in SEO Consulting - 09 Apr, 2018
by proseo - no comments
6 Important elements of SEO analysis you need to concentrate

Without a thorough SEO analysis of your site, it’s pretty much impossible to make informed decisions for improving your site’s ranking in search engine results pages. An SEO analysis tells you what the biggest obstacles to your site’s rank are so you can focus your efforts on the issues that will have the biggest impact on your SEO.

This helps you improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages faster and with less effort so you can start generating leads sooner rather than later.

Basically, SEO analysis is a tool for people to study how they might improve a given website’s ranking on search engines such as Google. Where SEO analysis gets complicated is in the breadth and depth of data and tools that are available.

Google’s Webmaster Tools remains one of the most popular SEO analysis tools out there because it’s free, newbie-friendly, and it’s from the most popular search engine provider, giving analyses performed with these tools significant credibility with most.

What’s Included in an SEO Analysis?

Different reporting tools and different marketing agencies will put different things in their search engine optimization analysis reports, but some commonly-featured pieces of data include:

  • Competitive SEO analyses detailing top competitors in your industry and their SEO performance.
  • Keyword performance reports (current rank, difficulty to rank, monthly searches, and competitor keywords).
  • Link reports (bad, broken, or spammy links).
  • Page performance data (load speed, navigation, etc.).
  • Site layout/structure.
  • Use of alt text for images.
  • Use of meta descriptions.
  • Repetitive/duplicate content.
  • Pages lacking in content.
  • Use of social media integration.
  • Responsiveness of site design.

Just to name a few things you’d probably see on a comprehensive SEO analysis report.

SEO analysis

I’ll show you six elements you need to analyze to understand your competitors.

First: Analyze Their Design

Your website designs matters.

If your competition has a beautiful design, then you might need to invest some dollars into yours.

If you’re a local business, then this applies to you!

Many local businesses still have websites that are not mobile friendly.

And even worse, look like they are from 1995.

The opposite is also true.

Let’s say your competitor is ranking well, but they have an ugly website.

This is a golden opportunity for you to swoop in and win that battle.

Second: Analyze Their Site Optimization

Wait… analyzing your competitors on-site SEO?

Isn’t that a huge waste of time?


You can gather a ton of valuable information from their on-site strategy or lack thereof.

Keyword Density

One of the first things I look at on a page that is ranking well is the keyword density. It gives direction on how aggressive you need to be with keyword placement.

1. Go to this keyword density tool and enter your competitor’s URL:

KW Density 1-min

2. Check out the KW density for the target keyword:

KW Density 2-min

Repeat this process for all 10 competitors who are ranking. After you have done that, average the KW density.

This will give you a general picture of what’s “acceptable” for your target keyword.

META Information

After keyword density analysis, you should analyze their META information.

Examine how they have written their META data.

Are they using LSI keywords? Is the copy strong? Is there a clear call-to-action?

Internal Linking

Analyzing your competitor’s site architecture is key to understanding how authoritative their website is.

Try to figure out their internal linking tactics.

Are they using silos? Can you create a better model for flowing link equity through your site?

Don’t forget:

A strong site architecture helps you get the most out of your backlinks.

The goal is rank with as little backlinks as possible.

Your site architecture will help.

Third: Find Their Keywords

The first step of the process is to see what keywords your competitors are targeting.

The easiest way to find their target keywords is to use SEM Rush or Ahrefs.

Here is how you can find your competitors keywords with SEM Rush:

1. Enter your competitor’s URL into the search bar:

SEMRush 1-min

2. Under the “Organic Research” section, click on “Positions”:

SEMRush 2-min

3. See what keywords your competitor is ranking for:

SEMRush 3-min

After you have a nice list of keywords, it’s time to analyze your competitor’s site optimization.

Fourth: Content Analysis

Pages with more content rank better.

That’s why our ultimate goal should be create a page far superior to what is ranking for your target keyword.

With that said, you need to analyze several different elements of your competitor’s content.

Word Count

Long-form content performs well in Google.

Use the keyword density tool from earlier to see the word length of your competitors pages.

Make sure you average it out to get a general picture.

Your objective is to create something much larger.

Uniqueness of the Content

Writing a bunch of regurgitated junk won’t work. Your content needs to be different than your competitors.

And no, not just Copyscape different…

It needs to be uniquely crafted and researched.


See whether your competitors are using images and videos in their content. Images and videos make content more digestible and improve user experience.

When you improve user experience, Google likes your pages more.

Outbound Links

Outbound links improve the credibility of your content and can help you build relationships. If your competitors aren’t linking out, then take advantage of it and do it yourself.

Fifth: Analyze Their Backlinks

The previous seven tactics are necessary for a complete analysis. But, in 2016, and for the foreseeable future, backlinks are still a huge piece of the puzzle.

