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B2B SEO — Spotting Weak SEO Competitors

Last updated Jun 11, 2024

Easy Tips and Methods for Finding Your Weak B2B SEO Competitors

Many B2B firms, especially smaller ones, have websites that look pretty good but have weak SEO value.

If you’re a B2B company with a few known commercial competitors, you can easily determine how they’re doing in terms of SEO.

This post covers ways to spot weak SEO competitors, including free methods plus a few more pro-level tactics and tools to also consider using.

Let’s start finding your weak SEO competition below!

Table of Contents (+/-)
    Many smaller B2B websites have weak SEO. Use the checks and tactics outlined below to quickly discover key weaknesses and strengths of your B2B SEO competitors.

    This post contains a few referral links to vendor partners. We may receive compensation for purchases made via these links, at no additional cost to buyers.

    Finding Weak SEO Competitors in B2B

    Your ‘SEO Competition’ in B2B May Be Weaker Than You Think

    One thing I’ve discovered over the years is that many B2B websites — especially sites of smaller B2B firms in more ‘traditional’ industry segments — have very weak SEO.

    This is often the case when the company views its site as more of a ‘marketing brochure-style’ website, providing essential company information and product/service validation for people who already know the company through other means (e.g., direct sales activity.)

    This is fine in many cases; SEO doesn’t need to be a major focus for all companies. SEO can play a secondary marketing role for many.

    However, if you’re in a B2B industry segment where some or most of your main commercial competitors have weak SEO, you may want to consider attacking along this angle.

    Fortunately, there are several ways to spot a weak SEO competitor. The basics I’ve outlined below don’t require much more than your browser, your brain, and a little research time. If needed, you can take your SEO competitive analysis much further with premium SEO tools and platforms.

    Note: The following tactics can apply to B2C and other non-B2B websites as well. I’m focusing more on B2B SEO competition here because it’s a ‘target-rich’ environment in some segments for finding websites with weak SEO.

    Spotting Weak SEO Competition — Easy Initial Methods

    Quick First Tests for Checking Your B2B Competitor’s SEO

    The easy SEO competitor analysis tactics I’ve included below are some of the ways I do a quick competitive check when researching the SEO strengths and weaknesses of a B2B industry segment competitor.

    Professional comprehensive SEO software platforms add more advanced analysis and insights, but they are optional at this stage.

    Start with Your Browser — and Your Brain

    The most important free SEO tool you have available at all times is your brain.

    Armed with just your intelligence, a typical desktop browser, and a few SEO tricks and tips, you can go a long way in many aspects of SEO work.

    From a software tools perspective, many of the tips below require just a modern browser.

    Pro Tip: Use a fresh ‘incognito’ or private browser window for all browser-based SEO checks below. You don’t want your personal search history to potentially influence the search results you see. (For example, when you’re already signed in to a Google Chrome browser.)

    ‘Spot Test’ Some Generic Industry Niche Keywords

    Let’s say your company and your primary competitors specialize in ‘industrial widgets’ for different manufacturing processes and equipment. And let’s also say that you’re most concerned about your competitor ‘ABC Precision Industrial Widgets, Inc.’

    A good first SEO test for the ABC website would be to manually spot-check some of the most obvious keywords, keyphrases, and user search queries for which they would most likely show up in search results.

    Terms like ‘industrial widgets’, ‘precision industrial widgets’, ‘industrial widget suppliers’, ‘industrial widgets for aerospace’, etc., might all be good initial candidates for just a few quick manual checks.

    Where does your competitor ‘ABC Precision Industrial Widgets’ appear on Google for these searches? Page 1 (top 10)? Maybe in the top 3 or 5 results? Or ‘buried’ on Page 2 or 3 or even deeper?

    Also, what types of content rank highest for ABC? Home page, product pages, blog posts, articles, news items, etc?

    Also, by the way, where does your company rank for these same search queries?

    If your competitor ABC Precision Industrial Widgets isn’t in the top 10-20 search results for very obvious queries, that’s a sign of a serious SEO deficiency for them. And an inbound marketing opportunity for you!

    Important: Don’t include your target competitor’s company name or product/service line names in these test searches. That’s a ‘branded vs non-branded organic search’ issue you’ll want to keep in mind.

