How to perform a basic SEO analysis and why it’s important to all business owners.
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In Singapore (and most other countries), the main platform used is Google.
SEO is an important part of any business, especially in this digital/pandemic age. We are increasingly reliant on search engines across our entire purchase journey, from exploratory to conversion stages.
That brings us to the million-dollar question most business owners have: with billions of web pages out there, how can I stand out and come out ahead of the space?
Having a solid SEO strategy enables customers to find you and provides your business with a long term sustainable growth channel.
What we are discussing today is not about trying to rank first. That takes time, expertise, and a huge amount of consistent testing & learning. I’m not going to try and pretend to teach you how to do it when there are real gurus out there doing that way better than me. (Check out Neil Patel and SEMrush sites for more information on this!)
SEO analysis is one technique that organisations can use to better understand their market, their competitive landscape and make better data-driven decisions. You can think of it as consumer research without the need for developing, designing & conducting complicated surveys. This process involves researching backlinks, keywords, as well as content of your competitors and weaving this into your own business and marketing strategy. It’s basically looking at what’s already working for others, and forming your strategy to compete in the market.
It also enables marketers to:
Identify competitors’ strengths and strive for improvements
Identify competitors’ weaknesses and target the opportunities
How to do an SEO competitor analysis
Now that you know how an SEO competitor analysis can help your business, let’s get down to the basics. Take note, though, that this is only a high-level summary of the key steps as this topic is broad and filled with nuances and intricacies.
Step 1: Identify your competitors
Usually, every business owner and marketer has a good sense of their competitors. What I would suggest doing here is to combine this with a high-level search to identify competitors that are ranked consistently for certain search terms that your consumers might be searching for.
For example: if you’re a lasik eye clinic, one of the biggest players in the market is Eagle Eye Centre. However, when you search for lasik eye clinic on google, the top websites will also throw out some interesting names for you to look at.
*Note that I've installed the Ubersuggest plugin on Google Chrome, allowing me to have a quick view of key SEO information while doing research.
Of course, the easiest way is to leverage on SEO tools in the market such as Ubersuggest, which is a free keyword analysis tool. Or you can opt for paid tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs, which can be more fitting options for more accurate data and results.
Step 2: Gain insights through understanding Search keywords
This stage is definitely easier to do if you have a solid SEO tool such as Ahrefs or SEMRush.
Here, you want to look at the keywords that people are searching for, and how many searches occur a month. You’ll be able to do this with free tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest as well.
We want to take a closer look at which keywords bring in the most organic (free) traffic for your competitors. By identifying the keywords that your competitors rank for, you can get a good sense of their unique selling points and what their consumers value them for.
Let’s do a quick analysis of the Prism+ website (one of my favourite Singapore Brands!).
First, we look at non-brand keywords that the website is ranking for, i.e. keywords that do not include their brand name.
We see that Prism+ is doing rather well in certain models of their gaming monitors, and 4k digital TVs.
One interesting insight here is that they are ranking for "TV stands", which also has a relatively high search volume of 1600 a month. So if you’re marketing for the TV and Monitors industry, you may want to launch a campaign around TV stands, such as bundle deals, gift with purchase, etc. Another key search term with noteworthy volume is "144Hz monitors". These insights will allow you to dive deeper into the specifics and better craft your marketing strategies.
Second, we look at the Prism/Prism+ branded search terms to identify their strengths.
Just by looking at the search terms and volume around the Prism+ brand, we can draw a few conclusions:
They are better known for monitors and more recently their TVs.
There are a couple of models that are in high demand
Monitor arms are a recent trend as well
What can I do with this info, you might ask? Well, if you’re able to provide a better offering, you can always look at creating reviews that pitch your product against one of theirs.
Note: On the flip side, if you’re the brand owner for Prism+, you will want to monitor your rankings so you know what to defend and double down on. If you see people searching for your brand with a question (e.g. Prism+ Chromecast set up), you’ll want to get ahead of it by providing answers online or address the concerns during the sales process.
Step 3: Content Analysis
This step should only happen after you’ve identified certain insights and you’re trying to define specific action plans that you can take forward. I’ll continue with the electronics industry to showcase this point.
Let's say you’ve identified monitors as a specific direction and gap that you’re able to compete in successfully, you’ll now want to make a few critical decisions guided by the traditional 4Ps of marketing:
Product (What differentiates my product)
Pricing (How much I should charge)
Place (Where I should sell my product)
Promotions (The advertising effort)
You can employ a few methods here. Let's begin with researching on related keywords that seed from your main keywords of “buying a gaming monitor”.
Some relevant insights here:
24- and 27-inch monitors are in greater demand.
ASUS seems to be the brand that most people turn towards
144Hz monitors seem to be the minimum standard and is less competitive, i.e. a potential quick win for my business.
Next, diving deeper into your competitors products and website content through specific search terms can further refine your understanding of the market.
Key decision making factors are: price, colour, refresh rate, screen size etc
Tech sites doing reviews drive a huge amount of visits and thus shape the consumers' decisions.
You can continue to dive deeper and deeper or across different pillars to refine your decision making process. Ultimately, besides providing you with the right insights, SEO analysis will also guide your marketing and content team in creating the right messaging to reach out to your audience and compete effectively in the industry.
*Mini Case Study: Through SEO analysis, we identified baby play mats as a trending search term and a gap in the market, allowing our client to successfully launch a new brand of such products to meet consumers' demands.
Step 4: Combine your market knowledge and business acumen with SEO
SEO analysis is a support tool: it informs you of history, trends, current behaviours, but it does not give you the acumen to create new trends or change consumer habits.
Always go back to your market knowledge and business acumen, and leverage on SEO as a source of useful insights to guide your decision making.
Want to learn more?
Looking at the process, it can be as simple as looking at what your competitors are doing and then building on it.
However, analysing SEO data can be a daunting task to some business owners, as it can be overwhelming and complicated in the beginning, most especially with the technical concepts and tools that come along with it!
Some may not have the time to learn how to do it as well. And others back away from improving their SEO strategy because they don’t have the right resources and tools to implement it.
An important note: SEO is a broad topic with a lot of technicalities, and this article doesn’t cover everything related to it. Instead, it only summarises what you can do. However, to be successful in digital marketing, SEO strategy included, a business must have a very thorough and detailed look at its processes.
In this case, hiring a digital marketing agency, like ROMI.SG, can help you make the best decision for your business. Our team provides SEO management services, including SEO competitor analysis, which can help step up your SEO strategy.
If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.