One of the best ways people learn is by example. When looking for the best way to do something, we often will look for an example of someone who has a winning strategy. Then, we imitate that strategy until we can do it well ourselves. SEO is an incredibly competitive world. It can be tempting to look at the sites or competitors that are ranking today and just assume that their content sets a good example. Looking at competitor content like this is called a competitor traffic analysis. We’re going to review what you can learn from a competitor traffic analysis, and explain why you should not use a competitor traffic analysis for SEO strategy.
Competitor research can be a great way to get inspiration for the kind of content you want to create on your site. But, SEO is not a game of copycat. You must be building unique content from your own perspective. Separating yourself from the competition is another advantage that can come from competitor traffic analysis. When you look at what others are doing, you can develop your unique take on the issues and questions that matter to your audience.
There are some pitfalls to avoid when it comes to this kind of research. First of all, you may overestimate the significance of your collected data. Just because something worked well for one site doesn’t necessarily mean that the same strategy will work well for you. Trying a content strategy plan that fails for your site but works for your competitors can be both discouraging and demotivating, but it can happen. The process of looking at competitors can also be overwhelming. Competitors may be using their own unique strategies. You could run into trouble attempting to synthesize all this different data and use it to drive your SEO strategy. Generally, Demandwell finds that competitor traffic analysis is not a good use of time for SEO.
We’d caution you against believing in the idea that what ranks well today for competitors is what you should do. All too often, we’ve seen this idea turn out to be ineffective. A successful website content strategy begins with you. It’s better to think about the keywords that matter and focus on your audience. What questions do they have? What are their concerns? By building content that answers the questions associated with those high-ranking keywords, you can build a strategy that lasts.
You want to bring your unique knowledge and expertise to the table and answer these questions in a way that only you could. To repeat, SEO is not a game of copycat. Instead of getting distracted by the content outranking yours, focus on publishing content that serves a specific keyword to the best of your ability. Winning at SEO means creating original content with the right keywords and providing value to your audience. That’s the best way to outrank the competition and get to the top of page one.