When it comes to SEO analysis, I always have a clear idea of what I’m trying to achieve from the outset. As you start to play around with SEO tools, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of data and begin working your way through a treasure trove of information.
Upon logging into my SEO tools, here are just some of the tasks that I may complete:
- Identify new backlink “wins” on my domain’s backlink profile.
- Pinpoint which pages are starting to rank for keywords.
- Review competing domains and keywords they target.
- Monitor keyword movements on my domain.
- Assess my domain’s overall trajectory.
If you are paying for an SEO tool on a monthly subscription, it’s critical that you are using its features to make intelligent SEO decisions. Rather than navigating from one feature to another without any real purpose, I want to help you unlock value from the SEO tools at your disposal.
In this guide, I want to break down a few of the strategies that I use to conduct SEO analysis. I’m not interested in giving you high-level ideas. Let’s get down to business and look at some practical ways to begin squeezing value from these SEO tools.
Whether you are building up an existing domain or want to gather data to launch a brand-new website, I’m going to teach you some transferable skills that will inform your approach to SEO going forward. I’m all about giving people the information they need to take action themselves.
To get started, you are going to need access to one of the leading SEO tools – you can see a list of the 21 best SEO tools here. This post will show how you how to do an SEO analysis using one of those tools, Ahrefs, but there are many other tools out there with similar functionality.
Let’s now take a look at 4 strategies that you can use to improve your SEO. Some of these are going to be more complex than others, but I promise that they will help you make the most out of whatever SEO tool subscription you have. If you are having trouble with any of these, feel free to reach out to me and I will do all I can to set you on the right path.
- 1. Finding Low-Hanging Fruit From Competing Domains
- 2. Discovering Untapped Keywords From Competing Domains
- 3. Exploring Potential Backlink Opportunities (Plus Pitching)
- 4. Doubling Down On Target Keywords In Your Blog Content
- SEO Analysis Strategy FAQs
- How can I improve my website's search rankings?
- What are the most important ranking factors for search engines?
- How do I conduct a thorough SEO analysis of my website?
- What tools can I use to analyze my website's SEO performance?
- How do I track my website's search engine rankings over time?
- What are the common mistakes to avoid in SEO?
- How do I optimize my website for mobile devices?
1. Finding Low-Hanging Fruit From Competing Domains
Finding low hanging-fruit will enable you to capitalize on potential opportunities without doing a tremendous amount of work. After all, there is no shortage of keyword opportunities out there. It all comes down to finding the right opportunities at any given moment. After all, your domain may not be able to rank for hyper-competitive keywords.
To find low-hanging fruit from competing domains, use your SEO tool to identify keywords that competitor domains already rank for. You can do this by typing your domain into the search bar, hitting ENTER, and then navigating to “Competing domains” on the right-hand side. Upon clicking on this button, you will see a full list of domains ranking for similar keywords.
While these may not be direct business competitors, they are likely in the same industry as you. If you disregard those who are not direct business competitors, this should help you to identify domains ranking for keywords with similar search intent. Ultimately, you want to start ranking for keywords that potential customers or clients are likely to search for on Google.
Copy the URL of a domain in “Competing Domains” that you would like to investigate. Navigate to the menu on the left-hand side, right-click on the “Top Pages” button, and open this up in a new tab. You should now paste the URL into the top search bar and press ENTER.
As you can see on the right, you can see some of the keywords the competing domain is ranking for. You can click on each of these keywords to explore them further. For ease, I’d always recommend right clicking on links in your SEO tool and opening these up in a new tab. This enables you to continue using a page like the one above as a reference point.
2. Discovering Untapped Keywords From Competing Domains
This is one of the easiest strategies for kickstarting your SEO efforts. Think about a seed keyword that is well-aligned with your business and has good search intent. Type this into the Keyword Explorer and press ENTER. If you want to, you can include a few different variants of the seed keyword and separate each of these using commas.
Upon pressing ENTER, you will shortly see a whole load of data surrounding the keyword. We want to dive even deeper and find untapped keywords that nobody else is targeting or perhaps even aware of. To do this, we are going to navigate to the bottom left-hand corner and look at the list called “Keyword Ideas” and click the “View all” button.
