Competitive research is an essential part of SEO analysis but scrutinizing every detail of a competitor’s website can leave you feeling burned out, paranoid, and even take away from reaching your business goals.
Here are some things to keep in mind so that you don’t lose sight of what is really important – doing what is right for your business.
Which Tool to Use?
There are SO many tools to use for competitive SEO research and analysis of your own website:
– Screaming Frog
– SEM Rush
– Spy Fu
– SEO Book
– Raven Tools
– Bright Local
Many of these tools have “freemium” versions, where there are a limited amount of uses for free. This gives you a chance to try out which tools are useful for your analysis. Some tools may be too expensive or give too much or too little information.
All the Tools… It Will Be Fun, They Said!
While trying out new free tools is great to give a general overview of competitors, here is where the ‘potential-to-go-crazy’ part begins. Keep in mind that some tools (like SEM Rush) may inflate a competitor’s progress to the point where it looks better than it actually is. The reason is that these tools often use factors (like keywords) that aren’t completely accurate to the business or even industry. Traffic, clicks, and PPC spend may also be estimated and not accurately reflect reality.
Comparing With Your Own Site
Seeing competitors excel or get good “grades” in these tools can be especially frustrating but you also have to do the leg work to see how your own site performs according to these factors. If they are off from your own reports and analytics, it’s a good idea to use multiple tools to cross check a site’s progress – rather to solely rely on one tool.
SEO analysis tools are a good way to stay up-to-date with your website’s health but don’t forget to measure the things that really matter – conversions. Rankings and traffic can fluctuate month to month and year to year but historical data on calls, contacts, and purchases are the best way to go. And this is something that pretty much no online tool can match up to – calculating your business’ actual ROI! Keep organized (internally, within your business) and that is the sure way to measure your business’ success. Keep track of your bottom line and along the way, use as many SEO tools as you would like but don’t let the minutiae cloud your judgement.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.