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Online Competitor Analysis: Our Step-by-Step Process Revealed

No matter if your company is beginning or you’re looking for ways to increase your business’s presence, competitive analysis is an essential resource. It’s an excellent way to know what you’re up against and determine what factors drive the industry’s success.

This article will walk you through our step-by-step approach to a solid and practical analysis of competitors. Through this guide, you’ll discover

  • How do you identify your competition on Google platforms

  • How do you evaluate their marketing efforts

  • How do you target SEO opportunities

  • What Google Ads can offer for your company

We look at three of the most popular platforms — Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Ads. Suppose you take a look at what your competitors are using these tools for marketing and start developing a strategy to keep up or even outrank them all. Let’s look at how to do it!

Online Competitor Analysis vs. Real Life Competitor Analysis:

It’s possible that you already know the names of your competitors through personal recommendations or the experience of others. It’s essential to find out the terms of your online competitors, especially those that show on Google.

The competition you’ve come to recognize organically may not be at the top of the list for the most effective keywords. Therefore, it’s an excellent idea to begin researching your competition on the internet.

The reason you need to be concerned about your online competitors just:

If you do not trust an eye on your competition online, you have a chance of falling behind the top competitors in your field. Analyzing competitors ensures that you’re up-to-date with the top keywords and platforms, and trends to increase the amount of traffic you get from your website. If you don’t, you’ll end up being way behind your competition online.

How do you find your online competition?

The process of identifying your competitors online involves being in your customer to understand their needs. Take a look at the customer journey on Google and record the online competitors you encounter.

Competitors of Websites:

Log onto Google and enter a well-known service-related keyword. For instance, if you’re part of an agency that handles social security, it might take the form of “social security disability lawyers in new york city.” Put yourself in the client’s shoes and make use of natural words. Try this with some searches that are that are related to your service. Your competitors’ websites will be displayed in the map results, or under advertisements that are paid for.

There could be directories that appear in the report. While you may be able to exclude them in the auditing process since they’re not direct competitors, it’s best to ensure that you’re registered with them and that your company is registered.

competitors in search results

Google My Business competitors:

While we generally include cities when searching for local competitors on websites but we may not have it when searching to find Google My Business competition. It is possible to simply search for the service you provide while near or in the vicinity of your workplace. For plumbers, your ideal search phrase is simple “plumbers.”

If Google considers that their search is for information about local businesses, it will display a Google Map along with the three top results on the map (otherwise called”map pack”) “map pack”). An excellent indicator of your local competitors will be the businesses that are listed on the map.

competitors on Google Maps

If you provide multiple services, you can simply search for the one most suited to your business or generate the highest income.

Examine your competition’s efforts in Google Maps:

After you’ve identified those who are your Google Map competitors, you can look at what they’re doing to the Google My Business listing. Use that information to improve the management of your Google My Business to increase your business’s visibility on Google.


The first and most important thing to think about is the category. Google offers a list of more than 300 categories to pick from. This is why it’s a great idea to conduct some mock searches for customers before time, and then check for Google Map results to see which categories are the most popular.

Google categories

If you don’t have it done, conduct a few searches about your service and then write down each category you see on a paper

Note down the keywords you’re using and the classes you see under the search results.

categories list

After reviewing the categories your rivals are using, pick three or more of the most popular categories (as they’re compatible with your offerings) and incorporate them into the GMB listing.

suggested categories

GMB Posts:

Google My Business posts are an excellent way to connect directly with your clients. They can also make your website appear active, vibrant, and more enjoyable, which means more visits and calls to your site. Look at the websites of your competition to look at the types of posts they’ve written for ideas. It is an excellent chance to gain some ground and create your own if they’re writing posts.

Google My Business post


The Q&A feature allows potential customers to inquire about companies they’re interested in. It is essential to be aware of the latest developments when a client asks a question, be sure you record an official response.

GMB listing owners can also submit their own queries (with answers) in advance for a more formal FAQ section. If you’re unsure what questions to write, look at your competitors’ listings for ideas. If they’re not using this feature, it is another method to stay ahead of the pack.


Reviews are another significant indexing factor that Google uses. The more highly-rated reviews are, the better. For a rough idea of how many reviews to be looking for, look through the competition’s listings to see the number of reviews they have.

If you’ve got a list of numbers, you can reach out to your happy customers and request comments to the Google listing.

It is crucial to validate before deciding if that you only get positive reviews. You might begin with a straightforward survey asking the respondents to rate your products. If they respond positively, then you should thank them for your time, and request them to leave a comment on your site.

Google Reviews

Reviews and responses:

If a customer contacts you to review your listing, ensure you respond and thank the reviewer for their feedback on your website. You could even mention a specific strength within the critique. For instance, “Thanks, Janes, we like to pride ourselves on our punctuality and efficiency.”

Even if the review is not favorable, even if the review is negative, it’s essential to reply to rectify any issues and provide a more comprehensive explanation for other users. Check your competitors to find out how they respond to reviews and gain some suggestions.