    Check Key Competitors for Good Long-Form Content

    Now, take a careful look at the website for ABC Precision Industrial Widgets. You’ll surely see the usual pages there: Home, Contact, About Us, Products/Services, etc.

    Do you also see signs of good and ongoing ‘long-form’ content on their domain?

    I’m talking about blog posts, articles, how-to guides, industry insights, white papers, customer case studies, embedded videos, etc. Anything that elevates their website above a standard products/services/solutions commercial pitch piece.

    seo content
    A B2B competitor’s website with weak content (nothing more than just basic pages) is open to attack from SEO-focused companies — even from much smaller firms.

    These longer-form content types are SEO gold. They naturally include industry-segment keywords that can greatly expand the website’s ability to rank for broader sets of keywords and user queries.

    They also provide a basis for better website internal linking, which is an underused SEO tactic that also helps build stronger SEO topic clusters.

    Some pieces may also qualify as ‘evergreen’ or ‘cornerstone’ content — website pages that provide lasting value for years, with only periodic updates as needed.

    If ABC Precision Industrial Widgets is lacking good long-form content types that go well above and beyond their standard product/service messaging, this is another sign of weak SEO.

    Good to Know: Today’s AI-assisted long-form writing tools can be very helpful in quickly developing stronger SEO content. Just be aware of the pros and cons of using AI writing tools, as this area is developing very quickly.

    Inspect Competitor URL Structures & Title Tags

    Another SEO indicator that’s easy to check is the URL structure and ‘HTML Title’ tags of your competitor’s site pages.

    Simply browse through their site and notice the URL structures in your browser’s address bar. Do the URLs include any useful keywords or are they just short company-focused URLs with no real ‘SEO keyword value’?

    Similarly, hover directly over the browser tab for a few pages and see what text pops up. This is the HTML Title tag for each page. Once again, check for useful industry or solution keywords that help search engines understand what your competitor’s pages are about.

    A competitor’s website that shows poorly thought-out URL structures and/or weak or missing HTML Title tags is probably weak in other aspects of SEO as well.

    Check Competitor Content Indexing in Google

    Next up, open a fresh new Google.com search session in a new ‘Incognito’ or private browser tab.

    Then use the ‘site’ search operator in Google to narrow your search to just your competitor’s domain.

    For example, if the domain for ‘ABC Precision Industrial Widgets’ is ‘abcwidgets.com’, then do this Google search:

    site: abcwidgets.com

    The results returned will be all the pages that Google has indexed for this domain.

    Does it look to you like essentially all of ABC Precision Industrial Widgets’ website pages, posts, articles, etc., are known to Google and indexed?

    This will probably be the case. But if you spot any potential missing pages or sections, that could be another problem sign for your competitor at abcwidgets.com.

    Check HTML Page Source for SEO Plugins

    This test is slightly more technical, but still easy to do with most browsers.

    Open the home page for your competitor. Then right-click on an empty part of the page and look for a ‘view source’ option in the little menu that pops up. Open the page source code in a new browser tab. You should see a whole bunch of HTML source code for the page you were just on.

    Next, use Ctrl + F (Windows) or Cmd + F (Mac) to open a text search box. Search on ‘seo’ without the quote marks.

    What do you see via this search? Do you see evidence of an SEO plugin or feature on the page?

    For example, on a WordPress website you may spot Yoast SEO, All In One SEO (AIOSEO), Rank Math, or another popular WordPress SEO plugin installed.

    If you do see an SEO plugin or tool installed on a competitor’s website, there’s a decent chance that it’s being put to good use.

    Pro Tip: Just because a website has a good SEO plugin installed, doesn’t mean it’s being used well. There’s a big difference between installing an SEO plugin and actually using it to good effect!

    Optional Additional SEO Competitor Analysis Tools

    Professional SEO Platforms Provide Deeper SEO Competitive Analysis

    The competitive SEO checks and tips I outlined above are easy and free for anyone to use to check any of your competitors for potential SEO weaknesses (or strengths).

    If they pass all of the tests above with flying colors, there’s a good chance your competitors are paying attention to SEO.

    If they fail some or all of your tests, that’s a sign that you may be able to use SEO tactics to attack them in the digital realm.

    Next Steps for Further SEO Competitive Analysis

    To take your SEO competitor insights to the next level, consider using a few professional-grade SEO tools. The sections below outline a few areas to explore further.

