Last updated Aug 6, 2021
Analyze Your SEO Competitors with these Powerful Tools
SEO is one of the fields of digital marketing where change sometimes seems like the only permanent thing.
One other constant, however, is the need to keep an eye on our SEO competitors. Fortunately, we have multiple tools for tracking our SEO rivals and understanding their strengths and weaknesses in organic search.
This post introduces one of the software tools I use for several different SEO tasks. In this case, I’m focused on the SEO competitor analysis aspects of the applications within SEO PowerSuite.
Read on to learn more about how this powerful SEO toolkit can help you build competitive advantages vs your rivals in the organic search rankings.
Importance of SEO Competitor Analysis
Improve Your SEO with Better Competitive Research and Insights
Understanding your competition in organic search is critical to knowing what it will take to start beating them in SEO, including the question of *if* you can reasonably expect to beat them, based on your relative competitive strengths and weaknesses in a particular topic area.
SEO competitor analysis can help you:
- Identify who your actual competitors are in organic search, and what types of content are ranking best for specific topics and user search queries.
- Understand the concept of SEO keyword difficulty in your primary topic areas, and how this metric may influence your keyword targeting.
- Track your rankings over time versus specific domain competitors for practically any number of keywords.
- Identify competitor domain strengths and weaknesses.
- Understand relative strengths and weaknesses of a competitor’s high-ranking content.
- Gain insights into competitor backlink profiles, strategies, and new link building opportunities for your own content.
With all of these goals in mind, let’s dive into a closer look at SEO PowerSuite and what it offers for analyzing SEO competition. I also include this software in my post covering affordable SEO tools.
Many of the activities below are also summarized more generally in this post featuring an SEO competitor analysis checklist.
SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker – Keyword and Topic Analysis
Multiple Tools for SEO Competitor Research
As the name suggests, Rank Tracker is SEO PowerSuite’s primary tool for keeping track of SEO ranking positions.
But, it is also important for several areas of SEO competitor analysis, including:
- Competitor ranking keywords analysis
- Competitor rank tracking graphs and reports
- An entire set of modules dedicated to SEO competitor research
- Organic SEO keyword difficulty scoring (taking competitor strength into account)
- Keyword gap analysis
- TF-IDF analysis (a keyword frequency and density analysis technique)
- PPC competition level
Let’s take a quick look at these below.
Competitive Ranking Keywords
The Ranking Keywords tool within SEO PowerSuite allows discovering the keywords that a domain or page is already ranking for in Google, for a specific region of the world.
You can use this tool on competitor domains or, of course, even your own site.
Ranking Keywords features include:
- Select a specific Google country index
- Choose desktop or mobile indexes
- Choose organic search results or specific Google SERP features (e.g., Featured Snippets and many others)
- Focus on a target domain level and/or subdomains, prefixes, and even specific target page or post URLs
- Advanced settings, such as adding negative keywords to exclude from results
Competitor Rank Tracking Graphs and Reports
Inside SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracking module, you can track specific competitor rankings for each of your tracked keywords.
Alongside your own ranking results, you’ll then also see columns for your specified competitors in the data table.
You’ll also see them in the Rank Progress graph at the bottom of the SEO PowerSuite rank tracking interface, and in the Competition Rankings report within Rank Tracker’s reporting module.
To specify competitors in SEO PowerSuite, navigate to the Preferences >> Competitors… settings and add them there (see screenshot below). Then you’ll be able to include them in other modules where competitor tracking is available.
SEO Competitor Research Modules
Rank Tracker also has a dedicated Competitor Research area with modules for discovering Domain Competitors, Topic Competitors, and Top Pages for a competitor’s domain.
These tools work in a similar way to the Ranking Keywords tool described above.
Pick your target Google country index, desktop or mobile, etc., then enter the target domain or even a specific exact page or post URL in some cases.
The three screenshots below show the starting points for these research activities.
SEO Keyword Difficulty Scoring
In organic search, the keyword difficulty score is an estimate of how hard it will be to rank on Google page 1 for that specific keyword or search query, just based on the strength of competitors who already rank for that term.
Related: See my post on SEO keyword difficulty tools.
In SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker app, the Keyword Difficulty feature is in the bottom section of the Rank Tracking module. See the screenshot below.
Here, for any keyword you are actively tracking, you can see the top 10 SERP competitors. Your site may be in this list too, if you’re already in the top 10.
