Steal The Content That Works For Your Competitors

Michael Costin

July 3, 2015

In today’s post I’m going to explain how to use competitive research to identify which pieces of content are driving traffic for a website. You can then replicate this content on your site to quickly drive new visitors.

I’m focusing on the women’s fashion niche for this example, but the same strategy can be applied to pretty much any industry.

The Strategy

You can use the competitive research tool SEM Rush to analyse a competitors website and find out the keywords they rank for in Google. With a bit of nifty excel filtering you can hone in on exactly which pieces of their content are performing best in Google.

[yellowbox]Bonus Content: Download a copy of the exact Excel document we have used in this article so you can follow along. You’ll get all the same data shown in this article.[/yellowbox]It’s then a simple matter of going out and creating similar content on your site that is optimised to target the same types of keywords.

By being methodical & strategic like this you can quickly improve the amount of traffic visiting your site. This means new people finding your store that may not have known about it before, and ultimately more sales for you!

Check out the below Google Analytics screenshot of a website we worked on. We used this very technique, which lead to the huge growth in SEO traffic, from 438 visits a week at the start of July to 2,736 visits a week at the start of October. This was a 524% increase in SEO traffic in just three months:

analyticsPlease excuse our massive logo there, just making sure our Google Analytics results can’t be stolen!

Let’s get on with it.

Choosing The Competitor

As I mentioned, I’m focusing on the women’s fashion niche for this example. In this hypothetical I’m a fashion eCommerce store that’s looking for ideas for blog posts that will actually drive visitors for my site.

So, imagine you’re in the fashion eCommerce business. You might think you should analyse a big competitor like The Iconic or David Jones right?

Well, you might get some results, but because their site is so huge you’ll be getting a lot of data from their products (think brand names, product names and other generic stuff) rather than awesome blog content ideas

Instead of focusing on a competing ecommerce store, you should be focusing on a fashion blog or fashion informational site that you know ranks well in Google.

These types of sites rely almost exclusively on their articles and blog posts for traffic, so by analysing what works for them you’ll be getting some great content ideas.

I did a quick search in Google for “womens fashion blog” and this is the first result that came back:

fashion-blogI did what’s known as a “site search” in Google. This is simply where you enter in the search term “site:domain.com” into Google, which returns exactly how many pages are indexed in Google for that specific site. Don’t forget to change “site:domain.com” to the domain you’re interested in, in this case “site:www.thebudgetfashionista.com”:

site-searchThey have 9,150 pages indexed in Google. This means they have a tonne of content that could be driving traffic.

Looks like we’ll be analysing The Budget Fashionista for content ideas!

Analysing The Content

[yellowbox]Bonus Content: Download a copy of the exact Excel document we have used in this article so you can follow along. You’ll get all the same data shown in this article.[/yellowbox]The first thing you want to do is head over to SEM Rush. It’s a paid tool, but they have a free trial, however if you’re serious about SEO it’s a tool worth investing in.

Then follow the instructions below:

step-one1. Enter in the site you want to analyse in the address bar.
2. Select “Positions” underneath the Organic Research Header

In this case I have chosen the US version of Google as The Budget Fashionista site appears to be American. The good news is the content ideas are totally transferable over to the Australian market, and if anything it would be easier to rank here due to less sophisticated competitors.

If you’re analysing an Australian site make sure to select the Australian flag.

The next steps are:

step-two1. Select “All Time” from the right hand side. This makes sure you are analysing their rankings for as long as SEM Rush has been tracking them.
2. Select the Export button. From the pop-up menu select the “Excel XLS” file format. This will generate an excel document and save it to your computer.

The Excel document that is exported is full of all the data we’re looking for. We just need to clean it up and format it so you can check through it all easier.

Open the Excel document up and read on for how you format it:

step-threeThe columns highlighted in the image above can be deleted – it’s all junk that you don’t need for this process, so go ahead and select Columns B,C,E,G,H,I,J,K,L and delete them from the doc.

Go ahead now and sort Column C (URL) from A to Z as per the below:

step-fourYou can now delete every row where the URL is just the home page. In this case the home page URL is http://www.thebudgetfashionista.com/

The reason you do this is the home page either has mainly brand terms, or really generic terms pointing to it.

We’re not interested in these for new content ideas, instead we want to focus on the internal pages and blog posts as these have better content ideas that are easier to rank for.

Now it’s time to format the data so we can see the content topics:

step-five1. First select all three columns so that everything is highlighted.
2. Then select ‘Insert’ then choose the ‘PivotTable’ option and select ‘OK’ from the pop up box.

Now you need to format your PivotTable as per the below, read on for instructions:

step-six1. Select the Keyword, Search Volume and URL from here
2. Make sure URL is first then Keyword under the rows header.
3. Make sure Search Volume is under the values header and that it is set to “Sum” instead of “Count”

Now for the last step:

step-seven1. Click the drop down arrow next to the “Row Labels” header in your PivotTable
2. Select “Value Filters”
3. Select Greater Than
4. I enter 500 in the box that pops up. This makes sure that there is enough search volume to be worthwhile targeting. You can set this number as high or low as you like.

Finally your PivotTable looks like this:

pivot-table1. This is the page on your competitor’s site
2. This is all the keywords they rank in the Top 20 for Google for
3. This is the search volume for each keyword as well as the sum of all the keywords they rank for.

Boom!

Content Time

You can now go ahead and create similar content, which is optimised towards the keywords identified.

In the example above the content topic is “Bridesmaid Dresses On A Budget”.

If you’re a women’s fashion store then chuck up a blog post about cheap bridesmaid dresses, and make sure to reference the products you have in stock that are suitable. An awesome way of promoting your products to new visitors with a very specific need.

From analysing the Budget Fashionista site alone here are some content ideas:

  • Best Jeans For Women Over 50
  • The Best Ways To Wear Converse
  • Bra Fitting Rules
  • Church Outfit Ideas
  • Greek Inspired Prom Dresses
  • How To Dress Like A Hipster
  • How To Dress For A Cocktail Party

That’s just to name a few, there’s literally hundreds of them! All pages on a real site that are currently ranking and driving new visitors for that site.

Just think of the possibilities if you expanded this strategy out to a range of different sites.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson. Now get out there and start your competitive research!

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Finally if you run an eCommerce store of your own and would like a free digital review to find out where there is room for improvement, just click the button in our header and our team will be in touch

 

written by Michael CostinThis post by Michael Costin, Co-Founder & Director at Local Digital. A digital marketing consultant with a background in SEO and CRO. Over the last 5 years he’s worked both agency and client-side, with the last 3 years on enterprise SEO campaigns.

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