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Competitive Analysis for SEO

Wix and Semrush partner to give you insider tips on conducting a competitor analysis for SEO.

You’ll learn how to identify your key competitors on Google, narrow gaps to boost site performance and optimize your organic traffic using advanced tools.


Transcript: Competitive analysis for SEO with Semrush


Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Brand, Wix

Liraz Postan, SEO Expert, LP Marketing Services Inc.


Mordy: Welcome to competitive analysis for SEO, brought to you by Wix in collaboration with Semrush. My name is Mordy Oberstein, I'll be your host today—or tonight depending on your timezone. Aside from being your host, I'm also the official SEO Liaison here at Wix. Joining me, or joining us, today is not only a dear friend of mine, she is the founder of LP Marketing Inc. She is the former director of SEO at Outbrain. She is an industry speaker. She speaks at all the SEO conferences from SMS to Brighton SEO. She's an international SEO and content consultant. She is—as she is here, a representative of Semrush at many, many, many webinars and she is considered an organic competition analysis expert which makes a great deal of sense as to why she's here today. She is Liraz Postan, hi Liraz.


Liraz: Wow, what an intro, I'm impressed. I didn't know everything about myself.


Mordy: I practiced all night. I forgot she has 13 years of experience in the SEO industry. Now I got it all.


Liraz: Oh, thank you. I thought I missed something. Really honored to be here. So I really hope that everyone will understand everything that we're going to talk about. And after this conversation, they will know how to do competitive analysis for their website. So I'm really, really honored to lecture everything that—all my knowledge away.


Mordy: Amazing. So before I hand the reins over to Liraz, and before I go through some of the procedures for this evening, or this afternoon or this morning, whatever time zone you're in, I don't know anymore.

I want to talk about very quickly the importance of doing organic competitive analysis or competitive analysis for SEO. So obviously, it's really important to know who your competitors are on the Google results page or in SEO lingo—we call it the SERP, which stands for “search engine results page”, because you need to know who your competitors are. Because Google's really important.

However, to me, personally, I find that competitive analysis, aside from being the starting point for doing really strong SEO, is also the starting point to offering up your brand identity, your brand presence on the results page. What do I mean by that? When you look and see what the sites Google is showing on the results page for the audience, for the users that you want to visit your site, when you see what content Google is putting in front of the very target audience that you want to come to your site, it gives you an idea of what's out there and where you might fit into this conversation, let's call it. Where do you fit in? Where is it possible for you to add added value, real added value, unique value to your target audience?

So yes, while understanding your competitors on Google is really good for, you know, beating your competitors—we all want to beat our competitors, we get that—and finding new opportunities. It's also a really good place for you to start, and as ironic as it may sound, to start thinking about differentiating yourself from your competitors. Where can I be better than my competitors? Where can I offer the user, my target audience, something really unique. And that's really great for your audience, for your competitor potential consumers. And it's also that having that unique identity and the unique added value is also really great for search engines. But that's a very different conversation for a different time, hopefully. Okay. With that, I will now hand it over to my dear friend, Liraz. The floor is yours.


Liraz: Okay, cool. So I'm really honored to be here. And I want to get started with a competitor analysis. I personally have to say that I will not try to sell Semrush. Basically I’ll do everything, my best to share my knowledge of how I'm using Semrush, with just, let's say one hour of work, instead of doing just manual work, that can take me days and even weeks to do competitive analysis.

So for me, it's my go-to tool, basically every single day, even a couple of times a day, this is my—I'm just doing everything on Semrush. From rankings to competitive analysis to site audits, it's my go-to tool. So let's get started.

I want to understand, I want to explain what is competitor analysis. And why basically it is needed. First, hello, this is me, Liraz Postan. 13 years of SEO in the industry. I'm delighted to share my knowledge here today. I think it's a call for everyone that's basically working with Wix websites. I know how tremendously you need this knowledge in your toolkit, let's say.


Liraz: And I want to talk about it—what is competitive analysis? And why you basically need it. And how to get started. We're going to talk about each of the steps here in the presentation. And let's go and understand. Competitive competitive analysis means that you need to study your direct competitors, to see what's working for them, and how you can leverage it for your own strategy.

Meaning, first I just need to understand who my competitors are. And then, I can just make a good assumption on how I can adjust my own strategy. Maybe I'm missing out on things. And maybe I can be inspired [by] things that they're doing. Because sometimes it can be, like, overwhelming. I have competitors. They're like huge brands, I don't know how to tackle it. But you can.

If you're a small organization, and you have, you know, you don't need all this bureaucracy in the background, you can just launch things very fast. And so don't be afraid to just act. And so on a couple of the slides, I will show you how to act and how to create a proper strategy, and how to minimize your gap with your competitors.

So why do we need it? First, we need to identify market trends and patterns. If all my competitors are doing something, and I'm not—well, it's a pattern. They're doing something and I'm missing out, I'm out, I need to understand what am I missing out [on].

