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Chapter 3: How To Analyze Your Local Competition

How to run a local competitive analysis
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    You might be wondering how you can best compete in the ever-evolving landscape of local marketing.

    We’ll start by taking a hard look at what those around you are up to.

    If it seems like your local competitors know something that you don’t, they probably do — but you can level things out with one simple step: knowing how to analyze your local competition.

    In this chapter of our series on local marketing, we’ll discuss why analyzing the competition is essential and provide tips for getting started so that your business has the edge over its rivals.

    What Is A Local Organic Competitive Analysis?

    A local organic competitive analysis is a form of research used to identify and analyze the search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and strategies employed by businesses in your local area that match your products or services.

    By performing a competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ SEO efforts, helping you understand where your competitors are succeeding or falling short. This knowledge can help you refine your own SEO efforts for maximum effectiveness.

    Factors To Include In A Local Competitive Analysis

    The local organic competitive analysis involves assessing various aspects of rival websites such as:

    • keyword usage and content organization
    • local backlinks and link structure
    • on-page technical SEO
    • local directories
    • and more

    When performed properly it can provide an overview of the top-ranking websites in Google local search results for particular keywords related to your business. This information can be used to inform decisions about which keywords to target to boost visibility in local SERPs.

    Additionally, a local organic competitive analysis also helps you assess how well your competition is optimizing its website for mobile devices.

    Since Google now prioritizes mobile-friendly websites when displaying search results, understanding how well your competition is positioning itself on this front could give you a significant edge over rivals who haven’t made the same effort.

    By regularly monitoring changes in your competition’s SEO tactics and keeping tabs on industry trends relating to Local SEO best practices, businesses can effectively design a tailored strategy that targets keyword phrases most likely to produce high-quality traffic and conversions.

    Such an approach increases the chances of success by ensuring that businesses remain ahead of the curve rather than lagging behind their competitors in terms of achieving visibility within local SERPs.

    Understanding Key Aspects of Your Local Competitor Analysis

    So, what exactly should you be paying attention to? Below, we’ll outline key areas to keep an eye on, so you can develop a winning local SEO strategy based on what your competition is doing.

    Keyword Rankings & Content Creation

    To create a winning local SEO strategy, it is important to analyze the top competitors in a given market.

    Keyword analysis tools such as Ahrefs and SEMRush can provide valuable insights into what methods and strategies your competitors are using to gain an edge over the competition.

    Step 1: Identify Top Competitors

    To run a keyword analysis in Ahrefs and SEMRush, the first step is to identify the top competitors in a given market. This can be done by researching websites that appear prominently in local search engine rankings for related keywords and queries (top 10 organic results on Google).

    Once this information has been gathered, each competitor’s website should be added as a search target within Ahrefs or SEMRush.

    Step 2: Identify High-Value Keywords

    Next, it is important to identify which keywords are used by competitors when attempting to optimize their websites for the local market. The best way to do this is by looking at both organic search visitor data as well as backlink profile data from within Ahrefs or SEMRush.

    This will provide details on which specific keywords are driving targeted traffic as well as which links are helping them achieve higher rankings for those terms.

    Step 3: Run A Keyword Gap Analysis

    In SEMRush, you can run a keyword gap analysis to see what keyword you rank for, which keywords your competitors rank for, and where the biggest opportunities are.

    Leveraging these metrics will inform you of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ online presence, enabling you to craft more effective local content to give you an edge in the SERPs.

    Utilizing this competitor research can also help you understand which topics might be most profitable in terms of content creation and link-building campaigns, allowing you to further optimize your existing strategies.

    Step 4: Quality Check Your Competitor's Content

    In addition to running keyword research, be sure to analyze your competitor’s content with this checklist:

    • Who is writing the content?
    • What is the content about?
    • When is the content being written?
    • Where is the content focused (locally)?
    • Why is the content being written?
    • How many social shares is the content getting?
    • How many reviews are listed?

    Local Backlinks

    Running a local backlink audit on your top competitors in Google is a crucial step to creating an effective local SEO strategy. By examining your competitors’ backlinks, you can generate ideas for new content and uncover link-building opportunities. Here’s how you can get started:

    Step 1: Identify Your Competitors (Again)

    The first step to running a local backlink audit is to identify your competitors. To do this, search for relevant keywords that are related to your business on Google and analyze the results. Take note of the businesses that appear on the first page of search results as these are likely to be your top competitors in the area.

    Step 2: Analyze Your Competitors’ Links

    Once you have identified your main competitors, it’s time to analyze their links. You can use a tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to examine their backlink profile and gain insights into which websites are linking to them. Take note of any high-authority websites that are linked to their site, as these could provide great opportunities for link-building down the line.

    Step 3: Identify Opportunities

    The next step is to identify opportunities for acquiring new links by analyzing both aggregate data (such as domain authority) and individual links pointing toward your competitors’ sites. This will give you insight into which websites have linked out in the past and what kind of content they tend to share or promote. With this information, you can tailor content specifically designed for those websites to acquire a new link from them.

    Step 4: Monitor Changes Regularly

    Finally, it’s important to monitor changes regularly to stay ahead of your competition. Set up alerts for when new websites start linking out or when popular existing links disappear so that you can quickly identify any opportunities for gaining additional links before anyone else does. Keeping track of changes will help ensure that you remain one step ahead of the competition and position yourself as an industry leader in terms of local SEO performance.