You can now see different variants of the seed keyword. The only problem is that these all have a high “KD” rating. This stands for “Keyword Difficulty” – every SEO provides a number for this, the higher the number the more difficult it will be to rank for. Rather than manually scrolling through this list and trying to pick out some easy keywords, I’d recommend narrowing things down by limiting the KD to 20.
Once you have done this, click “Show results” and you will see a full range of relatively easy keywords to potentially purse. You can click on each of these keywords to dig deeper and explore keyword variants.
Further Reading: How to Do an SEO Competitive Analysis: A Tutorial for Both Beginners and Experts
3. Exploring Potential Backlink Opportunities (Plus Pitching)
When it comes to backlinks, all you need to do is head back over to the left-hand menu for each domain and click on the “Backlinks” button.
You will then see a full breakdown of backlinks for the domain. If you need to, you can filter these by “New” and “Lost” to monitor progress and flag potential issues.
If you are looking at a competitor’s backlink profile, you can identify potential opportunities for guest posting and reach out directly to those behind the domain.
Here’s a very basic email template for you to build on:
I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name] and I am the [Your Title] at [Your Company].
I recently came across your website [Website] and really enjoyed the high-quality content you have on [Topic]. I am reaching out to see if you would be interested in a guest post collaboration.
I have an idea for an article that I believe would be a great fit for your audience and would be happy to write it for you. In exchange, I would love to include a backlink to my website [Your Website] within the article.
I am confident that my article will not only provide value to your readers but also bring fresh and relevant content to your website.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please let me know and I would be happy to send over some ideas and a draft for your review.
Thank you for considering my request. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Further Reading: Backlink Building Hacks & Secrets Revealed: How We Got 12,000 Backlinks in One Year
4. Doubling Down On Target Keywords In Your Blog Content
If you go back to the “Top Pages” section, you will see a list of the top keywords you are ranking for across all pages. In some cases, you may rank for a keyword but not be optimized around it. With a few small tweaks to these pages, you could climb the SERPs in no time at all.
While I’m here, I might as well do some SEO myth-busting and answer some common questions related to SEO analysis.
Marcus is the founder of Searchant — a digital marketing agency that helps businesses increase their organic visibility with transparent SEO methods.
Hero Photo by Choong Deng Xiang on Unsplash
SEO Analysis Strategy FAQs
How can I improve my website’s search rankings?
Taking an SEO tool for a spin can help you identify potential opportunities to improve your website’s rankings. From identifying new backlink wins to exploring untapped keywords from competing domains, there is no shortage of ways to analyze and optimize your website for search engine performance.
Even if you can’t get your hands on a paid subscription, there are plenty of free SEO tools available online to help you analyze your website’s performance which you can research here: The 15 Best Free SEO Tools You Need to Know in 2023
Further Reading: Looking for a Google SEO Checker? Here’s 15 to Check Out
What are the most important ranking factors for search engines?
As Google does not share its exact ranking algorithms, it’s hard to definitively answer this question. However, we do know that Google loves informative, original content that’s written by authoritative sources. If you can establish yourself as an authority on a specific subject and provide readers with a ton of value, you are off to the races.
How do I conduct a thorough SEO analysis of my website?
I would always recommend getting a website audit completed by a specialist agency with the right tools at their disposal. You should seek out professionals that are willing to take a deep dive into the data and provide you with tangible, actionable advice.
A professional website audit should, in the main do two things:
- Uncover issues and errors that might be holding a website back from doing better organically.
- Start mapping out a roadmap to not only fix existing issues, but also capitalize on untapped opportunities.
These audits are incredibly useful for monitoring the technical health of your website, and they can give you a clear signal of where to focus your SEO efforts.
Further Reading: Technical SEO: The 15 Technical Aspects of Search Engine Optimization That You Need to Know
What tools can I use to analyze my website’s SEO performance?
Alongside an SEO tool, you need to have access to Google Search Console and Google Analytics. These two platforms can play a pivotal role in helping you build an understanding of how your website is performing from an SEO perspective. You can use Google Search Console to potentially accelerate the ranking process by submitting content for indexing.
As you start to publish new blog content or add new pages to your website, you can simply paste the URLs individually into Google Search Console and submit these for indexing. Once they are on Google’s radar, it should only be a matter of time before they start appearing in the relevant search results and you can unlock a new stream of organic traffic.
