The internet is crowded with “popular SEO strategies”, but only a few of them actually work. Moreover, they never work as well as you anticipate. The “strategies” and their potential results are often overestimated — which leads to higher SEO costs, messed up marketing budgets, low ROI, and lots of frustration.

Most of these problems could be attributed to a lack of research.

You see an SEO technique, you go after it without proper and thorough research, and you end up getting disappointed.

Throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks is a tactic that used to work a few years ago in the online marketing world. It does not work anymore. There are just too many online businesses and too much “content noise” out there.

This is why proper competitor analysis is so crucial.

Whether you are building backlinks or understanding more about your audience demographics, thoroughly analyzing your competitors’ websites often has the answer.

Similarly, you could also improve your website’s content and the business’s overall content marketing strategy with the help of competitor analysis. And in this blog post, we are going to discuss exactly that.

We will discuss: How to improve your site’s content (and the content marketing strategy) by analyzing what your competitors are doing and what you can do to improve things and add more value for your potential customers.

Let’s begin.

Selecting the right keywords

As you must know, content marketing and blog posts rely heavily on keywords.

No, you do not have to stuff keywords in title tags and meta descriptions, but it is important to be aware of the keywords that your target audience is using to find your product or service. Furthermore, it is also equally important to know which keywords are working better than the others.

There is no point in placing your bet on a dead horse, right?

So you should start by finding the right keywords. There are two ways to do that:

You can jump into Google Keyword Planner (or any other keyword research tool that you prefer) and find high-volume keywords in your niche with relatively a low level of competition.

The problem with this method is that Google Keyword Planner — or any other keyword tool for that matter — does not really give you creative, outside-of-the-box ideas to work with. Based on your seed keyword, it only gives you very similar or related keywords — which are useless most of the time. The bigger problem is that most of your competitors would be using the same tool with the same primary keywords. In the end, all of you will have more or less the same set of keywords.

How do you plan to beat your competitors if everyone has the same information?

The second method, however, shakes things up a bit.

As per the second keyword research method, you start by analyzing your competitors that are already well established and have an active content marketing strategy that is driving traffic and sales.

In short, you pick keywords that are working for them and try to outrank them at their own game.

Here is how to do that:

First, shortlist a few competitors that you think are the best candidates for this competitor analysis process.

Then pick the best of the lot and identify their traffic sources. You can use a free tool like SimilarWeb to see how much traffic they receive on a monthly basis and how much of it relies on search engines/content.

Next, you should use a tool like SpyFu to identify the top keywords that your main competitor is targeting.

Just paste the competitor’s website URL, and SpyFu will reveal the keyword information to you.

We have discussed the usage of these two tools (and more) in more detail in a different blog post. If you want to read more, click 5 tools to use for competitor analysis.

By now, you should have a list of proven keywords that your competitors are targeting.

Since we had established that these are the top keywords for your competitor and the fact that your competitor is driving a good amount of traffic via search, it is obvious that the business would be ranking very high in the search engine results pages for these keywords.

It is time to start analyzing each of those web pages.

Pick each of those keywords and search them on Google. Notice the top 5-10 web pages that you get. Your competitors would be in these results 90% of them.

The next goal is to create a fantastic piece of content that would beat the current top 10.

Following are three ways of doing that.

1. Increasing the length of the content

It is now a proven fact that Google and other search engines favor long-form content that is more in-depth and detailed.

Such web pages and blog posts are not created around a keyword. Instead, they are written around an entire topic. You explain a topic in detail — not worry about having a certain keyword a certain time — and provide as much information as possible about that topic to its readers.

In the process, if you exceed 2,000+ words or more, Google is more likely to see your content as the go-to source of information. Of course, there are many more factors at play here, but the long-form content does tend to perform better in the SERPs.

Take a look at the following research that studies over 20,000 keywords and Google’s top 10 positions for those keywords.

As you can see, for all those 20,000 keywords, Google ranked only 2,000+ word web pages in its top 10 positions.

In short, write detailed, informative, and 2000+ word blog posts if you want to drive organic traffic away from your competitors to your own website.

2. Increase content credibility

Trust us when we say it to you: it is easy to write a 2,000-word blog post. However, it’s very difficult to write a good 2,000+ word blog post on a topic.

You will often find yourself rambling, using filler content, and adding next to nothing in value. Make sure not to do that. Make sure to add a lot of value to your blog post with each word and sentence. Nothing should go to waste.

A surefire way of doing that is by adding case studies, links, statistics, numbers, insights, and credible sources in your blog post.

By doing so, you can not only increase the length of content but also improve the credibility of what you are saying. Moreover, case studies and data always make a blog post interesting and infinitely more useful.

3. Increase content engagement

If people click on your search engine result link and quit your website soon after that to click on another result, Google notices that. It’s called pogo-sticking, and it eventually decreases your website search engine rankings.

To counter this problem, increase content engagement. In the process of doing so, you will also significantly improve the quality of your content.

  • Add images, video content, and infographics that make your content seem more interesting.
  • Make sure everything is clearly readable and that there are no design-related issues on your website.
  • You can also sprinkle tweetable content on your web page — which not only increases engagement but also drive more social media traffic.

The bottom line is that you want to create interesting content that makes people read more and more and stay on your website.

  • Start with an interesting question or statistics.
  • Create magnetic headlines.
  • Clearly define in the introduction of your blog post what the readers will be getting after reading the post.

Whatever works for your audience — just make sure that they are hooked.

What’s next?

Once you have improved your website’s content based on competitor analysis, the next step would be to drive more traffic to it and increase backlinks.

Based on the Skyscraper technique, you can reach out to people who were already interested in this topic on different social media networks. Also, you should manually reach out to influencers in your industry and see if you could get some backlinks.

By using your newly published blog post, you can also go out on a hunt for broken links in order to gain some backlinks for your own website. If you want to read more about it, here is a step-by-step guide to building backlinks with the broken link strategy.