    On-Page Technical SEO

    To create a winning local SEO strategy via on-page technical SEO for top competitors in Google, the following steps should be taken to ensure success:

    Step 1: Continue Analyzing Your Competitors

    You’ll need to first analyze your top competitors’ on-page technical SEO efforts to uncover what they are doing right and where improvements can be made. This includes researching their keyword usage, content structure, website design and architecture, page speed optimization, mobile compatibility, usage of structured data markup, and much more.

    Step 2: Optimize Your Website's Organic Search Performance

    Once you have identified potential areas of improvement from your competitor analysis, you can begin to optimize your own website’s organic search performance.

    This involves carefully optimizing your content and HTML elements such as:

    • titles and meta descriptions
    • creating new pages that are optimized for specific keywords
    • improving page load times and user experience (UX)
    • implementing schema markup for better search engine visibility
    • fixing broken links or redirects when necessary
    • creating high-quality backlinks from other websites and blogs in your industry
    • ensuring that all pages are accessible through XML sitemaps

    Step 3.: Set Up Local SEO Structures

    Creating an effective local SEO strategy requires setting up various structures such as:

    • local landing pages which should target specific locations or regions using location-based keywords;
    • utilizing localized content on blog posts;
    • ensuring that NAP (Name Address Phone) information is accurate across all directories;
    • registering with online review sites;
    • building relationships with local influencers/bloggers in your area;
    • making sure that all social media accounts include location information;
    • submitting business profiles to relevant directories like Yelp;
    • using proper local citation formats;
    • optimizing images with geo-tags;
    • promoting the website in the local community through events or sponsorships;
    • leveraging geo-targeting features within AdWords to target customers in a specific region by displaying ads only when a person searches for something related to that region

    Step 4: Monitor & Measure Progress

    Lastly, but most importantly, it is essential to track progress over time by monitoring search engine rankings for important keywords as well as measuring website traffic from organic sources over time via analytics tools like Google Analytics. This will help you determine if your local SEO strategy is working or if there are opportunities for improvement by making adjustments accordingly.

    Local Schema Markup

    Schema Markup is code that helps search engines better understand the content of a website and improve how websites are displayed in SERPs.

    It can also help increase the visibility of a website when it appears in related searches or when users ask questions through voice commands or on social media.

    There are several types of Schema Markups available including Organization, Place and Product, which can each be used to target specific searches related to the topic or product being discussed on the page.

    For example, if your business is selling cameras, you might want to use the Product Schema Markup so that when people search for “buy digital camera” your website will appear amongst other relevant results.

    Step 1: Analyze Your Competitor's Schema Markup Code

    Once you have identified what type of Schema Markup your competitor is using, it’s time to analyze it further and make changes accordingly.

    You should start by looking at what information your competitor has included within their Schema Code and then compare that with what information you have included within yours.

    It is important that all the key elements such as product name, description, price etc., are accurately reflected within both codes so that there aren’t any discrepancies between them which could affect rankings or user experience negatively.

    Additionally, make sure that any details regarding special offers or discounts are also correctly indicated within both codes so these can also be picked up by search engines easily.

    Step 2: Format and Implement

    Once you have verified that all of the necessary components are present in both sets of code, you can then look at how they are formatted differently and adjust accordingly if needed.

    This could include changing certain characteristics such as names/titles from singular to plural form or adjusting punctuation marks etc., so they match exactly with those found in competitors’ code.

    By carefully examining both codes side-by-side like this, businesses can ensure their local SEO strategies remain competitive against those of their rivals by creating effective yet accurate Schema Markup code which helps boost visibility in SERPs across all devices and platforms involved.

    Local Directories

    In order to create a more effective local SEO strategy, it is important to research which local directory sites your top competitors are on. This information can be used to help build a stronger presence in the local market.

    Step 1: Research Directories Where Your Competitors Are Listed

    One way to find out what local directory sites a business’ top competitors are on is to perform an online search with the competitor’s business name and keywords such as “directory listing” or “business listing”.

    This will generate a list of websites where the competitor may have their business listed. It is also possible to filter the search by location so that only local listings appear in the results.

    Another suggested method for researching local directory sites is to use Google My Business Insights. With this tool, you can view the number of locations where your competitors have registered their businesses and compare it against your own profile.

    This information can be used to identify gaps in your local SEO strategy and inform decisions about where you should focus resources for maximum impact.

    Step 2: Create Local Listings On Relevant Sites

    Once you have identified potential local directories, it is important to double-check them before signing up by checking if they are reputable and actively maintained.

    You should also check that they offer valid ratings and reviews or other customer feedback opportunities which could contribute towards building brand trust and credibility with potential customers in the area.

    Step 3: Quality Check Your Listings

    Finally, when signing up for any directory site it is important that all contact details provided are accurate and kept up-to-date so that customers can easily reach out with questions or inquiries when needed, as well as help Google verify that your business exists at that location as part of its verification process.

    In Conclusion

    If you want to rank higher in Local SEO results, it is important to understand what your competitors are doing. With a little analysis, you can discover their strengths and weaknesses, and use that information to improve your own website ranking. There are many factors involved in local organic competitive analysis – from keyword usage to content organization and on-page technical SEO. By taking the time to assess all of these areas, you can develop an optimization strategy for your site that will help you rise above the competition in Local search results.

    If you want to get started without all of the guesswork, contact our team of local SEO experts to schedule a free consultation. 

    About The Author:

    Connor Wilkins

    Connor Wilkins

    Connor Wilkins is the Chief Marketing Officer at Direction.com. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 following studies in marketing & the media, editing & writing, and audience psychologies. Connor is an avid writer and researcher who specializes in learning consumer personalities and engaging those interests through thought-provoking content.
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