About the Author

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Content Manager at 

Sven Nossek is a Content Manager at UnitedAds, overseeing all aspects of content creation: from research and briefings to content plans and the final text. He has been involved with content management, SEO, content marketing, and artificial intelligence in marketing and content areas since 2019.

In addition to German, he speaks English, is learning Swedish, and knows a few words in Spanish. In his free time, he reads fantasy, science fiction, and historical novels, writes himself, cooks, and can be found at medieval markets where he combines his passion for history and archaeology with another hobby: brewing exquisite mead from regional ingredients.

Competitor analysis is part of the work of an online marketing agency. There should be no doubt about that. Of course, we also carry out such analyses for our customers. But why is that actually the case?

What makes competitive analysis such a powerful and important tool in online marketing? And what do I have to bear in mind if I want to carry out such an analysis myself?

In this article, we want to take a closer look at this tool in the repertoire of every marketing agency and every SEO freelancer, but also every in-house marketing team. We shed light on what is involved in a competitive analysis, which tools and methods are required for this and show you how you can take your marketing to a new level with this fundamental tool.

Your competition on the net: Who are they actually?

To be able to analyze the competition, you first need to know who it actually is. In search engine marketing, it is not always the companies that you know from industry events or that have their headquarters nearby.

These competitors are sometimes almost invisible online or have shifted their focus to other areas. Sometimes, however, they are so dominant that it is unrealistic to attack their position in the short and medium term.

Simply put, direct competitors are those companies and websites that compete directly with you for rankings on the same search terms. This applies to both organic and paid search results.

However, there are also indirect competitors. Although these serve the same keywords, they are not considered to be part of the actual competition for various reasons. For example, they fulfill a different search intention, or are “not your cup of tea”, as is usually the case with Wikipedia or Amazon.

Of course, this does not mean that it is not possible to squeeze out these indirect competitors. But it should not be the focus of your work.
Understanding who your direct and indirect rivals are in the highly competitive online market – and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, methods and solutions in depth – allows you to develop a targeted, data-based online marketing strategy.

The aim is not to clumsily copy the competition, but to find ways to do things better ourselves. Getting inspiration from your SERP neighbor is a good idea, blunt copying simply doesn’t work and doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

The right tools for competitive analysis

In order to carry out a good competitive analysis, it is important to look at the right tools. We will go into more detail on the methods for successful analysis in the following paragraphs, as they differ depending on the objective and focus.

To put it bluntly: there is no “one” right or wrong tool. An important aspect in the selection process is personal preference and a look at additional functions and features.

  • All-in-one SEO tools

    These complete solutions are extremely valuable for all aspects of search engine marketing. We recommend examples such as SEMrush, Sistrix and Ahrefs, which offer many other functions in addition to pure SERP and keyword analysis, such as backlink analysis and content optimization.

  • Free tools

    By this I mainly mean Google’s own tools such as Search Console and Analytics (for Bing and other search engines there are corresponding tools from the respective provider). These tools are indispensable for getting started and for cost-efficient in-house marketing. But any halfway serious agency or freelance marketer will also use these tools because their data is unbeatable.

  • Further tools

    For technical analysis we can recommend ScreamingFrog. This is a crawler that provides extensive data. I personally also use a browser extension that allows me to analyze metadata and other information quickly and clearly.

Competitor analysis screenshot ScreamingFrog SEO Spider

Of course, this list could be extended indefinitely, but with an all-in-one tool, the GSC and Analytics, as well as a crawler and, if necessary, an SEO browser plugin, you should be able to perform all the important analyses.

SEO success: mastering keywords and backlinks

Conducting a comprehensive keyword and backlink analysis of your competitors is essential to be successful in search engine optimization.

Keyword analysis is about identifying the key terms with which your competitors are successful.

These insights are extremely valuable as they also provide you with insights into the search behavior and interests of your target group. By integrating these keywords into your own SEO strategy, you can increase the visibility of your website and attract more relevant traffic.

At the same time, the backlink analysis provides valuable information about the online authority and network of your competitors. By understanding what types of websites are linking to your competitors and why, you can draw conclusions about effective strategies for your own link building.

It’s about analyzing the backlink profiles and understanding which aspects of these profiles you can possibly adapt or even improve.
In summary, a thorough analysis of your competitors’ keywords and backlinks is the basis for improving your SEO strategy and strengthening your position in search engine results.

Analysis is a process that not only helps you understand your competitors’ SEO tactics, but also identifies opportunities for you to use these tactics to your advantage.

Better content through smart competitive analysis

Analyzing your competitors’ content reveals valuable insights that you can use for your own strategy.

First of all, you should get an overview of the topics and formats your competitors are using. It’s about capturing the diversity and depth of their content. What topics do they cover? Do they use innovative formats, such as interactive infographics or video blogs, to get their message across?

A key aspect of this is evaluating the performance of your competitors’ content. This includes monitoring engagement rates and understanding what type of content resonates best in your industry.

Use this information to determine what really appeals to your target group and how you can design your content accordingly.

It is equally important to identify potential gaps in your competitors’ content strategy. Are there topics or questions from your target group that have not been adequately addressed to date? Or can you add your own valuable perspective to the existing content, supplementing aspects that have been neglected so far?

By filling these gaps with high-quality and unique content, you can gain an advantage and strengthen your position as an expert and reputable provider in your industry.

By adapting your own content strategy in this targeted way, you can reach your target group more effectively and hold your own in a highly competitive environment.

