Improve your SEO impact with powerful competitor intelligence
As SEOs, we all know that keyword analysis can be a major challenge. Using existing data to build a content strategy has become increasingly difficult since Google started hiding most of the keyword information in Analytics behind “not provided.” Another challenge is the fact that Google Analytics only provides statistics on your own search referrals, telling you nothing about competitors.
That’s where SimilarWeb comes in. As my understanding of search engine algorithms has improved, I’ve learned that it’s not enough to rely on Google Analytics alone. Knowledge is power, so I have turned to SimilarWeb’s PRO version to get in-depth analysis for my clients’ websites and competitors. (Before you commit to the PRO version, there is a free version you can kick the tires with, to get a feel how the app works and the powerful insights it provides.) SimilarWeb will show you the “not provided” keywords and so much more. You can see paid vs. organic social referrals, affiliate referrals, stickiness metrics, comparison charts for multiple sites, industry category-wide data, ad creative and much more. This is the tool that solves the age old question of “where is my competitor getting their web traffic from?”, a question often asked to us marketing consultants.
Below is the first screen you see when entering a website in the platform’s search box. It’s called “Audience Overview,” and it contains the general traffic stats for the website in question. For this example I picked Asos.com’s stats to demonstrate SimilarWeb’s features and advantages. You can see Asos’s desktop visits for the last 6 months (or adjust the date range to your liking), you can see the average time users spent on the site, the average page views per visit and the bounce rate. So far, this is all data that you would see for your own site in Google Analytics, but here it’s available for your competitors’ websites as well.
The SimilarWeb module I’ve been using the most, though, and the one I’m going to focus on for this article, is the “Search” section, where I can see how much traffic each website is getting based on any specific keyword.
Below is an example of the top keywords for Asos.com over of the last 6 months. As you can see, there are a lot of interesting directions of keywords you can find just by looking in the top 20 keywords:
I personally prefer downloading the data to Excel and analyze the keywords using different Excel formulas such as “LEN,” which checks the length of a string, to make it easier for me to easily find those valuable long tail keyword opportunities.
I can compare my website with my competition – and get a list of keywords that are driving traffic to any of the sites. In this example you can see that Asos.com is taking the lead on “prom dresses” and “new balance,” but Boohoo.com is giving quite the fight on “Christmas jumpers” and “maxi dresses.” Topshop.com is behind in just about all keywords, as you can see in the screenshot below:
It’s true that there are some free tools like Open Site Explorer that will do a lot of this as well, but they can’t provide me with information on the quantity of traffic. Rankings and inbound links are great, but seeing how many visits they refer is even better. This is what I get with the information under “Referrals” and “Traffic Destination.” These are both parts of the SimilarWeb PRO app that I rely on extensively in my SEO strategy, on top of the “Search” section (I’ll get into that in my next post).
There’s so much that SEOs can do with a tool like this. When I see that my competitor has 100% of the traffic share on certain keywords, it translates into content ideas I should push. SimilarWeb makes it easy to find and organize keywords into buckets (themes) for organic or paid search campaigns. If I see that I am sharing the traffic for a keyword with a specific competitor, I can work to improve my SEO for that keyword and its semantic derivatives, and hopefully gain some market share advantage. I can also look for long tail keyword opportunities, where I can easily gain an edge in terms of the volume of keywords driving traffic to my page.
Since SimilarWeb displays the traffic distribution among different types of search sources, I can check things such as my image search statistics and compare them against competitors. In the retail niche I work with the most, images are extremely prominent, so this data is critical to the success of our overall search strategy. Other sources you can explore include video and news search, which can be especially relevant in certain niches.
Of course, there’s also a breakdown by search engine, which might come in handy if you’re trying to get traffic from search engines such as Yandex or Bing. Going over these stats for different websites I’m working with, the data shows that for most Western countries the lion’s share of traffic is from Google – no surprises there. However, I’ve recently noticed an uptick on my competitor’s website in Yahoo, which should definitely be investigated further.
The only caveat I found about SimilarWeb is that it doesn’t show data for small websites which don’t have much traffic. The in-depth statistics for medium and large sized websites is incredible, but if you manage a relatively low-traffic website it won’t give you much information.
Stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll present a case study on using SimilarWeb for improving search results.
This guest post is sponsored by SimilarWeb. Check out their competitor analytics reports here.
Author: Steve Wiideman
Although he is best known for his rank in search engine results, SEO Expert Steve Wiideman (@SEOSteve) is a trainer, speaker and consultant to many search marketing firms, charities and a handful of Fortune 500 companies. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in E-business management and has been featured in several publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine, CNN, and National Journal.
Wiideman recently started giving away his SEO Audit Checklist at www.DigitalMarketingCheckup.com, where he also offers manual site reviews and custom SEO strategy. Based in Los Angeles, Wiideman’s firm can be reached at (562) 732-4417 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org