And first of all, I need to understand if they ever recognize a trend, or maybe they're inventing a trend, I would want to see what they're doing. I would want to optimize our strategy. Basically, we need to optimize our strategy all the time, we have everything new here. In digital marketing, everything is new. Covid time is not the same as one year ago, it's not really the same, and it's not going to be the same one year later. And it's not going to be the same in two months from now.

So we always need to adapt our strategy over and over again—or you need to close your opportunity gap between me and my competitors all the time. We need to understand how we can close our gaps and be, let's say, one step above them and whatever they're doing. So, let's first understand—who are my competitors? We have, let's say we're surrounded by competitors, right, we have lots of competitors. But let's try and tackle two of the types of competitors.

We have direct competition, which are basically people that are selling a website, they're selling the same product as mine, pretty similar product. You can argue about the quality, you can argue who's doing it better, or which brand is better. But basically, it's the same product.

And indirect competition, basically, it's a similar product than me, or basically they're serving a different country. Let's say I have bracelets that are just for the UK market, like really. On the bracelet, you have a UK map. But we have the same for Canadian bracelets. So these are the same product, but serving a different county. So basically, we're not competing with each other. It's not a direct threat. But I still need to take a look at what they're doing.

Let's take an example. Nike, they have direct competition with Adidas, right? They're both serving the same product. Of course, we can argue who is better, which has the best shoe, the best running shoe. But in the end, this is what they're doing. They're creating running shoes for athletes for sports for people that want fashion. These are the same things. And they're basically serving the same countries as well.

But if we look on the other side, we have bloggers, affiliates, we have different kinds of people or websites that are basically selling running shoes, but are not making them. But they're still my competitors on search results. So this is what I want to tackle.

For example, if I'm going to look at the search results page, I'm going to have brands, I'm going to have bloggers, I'm going to have affiliate websites, I'm going to have Quora questions, I'm going to have People Also Ask—if you see this picture by Google. It's basically showing me what a user is asking about running shoes. I just chucked in, typed in running shoes as a query here. And this is what I came out with, like with the US search results. And I also have Wikipedia. And Wikipedia is also my competitor because sometimes Wikipedia is ranking first in live search, let's say living search term.

And it's not you know—people are saying, oh man, how can I beat Wikipedia? You can, you can, this is a matter of—put your strategy in front and just do whatever you can and just beat the competition. So we have lots of different competition. Also this—images, Google Images. Like let's say for an eCommerce website, if I type in running shoes, and I go for Google Images, this is basically the user journey, right? They want to see first, what is the running shoe that they're going to buy. And they want to get some inspiration, if they're not really focusing on a specific brand. So they have all the options here. It's like a catalog.

So if my competitors are basically doing really good work with their SEO images strategy, that's it, like I can rule this, I can rule this world. So we also need to understand how to tackle this strategy. And there are a lot of things that we can do in order to beat the competition. You can see here we have Runner's World, we can see Reebok, we have Nike, we have Under Armour, we have lots of brands that we didn't see even in the search results for the same query. So take a look at everything that you need to take in terms of beating the competition for your competitors.

I think let's get to work. Let's see how it's done, right? Cool. So I took a Wix site, a really cool website, by the way, Coal and Canary, which are basically serving—they're creating luxury candles, really cool candles, great smells, great scents. And they're basically located in Canada. And this is the main market for them. So my research is going to be focusing on Canada—but not only.

Okay, so basically this is what I did. I typed in on “luxury candles”. And in the end, I found these top three competitors: The White Company, Candle Delirium and Harvey Nichols. Well, if you look closely, some of them are not really my competitors, as The White Company is also selling bath products and things like that. And Harvey Nichols also sells bags and fashion. So they're not really my core competitors. So basically, I took Semush. If you want, we can go over to Semrush and just see, but I just took a snapshot, because I want to explain everything.

So I took the Candle Delirium, which is pretty much the same product as Coal and Canary. And basically, I took here, I just typed in—this is all you need to do—just type in the domain name. And that's it, go to domain review.

This is what you get, you get tons of data. And then you're going to ask me, oh my God, what is that? Yeah, exactly. This is the first time you're going to do it. And then it's going to be like super easy. Just going to type in the URL. And you go into the domain overview. And you see so many interesting things. You see that the organic traffic and Candle Delirium is getting, you see that the countries that they are serving, you see the Canada share is now really big, US is the main market. You're going to see the organic traffic that they're getting and the trend. You can see that, I don't know, from February, they have a little bit of decline in February 2020. They have a little bit of decline with their traffic. And you see they're putting some efforts with paid traffic, meaning Google Ads. So they're putting some, not much, but they're doing some Google Ads.

Also the amount of backlinks, we're going to talk about backlinks in the presentation. Backlinks means how many sites are linking to my sites. Google sees backlinks as referrals, as a credit someone gives to my site. So we want more of these. The more backlinks we have, it means the more websites are linking to me, the more websites are recommending me, so we want more of these sites.

