How To Do Local SEO Competition Research

By  July 11th, 2017

How To Do Local SEO Competition Research

Businesses are trying to outdo each other in various ways and ensure their name gets listed at the top.

This is how a typical Google search result page looks like when you are searching with a local key phrase like “cosmetic dentistry austin tx”:

How To Do Local SEO Competition Research

Have a look at the number of local businesses that gets listed. Now, you might wonder how does Google finds out which business to rank first that is on the “A” position. Imagine if your business fails to show up in the local carousel then your business will never reach new customers who are looking for the services that you are selling.

The SEO competitiveness has been dialed up to fierce levels, but there’s a limit to just how much two companies can one-up each other without digging deep into the finer details.

So, if you’re serious about crushing your competitors, you need to be familiar with their operations, their citations, their reviews, and the image they’re presenting to customers.

The bad news is, all this sounds easier in theory than in practice, but the good news is the guide below can help you conduct local SEO competition research swiftly and effectively.

Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at how your business benefits when you research local SEO:

  • For starters, it provides an in-depth look into your competitors’ market and improves your understanding of how they work.
  • Local SEO competition research is a great way to assess your actual consumer base, so you can target them better.
  • It helps you figure out the reasons for the success of your competition.

Implementing these findings into your business strategy lets you add value to your organization’s online presence, and that is something you cannot afford to miss out on. Thus, without further ado, here are the top techniques that make you an expert at researching the local SEO competition:

Learn Who Your Actual Competitors Are

You know the local business scene better than anyone else; so if anyone can pinpoint the toughest competition, that would be you. You do not have to be a 100 percent certain; just take a few guesses and then do some in-depth research to zero in on the biggest threats to your business. Always locate and verify 5 to 10 different competitors in the vicinity from various sources.

How To Go About The Process

You have two options – you can either do it manually or you can use tools. While the former option takes longer, it is also more accurate; on the other hand, you need to screen the outcome of the data tools with your own eyes once more to make sure everything is accurate.

  • Manual: The standard Google search works great; all you require is the set of keywords you wish to rank for, and you can view which of your competitors are hogging the top spots. The more accurate keywords you enter, the broader list your list of competitors.
  • Third-Party Tools: This is a good way to understand more about what the opinions people have about your website. Third-party tools also provide you with hidden chances outside the regular competition. Some of the most common tools used by businesses include SEMrush, Crunchbase, and SimilarWeb.

Once you find the information you’re looking for, like company websites, names, and locations, maintain a record of it to…

Mine Your Competition’s Data

How To Do Local SEO Competition Research

Collect data from your competition’s My Business page to find out what factors contribute to a better SEO listing for your competitors. Focus on important points, like:

  • The name of the business. Account for the possibility of any geographic modifiers or keyword stuffing.
  • List the address, including the city, state, and zip code.
  • Copy all the available phone numbers.
  • Make a note of the landing page URL.
  • Check how many categories the business listing has.
  • Look at the customer reviews.

How To Use All This Data?

Study the data to find if specific trends perform better in a particular geographical location. Form a hypothesis and test what gains or losses you made. While you won’t be able to isolate factors, at least you’ll gain insight into what’s effective the more you alter the hypothesis.

Understand the location relevancy score that Google considers before listing any local results. One last thing – examining trends becomes a whole lot simpler when you place the data alongside each other as it lets you spot unique data quickly.

Pay Attention To Their Landing Pages

Go through the landing pages of your competition to gauge which factors hold the most weight. The things that demand your attention the most include:

  • The landing page’s title.
  • Mention of city and state in the meta title.
  • Presence of important keyword in the title.
  • Length of the content.
  • If you see an H1 tag, check for city name, state, and keyword.
  • Use of local business schema.
  • Inclusion of GPS coordinates and embedded maps.

Pay Attention To Speed

Google loves to list websites on top of the search results that are mobile friendly and load fast. Here are some great ways to speed up your website in order to beat your local competitors:

The Power Of Reviews

How To Do Local SEO Competition Research

Customer reviews are critical for local SEO. If your business doesn’t have any reviews, then you better get to changing this situation and fast. Yotpo has listed some great tips to boost your local customer reviews.

No reviews signal trouble, and so does overwhelmingly negative reviews. It gets worse if your competition has more positive reviews.

Understand How SEO Listings Work For Your Competition

Search for your rival company to find out which websites Google associates with the brand. You can also perform a quick search by pasting the NAP in the search bar. If you do not wish to copy and paste the same NAP in different formats, you can use NAP Hunter to find the variants used by your competitors.

How To Do Local SEO Competition Research

Take A Look At Some Valuable Citations

With citations being confirmed, you can see how quality matters greatly over quantity. However, avoid getting the same citations like everyone else. While top citations are valuable, it’s always a good idea to check out other opportunities and follow what goes on with your competition. You should also compare your listed position with that of the competition using tools like the local citation finder from Whitespark. Here, you’ll need to fill in Whitespark’s citation intake which looks like this-

How To Do Local SEO Competition Research

Make sure you track your competition a minimum of once every month. Also try to track other things connected to your brand. This will make the ongoing efforts a lot simpler.

The main thing to understand here is that you need to assess your competition, formulate a good plan, and then move in for the kill. Local SEO competition research is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, and only by thinking long-term solutions can you make any kind of progress. However, following the steps given above should give you a clue about how to go about the whole thing.


* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, via

About the Author: Joydeep Bhattacharya

Joydeep Bhattacharya is the author of Seo Sandwitch Blog where he shares latest stuff and articles related to SEO, SEM, PPC and Social Media. He has a real passion for SEO and he loves to be associated with the ever changing field of internet marketing.

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