If you have mapped a target landing page to this keyword, you will also see where you rank, even if you’re not already on Google Page 1.
For each ranking competitor’s page, the Keyword Difficulty screen also shows other strength metrics such as InLink Rank, Domain InLink Rank, Sites Linking to Page, and Sites Linking to Domain.
(SEO PowerSuite’s ‘InLink Rank’ is basically a Page Authority metric. ‘Domain InLink Rank’ is a measure of Domain Authority / Strength.)
Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis
In the Keyword Research area of SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker app, you’ll find the Keyword Gap module.
This clever feature will help you find keywords that competitors rank for, but you do not. Some of these may be very important for your keyword targeting and tracking purposes.
This keyword gap tool offers several ways to zero in on the right set of keywords, using a Venn diagram approach as shown below.
The keyword gap analysis options are:
- Keywords for your site only
- Common keywords between your site and any competitor
- Common keywords between your site and all competitors
- Only competitor keywords (any competitor but not your site)
- Only competitor keywords (all competitors but not your site)
- All keywords (your site and all competitor keywords)
See the screenshot below for the starting point of this activity.
TF-IDF stands for Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency. It’s also written as TF*IDF or just TFIDF.
TF-IDF is a way of measuring word usage and importance within a document and is part of information analysis and retrieval methods. TF-IDF analysis has been around for a few decades now. It’s included in some SEO tools, including SEO PowerSuite, for keyword research and competitor analysis.
Here’s a much deeper discussion of TF-IDF on Wikipedia. Don’t worry, for SEO purposes you won’t need to understand or deal with the underlying mathematics!
TF-IDF in Rank Tracker
In SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker app, you’ll see the TF-IDF Explorer module within the Keyword Research section. See the screenshot below.
Simply enter a few of your most important keywords, and TF-IDF Explorer will run a TF-IDF analysis on the top ranking competitors. You can even enter negative keywords and set your target Google search engine by country, and desktop or mobile.
Scanning the results provided, you will likely find new competitive keyword ideas that you may not have thought of or discovered via other means.
TF-IDF in WebSite Auditor
TF-IDF also shows up in the WebSite Auditor app. Here, you may be running a page-level audit on your own content, for a specified target keyword, and you can see your own page’s TF-IDF score as measured against ranking competitors in the Google SERP.
SEO PowerSuite’s WebSite Auditor will indicate whether your analyzed page is guilty of ‘keyword stuffing’, using TF-IDF calculations on your page vs. ranking competitor content.
The idea is fairly simple: Use fewer instances of terms where keyword stuffing is detected, and also look to diversify and enrich your text with other key terms as the TF-IDF analysis indicates.
Note: This is easiest if you’re only measuring TF-IDF for a single keyphrase or search query. Including more than ~ 2 target keywords / queries makes it tougher to achieve high TF-IDF balance across all terms.
In any case, SEO PowerSuite gives you at least two areas for incorporating TF*IDF in your SEO competitor research. It’s a nice option to have in your competitor analysis arsenal, and not all SEO tools offer it.
Learn more about WebSite Auditor further below as well.
Keyword PPC Competition
The Rank Tracker app in SEO PowerSuite also indicates PPC cost and competition data as part of its keyword research tookit.
While these insights are perhaps primarily for PPC (pay-per-click) advertisers, they are also useful for organic search / SEO practitioners.
How so? Like this:
- A high cost per click (CPC) is an indicator that PPC advertisers value that keyword or search query more than others. It’s a strong sign that the keyword drives decent commercial value, with relatively strong ‘search intent’ that helps convert clicks to paying customers. This means organic clicks may also deliver good value for SEO efforts targeting this keyword.
- A higher PPC Competition level indicates greater advertising activity for the keyword. This may also indicate greater commercial value for the keyword. It can also mean a more crowded Google SERP, however (e.g., lots of PPC ads up top), which may draw user attention away from your organic listing and reduce overall organic CTR.
So, use these more PPC-focused metrics as additional indicators of potential keyword value for your SEO efforts.
SEO PowerSuite WebSite Auditor – Competitor Audits
Site-Level and Page-Level Competitor SEO Analysis
The WebSite Auditor app that is part of SEO PowerSuite is an advanced SEO crawler bundled with lots of other cool features. Use it on your own site as well as on competitive domains, pages, and posts.