And we also see that they're doing display advertising. So for me, not only Google Search ads, they're doing Google Display ads. Nice. So maybe, if I'm not doing it, maybe I will consider doing most of these things. And I also can see what are the top keywords that they are ranking for in Google. So if you take a look, we have here the—I don't know, “cactus flowers”, “Jonathan Adler”, supposed to be like a partnership or supposed to be like a specific category for candles, they may have done with them. “Cool lighters”, “boy smells”, “nest fragrances”, everything that can be really nice. They're ranking pretty nice. And here you can see the search volume—meaning how many people are searching for this specific query [on average] a month for Canada. Okay, specifically.

So this is pretty nice. Here you can see the landing pages, meaning the pages the content that is ranking for these keywords. And I can take a look at this. And I don't know what to look at. I'm really not sure. So I'm looking at paid traffic. They’re running paid ads. What offer [does] their store want to promote? What is the text? What is the copy that they have on their ads? What [are] the images that they are displaying on their display media?

Also, we want to check out the keywords that we just saw. What are the top keywords that are ranking? What is generating the most traffic for them? Because basically the traffic can assume to get more conversions at the end. Maybe if I'm not doing that, maybe I'm missing out on money. What is the average position that they have? If they're not really ranking, but they have tons of keywords that they rank, but they're not really ranking on first positions. So maybe they're not really generating this amount of SEO traffic, Google traffic, but maybe they're doing something different [to] others. We saw this partnership with Jonathan. Maybe it's something that I can do more [of]. Maybe it's something that I can think of a way to get influencers into my—I don't know, candles.


Liraz: I don't know, backlinks. How is their backlinks profile? Meaning, [are] there unusual links there? Is there something spammy there? If there's like huge PR, we need to understand and dig into their backlinks to better understand. We're going to do all of this together.


Mordy: Hey Liraz, can I ask you a quick question? So can I do this, I’m asking rhetorically, but can I do this on my own website? Plug in my own websites and see exactly what's going on here as well.


Liraz: Basically the domain overview—is just like you can type in any domain in the world.


Mordy: So if I wanted to see where I was ranking, or my organic traffic. And when it comes to backlinks, I just want to point out for everybody, you know, not all backlinks are equal. If you have—and you mentioned this—if you have a backlink from a site that's maybe a spammy site. That's not the best thing. We want to have backlinks from sites that are really high, authoritative sites, really reputable sites—and also really relevant to what you do.


Liraz: Exactly, exactly. We're going to see it together like what backlinks that they have, and we're going to recognize it. This is what I meant with backlink profile, basically, we need to understand what is the structure of it. And we need to understand what is the best content, we saw the landing pages that are ranking before. What is the best content? Is it blog pages? Is it category pages? Is it product pages? What is the main traffic that they're generating? If you're generating from blogs or articles and they have tons of traffic—and I don't even have a blog. So maybe it's time for me to start and write content, or hire someone to write this content for me and create a content strategy. And of course, also what kinds of blogs and products what kind of products that we're trying to sell? And what is their unique selling point? For them, we saw it’s luxury candles. How are they different from my other competitors or from me?

And finally, we're going to talk about gaps—the keyword gap and the backlink gaps. And we're going to try and minimize the gap and see what are the opportunities for me to get. And this all can be done with just five clicks, which is amazing. Okay, so here we have, we're going to minimize the Zoom video.

Okay, here we have the traffic analytics for Candle Delirium again. So I basically took a local competitor, which is Natura Soy. I went ahead and saw that Coal and Canary are soy blend candles. So I thought maybe that can be a really good competitor for them, also based in Canada. So Natura Soy, you can see totally, you can see their traffic share between them. You see that Candle Delirium is slightly a little bit bigger than Natura Soy. You can see also they have like the graph here how I chose like in certain terms of the trends of their traffic, you see that most of them you see Candle Delirium is in a little bit of decline. You see that Naturasoy has a little bit of take-off in January. And you see overall, they have like a little bit of a positive trend with their traffic. And you can see like, let's say like a snapshot from analytics, it's like the visitor duration here, you see they have really long duration visits. And the bounce rate is really good for those two websites. And also we can take a look at, one sec, under sources.

Here we can take a look at Candle Delirium traffic, we can see both of them have similar direct traffic. Meaning people are looking for their brand name, which is really good. You see, they both don't have any referral traffic, which is interesting for me. They have good search, meaning SEO traffic and organic Google search traffic. You see here, only Natura Soy has some social traffic, which is interesting for me, because Candle Delirium probably isn't doing much on social. And paid traffic, only Candle Delirium is doing it.

So this is something that is interesting for me to understand. Each of these competitors are doing something different in their strategy. And for me, this is a little bit interesting. Here, I put the traffic journey for Candle Delirium and Natura Soy. In a bit I will add in for this puzzle, my own site called Coal and Canary. So basically here you can see Candle Delirium, all the sources they have—, which is SEO content—SEO traffic, sorry—direct traffic, and the direct traffic for Natura Soy. You can also see Google paid, only from Candle Delirium. They're using and DuckDuckGo—which is a second search engine—and they are also doing Amazon. But here with Natura Soy, I have less traffic sources. I have this website, which is probably something that sells—probably an affiliate website for them. Or we have like Google SEO, and we have direct traffic. So this is pretty interesting.