Google Analytics can is also used for tracking website performance, with its data helping you to build a foundational understanding of which pages are performing well and which ones need improvement. With a range of KPIs at your fingertips, you can begin to make informed decisions about where to focus your time and how to push your domain further.
How do I track my website’s search engine rankings over time?
Tracking your website’s rankings over time is an important aspect of any SEO strategy. It goes without saying that the higher you rank in the SERPs, the more visitors you can expect to receive. You can use an SEO tool to track your website’s progress in the search engine results pages and adapt your strategy accordingly.
Further Reading: The 15 Best Rank Tracker Tools to Rock Your SEO in 2023
What are the common mistakes to avoid in SEO?
Attempting to guess which keywords have search volume and trying to shoehorn them into your content is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Keyword research tools will play a critical role in helping you to identify the content topics and phrases that your audience is actively searching for and create content that has a chance of ranking.
In the keyword research process, you should also look beyond the keywords that your competitors are ranking for and look at what nobody else is targeting. There is low-hanging fruit in every niche, and keyword research tools can help you to identify these opportunities.
Another mistake to avoid is failing to produce content that provides value and is written by an authoritative source. Google wants its users to be able to find the best possible resources in response to their search queries, so make sure you are only publishing valuable, original content. Offering up actionable tips that help readers to achieve their goals will go a long way.
How do I optimize my website for mobile devices?
Google Search Console will provide you with data on how your website is performing across all devices, so it’s worth taking a look at this first. If there are any issues that need addressing in terms of mobile optimization, then use the Mobile Usability report to identify and fix them. An SEO specialist can help you interpret this information and make strategic improvements.
SEO Analysis FAQs
SEO analysis is a process of examining a website to understand how it performs on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. More specifically, it focuses on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a website that could help or hinder its ranking potential. By conducting an SEO analysis, website owners and digital marketers can gain insightful data they need to improve their website’s visibility, attract more visitors, and ultimately, achieve their business goals.
To start SEO analysis, conduct a site audit to identify any technical issues, content gaps, and opportunities to improve your website’s performance in search results. From there, research your target audience’s search behavior and analyze your competitors’ SEO tactics to identify which keywords and content topics are most relevant to your website. Once you have a solid understanding of your website’s overall SEO performance, you can develop an ongoing strategy.
To analyze your SEO content, start by identifying the keywords you want to target and ensure they’re used consistently in your content. Secondly, analyze your website’s structure to ensure that it’s easy for search engines to crawl and understand your site’s content. Finally, measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts by tracking your website’s traffic, ranking, and engagement levels. By analyzing your SEO content regularly, you can optimize your website for search engines.
There are several tools and metrics you can use to assess your website’s SEO performance, such as Google Analytics and SEMrush. These tools can provide insight into your website traffic, bounce rates, and user behavior and help you identify keywords your website is ranking for and where you stand compared to your competitors. Additionally, performing a technical SEO audit can reveal any website issues that are hindering your SEO performance like broken links or slow page load times.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). The goal of SEO is to increase organic traffic to a website by improving its visibility in online search results. There are many elements that contribute to good SEO, including keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
SEO analysis is like conducting a detective investigation on your own website – you’re searching for clues and evidence to help you crack the code of search engine optimization. Just like a detective needs the right tools to solve a case, businesses need to utilize the right SEO tools to solve the mystery of how to rank higher in search engine results.
Your article does a great job of highlighting some of these key tools and providing actionable insights for businesses.
Your explanation of SEO analysis is spot on and provides useful insights for businesses looking to improve their online presence.
As a digital marketing, I couldn’t agree more with your emphasis on the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and tools.
My Few favourite tools for SEO, that I have found particularly helpful in my own work are Ahrefs, SEMrush, Ubbersuggest which provides comprehensive data on keywords, backlinks, and more.
Keep up the good work, Sherlock!
Appreciate the thoughtful and thorough comment Rina! Indeed, you ARE searching for clues like Sherlock, aren’t you?
Question: How do you use the various tools together? I personally focus on SEMrush although I do use Ahref’s free audit tool for my own site – yourself?