B2B SEO 2020 : Essential Metrics and Content Analysis – Where to Start?
What Do a Competitor Analysis and B2B Optimization Have in Common?
Before you start analyzing your competitors, you need to determine which tasks are your priority. B2B optimization has its own characteristics and tricks, which we will share later on. Let’s start with the basics: the list of competitors. Of course, it is important to form it yourself, knowing which companies or services may also interest your target audience. But during business planning or at the stage of project initialization, data like this may not be available in the required volume. There are three main SEMRush tools to help you: organic search traffic, paid search traffic, and market analysis. If you want to make custom plush toys for the B2B segment, Сustomplush will be one of your competitors.
Let’s start with organic traffic and analyze the general information by clicking on the appropriate section in the domain overview window.
On the Competitors tab, we will receive a list of all domains that participate in organic ranking for keywords used by the Сustomplush site.
When scrolling through the page, we will see a list of potential competitors filtered according to the selected criterion.
Of course, the best way to check for compliance is to open similar domains and browse through them yourself. Now let’s do the same with paid search traffic. First, let’s open a window with general information.
Just like the previous example, go to the tab with the list of competitors.
A similar table with websites using the same keywords as your chosen company in their paid ads can be found just below.
It can be noted that the indicators of the degree of compliance are much lower. Therefore, organic results for this task can be much more useful and informative. Another way to find information about your competitors is by looking at the market.
Here you can see a complete list of all competitors categorized in the same industry as the analyzed site.
Alternatively, filter the list to show only organic competitors.
Now that you know how to take the first steps towards building a list of B2B competitors, there are a few key aspects to look out for when analyzing their sites. Start with the most general information about the traffic channels being used. The corresponding tool in the SEMRush Competitive Analysis Dashboard can help you with this. Having opened the necessary tab, you can first familiarize yourself with the main indicators of the site of interest.
Scrolling down the window a little below, you will see a graph with data on the monitored traffic channels along with their dynamics for the selected period.
Depending on the results obtained for each site of interest, you can determine the most effective channels for attracting traffic both for the industry in general and for certain segments. In addition, you can view information on traffic trends for a selected market segment or industry.
Learning a little more about the potential audience is also quite valuable at this stage. For more information, see the article – SEO Competitive Analysis.
The next task will be to analyze keywords in order to identify opportunities for website promotion. Select the desired item on the corresponding tab of the toolbar on the left and look at the results.
Below the graph of overlapping keywords, you can find a table with more detailed information on the found expressions. It is advisable to introduce the website as a starting point and fill in the 4 available fields with the most suitable competitors to get the most correctly structured information. In general, keywords will be categorized as follows:
- Absent from the original site but effective for competitors
- Weak for the original site when competitors are ranking higher for the same keywords
- Strong for the original site but weak for the entered opponents
- Not used by the original site but actively used by competitors
- Unique to the original site but not used by competitors
- All keywords together
If you want, you can make a similar comparison for both paid and organic keywords. You can also choose which keyword categories to use for which site. Read more in How to Do Keyword Research.
So, at this stage, you have formed a list of your B2B competitors, have an idea of what traffic channels they use, and know what main keywords are involved in this. The base for comparison is ready and now it’s time to start the next part of the analysis. Below we explain how to rank the selected competitors based on company size, services provided, and other factors.
What to Look for When Analyzing Competitors – Company Overview
Once you’ve linked websites and actual company names, you can try to find and organize information about them. A standard set will include the date of foundation, the number of employees, the location of the headquarters, some financial data, and the company’s profit or annual turnover. One of the most famous sources of information will be Crunchbase.
But this is far from the only tool that can provide you with information of interest. For example, Owler expands the set of basic information with the estimated financial performance and main competitors of the selected website or company.
Similar information can also be found in the specialized B2B database ZoomInfo.
Last but not least, the business directory Better Business Bureau.
You now have a more detailed understanding of the size and value of each of your chosen competitors for the market and industry as a whole. Whether you are dealing with goods or services, it is always important for B2B companies to understand the territorial coverage of even potential competitors. This is where Google operators come to your rescue. We have dedicated an entire article to this topic: Google Search Operators: Complete List in 2020.