I will put in Coal and Canary. And let's see the whole picture. So basically, Coal and Canary is doing only SEO traffic and the Coal and Canary wholesale website. Which basically, I think—they might be missing out on things. They might be missing out on Google paid, they might be missing out on referral websites, on affiliate websites, they might be missing out on Amazon. So here you can take a look at many things that you can basically adjust.

And now we can create the gap analysis with just a click, okay. So we go into the Semrush dashboard and we go into the keyword gap, which is—before we were here. We're just going into the keyword gap, inserting what we want in the domain name. This is me, this is the root domain for Candle Delirium. This is Natura Soy. And here we can just see how they overlap—meaning they have some shared keywords between them. We have some shared keywords that all of them are ranking [for] together. But you can see the tremendous opportunity they might have with just shared—with just missing keywords. So here basically Semrush is just telling you this is the top preferred opportunity for Coal and Canary. An amazing opportunity.


Mordy: Liraz. What do you mean by missing keywords?


Liraz: Huh? This is like this. So basically, all my competitors are ranking for my keyword, for these specific terms. And I don't rank for them. So that can be an opportunity for me. See here, “candle store near me”. They're all ranking for this. “Man candles”, “luxury candles”, “candle shop”, “luxury candle supplies Canada”, this is amazing money. This is money—money on the floor, guys.


Mordy: So these are keywords that you could be ranking for yourself, should you target them, in theory?


Liraz: Exactly. Let's say we have 23 missing keywords. See this is an amazing table for me, I'm always using it. So they all rank you for something, you can see their positioning here on Google. You can see that Candle Delirium is “luxury candles”, position six. And Natura Soy is not really there yet. But you can see that Natura Soy is ranking first on “wood candle” for example, and I'm not ranking on any of them. Sorry, I'm just taking a little drink [of water].


Mordy: So while you're drinking, that doesn't mean that this website isn't ranking at all just means for these. These are the keywords I got you covered. These are the keywords that you have an opportunity, should you decide to start targeting them. I mean, that doesn't mean that you're doing anything wrong, it just means that this might be a good place to focus next.


Liraz: Yeah, exactly. This is an opportunity for me, I can write content for this, I can maybe open new categories, I can do a lot more of this. Basically my competitors, my direct competition is basically ranking on these search terms. But I don't. And this is something that can help me adjust my strategy and build more content. Got it? Okay.

Okay, so what do I do with this data, right? What do I do with it? Okay, action items, create content. First, we can create blog posts if I see something that is relevant to write a blog post about, for sure. Go ahead. Maybe you should open a blog. That's like a whole new deal. But maybe I can write a new post about something specific. Maybe I can create new category pages, new categories for products, maybe I can create new products, even new partnerships, new something. I can get influencers to partner with me and create a content marketing strategy around it.

And the first—the second thing is just to optimize everything. We need to add more competitors to follow. Because we saw we have so many more competitors, that can be just, you know, one or two things that I want to check. We can create keyword research, and tracking and reporting all the time, and to track and see if my actions were okay. And if I got in and just keep optimizing your report about it.


Mordy: And this, by the way, because I saw somebody asked in the Q&A, this is a great way to build links, right? By building content, building really good content that people really enjoy that's really valuable, is a great way to get links as people will want to link to you. Imagine you did a study or you have a really nice guide to something. Well, somebody is talking about that in their blog posts or on their website, they'll link to your guide or link to your study or whatever content you create. And here's Liraz on backlinks.


Liraz: Yeah, exactly. I just wanted to add in. That's really great. Because if we have a partnership, let's say. That's a new way for you to get an influencer, let's say, with you and just to partner with you for a new line of products or something like that. That's a new way to get it viral, to get the word out there. Or if you write a good blog post that gets really good backlinks. That's amazing for you.


Mordy: Yeah, look, even a category page—we'll call it a collection page—where you have a lot of your products and if you have a really nice list of products and you have the best list of jeans in the whole world. So when someone was running a blog post about where to find the best jeans, they might link to your collection page.


Liraz: Exactly, exactly. Also you can see that they have like a search term for “man candles”, stuff like that. That's the whole new category page or collection page.


Mordy: It’s new for me certainly.


