge is cumulative and comes from all corners of society, creating a massive surplus of information. Even competitors offer something valuable. You can learn an incredible amount of data directly from your competition and turn their mistakes and ingenuity into your strengths.

Let’s take a look at how to do a competitor analysis with the help of SEMrush to help you figure out what exactly you must do to get ahead.

Identify Your Competition

Before you get started in attempting to unravel the mysteries surrounding your competition’s success, you must first understand who exactly makes up your competition. Look at some of the top sites within your niche to help determine who the top dogs are. These top-ranking sites will be your targets, as they are doing something very right to rank so highly within the search engine algorithm.

To do this, you can use the SEMrush Competitor’s tool in the Organic Research tab. All you have to do is enter your domain name in the search bar to get started. Once it has loaded up, select the “Competitors” tab to view an extensive list of sites that share keyword real estate with your website. These are going to be the sites most likely acting as your direct competition. The sites rank according to how closely they match with your site, so continuing to scroll down will showcase sites with even just a few matching keywords. These lower ranking sites can still provide valuable information but are not as much of a concern as the ones with more direct comparisons, as these are likely your direct competition.

These sites are going to be the ones you use with SEMrush. You will get a close-up look at what makes them tick and understand precisely why they are ranking so high and doing so well in the current search engine marketplace. From there, you will use the collected information to make a plan to tackle your own search engine optimization goals using what you learn from the gathered SEMrush data. Let’s get started figuring out exactly what you need to do to get your hands on the information you desire.

Monitoring the Rankings

Once you know who your competitors are, you need to monitor changes in their rankings to understand their methods and the impact of their SEO techniques on their overall ranking. Using this information, you can better curate a plan to assist you in achieving your optimal ranking.

To view this information, you need to create a new campaign on SEMrush. You can then add up to twenty different competitors to the campaign and add in the position tracking tool, which shows you how your site is ranking compared to those twenty other sites in different locations.

To fully set up the position tracking tool, you must enable the “tracking root domain” option and customize the “device and location” tab with any specific location or device you wish to track. From there, you finalize your list of competitors to keep track of and enter a file of keywords to monitor either manually or from SEMrush’s database.

Once everything is ready, you can select the “add to project” option and then click “start tracking.” This tool will showcase the status of the competitors, including their standing within the ranking system and traffic levels, giving you crucial data for comparison.

Compare Keywords

Keywords are the backbone of search engine optimization. Everything that is done in SEO relies upon the successful selection of keywords that correspond to the niche. Comparing your keywords to that of your closest comparable website can give you insight into areas you are ahead of and those in which you are lacking, allowing you to better adapt to the current rankings.

To begin this process, select the “gap analysis” tool and the sub-option that reads “keyword gap.” Enter in up to five selected competitive websites and what types of keywords you want to compare. You can choose between organic, PLA, and paid keywords. Then, you will then decide on how you want the information displayed with the “intersection type” option.

Click the “go” button, and you are on your way to accessing a ton of valuable data. If you want more control, try adjusting the filter options to get more precise or spectrum-based content and data.

Quick Batch Comparison

If you want to compare a lot of different websites, you are in luck. SEMrush allows you to compare up to one hundred individual sites with their “quick batch” tool. This tool assists you view data across a wide range of sites quickly by providing no-frills information. This comparison of your backlink profile to hundreds of different sites can prove to give an incredible level of insight into how the ranking is split based on the algorithm.

To do this, you first should select the “gap analysis” option. Once selected, you can then access the submenu, at which point you will click the “quick batch” menu. In the box, enter up to two hundred different website URLs at one per line. These will be the comparison sites. Once sent through, the data will include a wide range of vital data, including traffic information, affiliate information, and more.

The Backlink Gap Tool

Similar to the “quick batch” tool, the “backlink gap” tool showcases a selection of sites that is smaller than that of the “quick batch” tool. The information is much more in-depth and provides more insight into deeper content evaluations.

To use this tool, first, open “gap analysis.” Next, select, “backlink gap” and enter five domains you would like to compare. You will then select “go” and wait as the site works until the results generate and display.

The generated response will have graphs showing the data in an organized manner to make your evaluations easier. Through this, you can see what backlinks your competitors are making and change your planning accordingly.

