Competitive Marketing Intelligence: How to Rank Higher, 5 Ways

By: | March 4, 2020 | Tags: , |
Competitive marketing intelligence: how to rank higher in the SERPs, 5 ways

SEO Competitor Analysis: 5 Steps to Rank Higher

Contributed Post

SEO can seem overwhelming, and with the sheer number of blogs and other competitors out there, most people find it difficult to make any headway. But competition isn’t such a bad thing in SEO. In fact, it might prove to be your greatest asset to ranking high in Google through SEO competitor analysis. 

We’ll examine the definitive 5-step process for gaining insights into the strategies that are working for the highest-ranking blogs in your niche. SEO competitor analysis will help you understand what you need to do, see what you might have missed, and set you on the path to higher rankings. 

How to Gain and Capitalize on Competitive Marketing Intelligence

Step 1: Identify Competitors

The first step is to know who your SEO competitors are. In this case, your competitors are not necessarily the biggest blogs in your niche or your direct business competitors. Your SEO competitors are the websites that rank on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for the keywords you are targeting. 

The most basic way to identify your SEO competitors is to search your keyword in Google and add them to your list of competitors. This method can be sufficient if you have a small blog with very few keywords. Otherwise, you will have to do this for every keyword. As you can imagine, that will take too much time and energy.

To get more accurate results with many keywords without wasting time, experts use a SERP checker. SERP checkers give you a comprehensive list of competitors and show you how you’re performing against them. Right from the beginning, you can see how much you need to do to rank higher than them.

Step 2: Keyword Research

Now that you’ve found your SEO competitors, it’s time to know that puts them at the top. Most blogs rank for multiple keywords and your blog is probably ranking for some keywords as well.

You can do a deep-dive into your competitors to know every keyword they are ranking for that you are not targeting yet. This process of finding valuable keyword opportunities that drive traffic to your competitor’s blog is called Keyword Gap Analysis. 

These new keywords, combined with your previous keywords, will improve your visibility and reach in search engines. If you have a niche blog, select keywords that are relevant to your niche in order to retain your topical relevance. 

Next, you need to check the keyword difficulty of the keywords in your list. As you might expect, some keywords will be harder to rank for than others. You can start by going after the “low hanging fruits”; keywords that are easy to rank for on search engines. Also, look out for weak SEO competitors and target their keywords to start seeing immediate results.

Doing this type of keyword research manually can be difficult. Fortunately, you can use a SpySERP tool to better manage the data. It provides detailed information about your keywords and organizes them so you can make more informed decisions about which ones to target.

If there are many difficult keywords on your list, you can filter out long-tail keywords with high search volume and low keyword competition and focus on those at the beginning. What you should have at this point is a list of high quality, relevant, high search volume, and preferably low competition keywords that you can realistically rank for. 

Your new list of keywords will form the basis for your SEO and content strategy. After compiling your list of keywords, create content around each keyword and slight variations of it. Do better SEO on your content to receive better rankings than your competitors.

Step 3: Content Analysis

Content analysis means deep-diving into your competitor’s website to see how they structure their site. This gives you an idea of how to structure your website and content better in order to beat them. Look out for these elements on their website:

Word Count

Longer content rank higher. When creating your own content, ensure it is longer and more informative than your competitors’ content.

Keyword Density and Placement

Calculate their keyword density to get an idea of how many times you need to use a particular keyword and where to place them. Add LSI keywords to make your content more relevant.

Content Uniqueness

Ensure you’re not merely rewriting your competitor’s content. Add new research and point of view to make it unique in the eyes of search engines.


SEO metadata is written for potential visitors who use search engines. Compare your metadata to see how theirs is better or can be improved. Add keywords, LSI keywords, CTAs, and catchy copy to get clicks.


Images and videos keep visitors on your website, make content easier to understand and contribute to user experience. All these are factors that Google cares about.


The majority of your website visitors will likely visit from their mobile phones. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you may have found why Google prefers your competitor’s website. 

Page speed

Pages on the first page of Google load in two seconds or less. Optimize your pages to be faster than theirs to get a competitive edge.

Email Campaigns

Emails are a great way to generate regular website visits. Collect emails on your blogs to generate visits and appear relevant to Google.

Internal linking

Do your competitors link to other content on their website? Internal linking enhances click-through rates, which makes Google assume that visitors love what they see. 

Apart from keyword analysis, you can get content and link ideas from your competitor’s best pages. Specifically, you want content that has many backlinks. Backlinks are crucial for higher rankings, not just for your content but for your entire blog as well. Creating content that other people naturally link to is one of the most important ranking factors for Google and other search engines. 