Liraz: Okay, so let's talk about the backlinks. Let's first understand what is a backlink? We talked about it briefly. Okay, so we have like, let's say a strong website, let's say an authoritative website, let's say New York Times. Okay, and I'm doing a PR and for me, the PR is really great and it's not really linking back to me, it just talks about me. So I would love when I'm creating a PR, I would just want the New York Times to link back to my sites. Okay, basically when I'm getting another website to link to my website, this is called a good backlink. But not all backlinks are equal—when again, those authoritative sites that can really link for me that they really have a connection to my niche, or either a PR or a brand or something that I want to put my brand out there. So when I get more of those backlinks to my site. So basically what I've done, I took all the competitors that I created, and basically compared them to Coal and Canary and saw what are the best backlinks that they have that they're not linking to me. So you can totally see that what is very—let's say—shouting, here is that they have coupon sites that are linking to them. A lot of your coupon sites, it's like here, you can totally see it. So I can totally assume that my competitors are doing tremendous work with coupon sites that are really sometimes—they're really, really good. And sometimes they have authority around them.


Mordy: Can I ask you a question, Liraz?

Liraz: Yeah, sure.

Mordy: How do you determine that authority? How do you know what to do to determine whether or not this is a great link, or this is maybe a link I should disavow somehow?


Liraz: So first, here, you can see the authority score— AS means authority score—also Semrush has these bubbles that can also explain everything to you. But here, you can have the authority score, I just filtered it from the highest to the most low authority score. And here you can see, of course, Of course, they have like a huge authority website. It's from 100, let's say. So this grade shows me what is a good website.

And also you can take a look at the website itself. If the website itself, let's say, for those coupon pages, if those websites, you see that they're not really generating any content for them, it's like a clean website, doesn't really look good. The mobile is not really responsive. You see, like all these pop-ups coming in and destroying your experience. Okay, so you're going to understand yourself, it’s a spam website. And we want to disavow or remove them. If we can just contact the website owner and say, hey, can you not link me? But be nice.

Okay, what do I do with this data? I have all these backlinks. What do I do with that? ACT—I want to earn backlinks. I want to earn partnerships. Partnerships can bring me lots of natural backlinks, I don't need to go to a lot of effort and just getting, those coupon sites, which are very good coupon sites, not the examples. Maybe you can see in the other slide that they're not really as authoritative. Affiliates partnerships, there are really good affiliate websites and publishers that can basically publish and promote your candles, anything that you're doing.

And work on your brand name. Also do PR, put your brand out there. So, when you're doing your PR work, this basically can give you some more authoritative websites that can link back to your website. So what should I do? Spy. I'm so sorry. Well, you can spy on your competitors. You can create a site audit campaign on Semrush. Just create a Site Audit—I will just show you in a bit what it looks like. Just crawl your competitors, you can take a look at what are they missing out [on]. They probably have bad broken links, they have content that they're not taking care of, content that is not generating any traffic for them.

And this is how it looks on Semrush. Basically, I put down just a screenshot on how site audits may look. And it can give you all the grades that you need. Basically slow pages, 404 pages, like error pages that they're not doing right. If they're doing okay with their crawlability, site performance, internal linking, all of that can give you—you know, if the site pages of your competitor is important for them, so they might take care of them. But if something is not really performing well for them, it's not the niche that they will need to take a look at, so you can see what they're not focusing on. So if something is broken and they don't really care about it, it's something that you can take in and take advantage of. Oh, I can take hold of it. Let's say if I have a backlink for them that is broken. I recognize a link. Someone is linking to their website and it's broken—you can totally contact the other website and say, hey, I saw this link is broken, you're serving a bad experience. Why are you not linking to me? I serve the same product and my link is not broken. So this is something that you can totally do as a strategy.


Mordy: Also really good as you can see, when you do a crawl, you can do a crawl on your own site and do this in reverse. But if you're crawling, you see, hey, you know, this site is ranking for this keyword, and the crawl comes back saying that page is thin—meaning there's not a lot of content there. That's a really good opportunity to say, you know what, I bet you if I create a much better, a higher-quality page, I bet you I could rank for that page, because this page is ranking and it's thin.

So all these are different ways you can find opportunity. And also I find if you do it in reverse, look for problems on your site, that might be why you're not ranking. If the other side has really prolific content and your content is a little bit thin. So it might be worthwhile to, you know, spruce up that page a little bit.


Liraz: Exactly, exactly. Basically, Site Audit is an amazing tool that gives you everything that you need to know—all the problems and all the good things that are happening on your website. So it's something that I just set up like a daily crawl. And that's it, like I get in my mail alerts, hey, this page is broken. Oh, okay, I'm going to fix it. So just to be alert of everything that's happening on your website, and others.

So we want to minimize the gap, right? We want to create the content and the keywords, you find the keyword gap, and we want to create better content. And then we don't want to copy their content, for God's sake. We don't want to make content that is thin content, as they are doing. No, we want to do it better than them. We want to be more sophisticated. And we want to be able to serve better experiences, even. And I can design a better landing page. I don't know, this is why I use Wix, right? Like I want to design my best website. And I can do it like that. I don't need the other developers just designing everything for me, I can do it like that.

And this is the main experience that I want to choose. Also, if your website is [going] very slow—so make sure you're serving the fastest selling pages. And also, we want to tackle the broken backlinks. So we talked about it. If we see something that is broken on the backlink that is linking to my competitors, I'm gonna reach out and ask for them to link to me. We serve the same product. We don't have any broken pages. Just link to me, I’ll give you the best experience.

