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Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. Thank you for joining me today as we talk about SEO competitive analysis for B2B businesses. My name is Joyce Collardé. I am the SEO Supervisor at Obility. Obility is a digital marketing agency based out of Portland, Oregon, with offices in Austin and Boston and that specializes in B2B businesses. 

So I wanted to talk about SEO competitive analysis because it is a really crucial part of your SEO strategy and of your SEO success. As you know, SEO doesn’t work in a vacuum. So if you want to be able to improve your SEO traffic, your click-through rate, your keyword position, and eventually your conversions, you have to be able to take the space of some existing competitors. 

Today I’m going to walk you through the five phases of the competitive analysis. We’ll start with how to select your competitors. Then we’ll discuss the keyword distribution and what is important to understand the keyword distribution. Then we’ll discuss keywords and content gaps and opportunities. Then we’ll move on to technical health of your website and your competitors’ websites. And we’ll finish with backlink analysis. 

Selecting competitors

So selecting competitors is the step that is really important, especially in the B2B space, because the B2B space is very competitive, and in this space we have a few marketing giants like Oracle, AWS, Marketo, Google, that can be considered the de facto competitors for everyone. 

Unfortunately, with that line of thinking, you are really missing out on a lot of interesting insights because those websites are so huge that they might rank for hundreds of thousands of keywords. Sometimes we see millions of links and have a Domain Authority of 98. So when you compare yourself to them, then it will be really difficult to actually find good nuggets of information about your website. You will always be at the bottom, and it’s also really discouraging. 

So I really would recommend that you are realistic about who your real competitors are. And nothing prevents you from refreshing your competitors in six months or a year from now if you feel like you’ve outgrown the competitors you selected in the first place. 

One thing I want to highlight as well is that you should have different sets of competitors for each funnel stage. For example, let’s say your target keyword list includes definitional keywords like “what is cloud computing.” So your competitors for “what is cloud computing” might be ZDNet or TechTarget, for example.  But let’s say you want to target “cloud computing solution,” then your competitors could be IBM. But the intent of the user who is looking for “what is cloud computing” versus “cloud computing solution” or “cloud computing software” is very different, so you cannot target the same competitors for each level of the stage funnel. You will miss out on a lot of good insights, too. 

I also do want to point out that your competitors will be very different in different areas of digital marketing or even offline marketing. Your PPC, your paid search keywords, or your paid social keywords will not be the same as your SEO keywords. Really the best way for you to identify good competitors is just to Google your target keywords. It’s really as simple as that. And then see who comes up and see what their strategies are. 

Keyword distribution

So let’s take a look now at keyword distribution. One thing that I want to point out is that sometimes we audit competitors that seem like they’re ranking for thousands of keywords, and it’s a little intimidating. But really ranking for thousands of keywords isn’t the end-all be-all. You should really pay attention to their keyword distribution. Out of those thousands of keywords, how many are branded, how many are not branded? 

Of course, you won’t be able to rank for your competitors’ branded name. So you really have to focus on the non-branded keywords. Also, those keywords, do they have a lot of volume? Are they really difficult to rank for? Are they ranking for hundreds of keywords with zero searches or 10 searches per month, for example? Are those the keywords that you really want to target? And if you do manage to take their place on the first page, is it really going to help your overall SEO strategy? 

Another good thing to look at is diversification. Are your competitors only ranking for one keyword category, or are they targeting different categories? A competitor that, let’s say, ranks for only branded keywords or keywords that have very little search volume or that is targeting only one specific category wouldn’t be very dangerous keywords. And as we talked about earlier, you should not have the same competitors for every set of target keywords that you are working with. So make sure that you repeat this step for each set of competitors. 


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