Types of Competitors in SEO (& How to Outrank Them with Competitive Analysis)

There are four types of competitors when it comes to SEO. These competitors are websites or businesses that are getting organic traffic from your target customer. This could be costing you hundreds or thousands of page views each month. So in this video, we’re going to tell you how to identify all of your competitors. Then, we’ll show you how to beat all of your competitors and steal that traffic back for yourself. That way, you can dominate your niche! We’ll start by going over the four types of competitors, the first being a direct competitor. These are businesses that are going to be offering the same products or services as you. Direct competitors can be pretty easy to identify so you probably already know who they are. So if you run a pizzeria, your direct competitors are going to include restaurants like Pizza Hut and Domino’s. Now the next type of competitor is going to be an indirect competitor. An indirect competitor is going to target the same customers as you, just not offering the exact same products. So to follow the pizza model, your indirect business competitors might be other fast food or delivery restaurants. So you’re not competing for pizza sales, but you are competing for other customers looking for quick and affordable food services. Indirect competitors can be a little more difficult to identify at times. But stick around, we’ll show you how to identify who they are later in the video. The third type of competitor is going to be a replacement competitor. These are businesses outside of your industry that offer products and services that could replace your offerings. For example, a grocery store does not make or deliver a pizza. But, they do sell the ingredients to make a pizza. The grocery store could be considered a replacement competitor as the consumer could replace the use of your product by visiting them instead. You also have to look out for SERP competitors. These are any websites ranking on Google that are getting any traffic from YOUR targeted keywords. These may not even be businesses! Wikipedia, news pages and similar articles could be considered SERP competitors. Depending on your niche and keywords, these competitors can be very difficult to outrank. So let’s take a look at how to identify the types of competitors you’re going to be up against. The best way to do this is with some keyword research. Keyword research can be as simple or complex as you make it. Simple keyword research may involve just Googling products and services that you currently offer. So if you Google “pizzeria”, you can easily identify all your competitors based on the results that appear. At The HOTH, we like to dig into all the numbers and data that we can find. So while Google can be a great place to start, at The HOTH, we recommend using tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush for keyword research. Ahrefs is our go-to tool, so we’ll be using it for research examples in this video. So if you’d like to follow along, Ahrefs offers a 7-day trial for just $7. Which should give you more than enough time to complete your keyword research. So when you log into Ahrefs, start out by filling in your URL and viewing the organic keywords page. This is going to show you all of the keywords you are currently ranking for on Google. For each keyword, you can hit the drop-down SERP button to view all competitors for a given keyword phrase. Or, you can just take these keywords and type them into Google to see the given results. So whichever approach you take to keyword research, you should easily be able to identify a handful of your competitors. Once you’ve compiled a list of your competitors, you’ll be ready to perform a competitive analysis. Competitive analysis involves directly comparing your keyword rankings with your competitors’. You can perform competitive analysis on keywords you’re ranking for, as well as keywords you’re NOT ranking for. Since you’re already looking at your keyword rankings, let’s start by assessing the keywords that you’re already ranking for. So let’s take another look at the drop-down SERP data. Look at all of the pages that are ranking above you – especially those in the top 3 spots! Is their content longer or more informative than yours? Do they have more backlinks than you? Maybe your content doesn’t match the search intent. Once you determine what you’re pages are lacking, you can optimize your content so that it can rank better. Maybe, you just need to add some fresh content to your page. Or, maybe you need to earn some new backlinks through blogger outreach or our HOTH Guest Post service. In any case, Ahrefs is going to give you all the data you need to develop your strategy. And since you’re already ranking for all these keywords, you don’t have to start from scratch. This means that you’re going to get results faster, and with less effort! Now, let’s talk about the keywords you’re NOT ranking for. You can look at the keywords you’re not ranking for to determine where your competitors are getting traffic that YOU could be getting. Ahrefs has a simple and informative content gap analysis tool that you can use for this research. Just insert the URLs of your competitors. Ahrefs will bring up a comprehensive list of keywords that your competitors are ranking for, and that you are not. You can use these keywords to create new content or optimize old content. Since you’re not ranking for these keywords yet, by doing so, you could get new organic traffic. Possibly taking some from your competitors in the process. However, you do need to be strategic in your keyword selection. First, make sure you are selecting keywords that are relevant to your business or website. Ranking for keywords outside of your niche is going to do you no good, and could even hurt you. Next, make sure you’re targeting keywords that are going to receive significant search volume. It might not be worth the effort to try to rank for a keyword that is only going to get 100 searches/month. You’ll also want to consider how tough it will be to outrank your competitors. If they have thorough content with hundreds of backlinks, it’s going to take a lot of time, effort and money to compete with them. If this is the case, you’ll probably just want to find alternative keywords that are a little less competitive. It’s all about finding that perfect blend between search volume and keyword difficulty. In other words, what can you rank for the easiest that will bring you the most traffic. The numbers for this data will vary by niche, so you’re going to have to judge it on a case-by-case basis. Once you have your keywords selected, look at your competitors’ content that is ranking for those keywords. You’ll be able to do this directly from the competitive gap analysis tool by clicking on your competitors’ SERP rankings. Focus on the format of their content and the information that they provide. Use their content as a model to create content that is longer, more thorough and generally more valuable. The goal is to create similar content that outshines your competitors’ content. This way you’ll have no problem outranking them, and stealing their organic traffic. So at this point, you should have successfully identified your competitors. And, you should have a number of new and existing keywords to target in your competitive analysis. So all that’s left to do is to implement your findings, and start raking in the organic traffic. So if you need any help outranking your competitors, visit us at to learn more about our SEO products and services. 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