So yeah, basically all this manual work can take you weeks, right? So all this competitive analysis can take you, I don't know, like 30 minutes. So when you're doing everything, and you're busy with your own business, and you're doing other business strategies, you know, you don't want to waste your time. This is why I use Semrush every day for site audits, for competitive analysis. Just like five clicks, I swear to God.

Okay, so this is just for a summary. This [tracks] my competitors over time for staying ahead, right? Final words—analyze competitors, look for ideas, trends, and more. Close the gap, we need to make use of every opportunity we see. And you know, Semrush is just marking, highlighting top opportunities for you. So it should be very easy for you to identify it. And we need to create 10x value content for our ranking, to outrank our competitors. So just think of that as something that always needs to be on the back of your mind—do competitive analysis once a month, and you're done. That's great for you. And that's it. If you have any questions, DM me on Twitter, I'm there, and I'll be happy to answer anything that you have in mind.


Mordy: Liraz, that was absolutely amazing. Yeah, thank you for sharing that, loving the great questions in the Q&A and in the chat. One question I wanted to ask you about is—Semrush is a wonderful tool. And I personally use it all the time. There are other tools. And then you know, not every tool is for everybody. So definitely take that into account and make sure you find the tool is right for you. But also, you know, one of the things that I do and I use Semrush and use a bunch of tools, is I always end up going to the SERP itself and looking at what's there with my own eyes.


Liraz: This is how I started my slides.


Mordy: So it's important, I think to remember that, while you want to do things at scale, and you want to do things with ease, you're going to need the tool to do that. But even if you are doing that, it's always really important, I think, to go and take a look at what the results page actually looks like.

What are the features that are there? What other—are there other ads, local packs, direct answers? What kind? What does this—get a feel for what's there. Take a look at it, take a look at the competitors' sites themselves. Always take a look at the competitor’s site. What's their user experience like? How does their page look? How does it feel? How are they structuring their content?

All of these things are very holistic, but they're really important. And no matter what you do, the best practice is always, yes, use a tool—and always check things out at the same time on your own so you can get a real qualitative understanding of what's actually out there. So I know there's a bunch of questions about—do I have to use Semrush to do this? No. No, you certainly can go and see who your competitors are. And even if you do use Semrush, which I highly recommend, or another tool—it's very important to check that out on your own and see what it actually looks like. Anyway, every SEO will tell you this. I myself, when I look at my competitors, or I want to see how Google's changing, I always take a look at the actual page itself.


Liraz: I think the best tool is your eyes. The best tool. Like, really, you can identify everything that a bot can, you know, just something that you need to keep in [the] back of your mind. But it just simplifies my work. And I work with other tools as well. But it just simplifies my work.


Mordy: So I wanted to ask you—when you see a site, because you mentioned before that they're doing paid advertising, whether it be display advertising, or whether it be the actual advertisements on the Google results page itself. Does that mean that you should do that necessarily? What does that mean? Forget my organic content, there's ads there, how do you go about that? And let's say I don't want to spend on ads.


Liraz: If you don't want to spend on ads, that's perfectly fine. We're just going to see if my competitors are investing more in paid ads and not doing any SEO. So that's something for me to understand. Maybe that's an opportunity for me to tackle more SEO traffic, and just you know, but of course, you know, I'm not a really big fan of Google Ads, I must say I know, as an SEO person. It’s just like, I’m sorry, but it's so expensive.

And you can just basically tackle everything with SEO and just like a content strategy, evergreen content that sticks. And it's the best experience that everyone is looking for—not a landing page with, you know, click an ad. The buying intent is different. With SEO, you get a really good buying intent. You’re not clicking on ads. If you search something, and then you click from your own will on something that can give you the best answer to what you asked for.


Mordy: That's really a different intent almost, right? Like, you see, I don't think—you know—don't be scared if you see an ad at the top of the Google results page, at the top of the SERP. Because people know that it's an ad, even though Google is pretty good at hiding it sometimes. It does still say “ad” there. And people in general are suspicious of ads. Like I myself, I don't think I ever click on an ad.


Liraz: Yeah, me too. So the two of us.


Mordy: I think that's about knowing your users or knowing your audience. Are they an audience that's predisposed to using ads? Whatever that demographic might be? Or are they not? And if they're not, then you don't have to worry about it. And of course, organic traffic is always considered more trustworthy, organic sites are always considered more trustworthy. I wanted to ask you about links, because I think links are really complicated.

You know, it's a little bit tricky how to get links. Google has a lot of guidelines for how not to go about getting links, I think it'd be worthwhile to bring that up. You should not pay for links, ever.

Liraz: Nope.

Mordy: So if somebody is trying to sell you links, run. It's against Google's guidelines.


Liraz: I think everyone is getting those spammy emails, right? Hey, I sell guest posts, and that's like spam.


