Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to the success of any website. With 75% of searchers never scrolling past the first page of search results, it’s unlikely your business will thrive online unless you’re on page one of Google.

However, marketers often struggle with creating and maintaining an effective organic search strategy, even when using an SEO tool. In part two of Siteimprove’s guide to getting the most out of Siteimprove SEO Advanced we show you how to utilize the tool’s features to construct a strategy that generates more traffic for your site. In part one you mastered the fundamentals of using the Activity Plans, Keyword Research, and Content Optimization features. Part two will focus on SEO Advanced’s Competitor Analysis, Backlinks, and Search Engine Analytics features.

We recommend checking out part one before reading on.

Understand the competitive landscape with Competitor Analysis

Losing traffic to competitors – and moving down the search rankings – is a very real concern for any organization’s digital presence. On average, the number one result in Google’s organic search results is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to a page in the 10th spot – and moving up even a single place can increase your click-through rate by 30%.

Understanding your search engine visibility vs. your competitors' search engine visibility is the best way to ensure your pages aren’t lost to page two of Google. Fortunately, competitor websites aren’t just a hindrance. They actually offer a treasure trove of information that can be analyzed to boost the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. This process is called SEO competitor analysis.

SEO competitor analysis helps you:

  • Monitor how key competitors rank
  • Estimate traffic for keywords
  • Discover new competitors
  • Learn what type of content ranks well, and emulate it
  • Uncover gaps in your site’s content
  • Identify new keyword opportunities

By carrying out an SEO competitor analysis, you can focus your SEO strategy on outranking your online competition and boosting your site’s organic traffic. Even if you currently occupy the number one result for your chosen keywords there’s no time to relax – there will always be a competitor ready to take over your spot and the benefits that brings.

But doing an SEO competitor analysis manually can be time-consuming and involves a lot of spreadsheet work. Fortunately, tools like Siteimprove SEO take care of all the heavy lifting.  

Siteimprove SEO Competitor Analysis helps you keep tabs on your competitors and uncover new search threats. It also surveys the competitive landscape for your monitored keywords and provides recommendations for new keywords you should monitor and optimize for.

Competitor Analysis feature SEO Advanced

How to use Siteimprove SEO Advanced for competitor analysis

Do you know who your true search competition is? Or what keywords they’re ranking for? If you don’t, it’s essential you find out. Returning to the Activity Plan you set up in part one of the blog, you can select a set of competitors to measure your search rankings against. Let’s learn how.

1. Monitor competitive keywords

This step draws on your earlier keyword monitoring work. In Competitor Analysis’s Keywords tab, you can monitor the keywords you’ve added to your Activity Plan for how your and your competitors’ websites rank. Keywords enables you to see your competitors, their exact ranking position for each monitored keyword, the search volume of each keyword, and if they’re in the top 100 search results for a keyword, the exact page they rank for.

Keywords Siteimprove SEO Advanced feature competitor analysis

Tip: Different sectors of your organization can select different competitors to focus on.

2. Discover new search competitors

While most organizations have a good sense of their main competition offline, sometimes they’re not aware of who is outranking them online. In fact, your direct business competitors may not be your real SEO competitors.

The Discover Competitors tab identifies sites that are competing for your desired keywords in organic search by comparing the keywords in your Activity Plan against the best performing sites in your keyword focus area. You can review the list and designate these sites as competitors for closer monitoring.

Siteimprove SEO Advanced Discover Competitors feature

3. Identify new keyword opportunities  

Keeping tabs on competitors who are ranking for your desired keywords is easy with the Top-Ranking Pages by Keyword feature. This feature displays the top 50 ranking pages for a particular keyword, along with their estimated traffic.

It’s important to pay attention to keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but your site isn’t. Analyze the list of ranking pages to understand why they’re ranking above you and then tweak your keyword strategy to close the gap, for example, by creating new content that better targets that keyword.

Top Keywords by Domain enables you to see the top 100 keywords by search volume that are bringing organic traffic to a competitor’s website. You should use this feature to discover which keywords your competitors are ranking for and optimize your own content to outrank them.

Siteimprove SEO Advanced Top Keywords by Domain feature

Tip: Use the Threats filter to identify the keywords where your competitors have seen the highest jump up in the rankings.

Boost your link building efforts with Backlinks

Inbound links, or backlinks, are links on other websites that point back to your site. They are one of the most important parts of any SEO strategy because search engines use them as an indicator of how trustworthy a site is – think of them as a vote of confidence in your site’s content. The more important and trusted your site, the higher your ranking in search results, and the more organic traffic it will get. By attracting backlinks you can improve your site’s prominence in search engine results. Ignore backlinks at your peril – they have been confirmed as a top three SEO ranking factor.

While this sounds straightforward, your link profile is ever-changing, and not all backlinks hold equal value, making it a challenging activity.

Google cares who links to your site
The process of getting other sites to link to yours is called link building. But link building isn't simply about acquiring as many backlinks as possible. Not all links boost your ranking, and Google is known to penalize sites with poor-quality or manipulative backlinks. For example, multiple backlinks pointing to a homepage from a single source could be marked as link spam. Striking the right balance requires a diverse mix of links from authoritative, topically relevant sites.

How to use Siteimprove SEO Advanced Backlinks for link building

Siteimprove SEO’s Backlinks feature provides actionable insights to inform your link building strategy. Read on to learn how to use this feature to attract authoritative links, disavow bad links, and ensure your site is making the most of its existing link profile.

Siteimprove SEO Advanced Backlinks feature

1. Check your backlink profile 

If you’re new to link building Link Profile is a great place to start. It provides a clear overview of the number, quality, and types of backlinks (and link anchor texts) that lead to your site. A good link profile has no spam links and features backlinks from a variety of relevant, trusted sites.