    SERP Analysis Tools — Check Your Organic Search Competitors

    Many affordable SEO toolkits include ‘SERP analysis’ capabilities, which provide detailed analysis of the top search results for a specific user query.

    If you know your competitor already ranks in the top 10-20 for a specific keyword/query, you can use a SERP analysis tool to get a more complete picture of the competitive landscape for that query in organic search.

    Here’s an example from the SERPChecker module, part of the popular Mangools SEO platform.

    mangools serp analysis with serpchecker
    The Mangools SERPChecker module provides a simple but useful overview of top-ranking pages for your target keyword/query.

    SEO Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis

    Another more advanced SEO technique is to check your ‘keyword gaps’ vs a known SEO competitor.

    For example, if you suspect that your competitor ‘ABC Precision Industrial Widgets’ ranks for more keywords than you do, you can use keyword gap analysis tools at the domain level or even for specific target pages.

    Depending on what you find here, you can modify existing content or even craft entirely new pieces to help close important keyword gaps vs your top competitors.

    Here’s where you can start that process in SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker application.

    seo powersuite competitor keyword gap analysis
    SEO PowerSuite’s keyword gap analysis module provides multiple options for finding keyword gaps and intersections vs your SEO competitors. You can analyze multiple competitors simultaneously here.

    SEO Competitor Backlink Profile Analysis

    Looking now at a common ‘off-page SEO’ issue, you can run a complete backlink profile analysis against your top competitors to see how strong they are in this area.

    You can also look for ‘backlink intersections’ and ‘backlink gaps’ to see how your site and specific pages compare to specific competitive domains and selected target competitor pages.

    seo spyglass backlinks report
    Example backlink profile analysis from SEO PowerSuite’s SpyGlass application. You can check multiple competitor websites here, including your own site for interesting comparative backlink metrics.

    Automated Rank-Tracking with Competitor Comparisons

    If you’re actively tracking your organic rankings for selected keywords, try adding a top competitor and track those same keywords for their domain.

    You’ll see the relative movement in ranking positions for your content vs competitor pages. You may also spot trends that need further attention. For example, you may detect SEO content decay issues for your content at the same time that your top competitor’s pages are getting stronger.

    seo powersuite rank tracker
    Competitive rank-tracking in SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker application.

    Related: Many good SEO rank-tracking tools include competitor tracking. Learn more here about SEO rank-tracking automation tools.

    Competitor Domain and Page-Level Audits

    Last here but not least, you can use professional SEO site auditing tools to scan a competitor’s domain for technical SEO problems, on-page SEO issues, and even ‘content scoring’ for specific pages and target keywords/queries.

    Poor scores on these audits indicate that your competitor is probably not paying much attention to SEO. On the flip side, good scores from these tests indicate that your competitor is probably actively working on their website SEO.

    Here’s a representation of how that looks with the Semrush SEO and digital marketing platform.

    semrush seo website audit report
    An example website audit summary from Semrush.

    B2B SEO and Weak Competitors — Closing Thoughts

    Your Competitors’ SEO Weaknesses are Hiding in Plain Sight

    So, there we have it! A handful of fairly easy and free ways to analyze your specific commercial competitors for SEO efforts and results.

    With a little practice and repetition, you can do these checks for any potential commercial competitor — old or new — to get an initial sense of their SEO activities.

    Consider adding pro-level SEO software tools if you want to take your competitive SEO analysis capabilities to a more advanced stage.

    Depending on your B2B industry and competitors’ levels of digital marketing focus, I’m betting that you’ll find a few competitor websites with really shaky SEO.

    It’s these companies that you can consider attacking with an SEO-forward thrust. Best of all, they’re probably not paying attention so they won’t even see it coming!

    Questions or Comments?

    I hope this brief introduction to simple SEO competitive analysis has been helpful. I’ll wrap up with a few related questions for you:

    • When was the last time you (or your marketing team) checked your primary B2B competitors’ websites specifically for key SEO elements and performance?
    • Are you leading or lagging your main B2B competitors in the SEO realm? What business benefits could you realize from beating more of them?
    • What SEO tools, if any, have you found to be especially helpful in your SEO competitor analysis work?

    Feel free to add more in the comments below with any thoughts, feedback, or related questions. Thanks also for any social shares on this post via the buttons below!

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