To create content that generates links:

  1. Find the content that generates the most links for your competitors.
  2. Find broken pages on your competitor’s website that had backlinks.
  3. Create similar content with significant improvements to your competitors’ content. 
  4. Reach out to sites that linked to your competitors’ content to promote your new and improved content.

Depending on your niche and the content, creating better content for SEO may include:

  • Writing longer and more in-depth content.
  • Writing richer content with videos, images, infographics, etc.
  • Wiring more entertaining and engaging content.
  • Writing updated versions of your competitor’s content.
  • Writing content with better headlines for social media.

When you promote your site, be clear about why it is link-worthy and more effective than your competitor’s content. Websites that already link to several competitors are your best bet as they will have no problem linking to yours. 

The number of links your competitors have should be your new link benchmark. Take a look at their backlink profiles, the domain authority of their referring domains, and topical relevance. Develop a link building strategy to attain and surpass their link profile so you can surpass them in the SERP.

Step 5: Social Media Audit

The effect of SEO on social media is highly debated, but it doesn’t really matter. Your SEO competitor may be using social media to:

  • Promote their content and brand
  • Connect with their audience
  • Generate shares that lead to visits
  • Generate brand mentions that Google notices

These are all factors that lead to brand recognition, brand searches, web visits, higher rankings, and even sales. You can use a social mention tool to keep track of how your competitors are scaling their social media engagements and emulate them. 

Conclusion: Competitive Marketing Intelligence

SEO competitor analysis offers a proven method to rank higher in search engines. Don’t guess what is working, find out by spying on your competitors, then do better to rank higher faster.

Host blogger’s comments:

This post explained how to gain and capitalize on competitive marketing intelligence.

Use this post as an action plan to boosting your rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in 2020.

Readers, please share so search engine marketers learn how to boost their standings in the SERPs.

I look forward to your views in the comments section. Do you have any tips you can add to the list? How do you gain and take advantage of competitive marketing intelligence?

Related Reading

How to Spy Now So You Can Boost Traffic and Sales Tomorrow

This post was made possible by the support of our readers.

  1. Natalie Portman

    Wow! This is a fantastic step by step process for successful blogging. Outstanding guide that anyone can benefit from even if you have an established blog. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience!

  2. Suchot

    So thorough and helpful! One thing I’ve been working on recently is my site speed. I have made improvements and it is WAY faster but it’s not down to 2 seconds yet.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Suchot!
      Thanks for commenting. Great to hear from you. Do you use GTMetrix to check site speed? I do.

  3. Web Developer in Avon, CO

    Really great article. Optimising your sites on page content will really help your rankings as I have found out.

  4. SwiftChat Live Chat App

    Always keep an eye on your competitor and analyze why they are doing, what they are doing, and how you can out do them.

    • Janice Wald

      My problem is when their DA is higher than mine. Then, it’s a challenge to beat them online for the same keyword.

  5. Moss Clement

    Hi Janice,

    The tips are practical and result-driven. Analyzing one’s competition is a fantastic way to see first-hand how to beat them on SERP. For this, I use SpyFu. It shows me how my competitors are performing, the keyword terms they’re ranking for, as well as related keyword phrases that can help your content outrank them.
    However, even after making a list of the keywords, I conduct more research on the key terms to select those that are less competitive with high search volume.
    Thank you or sharing!

    • Janice Wald

      Guess what, Moss?! I’m using your comments in a post I’m publishing in 10 days about SEO tools. One of the tools I’m reviewing is SpyFu. I will use your testimonial there and link to you, of course. Thanks for these inspirational, insightful comments!

  6. Steven J Wilson

    Hi Janice,

    These tips are spot on. I find so many focus on creativity, which is important but miss huge opportunities to rank by neglecting keywords. It is something I have to continue to drill down on with my clients that prefer to produce their own content.

    The longer I take on keyword research the better post perform. It is necessary but fortunately for me I enjoy that process.

    Take care,
    Steven J Wilson

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Stevie,
      How great to see you here on my site!
      I’m like you. I love the process of search engine optimization.
      Whatever the reason, I just love analysis.
      I am fanatical about trying to rank for keywords.
      Where I miss out is on the competitive analysis. I do compare my DA to the DA of people who already rank for the term but that’s all I do.
      I go to sites that tell me keyword gaps but find I can’t rank for those terms against the blogging giants in the industry.

      • Janice Wald

        If you know of any sites that tell me keyword gaps, I’d love to hear.
        I use SpyFu and I think, in the past, I also used Ubersuggest.

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.