Sizing up your competition is key to understanding where your site is performing well and where it’s lagging behind. A good competitive analysis helps you:
- Identify important industry trends that may impact your strategy
- Benchmark against others in your space, and
- Uncover what’s working for market leaders that might also work for you
✪ Learn more about the importance of a competitive analysis in our blog: Get the Competitive Edge: Why Analyzing Your Competition Matters.
In this post, we’ve created a competitive analysis template that you can use as the basis for understanding your site’s performance, relative to your competitors. It outlines how to do a competitive analysis and what key points to include.
Discover Growth Opportunities With This Competitive Analysis Template
The checklist for your competitive analysis is broken down into sections.
Start with benchmarking your site’s performance metrics (like Alexa Rank) against your competitors.
Then dive deeper to uncover what marketing and search strategies are helping them grow.
End with a technical audit of your site to make sure your organic presence is optimized! (Hint: You can also audit your competitors!)
What should you include in your competitive analysis?
Benchmark Performance: Success Metrics
Benchmarking your site’s performance helps you understand how you measure up to your peers, and your industry as a whole.
You can use Alexa’s Site Comparison feature to do a side-by-side comparison of Alexa Rank for up to 10 competing sites.
You should also gut check the quality of traffic with engagement metrics like:
- Pageviews per user
- Bounce %
- Time on Site
When documenting your site’s performance in your competitive analysis template, ask yourself:
- Is my site underperforming or highly performing compared to my competitors for each metric?
- What seems to be the average?
- If I’m underperforming, then why?
- Is it an SEO or technical issue? (See section: Evaluate SEO)
- Are parts of my site inaccessible or hard to navigate? Or is competition just stiff and should I consider investing more in certain channels?
Uncover Strategy: Traffic Source Breakdown
Using your Site Comparison, view the percentage of traffic each site is receiving from:
If a large percentage comes from search, what is [company x]’s strategy?
- What keywords is this competitor getting traffic for?
- What keywords are they running ads for?
If the majority comes from social:
- What networks are they using?
- How often are they posting?
- What kind of content is it?
- What is their following?
If a lot of traffic comes from links:
- What sites are linking in?
- How many sites are linking in compared to my site?
- What are the Alexa Ranks of the sites linking in? How many are in the top 5,000, 10,000, 100,000…?
PRO TIP: Export any list of sites linking in to receive a CSV file. Filter by Global Rank to view high quality sites linking to your own or your competitors’.
If a large portion of traffic comes from direct:
- Does the site or product require customers to come back often? (Is it driving repeat visitor traffic?)
- Are they doing offline marketing that’s driving great brand awareness? (i.e. TV, radio, mail)
Evaluate SEO: Site Audit
In addition to making sure your site follows SEO best practices, the last phase of your competitive analysis should be to compare the effectiveness of your SEO to your competitors.
What is their percentage of total traffic from organic?
What is my site speed compared to others?
How many sites link in to my site compared to others?
How many keywords for my site (or my competitors’ sites) are non-branded keywords vs. branded keywords? In other words, is my SEO strategy effective enough that I am driving awareness and new relevant traffic using non-branded keywords?
✪ Want more information? Read: A Competitive Analysis Example to Get You Started
Download Your Free Competitive Analysis Template
Now that we’ve gone over the main elements to include in a competitive analysis, you can download a free competitive analysis template to get started on your own.
It includes key points to analyze and resources to help you along the way.
Finally, you can get access to all of the competitive analysis tools we used here today by signing up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced plan.
You’ll be well equipped to excel in search and grow your business!