Citation building mentions adding your business information to other web pages (typically directories). The consistency of your data across multiple indexes assures Google that it will display your details in its search results. Google is only interested in showing the correct information to its users. Therefore, the more identical information on the internet and the higher the likelihood that the notification is accurate and correct.

Include your company’s details in directories with a lot of popularity, like GMB, Bing Places, and Yelp. You may also check out your competitors and discover guides related to your business. To find this out, do a search for the name of your competitor and their phone numbers on Google and see which directories are listed. Go through every guide that is relevant to your business , and include your company’s details in the manuals.

Examine your competitors’ strategies on Google Search

Analysis of back links for your competitors within the Top 10

Content, along with backlinks, is seen to be a part of the content by Google as being one of its main ranking factors on the internet. They are simple hyperlinks that link from one location to the next.

For a better understanding of backlinks, here at Pronto, we prefer to think of them as votes of confidence or endorsements that are passed from one website to another. The more endorsements or votes that a website receives on other sites, the better likely the ranking algorithm will consider the area that gets those votes as a reliable source of information to web users.

There are two significant elements to consider when analyzing how backlinks are affecting your opponents. Qualitative and quantitative.

Analytical analysis quantitative:

Quantitative analysis is the number of hyperlinks the top-performing website has been able to direct. Since every website can hyperlink to other websites many times, The ranking algorithm only considers just one URL (vote) for each site referred to.

Thus, if website B hyperlinks to website A 3 times in a row, then website A would have three total links. However, only one is counted to determine to rank (generally the first one).

quantitative analysis diagram

To determine the total backlinks and unique domains for every site we host here at Pronto, we utilize the SEO analysis tool called Ahrefs. It is possible to sign up and try it for a week at $7.

When you log after logging into Ahrefs when you log in, enter the URL of your competitor in the search bar and then click on the magnifying glass to begin the investigation. Apart from that, you’ll see that the tool will provide you with the complete number of backlinks and domains that are referred to. The most important number to note is the number of the fields that are referred to.

In the case below, the website we examined has more than 30000 backlinks that originate via 336 distinct (referring) websites.

a hrefs backlinks and referring domains

Repeat the exercise for every website that ranks for your search term and then add them all up and then add up an average. This number will provide you with an idea of the number of links you’d generally need to be able to compete on the first page of Google for what you’re looking for.

Analysis qualitative:

There are two aspects to consider in this process—domain authority (DA) of the website and whether the link does follow or not followed.

Each link isn’t identical. This is our reason for taking this additional step to assess the quality of backlinks from your competitors.

“DA” (or URL rating as defined for URL rating as used in Ahrefs) is an algorithm for calculating search engine rankings that aim to assess the chance of a website to rank on Google. It can range from zero to 100, and 100 is the most popular. Links originating from a highly URL rating website will be more influential than links from a lower URL score site.

The image above shows the power of the link can be seen by the size of the arrow, which points towards the web page C.

qualitative analysis diagram

In Ahrefs In Ahrefs, it is easy to determine the URL rating is easily discernible. You can take that number from every of your website’s competitors and then create an average. This is the minimum URL score you must be able to achieve to appear on the first page of Google for your search term.

a hrefs URL rating

Another factor to consider is whether backlinks to websites are mostly nofollow or dofollow. Nofollow or dofollow refer to HTML tags that determine whether or not a hyperlink gives some of its creditworthiness to the receiving website.

Remember the first time we considered backlinks concerning the idea of trust, or endorsement from one site to another? If an approval is dofollow, it’s like affixing your contact details to a positive feedback. It gives credibility to the testimonial and a higher level of trust to anyone who will read the testimonial.

Naturally, you’ll want the majority of your backlinks to follow. This will help ensure that your URL rank increases as time passes, allowing you to be competitive for a top position for your preferred keywords.

Ahrefs makes it simple to determine the percentage difference between do-follow and no-follow hyperlinks for any site.

a hrefs reffering domains

In the case below in the following example, out of 336 unique domains that link to this site, 56% are dofollow, and 44% don’t follow. Repeat the exercise for all your competitors . Then take the average percent of do-follow links they receive. It is recommended to aim for an equal percentage divided between nofollow and dofollow links when you begin to build links to your site.

What is a Content Gap Analysis what is a content gap analysis, and how can we do one?

In its most primary form, the concept of a content gap analysis is a method of identifying the terms your competition is ranking for (and they aren’t).

This is an effective instrument to find and close the gaps and reclaim valuable traffic that your competition is receiving. Additionally, it can help you develop content more qualitatively superior than what they offer. This ensures that you’re not merely copying the same content that your competitors have published previously. You could create something different which will allow you to distinguish your company’s image.

For this type of analysis, Ahrefs is still our tool of choice. Enter your domain name into your search box, then click the magnifying glass to the right, and scroll to the bottom up to you can find”Content gap” on the left “Content gap” menu item to the left.

a hrefs content gap

You’ll need to type in the domain names of at least three websites competing with you that you have got that you have identified in the previous steps.

a hrefs content gap review keywords

At this moment, you’re possibly facing an array of as high as 100 search terms you’re competing with, but you’re not. It’s time to go between them all and figure out the ones you think are worthy of pursuing, in line with your goals for the business.

a hrefs content gap review keywords results

The content gap analysis must be utilized to inspire the entire process of analyzing competitors. From this, you will find products, services, or other informational materials that your competitors offer to their customers and help them to become superior and unique for your company.

