If you’ve been following the 3C blog lately, then you know we’re digging deep into SEO strategies you can use to up your firm’s marketing presence. And one major part of SEO marketing? Keeping an eye on your competitors.
Even if you’re not the competitive type, conducting a competitor analysis allows you to keep up with current trends and find new ways to innovate your marketing strategy, ultimately setting your firm apart from the pack.
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It also offers a way to put all that sweet SEO knowledge to use and create some solid action items for your team to implement moving forward.
A competitor analysis involves looking at every aspect of your competitors’ business. An SEO competitor analysis is a fancy term for scoping out the (digital) competition. It’s all about taking a look at what others are doing to generate ideas on how you can up your firm’s own game.
More technically, Moz defines an SEO competitor analysis as “researching the links, keywords, content, and more of your SEO competitors in order to reverse engineer the most successful elements of these tactics into your own SEO strategy.”
It’s all about finding new ways to innovate within your firm by first looking outside your firm.
Here at Three Crowns, we often ask advisors, “Who are your top three competitors?”
Often the response is the same: “I’m not sure.” Many advisors don’t consider other firms to be direct competition – they don’t see any real “competition” in their daily work, it’s more a matter of finding the right prospects.
So why is it important for advisors to complete a competitor analysis?
Competitor analysis is part of every well-rounded digital marketing strategy because it gives you a prospect’s point of view – they’re likely researching multiple firms and comparing what each has to offer before making their choice. A strong analysis can help you identify what sets your firm apart. Your firm may be fiduciary, fee-based and offer holistic planning – but if your top competitors can say the same (which pretty much every RIA does these days), it might be time to look at what else you’re doing differently.
Beyond differentiation, an SEO-based competitor analysis can provide a relevant benchmark to measure your own activity against, from your website to your blog and everything in between. If your top competitors regularly pull in prospects via social media, but your own firm’s Twitter page hasn’t been touched in three years, it might be a sign that you’re falling behind the times.
An SEO competitor analysis involves looking at several different pieces across the web. To do that, you’ll need to stay organized along the way. That’s why we’ve created a free, easy to use template for you to use.
To get your free template, simply click the link below and click “File” and then “Make a Copy.”
Click here to download your free copy of Three Crowns’ SEO Competitor Analysis Template
Even if it’s not obvious at first glance, you do have competition. Maybe they’re in your geographic area, or maybe not. A great way to narrow down this list is to think about which advisors serve a similar demographic as your own firm. You should also consider firms that have a comparable team size and AUM.
When creating your list, don’t look for advisors you’re “better” than – rather, think of who would be comparable or even aspirational. Remember, the goal is to improve your own firm.
Within the template we’ve created three separate tabs for you to track each top competitor – however, there’s no limit to how many competitors you can evaluate. Simply duplicate a tab to add another competitor to your list.
Take some time to look at how your top competitors are doing online. Are their websites up to snuff and their social media channels packed with useful, engaging content? Is the blog a mess of hard-to-navigate content? What’s standing out and what’s failing to wow?
The Competitor Analysis Template offers specific questions and instructions in red text that you can edit with answers. For example, if your first competitor’s blog is chock-full of valuable content relating to tax planning, you’d note that in box 3B.
Fill out the entire template for each of your top three competitors. As exhaustive as the list may seem, it’s always better to have more than less when evaluating a competitor’s overall value.
A big part of a comprehensive SEO analysis is to dive deeper into keyword research. This allows you to discover which keywords your competitors are using to bring traffic to their site, and which keywords are lacking any real traction as of yet.
One of our favorite tools when it comes to keyword research is UberSuggest. For starters, it’s one of the most cost-effective SEO tools out there. Most will cost you at least $100 per month, but you can get an UberSuggest lifetime membership for less than $300.
Not only does UberSuggest offer great tools and recommendations when it comes to your firm’s own keyword and SEO research, but it also offers a nifty tool for finding out where your competitors land in relation to you with an aptly named feature: “Similar Websites.”
Simply type in your website’s URL and country of origin and click “search.” You’ll find a list of websites that rank similarly to yours, as well as valuable insights on your competitors’ metrics, including:
Number of backlinks
Keyword gaps (i.e., keywords they aren’t ranking well for)
If you want to dive even further into your keyword research, you can also search directly for the websites of your chosen competitors and discover who their top keyword competitors are to expand your search.
Template Tip: Add relevant keyword information Row E for easy future reference.
Keep in mind as you go through this process that the more objective you can be when comparing your firm to your top competitors, the better. The action items you identify in the template serve as a jumping off point to improve your overall SEO strategy.
Your firm is your baby, so it’s easy to always look at it through rose-tinted glasses – it makes sense. Instead, ask yourself: What do prospects really see? When it comes to creating a strong SEO competitor analysis, it’s best to not give yourself any benefit of the doubt.
Also remember to brainstorm specific action items you can take to make use of this information. If one of your top competitors is ranking high for the keyword “Roth conversions” but low for the keyphrase “Benefits of Roth conversions,” there’s your entry point.
Template Tip: Enter your action items into Row 6 on each page of the template.
Beyond UberSuggest, there are several other useful and/or low-cost tools available for you to use in your competitive analysis.
If you’re looking to find where your competitors are lacking as far as site content goes, Ahrefs offers a great tool called Content Gap that shows which keywords your competitors rank for that your firm doesn’t.
You’ll have to buy into the standard monthly membership to access this feature, which (as of publication of this article) sits at about $200/month minimum (like we said, SEO tools can get pricy). While the price is higher, keep in mind you’ll be receiving a wealth of other tools in that standard package, including a comprehensive SEO dashboard and backlink reports. If you’re looking for an all-in-one tool to help you improve your overall SEO, Ahrefs is a solid choice.
Next on the list is Semrush, which stands out as a great choice – although you’ll still need to create an account.
Semrush offers great SEO tools you can use in a competitor analysis, such as information on traffic and rankings for any domain name you wish to research. This tool offers all the basics you need to get started on an SEO competitor analysis.
Last up we have a super simple but surprisingly helpful tool: Google Alerts.
Google Alerts allows you to track interesting new web content based on whatever you’re interested in following closely. If you want to stay up to date on content surrounding a specific keyword or keyphrase, (such as “tax planning in Houston, Texas”) all you have to do is type it in to create the alert.
Then, you’ll be the first to know anytime something big on the web happens involving that phrase. While this isn’t limited to specifically your competitors’ content, it can give you a quick, easy and free way to track specific ideas and keywords that have piqued your firm’s interest.
With our easy to follow template and step-by-step instructions, you’re well on your way to a quick and painless competitor analysis that can reveal more ways to leverage SEO against your competitors.
Click here to get your free copy of Three Crowns’ SEO Competitor Analysis Template
When it comes to marketing and SEO, you can always benefit from a little help from the experts. To gain a more comprehensive look at your firm’s digital footprint, connect with Three Crowns Marketing today.