SEMrush Competitive Site Audit
In this video tutorial you will learn how to do a competitive site audit using SEMrush. Do this to learn how your website or prospect’s website compares to the competition. In a previous video, I performed a Site Audit for our example prospect Marquis Yachts, which got an onpage score of 57%.
Why Audit Competitors?
SEMrush’s Site Audit Tool and other website graders specifically look for errors in a website’s code. Use each competitor’s score to determine if their rankings are artificially held down because of onpage ranking factors. More importantly, if the competitor fixed their issues how would that impact the competitive landscape?
You should also do competitive site audits in case your potential prospect decides not to sign your contract. If you work inhouse, use them to track the SEO progress of your competition over time.
SEMrush’s total score is heavily weighted by the total number of errors and warnings.
If you remember this spreadsheet, it counted referring domains and total backlinks. I added in the onpage score for each of the competitors.
Investigate Onpage SEO
The top organic traffic site is searay.com, which scored 51%. There are over 5,000 broken links and more than 1,000 pages with duplicate content. If a number of these issues were fixed, Searay could expect a lift in traffic.
Fraser Yachts scored the worst with 41% and has 26,000 issues. There grade is a bit deceiving because 15,000 warnings are from missing image ALT text. However, the biggest increase in traffic could come from resolving unique title and duplicate content errors.
Azimut Yachts tied for first place with 67% and had very few errors. Most of the warnings were also caused by missing image ALT text. The biggest fix they could make is implementing a 301 redirect from the non www. version to the www. version of their website.
The websites burgessyachts.com and princessyachts.com scored 57% and 58%, which is close the score for Marquis Yachts. The traffic from these two websites is a good benchmark for how well Marquis Yachts could perform. These two websites get about 6,500 and 7,400 organic visitors per month. Marquis Yachts only gets 2,900 visitors per month.
If Marquis Yachts had 250 more incoming referring domains they might get similar traffic. When it comes to offpage SEO, it is more important to have quality over quantity. One high quality link can be worth more than thousands of low quality links. Please remember, there are several other factors that go into the ranking algorithm.
On Burgess Yachts there are almost 1,300 broken internal links, as well as hundreds of pages without a unique meta description and unique title tag. Relative to other sites in the niche, the website has a low percentage of duplicate pages.
Princess Yachts has 1,300 pages of duplicate content. Comparing the differences in these two websites, Burgess Yachts has an artificially low score. Please keep in mind that no tool is perfect and this is why a human eye is required to do competitive analysis properly.
Hatteras Yachts scored 48% which seems really low, but they only have a few errors. So what is weighing them down? There are 1,300 images without ALT text. Now imagine if these 1,300 pages were not negatively impacting their score. They would have one of the best onpage grades. Again, this is why the onpage score is just a rule of thumb, and why you need to look at the factors contributing to that score.
Viking Yachts also scored poorly. There are almost 15,000 issues. There are 1,250 broken links and internal errors and almost 500 pages of duplicate content. The score for this website appears accurate. The 8,300 warnings for images not having ALT text and 500 pages without H1 tags heavily weighs down the score. The same 500 pages also have missing language and doctype.
Cruiser Yachts tied for first place with a score of 67%. They had 90 errors and 2,000 warnings. Two major concerns are that robots.txt is formatted incorrectly and the www version of the domain is configured incorrectly.
The incorrect configuration is because the www version of the website does not 301 redirect to the non www version of the website. This issue is easily resolved with a 301 redirect. The robots.txt file is an invalid file format and just loads a copy of the homepage. If Marquis Yachts backed out of our hypothetical proposal, two conversation points exist with Cruiser Yachts to demonstrate value. This is an example of a website that scored well, but actually has some major issues.
Tiara Yachts had the second lowest onpage score. 1,500 pages do not have unique title tags and suffer from duplicate content issues. For warnings, 3,600 instances of missing ALT image descriptions,1,600 pages without meta descriptions,1,500 pages without H1 tags and 1,100 pages have thin content.
The last competitor Prestige Yachts scored 65%. The website has very few errors and a majority of the warnings are caused by images with no ALT image description. They have a few duplicate content issues so their score of 65% accurately reflects their onpage SEO.
31 pages have duplicate content. The page home.html is a duplicate of the homepage because a 301 redirect is not in place. This is a critical error.
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