Turning analysis results into action

The effective implementation of the findings from your SEO competition analysis is the key to a successful strategy. In this section, we look at three concrete steps you can take to turn your analysis results into tangible actions.

  • Strategic keyword integration

    Based on your keyword analysis, you should optimize your content and metadata. Strategically integrate the identified effective keywords into your content, headings, meta descriptions and URLs. Always make sure that you incorporate the keywords organically and naturally. Nobody benefits from unreadable sentences with great keywords – least of all your website performance!

  • Develop link building strategies

    Identify your competitors’ backlink sources and develop a plan to gain similar quality backlinks. This can include partnerships, guest posts or other creative outreach activities. The same applies here: earn the backlinks and don’t take any shortcuts. As tempting as this may sound, in the end you will only harm yourself.

  • Align content to gaps

    Use your content analysis to identify content gaps. Create high-quality content that fills these gaps and appeals to your target audience to increase both the traffic and visibility of your website. You can also establish your status as an industry expert and reputable source with good content.

SEA: Market understanding for better ads

When looking at your competitors’ search engine ads, you should pay particular attention to their keywords, ad texts and general performance.

Which messages are communicated and which offers are emphasized? By understanding your competitors’ strategies, you can gain valuable insights into how you can improve your own ads strategy.

An important aspect of this is recognizing gaps in the market. Are there keywords or target groups that your competitors may have overlooked? By exploiting such gaps, you can gain an advantage and increase your visibility in Google Ads.

It is particularly valuable if you succeed in taking over high-reach search terms from your competitors, at least temporarily. Their SEA team will usually notice and correct this quickly, but in the meantime you can generate valuable traffic and, above all, brand awareness.

The next step is to put the knowledge you have gained into action. Customize your keywords and ad texts and target your campaigns more specifically to the identified target groups.

By adapting your Google Ads strategy based on your competitors’ activities, you can effectively improve your online presence and gain a significant competitive advantage.

Similar to SEO competition analysis, SEA is not about copying your competitors’ methods. Rather, the analysis helps to identify weaknesses and gaps in their strategy and to gain ideas and inspiration for your own marketing.

Setting the strategic course in online marketing

Once you have analyzed your competitors’ SEO and SEA measures, it is time to set goals for your own online marketing strategy and develop corresponding plans. This step is crucial in order to use the knowledge gained effectively and focus your efforts on a goal.

  • 1
    Target definition

    Start by setting clear and measurable goals for your online marketing activities. These could include increasing website visits, increasing the conversion rate or improving visibility for certain keywords.

  • 2
    Strategy development

    Based on your competitive analysis, you develop strategies that support your specific goals. This could include adjusting your SEO tactics, redesigning your Google Ads or developing new content formats.

  • 3
    Performance measurement and customization

    Define criteria that you can use to measure the success of your strategies. Be prepared to adjust your tactics based on results and market changes.

Social media: The ear to the customer

Social media platforms are not only a shop window for your company, but also a direct channel for customer feedback. The immediate feedback is valuable for fine-tuning your marketing strategy.

By actively observing and analyzing the reactions to your own and your competitors’ posts, you can develop a deeper understanding of the wishes and needs of your target group.

This direct feedback gives you an insight into which content and campaigns resonate and which aspects of your marketing may have potential for improvement.

Social media are also ideal for recognizing trends at an early stage and reacting to them.

Interacting with your target group on these platforms also offers the opportunity to build valuable relationships and strengthen trust, which in turn helps your brand.

By integrating social media as a feedback channel into your overall strategy, you can ensure that your messages resonate with your target group.

Website optimization: technology meets marketing

The technical optimization of your website is a crucial piece of the search engine marketing puzzle. A thorough review of the technical aspects helps to identify and fix problems that could affect your ranking in search engine results.

This includes the speed of a website, its mobile user-friendliness and the structure of the content. A fast and mobile-optimized website not only offers a better user experience, but is also preferred by search engines

By looking at not only your own website, but also those of your competitors from the technical side, you will also gain insights into their methods and priorities. You can also recognize early on when one of your competitors is using an innovative new technology.

On the other hand, you can specifically exploit possible technical weaknesses of your competitors by doing things better yourself.

This is because a technically better website will tend to perform better with the same quality of content. Provided, of course, that it is also recognized by Google as relevant and reputable.

SERP features are another important factor. These special ad formats in search results, such as featured snippets or local listings, can significantly increase the visibility of your website.

Analyze how your competitors are using these features and develop your own strategies to achieve similar advantages.

By combining technical excellence with clever SERP strategies, you can position your website optimally in the digital competition. This not only increases the likelihood of being found by potential customers, but also improves the user experience, which can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.

Conclusion: online success with a competitive analysis

A comprehensive competitive analysis is the foundation for any success in online marketing. Whether in SEO, Google Ads or content marketing, understanding your competitors’ strategies opens up ways to optimize your own online presence.

Remember that professional SEO and ads agencies also use these techniques to put their clients on the road to success. The method has been tested and proven.

By identifying and analyzing your online competitors, making clever use of SEO methods and optimizing Google Ads and content strategies, you can significantly strengthen your online presence.

The insights you gain by analyzing your competitors will enable you to sharpen your own tactics and hold your own in a dynamic competitive environment.

If you would like professional support in carrying out your competition analyses, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We will be happy to help you develop and implement the right strategies for your company!

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