For SEO competitor analysis work, WebSite Auditor provides:
- Competitor website audits (full or partial site analysis)
- Competitor content analysis (including TF-IDF analysis, as discussed above)
Competitor Website Audits
For analyzing your online competition, you may want to run a complete SEO technical audit on a specific competitor’s website. SEO PowerSuite’s WebSite Auditor will do this for you and produce a summary report broken down by technical area and problem severity levels.
See the four ‘Site Structure’ areas of WebSite Auditor below.
SEO PowerSuite will also analyze Domain Strength, a little further down the list of modules. You can optionally also include competitors’ domains for comparison.
Competitive Content Analysis
You can also run page-level audits on specific competitor content. For example, you may want to run a technical audit on the URLs that currently sit in the #1 or #2 ranking positions, especially if these are your direct business competitors and you’re stuck in position #9 or #10, barely hanging on to any useful visibility in Google.
A page-level competitor audit can tell you things like:
- For a specific target keyphrase, does my competitor’s page have SEO strengths where my content may have weaknesses? Does it seem to be better targeted for the search query I’m testing?
- Does my competitor’s page have great page experience metrics, better mobile friendliness, etc.?
- Does my competitor’s page have better and more useful internal and external linking?
WebSite Auditor’s ‘Page Audit’ area includes the six options shown here. For competitor analysis purposes, you’ll spend most of your time in the Technical Audit and Content Audit tools, and perhaps also the TF-IDF analysis for any competitive insights you can pick up there.
SEO PowerSuite SpyGlass – Backlink Analysis
Backlink Research – A Key Aspect of SEO Competitor Analysis
Understanding your SEO competition also includes gaining insights into the strength and details of their backlink profiles, for specific top-ranking competitor pages and even complete domains.
SEO PowerSuite covers this with their SEO SpyGlass application. For competitive research purposes, this tool includes:
- Competitor link profile analysis
- Link intersection analysis (e.g., finding backlinks common to your domain and competitor domains)
- Historical backlink profile analysis (e.g., measuring backlinks gained or lost over time)
SEO Competitor Backlink Profiles, Comparisons, and Link Intersections
SEO SpyGlass helps you build individual backlink profiles for your own website and/or competitive sites.
The Domain Comparison module also lets you compare backlink profiles of different websites. Use this when you have specific competitors that you want to compare against your own site.
SEO SpyGlass also provides a bulk backlink analysis tool, which can handle up to 200 different domains or URLs.
Link Building Opportunities
When using SEO SpyGlass, you will likely spot competitor backlinks from domains that you would love to have backlinks from as well.
The fourth application in SEO PowerSuite, known as LinkAssistant, is designed to help you identify and even reach out to these target sites.
LinkAssistant has features that augment what’s available in SEO SpyGlass.
For example, note the Backlink Gap and Competitors’ New Backlinks search options in the LinkAssistant screen below. These are similar to SEO SpyGlass backlink profile analysis features, but are available here more specifically with link building in mind.
The LinkAssistant application is primarily for backlink opportunity discovery and outreach, but it does incorporate tools that have SEO competitor analysis value as well.
Using SEO PowerSuite for Competitor Analysis – Final Thoughts
Multiple Tools for Comprehensive SEO Competitor Analysis
As illustrated above, it takes a multi-pronged approach to completely analyze and understand an SEO competitor or set of competitors.
This is typically a strength for SEO tools and platforms that provide full-scope SEO support: comprehensive keyword analysis, site audits and content analysis, backlink profile analysis, etc.
SEO PowerSuite is one such set of tools, and is more affordable when compared to the pricier SEO platforms such as Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush.
This post provided a quick intro to the many areas of competitor analysis covered by the SEO PowerSuite collection of apps and tools.
Of course, you can use these tools to analyze your own website(s) as well. Doing that in concert with good competitive analysis will help you beat and exceed your SEO competition over time.
To try out SEO PowerSuite for yourself, I recommend downloading the free version here and getting started with a Rank Tracker project of your own. Then try the other apps to get a feel for how the full suite works.
Also be sure to check out the SEO PowerSuite YouTube channel for their collection of helpful product overview and tutorial videos.
Questions or Comments?
What SEO tools and processes do you currently use for researching and analyzing your main SEO competitors?
What are the pros and cons of your approach?
Would a set of tools like those in SEO PowerSuite fill any important gaps for you?
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