Fast SEO Competitive Analysis Part 2: Competing Content Comparison

This is part two of a series on fast SEO competitive analysis. In part one we focused on keyword research, using the competitive landscape as a foundation for strategy, understanding, and finally using search volume estimates to get clients excited about the opportunity in search. In part one the groundwork was laid for identifying areas of high opportunity, and part two we will look at:

  1. Understanding search behavior and choosing target keyword categories.
  2. Competing content comparison

Tools used:

  • Google Sheets (Excel works)
  • Advanced Web Ranking

1. Understanding Search Behavior and Choosing Target Keyword Categories

Continuing the example used in part one of Google Sites, which describes itself as a “…free and easy way to create and share webpages,” it makes sense to filter out highly competitive keyword categories like business, design, and blogging. Removing these, branded terms, and unrelated terms (quick manual scan) from the pivot table from part one leaves us with an ideal list of targeted keywords, all of which Google Sites should easily be coming up in search for.

seo-keyword-research-pivot-table

While the filtering process can definitely get tedious, it is used as a benchmark to track ongoing progress. Time well spent if it’s going to help showcase SEO efforts over time. Boiling down the relevant keywords people are using in search and having the mindset that these are the avenues in which customers will eventually find your client’s content is also rewarding!

For Google Sites, relevant keywords people are using to find content they should be coming up for in search, is as simple as customers wanting to build/create/make/start page(s)/site(s)/website(s)/webpage(s), and they want it to be free/easy/online.

Using the filtered Pivot Table (copying and pasting into a new tab) as a template, we can begin pulling other relevant metrics and creating a dashboard, to help understand the competitive landscape of these search trends and ultimately form some solid SEO strategy.

2. Competing Content Comparison

Now that we know exactly what keywords Google Sites should be coming up for in search results, we need to understand the extent to which existing content reflects how people are searching.

To do this we can look at the top ranking search result on Google.com for our target keyword. Then limit the search to a specific domain in Google and compare.

Looking at the term how to build a web page , the top ranking result is http://www.thesitewizard.com/gettingstarted/startwebsite.shtml in Google search results.

google-sites-number-one-result

Limiting the same search to the google.com domain using site:google.com how to build a web page , https://support.google.com/sites/answer/153197?hl=en is seen as the most relevant in the eyes of Google’s algorithms.

google-sites-domain-limited-number-one

As seen above, sites.google.com doesn’t come up in search for this example of a relevant keyword, even when the results are limited to the google.com own domain. We can use this as a starting point to understand where our content needs to be to achieve our goal of eventually coming up for this search.

Automating Competing Content Comparison

Let’s apply the concept explained above to all of our target keywords. Using Advanced Web Ranking, we can pull the top 10 search results for all of our keywords, then pull that data into our dashboard using VLOOKUP.

number-one-on-google-vs-internal

Conclusion

Comparing the content Google sees as most important on your site vs. the Web can help you understand where your site is lacking. For example in the image above, Google Sites is seen as the most relevant page when people are looking to build a website, but not so much when they are search how to build a web page. Subtle nuances make can make a big difference, and perhaps adding a little verbiage to the target page would be enough to begin coming up in search for a whole new category of keywords.

Making sure the page you want to come up in search is seen as the most relevant when the search is limited to your own domain should be seen as step one. The goal here is to meet and beat your competition from a content perspective for all relevant keywords. In part three we’ll be taking a look at this in more detail by slicing and dicing the ranking data, in an attempt to understand exactly which competitor pages, per category/search trend, Google likes the best and why.

Related reading

i_fought_the_law
google amp logo
thinkstockphotos-507274998
content
Simple Share Buttons