Track Their Social Media

With social media being one of the most commonly used application types and websites used across the world, it makes sense that you would want to take a look at how your competitors are utilizing their social media to contact clients and customers. Social media can make or break a company. Sites with well-managed social media pages and a positive social media presence generally experience more return visits and lengthy stays, which improves their overall ranking. If your competitors are doing something right, you want to find out what that effective method is and do it even better!

To start using the social media tracker tool on SEMrush, first, go to the “set up” option under the social media tracker tab. Then, you can add up to twenty different sites or go with the ones generated by SEMrush’s recommendations. Either way, once you are satisfied with the list, you then select the “start social media tracker” button and wait for the results to generate and display.

This overview will showcase the social media activity level, audience size, and generalized engagement. You can then select each of these options to get more information on specifics. In a separate section, the top engagement pieces from each site show up for you to evaluate for any clues for future posts on your page.

Graphs showing specific data entries like growth and engagement over time are available as well for your viewing needs. If you need comparative social media content information, this tool is comprehensive and easy to use.

Using the Data

SEMrush provides a lot of different specific pieces of data. The amount of information can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. Fortunately, the data display design features multiple different ways to customize the information’s showcasing, which makes understanding and reviewing easier than ever.

Being able to customize the information’s presentation is a great way to ensure that multiple different partners can all understand the complex data, as well. The ability to do this simplifies communication across a wide range of platforms and ensures you can get the most important parts of the content exactly where it needs to go.

You can also download the results and print them, as well, allowing you to have a paper copy on hand to bring to meetings and other formal viewing events. You can also easily take notes and make plans with a physical copy of your site’s results, making planning incredibly simplified.

This downloadable feature is also perfect for those giving presentations, as everyone in attendance can have a copy in their hands to follow along. Having a physical copy works to ensure that everyone can easily keep up and understand the information in both large and small group meetings, which is necessary if you are working on how to use the data collected to better your brand and sites.

You can also use this information to look for holes in your keyword real estate. Filling these holes can help you to rank higher and reach an entirely new base of customers, clients, and visitors. With the goal being to get people to visit the site and stick around, having enriched content with keywords is a great way to achieve the initial draw.

Once they are on the site, you need to have a plan to make them want to stay. To do this, try ensuring that the content is helpful, honest, and readable. No one wants to read a ten thousand word essay written in a boring suit and tie jargon. Try to make it relatable and light. Keeping the content personable will assist in helping your visitors feel comfortable in their ability to retain the knowledge you are providing and use it in the future. The content does no one any good at all if it cannot be understood and realistically usable.

The Power of Search Engine Optimization

SEO is one of the most powerful tools you can use in getting your site out there and ahead of the game. There are a lot of websites that have a master staff on hand to keep their SEO-enriched content at the top of the rankings, but you can do better! The SEO industry is a game of cat and mouse. One moment you are pursuing the top-ranking page, and in a few moments, you find yourself pursued by someone wanting to usurp you. Keeping up with ranking highly with search engines is a long game approach but is entirely worth it and can make a massive difference in the success of your site as a whole. No matter how high you wish to rank, there is something to help you achieve your goal. SEO is an incredible tool that can be lifechanging.

SEMrush, SEO, and You

While creating something new or making your unique path is sometimes necessary and worth the effort, there are times when it is best to go with the flow. With SEO, sometimes looking at established sites for guidance is an excellent way to get your feet off of the ground and help you work towards getting your website on the same level as many other more established ones.

Using SEMrush and its multitude of tools to find out what is working for your competition is a great way to get a leg up on what everyone else is doing. When starting or revamping, a running start is one of the best things you can give yourself if you want success in your venture. Help yourself to get this little boost and make a plan with help from SEMrush. This tool is incredibly valuable and can make the entire process much less intensive. It is just a matter of choosing where to begin! SEMrush does all of the digging and dirty work for you so you can focus your energy on planning and getting ahead!

Jeannie Brouts

by Jeannie Brouts

Jeannie Brouts is a Marketing Manager at SEO Vendor. She has 10 years of experience in White Label SEO and online marketing. Jeannie loves writing about the latest ways to help businesses market and produce results.