Mordy: It’s even against Google's guidelines to—hey, you know what, I'll pay you to, you know, write a guest post, and I'll write a guest post for you, and we'll exchange links. Now, there's certain ways that you can go about doing this naturally, right? Making a natural connection. Yeah, it's fine. Like, you know, yes.

If I say, imagine I have a friend who's a photographer, and he does photography and events at weddings. So the wedding halls that he works at might listen on their website and give him a backlink. Because they want—when someone searches for “best wedding venue”, they also want to know about photographers and caterers, so they'll have a list of recommended photographers. So if you approach that website and say, hey, wedding venue site, how about you put my link with your other photographers, I work here all the time with you. They may say yes. And that's a great way to make a natural, organic connection to get a backlink.


Liraz: Exactly, exactly. There are a lot of natural ways to get a backlink. Also, if you can have a roundup with panelists, I call it, let's say, ego-bait articles. There are a lot of good strategies around backlinks. And you can earn them naturally. You can create viral content, you can create infographics, you can create a video and place it on your website that can be super, super educational and informative. And something that can be real-time marketing also really works. So a lot of ways to get good backlinks and backlinks that would stick with, you know, not something with no-follow, things like that that don’t go right.


Mordy: So that's really important to be aware of, by the way. If you get a link from let's say, Entrepreneur or Google doesn't follow those links, meaning Google doesn't really crawl those links or consider those links towards your backlink profile. They don't consider that to be a full recommendation. Because there's so many of these websites giving out those links. It's not the same power. Which is another point I want to bring up. Not every link has the same power. For example, if you are a shoe store, and you have a link from, I don't know, from NASA. Well, NASA’s a bad example, they’re in high demand. But if you have a link from a business that has nothing to do with you, versus—and they’re a really big website—versus a link from a website that may not be as big of a website or, you know, have a strong domain authority or authority score. Even though they may not be as authoritative, if they're more relevant to what you do, Google might count that link [as] being far more valuable.

In fact, Google just came out this week, and said, hey, we don't actually care about the number of backlinks, what we care about is the relevancy of the backlinks. So having 100 backlinks from a site has nothing to do with your business, versus a site that has, you know, a lot to do with your business. And having only five or six links in there might actually be more valuable.


Liraz: Exactly, exactly. And this is supposed to be your strategy, just start getting those connections—those real connections—to get these backlinks to your site.


Mordy: Of course, the best way to get backlinks is content. Which brings me to the content gap you talked about before. So you see that my—hey, myself and my competitor, there are a bunch of keywords they're ranking for that I don't have content for. Maybe I'll create a blog. And I'll start trying to target those topics.

It's always important to think not just about the keyword itself, but think of keywords like topics you should cover. So for example, if you see—if you're a shoes website, and you see there's a lot of keywords about boots that you're not ranking for, don't try to rank for that particular keyword necessarily. But maybe you want to create a lot of content around boots that you don't have, whatever it may be. But where do you start? Because there could be a lot of gaps.


Liraz: So, okay, so a lot of people are ignoring the, let's say, if we have like a keyword gap, if we see a low volume, like 10 searches average [in the] US, some people might ignore it. You know, just like, oh, it's not really good, right?

Mordy: No one's really searching for that.

Liraz: Yeah, it's okay. But guess what, if you focus on these little wins. These are sometimes—they can be like a sale, like every visit can be a sale through your website, and you're missing a lot of money. So you just need to identify the buying intent. If there is a keyword that is crucial for business, “best shoes for a woman after maternity”. I don't know, I just like, I don't know, really. If someone is looking for that, she is looking to buy a shoe after she gives birth. And that's it—like you have it—this is your sale in your pocket. So just think of the business. Think of what can give you some conversions, and focus on these search terms.


Mordy: Yeah, that really goes back to what I was trying to say before in the intro. Think about where you fit into this, if there's, you know, again I’m gonna go with my shoe store example. If you're a shoe store, that's something really unique and really valuable. So see where you can capitalize on that. And, you know, I know we think about keywords and traffic, but not all traffic is equal. Let's take the pandemic, for example, imagine last March [2020] at the height of the pandemic, and I am a travel site. I might rank number one for all the keywords in the world, but no one's traveling.

Liraz: Mhmm, exactly.

Mordy: So traffic, and even with traffic, right, let's say bring people into my site. But maybe they're not people who are going to buy from me, at all, ever. So I know it may be enticing to go after a keyword or topic—again, you have to think about keywords topically—that has a lot of searches around it each month. But sometimes it makes sense to go after those keywords that are more about where you're going to get sales from.

And also, it pays to diversify your keywords a little bit. In other words, Google is a little bit volatile, right? Well, more than a little volatile. And one day you might be winning with X keywords. And there's nothing you can do. Google says, “Hey, you know what? It just might be that you're just less relevant, or the topic has changed, or intent has changed.” All the things have changed that are really beyond your control. If you have another set of keywords that you can rely on to bring in traffic and optimize those a little bit more and up your traffic from those, that's a new way you might be able to pivot and stay agile, because Google is a changing environment.