Google Search Ads Opportunities:

Do your competitors run ads?

Analyzing competitors for Google advertisements is a crucial aspect of strategy and planning for campaigns. As advertisers, we get the chance to observe competing ads and methods for execution directly.

Finding out if your competition is running advertisements is only the beginning step. The most effective measure is to find out the strategy they have in mind before deciding how you can stand ahead of the curve at all times.

What are their ads? Appear like?

To understand what competitor ads appear like, first consider the keywords used to locate your competitors online. For instance, if your rival is a personal injury attorney with a base on the island of New York, the most appropriate search term would be “Personal injury lawyer in New York.”

When you have a particular phrase in mind for a search, then you can enter the search term into Google and look up the results.

It is recommended to study the first 3 or 4 results since they have the best rank in the search engines. After you’ve nailed those down, look at the kind of extensions they employ, look at their ads’ copy and then examine the landing pages of these advertisements.

Google Ads in search

Here’s an example of how our analysis might comprise of:

  • Advertisement copy:

    We examine the relevancy of headlines when compared to the keyword being searched for. If the query is for an attorney for personal injuries located in New York and the headline is Product Liability, We would rank this headline on the relevancy scale as being low.

  • Extensions:

    Extensions can be used to provide additional information to clients and help your ads stand out from your competitors. There are ten extensions total as well as the highest amount of extensions that could be used in an advertisement is four. It is important to remember that some extensions may not be suitable for every industry, and it’s up to every individual to select extensions that make the most sense for their particular situation.

  •  The four most popular extensions that apply to nearly all industries include Callouts, Site links, and Structured Snippets along with Call Extensions. These extensions will aid in increasing your CTR and improve the quality of your business and your CPC.
  • Page Landing :

The landing pages should offer the solution the client was searching for. If a user is searching for lawyers and is directed to the page for private training, in logical terms, the experience on the landing page will not be significant.

Your landing pages require to match the search phrases to improve your score on quality and decrease your overall CPC.

a hrefs Google Ads search

How can you monitor the ads of your competitors?

How to Do an SEO Competitor Analysis [Template Included]


The next thing to do is utilize Ahrefs to look at the competition more deeply. It is possible to use Ahrefs to determine what keywords your match pays for on their respective landing pages.

This list of keywords is a starting point to make an individual list of your desired keywords. This can help you find opportunities you might miss out on.

The next step is to look at the ads of your competition in greater depth. This will help you determine the number of ads they are employing and the linked ad to which landing page. This can help in crafting ad copy that appeals to your intended audience.

Although there are advertisements that Ahrefs does not cover, it gives enough data to assess each competitor , and make informed choices for your customers.

What sort of results are you expecting for your business using Google Ads?

Ryanair Calls on Google to Drop Its 'Misleading' Search Adshttps://www.businessinsider.com/ryanair-calls-on-google-to-drop-its-misleading-search-ads-2015-10

If you are concerned about the outcome expectation, you can use the Google Ads Forecast tool, which is a predictive tool. Ads Forecast. It can help.

For your own personal forecast, include all of the keywords you intend to utilize and select your daily budget as well as the rate of conversion you anticipate achieving.

The sample forecast below offers an insight into the potential of a campaign if everything goes according to the plan.

However, we must note that the forecast doesn’t assure you of results. It’s merely a forecast for a specific scenario, and the actual results may be different or better based on various aspects.

Examine your findings and choose your next steps in line with your goals

The last step is to look over your results and determine the following actions. There are many things to think about. However, the average CPC, the budget you have set, as well as the value of your customer’s lifetime (LTV) will be the most important.

These elements are crucial as they determine whether or not your marketing campaign is successful. If the typical CPC for your business is $30 and you’ve set an investment for a month of $1000, the number of clicks you receive will be around 33. From those 33 clicks, it is essential to should also think about how many are converted to paying clients.

So, unless your client’s LTV is over $1,000, it doesn’t make sense to spend 30 cents per visit.

In the ideal case, you’ll need to budget for a minimum of 100 visits per month. Therefore, if the CPC will be $30, your spending needs to be at a minimum of $3,000.

The more clicks you make, the faster the learning process to help you adapt faster to market conditions. If your budget is too tiny, you might not be able to collect enough data to allow Google to make the most of its algorithms to the fullest extent possible.


A thorough analysis of your competitors will give you a better understanding of the present market. It will help you understand the strategies that have worked consistently for your competition and the ones which haven’t yet been implemented. You’ll gain a fresh idea of how to promote your business and an honest assessment of your capabilities and shortcomings.

Have you decided to begin your research on your competitors? Please take a look at our guide in the previous paragraph. If you’re looking to nudge your direction in the right direction, we’ll help you get started.

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