There are two reasons why you should analyze your competitor’s link profile:

  1. To find link opportunities
  2. To determine whether you should “mirror” their link profile

Use the following tools for your analysis:

  • Ahrefs
  • Majestic
  • Open Site Explorer.
  • Open Link Profiler
  • Web Me Up.

What is “Mirroring”?

Mirroring is the process of replicating your competitor’s link profile.

This is effective for one obvious reason:

You are acquiring similar backlinks that your competitor used to rank.

In theory, you should be able to achieve similar results if you replicate them.

Now before you go out there and try to replicate competitors, you need to understand some key points:

  1. Do not copy link spam. If a competitor is ranking through grey or black hat tactics, then avoid mirroring them. Understand that the likelihood of their rankings sticking is low.
  2. Mirror competitors that have quality backlinks. If they have Huffington Post links, then you need links of equal strength. If they have backlinks on blogs in your industry, then you need to do the same.

Best Link Types to Mirror

  • Membership Links
  • Sponsorship Links
  • Resource List Links
  • Niche Directory Links
  • Geo-Targeted Directory Links
  • Niche Relevant Contextual Links


The best links are those that are hard to get.

Anyone can go and sign-up for a free account on any web 2.0 site.

Nothing beats backlinks from relevant websites with real traffic.

You now know what link opportunities are best to replicate.

Now let me show 7 questions to ask when analyzing a competitor’s link profile:

1. What is their homepage to deep linking ratio?

You can see this ratio on Ahrefs by looking at “Top Pages” like this:

Top Pages-min

There is an important reason to understand this link ratio:

Deep links build site authority.

More site authority = easier rankings

If the bulk of your competitor’s backlinks are going to deep pages, then you should do the same.

To achieve this goal, you will need to produce content.

2. What is their NoFollow to DoFollow ratio?

Every good link profile has a balanced ratio of NoFollow and DoFollow links.

It’s unnatural for your link profile to be 100% DoFollow backlinks.

Competitors who are ranking well will likely have NoFollow backlinks coming from: niche blog comments, business listings, or press releases.

3. What is their anchor text distribution?

Anchor text is tricky.

You will find some competitors with heavy keyword-rich anchor text.

While other competitors will have little or not, keyword-rich anchors.

How do you decide which one to mirror?

I recommend you mirror the competitors who have under-optimized anchor text.

If you had to choose between the two, you should always try to mirror the less optimized competitor.

4. Are they using redirects?

301 redirects work well as a link building tool. That’s why you need to see if your competitor is using them.

There are a few different types of redirects to look for:

  • Traditional: a brand redirects their old site to their new one.
  • Merger Technique: when you redirect a relevant expired domain to your website.
  • Link Shortners: this is the most black hat of the three. Many link shorters are 301 redirects.

Black hats build links to the shortner/301 because it acts as a “buffer”. I would avoid using this tactic unless you are churning and burning.

5. Do they have site-wide links?

You may see some competitors who have site-wide links.

There are a few reasons to avoid site-wide links:

  1. Anchor text distribution: site-wide links wreck your anchor text profile.
  2. Footprint: site-wide links leave a big footprint. Footprints often lead to manual actions.
  3. Not as effective: footer and sidebar site-wide links aren’t as effective as contextual links.

I recommend avoiding site-wide links if you’re a beginner.

6. Are they hiding their links?

You may find a competitor who is ranking, but has no backlinks. Before you hit the freak out button, understand that they are likely hiding their links.

Those who use PBNs for ranking often block link crawlers. This is a way to prevent competitors from reporting their PBN.

The funny part is that blocking crawlers leaves a footprint. As I mentioned above, footprints can lead to manual actions.

Regardless of those points:

Don’t freak out if your competitors are using PBNs. It’s a common tactic because it works.

Should you use PBNs if they are using them?

It comes down to your willingness to take on risk.

7. Do they have links from foreign websites?

High percentages of foreign links and anchor text are common when competitors are spamming.

Here’s the truth:

If you have a U.S. website, then the bulk of your links should be coming from websites hosting within the country. Your anchor text should also be English since that’s the predominant language in the U.S.

Avoid mirroring competitors that have unusual amounts of foreign links.

Sixth: Analyze Their Social Media

You cannot ignore the impact social media has on SEO.

We can debate all day about whether social signals impact SEO results, but the truth is:

It doesn’t matter.

That’s because social media is bigger than SEO.

A decent social media campaign will:

  • help you build relationships
  • allow you to interact with customers
  • help you market your content

So, if your competitors are engaging on social media, then you need to as well.

The best way to find out is to look at their social accounts and see how active they are.


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