To maximize the impact of their search engine marketing efforts, many companies use their main website as an umbrella. Affiliates, subsidiaries, franchises, or local dealers are provided with pages on the appropriate subdomain or subfolder of the root domain. This makes the link structure fairly standard. Thus, regardless of what kind of company you are interested in, it is quite easy to find out the number of its representative offices. For example, for Barnes & Noble, such a link will be located on the store’s subdomain and will have a /store/ subfolder at the same time.
A simple Google search will show that 24 thousand pages with a similar link structure are indexed.
That being said, you can use a little trick and find out how many pages have been indexed in the last year using Google’s built-in filter.
In our case, such a criterion did not show any results. We had to change the dates to cover the last 5 years.
About 5 thousand new pages were indexed during this period.
This approach is not suitable for all industries and websites but it will be able to suggest the direction of where and how you can get the desired information about the company, its pace of development, coverage network, and so on. If you provide services for B2B clients, it will not be superfluous to learn a little more about them. The Built With service will help us with this.
The paid version is capable of providing data on major sites using the selected technology in a specific country. Therefore, for example, if you are interested in online stores using Shopify in your country, such a list can be obtained in a matter of seconds. Read the related article – Shopify SEO 2020.
In addition, be interested in the presence of other sites associated with the selected for analysis. We’ll use The Home Depot web page as an example.
The list on the right shows all sites that use the same tags or analytics tools with the same identifier as our site. For example, nearly 300 other sites use the same New Relic service tag.
What’s more interesting to us is that just over 20 sites use the same Facebook pixel.
Despite the abundance of information, a more detailed analysis of the relationship profile can lead to unexpected discoveries – contractors or competitors that you didn’t know about, or new opportunities for your services among related businesses of the same company.
What to Look For When Analyzing Competitors – Offer Overview
We hope that thanks to the information collected, you have managed to get to know more, better filtering your competitors. Now it’s time to take a closer look at what they offer. First of all, we will talk about pricing and the starting point. This will be the cost of services declared on the sites. The most important principle to follow at this stage is to avoid generalizing information or trying to reduce everything to a common denominator before you’ve finished collecting the data. Include minimum and maximum prices, as well as those factors that may be relevant to determining a particular cost. An example of this is the duration of free access, discounts for renewal of subscriptions, the number of products in each bundle, and so on. Whatever you analyze, always separate the collection of data and their processing. In case you are interested in SaaS, aggregators, and various platforms for finding alternatives will help you piece together the big picture. One of the most prominent examples will be Capterra.
When choosing a category from the catalog or using a search, you can filter the proposed solutions by ready-made criteria. You can also open each product page and analyze it individually. This superficial analysis will save you a huge amount of time until you stop at 1-3 competitors that are really interesting to you and delve into a more detailed study of their product.
As a result, you will not only learn more about the category that attracted you but also form a fairly detailed understanding of the most common practices and tools in the industry. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of a good feature and product analysis because what you think is unique and will be for your potential customers. If this is not so, then it will definitely not be superfluous to know what exactly you are better and more attractive than your competitors.
In order to quickly and conveniently get useful information from potential users, use the review analysis. For example, if you want to start a software company, use the relevant section of Clutch.
By applying filters, you can learn about competitors in the country you are interested in and also in a specific city.
There are many such platforms that you can use to refine or expand the set of information available from reviews, such as Goodfirms or Appfutura.
Whatever platform you choose, the collected amount of information is enough to determine the strengths and weaknesses of similar companies both within the industry of interest and the type of product or service.
What Should Turn Out
Target Audience Data
Once you know exactly which sites are related to your direct competitors, what products or services they offer, and how it fits into the current market picture, it’s time to choose the most representative ones and try to learn more about the target audience. As we mentioned above, one of the easiest ways to get industry baseline data is to use the SEMRush Market Research toolbar. For example, for the commercial interior design industry, the data will differ slightly on the level of general analysis and organic competitors.
Also, an additional source of data on target demographics will be information about banner ads provided by the corresponding section of the SEMRush advertising analytics toolbar.
