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5.5 Benchmarking Competition

How to audit and benchmark against competitors

There are quite a few tools out there for competitive analysis of search performance, although some experts warn that these too will become less reliable as the proportion of “not provided” search terms grows.[1]

Within Google Keyword Planner, if you’re analyzing your own website, you can see your Ad Impression Share. Knowing how often (relatively) your ad shows up for each keyword can help you refine your keyword strategy, although it’s inevitable in highly competitive markets that there are likely to be fluctuations as your competitors try to do the same thing.

Search Position Finder is one of a number of free tools that can be handy when you’re considering a keyword and you want to find out where your website or a competitor’s ranks on Google Search (or other search engines) when that keyword is used. You can however search for only one term at a time and see the result for only one website at a time, so it doesn’t deliver very much more than simply doing a Google Search for that term yourself.

SERP Checker is more explicitly designed for competitive analysis. You enter your domain and up to three competitors, and the site quickly checks the top 300 search results for your site ranking for up to 25 keywords at a time. If you register, you can add up to 20 domains with 25 keywords each, making a total of 500 keywords, and graph results for the last 30 days. For further analysis, you can export results to investigate in your own spreadsheet.

KeywordSpy is a subscription-based service offering competitive keyword tracking in AdWords and other PPC campaigns, but it is possible to simply enter a domain or a keyword on the website and view a range of competitive information, including competitors and their rankings (for both paid and organic search) and top keywords (paid and organic) complete with volume and CPC data. Sign up for a “lifetime free trial account” and you can access more than the top 10 results in each category.

Enter a URL on the SEMrush website and you can view the site’s top five organic and top five paid keywords plus some competitor information, but for detailed competitive analysis you need to subscribe. SEMrush also provides organic keyword referral data, updated monthly, returning those organic keywords for a webpage which are in its database and for which your webpage ranks in Google’s top 20. SEMrush says it analyses the rankings of the most profitable and popular keywords – over 95 million keywords – but even a number this huge can’t include all the long-tail terms that might be driving traffic to your site.

SimilarWeb is also a paid service, but you can enter a URL on the site and view a wide range of information about it including organic and paid keywords, traffic overview and engagement figures, and much more, all presented in very accessible visual form, and download all this as a PDF. In the free online version, you can enter one competitor site to compare much of this data with, though not specific keyword performance.


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