Liraz: Exactly. You might be surprised that some keywords are just like—people are looking for informative questions. Like you can look for, I don’t know, for running shoes. For just an example. This is not the case, but just for an example. And people, users are just looking for what is a running shoe?

Mordy: Correct.


Liraz: Oh, absolutely correct. But I did a study on this in 2018, if I remember this correctly. For more complicated products, something like technology—buying a laptop or buying insurance. 40% of the top 10 results, meaning four out of 10 results were not sites where you can buy that product. There are sites where you can learn about buying that product.

Fast forward to now, and some of those pages have shifted to being 60%—meaning six out of 10 results are about learning how to buy a laptop or learning how to buy insurance. And that does apply to simple products. I know you might laugh at this, but check this out. If you search for “buy toilet paper”, there are one or two informational results about this, I promise you. When I checked this out two weeks ago—so we might go there now and not see it. But that just goes to show you that if you have a blog, even if you're an eCommerce site, you can bring in so much traffic by going and talking about informational things. That brings me to maybe my last question or last topic, 10x content. What is that? And how do you create that?


Liraz: Wow, I think the best practice for this is just to identify the niches, like small bites of everything. Like, let's say, let's stick with the running shoes, right? If I'll stick with the “10 best running shoes for” etc, etc. I'll go and drill down for the least searchable search terms I want to rank first for this. I don't want to compete with Forbes, I don't want to compete with super affiliates—that can be really impossible for me as a smaller website.

So I'm going to tackle the least—let's say 10 searchers, 5 searches, 50 searches per month. That can be amazing for me, because really, there’s not a lot of user websites that are writing about this topic, and I can just easily rank. But I'm also looking at what search results are there in the first place. So you will see huge publishers that are ranking for this even if they don't have the specific content talking about this specific niche. So I’m going to let it go because I will not be able to outrank them. So always look at what's ranking, and don't go for the highest competitive search terms, because it's going to be like a long-term strategy for you. If you want a quick win, try and tackle the least searchable search terms for that.


Mordy: Correct. And it really goes back, you know, SEO, it's also called search marketing. And there's a marketing element to this. And that's really to be able to have empathy to understand your users, your target audience, really understand what they're looking for, what is their situation? And what would they want out of that content—and then provide that for them. And provide it really. I know content is the hardest thing because it takes time, it takes energy. But if you put the time and you put the effort in—it's a little bit slow going in the beginning, so don't get discouraged. But if you keep doing that you really understand your target audience, you can really create some amazing content.


Liraz: But don't forget conversion. That is great and can create an amazing lift, but nothing that will do any good. They will just go to other brands that you're mentioning, or you know, just eventually won't buy anything. Just remember to put CTAs, to put calls-to-action, to serve fast pages (loading time), create the best experience, the best design. It's your users, there are your guests in your home, make them feel comfortable. This is always something that you need to remember.


Mordy: And that's why Google always says—their advice is always to create great content for your users. And that's really true.


Liraz: It is, it is, it is.


Mordy: So the last question I want to bring up is keywords. And it's a really hard topic, believe it or not. How strongly do you focus on keywords when you create content? Or will you go after— you see there's a competitor and you see what they're doing? And you see what you're doing? And you see maybe there's a gap? Or maybe there's room for improvement? Or maybe there's a new opportunity here for you? How do you think about keywords? Do you put your keyword everywhere? I know you don't.


Liraz: Basically, if I'm going to, let's say I’m writing a brief to my writer to write something for me, I will never give them my, let's say my true keywords or something like that. It should go naturally. If the post is not really talking about my topic, it will mention my keyword anywhere. If they’re naturally talking about it, it's gonna be there. Google is smarter you know, it's not like, you know, like 13 years ago, 12 years ago, this is what I used to do.

Yeah, I was a spamo website. Like if you asked my mom what I was doing for my career like, yeah, she's spamming Google. This is exactly what I was doing—density, you know, calculating things and everything. But today, Google is super smart. It doesn't really need everything. It doesn't really need to know the exact keywords that you're placing. So I would just tell my writers to just write naturally. Yes. I will just optimize a little bit—page titles, headings if I need to add, but not over-optimize ever.


Mordy: Right? I mean, I’ll end on this point. Look, if you're writing content, it's really good content. So what other words are you going to use besides the words that describe what you're talking about?

Liraz: Exactly.

Mordy: Yeah, so write naturally, think about what you're writing, and we're going to end it with this. Liraz, thank you so much. This was so informational and so enjoyable to talk to you.


Liraz: Thank you, it was my honor.


Mordy: Have any questions? Please. I'm on Twitter @MortyOberstein. For questions about Wix and SEO, I am Wix’s SEO liaison. So please reach out to me. And I really appreciate you coming, spending some time with us and learning a few things about SEO. And oh, this is just the first in a series of webinars. Keep an eye out for more SEO webinars and another webinar next month. Thank you so much, everybody.


Liraz: Thank you. Have a good day.

Mordy: Bye bye.


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