Information about the main visits of the sites and to whom the advertising is directed will help to more accurately determine the possible segments of your audience. This will of course affect age groups. When planning test advertising campaigns, the usefulness of the data obtained will depend on how accurately everything is planned. For example, whether they missed a certain age group, or vice versa, this can be applied to general targeting criteria.
When analyzing competitors, it is very important to pay special attention to how content is created and distributed to the audience of interest. In this part, we have collected tips, tricks, and proven techniques so that you can always find out as accurately as possible what will bring you success when ranking in the B2B segment. For example, one of the ingredients for success in B2B search engine optimization will be the right tone of communication and offers that you will make for each segment of the target audience. With the most general information about your competitors’ audience, as well as the traffic channels and advertising used, you can get an accurate idea of what role content plays in their success.
In the last example, we used the site of a company that specializes in interior design for LPS Office Interiors. There are many social media sites listed on the site, but no blog is mentioned. In order to find out if a site of interest publishes articles on its blog, use a simple combination of search operators.
In our case, blogs are used rather as a way to categorize news and other content. Therefore, at this level, we see about 7 active blogs but not the whole picture of filling them with content. For the next level of analysis, you need to open each link and see its structure. For example, this portfolio section has only 5 publications.
Each of the above publications can be analyzed according to several parameters:
- Frequency of posting
- Length in words or characters
- Main keywords and their density
- Uniqueness of the text.
This information will allow you not only to evaluate how often your competitors post articles but also how important the volume or uniqueness of the final material is. The presence of data like this will allow you to develop the most effective strategy for filling your own website in the conditions of your market or specific niche. This strategy will be to focus on anything other than content. Any decision must be driven by the data collected.
For comparison, let’s look at some of the most common content options and compare the results. The startup Chime maintains a fairly active blog with about 275 publications made over the past year.
It can be assumed that a little more than 20 publications are published on average per month, which can be checked by entering the appropriate filter.
At the moment, only 8 publications have been made. This is almost half of the weighted average, which indicates a decrease in the rate of filling with content. Most of the published publications are up to 500 words long. Only one article is almost 800. Each working day, one publication is published up to 500 words long on average. Important materials are published up to 3 times a month and have a larger volume. Now let’s look at Payoneer. In this case, the blog is located on the corresponding subdomain. This should also facilitate the task of analyzing publications.
Over the past year, more than 600 publications were made. This is just over 50 publications were published every month.
The data is confirmed as 51 articles came out in the past month, indicating a fixed rate of content creation. It is interesting to note that posts are published in different languages, and the average post length is from 300 to 700 words. Let’s use SEMRush to compare the effectiveness of each approach. Let’s analyze the organic traffic of the Chime blog by selecting a category in the settings corresponding to the link structure, subfolder analysis. Let’s start with the general data in the domain overview window, paying particular attention to the ranking performance.
Also, note that almost a quarter of organic traffic is branded searches.
Now you can proceed to the detailed analysis of organic keywords for the selected blog.
Let’s take a look at the ranking statistics in snippets and advanced search results.
This is also for the most efficient traffic-generating pages of the subfolder of interest.
To analyze the Payoneer blog, we will specify the subdomain in the settings and start with general information about the domain. Organic traffic is much lower, and the ranking results indicate less effective brand efforts.
Branded traffic accounts for almost a third of the total.
Let’s analyze the organic ranking results in more detail.
As you can see, the effectiveness is much inferior to the startup that we are comparing it to.
This tendency also manifests itself in the analysis of ranking in snippets.
Here is a closer look at the most effective pages.
We can conclude that despite significant investments in content production and almost twice the frequency of posting, the blog of the selected company’s site is much inferior in efficiency to the startup with which we compared it. The frequency of publications did not affect the ranking results in any way. Additionally, the most effective company pages bring up to 500 results in a given period of time. This is almost 6 times less than one of the least effective blog posts of a startup. The optimal posting frequency will be up to 1 post per day with an average length of 500 words. The focus should be on the uniqueness, usefulness, and relevance of the content. Only then will it be possible for the sector to succeed through content placement and organic ranking.