2. Banish low-value backlinks

Low-value backlinks are links which do not improve your SEO. These could be links from a domain which you already have backlinks from, or links from pages with a low Trust Score, which could negatively impact your search rankings.

If you spot any suspicious backlinks you can use the filter options in the Undesirable Backlinks feature to scrutinize them more closely and decide if they offer much benefit to your SEO.

Siteimprove SEO Advamced Low Value Backlinks Feature

Google recommendsthat you remove as many spammy or low-quality links from the web as possible.’ So, once you have a list of questionable backlinks, it’s a good idea to either get them removed, or if that’s not possible, disavow them in Google Search Console. This ensures artificial, spammy, and low-quality links won’t hurt your ranking.

Tip: You can filter backlinks by country, link type, rel attribute, and domain security.

3. Make high-quality links work for you

Backlinks which come from a page with a high Trust Score are particularly valuable to your link profile as they'll naturally boost your rankings. Five tried and tested methods for gaining high-quality backlinks include:

  1. Authoring guest posts. Guest posts are blogs or articles you publish on a respected third-party site that link back to your site.
  2. Achieving editorial links. Gain organic editorial links from trustworthy domains, such as news sites, that reference your content.
  3. Conduct outreach. Contact the owners of resource pages or other useful sites in your field to share content that would be valuable to their readers and ask for it to be attributed.
  4. Claim unlinked mentions. Monitor for mentions of your brand online using Google Alerts, or any other name-monitoring tools you may use. Request link attribution from authoritative domains back to your own content.
  5. Get mentioned in ‘best of’ lists. Get your site in front of potential customer eyes by getting your product or service featured in ‘Best X’ lists for your industry, for example, ‘Best accessibility software in 2020’.

Once the backlinks start rolling in, it’s important to keep on top of them so you don’t lose out on any valuable link juice. The High-Value Backlinks feature on Siteimprove SEO Advanced helps you monitor your most important backlinks and confirm that they always point to valid pages.

Siteimprove SEO Advanced High Value Backlinks

4. Reclaim lost links

It takes time and effort to build up a strong backlink profile. Unfortunately, losing just a handful of high-value links can lead to plummeting organic traffic and lowered search engine rankings.

SEO Advanced’s Link Reclamation feature helps you hold on to your most valuable links by flagging lost backlinks, so you can quickly implement a redirect, contact a site owner to swap out a broken link, or suggest more relevant content to link to. Link Reclamation also lets you know about newly detected backlinks so you can ensure they’re pointing to the most relevant content on your site, rather than just your homepage.

Siteimprove SEO Advanced Link Reclamation feature

5. Research your competitors’ link building efforts

It’s important not to limit your backlinks research to your own site. Comparing your link profile with that of your search competitors helps you pinpoint where to focus your link building strategy. Find out which relevant, high-traffic sites your competitors are getting backlinks from that aren't linking to you yet – and close that gap.

Track your SEO progress

Measurement is a key part of any SEO strategy – after all, each SEO campaign should move your organization closer to its site and business goals. But if you don’t regularly track your progress, you can’t prove the ROI of your SEO efforts, or understand if you need to further refine your approach for better results.

Measuring your organization’s SEO progress involves tracking data for your key metrics. Some of the most commonly tracked SEO metrics include:

  • Organic traffic
  • Keyword and search rankings
  • Visitor engagement
  • Conversions
  • Leads
  • Backlinks
  • Time on page
  • Subscriber growth
  • Social media shares and followers
  • Click-through rates

One, or a combination of these metrics, should form your SEO Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It’s important to set a benchmark at the start of your strategy so you can accurately measure your SEO progress over time.

How to measure your SEO campaigns with SEO Advanced  

Siteimprove SEO Advanced’s measurement capabilities enable you to connect the dots between your content, traffic, and SEO performance.

Target Page Metrics

Target Page Metrics display information specific to an Activity Plan and Search Engine Analytics to show how your website is performing with different search engines and in different time frames, from 30 days up to a year.

Conversions are a particularly useful metric for businesses to measure. Organizations want to see not only an increase in traffic and rankings, but also how your site supports your organizational goals. The analytical capabilities of SEO Advanced enable this by directly linking the impact of individual SEO campaigns on your bottom line. With Conversions, you can select a key metric, such as blog subscribers, webinar sign-ups, or demo requests, to see the number of conversions that have resulted from organic traffic on a target page.

Siteimprove SEO Advanced Target Page Metrics feature

Search Engine Analytics

Our customers with Siteimprove Analytics and SEO Advanced have access to Search Engine Analytics. This feature provides analytics data on organic traffic showing how it contributes to your organization's overall business goals, while key metrics allow you to clearly measure ROI by attaching a monetary value to SEO campaigns.

Search Engine Analytics works in combination with KPIs related to search traffic. Search Engine Analytics tracks:

  • Key metrics conversion data related to traffic from search engines
  • Statistics on visitors from search engine referrers
  • Search engines device and country statistics
  • Search engines landing page analytics

Siteimprove SEO Advanced Search Engine Analytics

Tip: You can integrate Search Engine Analytics with Google Search Console. Learn more in our Help Center article on setting up the connection between Siteimprove and Google Search Console.

Learn more about Siteimprove SEO Advanced

At Siteimprove we’re always looking for ways to help our customers work better, faster, and smarter – and that means ensuring you always get the most out of your SEO Advanced subscription. Whether you’re a new user, looking to take your search strategy to the next level, or simply want to learn more about SEO Advanced’s features, our Customer Success Managers are happy to help you fully unlock the benefits of your subscription.