Why do an analysis of competitors’ sites in preparation for an SEO campaign? Practical example

Before offering a new client options for an SEO campaign, we conducted a free preliminary analysis of competitors’ sites and made an overview of search demand. Already at this stage, we managed to surprise the client. Read our article for an example of competitor analysis.


In the summer of 2019, we received a request from a gaming equipment manufacturer to optimize a B2B website. There was no SEO work on the site, the site itself appeared only 3 months earlier. As the head of the sales department explained, their audience is mainly the owners of an already operating or developing business.

The client entered the market in 2014 and in a relatively short time, his products got into the top 10 of various reviews. The reason for this, according to the client, is that “we have never skimped on quality, materials and electronics. All our competitors are better than us only in advertising and promotion. “

Client request

The purpose of website promotion, which was indicated in the preliminary questionnaire:

  • increasing positions in search engines, reaching the top of the top;
  • increased sales of goods and services in Europe and America.

Before offering any options for cooperation, we conducted a free preliminary analysis of competitors’ sites and made an overview of search demand. Already at this stage, it became clear that the competitors whom the client considered as such are in fact poorly optimized sites that do not actually collect visitors from the search. Who, then, are the competitors?

A preliminary analysis of competitors is the basis for decision making

The client’s website had 781 pages indexed in Google, of which 356 were in the English version. This is a good starting point.

However, it was obvious that the pages were not optimized: Google did not define queries for all of these pages, and there were almost no positions for any queries.

We decided to compare this data with data from other sites.

Competitor Analysis: Site # 1

Here are the site metrics [САЙТ1].COM, which was brought as a competitor:

  1. The main traffic was collected not by the site itself, but by its subdomain ru…[сайт1].com.
  2. 176 pages indexed by Google.
  3. Attendance is about 6,000 per month.
  4. By countries: France (over 90%), Great Britain, Ukraine.
  5. Search traffic was only around 3%.
  6. There were only about 80 queries in the search results.
  7. The main stream went through social networks, or rather, through Facebook.

This site can hardly be called a real competitor in the search engine. Basically, it was not optimized or generated search traffic.

Competitor analysis: site # 2

About the site [САЙТ2].COM one could say that he was better prepared:

  1. 120 pages indexed.
  2. There were already about 400 queries (in Google search for the US).
  3. Attendance is about 5000 per month.
  4. Search traffic accounted for about 70% of total traffic.

Although the indexed pages have [Сайт2].com was smaller than [Сайт1].com and the customer, their pages described the offer better and were more relevant to the real needs of users.

Search traffic from the United States to this site gave only about 10% of traffic (i.e. about 350 people in one month). From Europe, people came to the site from Switzerland (most of all), Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland. However, the quality of the traffic was questionable, and it was necessary to study it in more detail. From Italy and Spain traffic was provided by thematic sites, which indicated the possible work of the project team with external link mass (posting articles, links, etc.).

As for specific requests in the top, this site attracted traffic such requests as:

  • [key1] manufacturers
  • [key2] experts
  • + queries with names: [brand1]+ key, [brand2]+ key, etc.

It was a slightly different set of words compared to those named by the client “[key1] franchise ”,“[key2] supplier ”, etc.

Based on the above, despite some achievements, the strategy [САЙТ2].COM was also not optimal: it collected traffic from an incomplete pool of thematic queries, visitors came from only a few European countries, while there were doubts about the quality of traffic.

Competitor analysis: site # 3

For comparison, we also analyzed a project of this topic from another region – [САЙТ3].RU… The client did not bring him up as a competitor, but he could be a potential role model.

This site had a completely different promotion strategy compared to the two resources described above. At the same time, the project worked only with Russian regions and a number of CIS countries, the main traffic of the project was Russian, therefore, it is not considered as a competitor in our case.

  1. The site has 41,000 (!) Indexed pages.
  2. There are separate versions of the site on local subdomains:
  3. In addition, for everyone region (cities) created sites on subdomains like “[город1]…[сайт3]”,”[город2]…[сайт3]” etc. There were several dozen such sites on subdomains, and it is obvious that these are not all possible options: the project continued to develop.
  4. Estimated traffic – up to 6,000 people per subdomain.
  5. Search traffic is about 55%.

Moreover, on every subdomain had thematic pages of the form “[город1]…[сайт3].ru /buy-product“, [город2]…[сайт3].ru /buy-product“And so on.
That is, this project for each request like “buy +[key1]”There are several dozen regional pages.

What conclusions can be drawn from this information?

In the brief, the client indicated the region in which promotion is required: “Europe and the United States”. This is a very large region, especially if we take into account the approach [САЙТ3] and the possible demand in every country and every city.

Based on the preliminary analysis of competitors, it could be concluded that English-speaking demand for Europe can be highly dependent on the region, while the same regional dependence is possible for individual states and cities of the United States.

For example, only in the region “New York” with a radius of 30 kilometers, about 20 million people live, which indirectly indicates the possible level of competition and the orientation of the search engine to present regional search results in the first place.

Accordingly, the creation or optimization of universal pages on a site with an eye on the whole world at once may not give the expected effect. In principle, this happened with [САЙТ2].com.

It was necessary to either narrow down the choice of regions, or develop an optimal SEO strategy for generating content for each region.

What did we offer the client based on the preliminary analysis of competitors?

To begin with, we proposed to carry out the following works on the site:

  1. Analyze the real search demand, compose or clarify the semantic core of the site and assess the capabilities of the current pages.
  2. Evaluate real competition in search: make an overview of search results by the semantic core, identify competitors and evaluate the performance of their sites, compare the strength of competition for main pages, assess the relevance of pages and find out how they are in the top.
  3. Develop a promotion strategy based on the data obtained.

In parallel with this, we recommended doing a technical audit of the site and working on correcting possible errors. We have also prepared recommendations for improving the current pages so that they can “pop up” on some requests in the near future, before implementing the changed strategy. In our experience, technical website optimization always gives an increase in traffic from search, albeit a small one.

Thus, preliminary analysis of competitors allowed us to see the big picture, outline possible strategic solutions for the client and assess their potential effectiveness. It is always up to the client to turn these recommendations into practice or not. In the case of the client, which we talked about in the case, we are moving towards the goal slowly but surely.

Dmitry Razakhatsky,
Leading SEO Specialist, Alconost

Internet marketing agency Alconost Ads deals with search engine promotion of multilingual sites, conducts a full SEO audit, basic optimization, improves usability, develops an international promotion strategy, analyzes statistics and much more to improve your position in search engines.

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