Posted by randfish

How are you gleaning your competitive insights? We've got a ton of resources and tools at our disposal, and one of the best ways to learn what's working for your rivals and how you can build your own success on top of those insights is via the top pages report. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand goes over how each data source can provide unique value and which questions you should be asking to get more out of that data.

Use your competition's top pages data to bolster your SEO efforts

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we're going to chat about how you can use your competitors' top pages, data from a number of reports, from a bunch of different tools about which pages are the most important, or highest ranked, or most linked to URLs on your competitors' websites, in order to boost your SEO efforts. There's a bunch of cool things that you can do with these, beyond the obvious, and I'll walk you through a few of them today.

5 kinds of "Top Pages" reports

So first off, there are really five kinds of top pages reports. These can be further filtered and augmented with data that you could craft or create, and some of these tools add in additional data too, so you could do other things with them. But basically, these five are:

1. Top pages by links

This is essentially what are the most linked to, either by URLs, or by root domains, or highest page authority, those kinds of things. The three tools that have that are Moz, Ahrefs, and Majestic. They're the primary link tools out there on the web.

2. Top pages by social shares

This is looking at Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter. Important caveat on this, Moz technically has top pages by social shares, but only from Facebook and Google Plus. Probably we'll be replacing Google Plus with LinkedIn soon. Ahrefs has it, but same story. They don't have Twitter data. BuzzSumo are the only folks who can show you Twitter data, but they only have it if they've already recorded the URL and started tracking it, because Twitter took away the ability to see Twitter share accounts for any particular URL, meaning that in order for BuzzSumo to actually get that data, they have to see that page, put it in their index, and then start collecting the tweet counts on it. So it's not perfect data, but they're certainly the best source as far as social share numbers go. You can also get some data from, but it's been sort of up and down lately.

3. Top pages by estimated search traffic

So this is essentially where SEMrush shines. Ahrefs also has this. Basically, what they're doing is they're looking at, "Here all the keywords that we've seen this URL or this path or this domain ranking for, and here is the estimated keyword volume." I think both SEMrush and Ahrefs are scraping Google AdWords to collect their keyword volume data. Actually, I think maybe Ahrefs is also doing what Moz does now, where they bolster that with data that they buy from Jumpshot or possibly another clickstream provider. So essentially they're saying, "These pages are the ones we think are getting the most organic search traffic." Super valuable report from both of those guys as well.

4. Top pages by number of ranking keywords

So this is different from estimated search traffic. There could be a page on a domain that only ranks for one keyword, but it gets tons of searches and it ranks number one, so it gets an incredible amount of search traffic. But there could be pages that rank for a ton of different keywords, but they rank number 6 through 10, or they rank number 11 through 50, and they rank for all these different numbers of keywords, but none of them particularly well or none of them all that awesome, and so they don't show up in the top estimated search traffic reports. Again, SEMrush and Ahrefs provide those.

5. Top pages by total traffic

So this would be SimilarWeb and Jumpshot provide these. Alexa does too. I mean Alexa, not Amazon's voice search app, but the old Alexa rankings system. Why did they name them both the same thing? It makes it really confusing. Does it frustrate you? It frustrates me. So you can use SimilarWeb or Jumpshot to see the top pages by total traffic. So that's all sources, that's search traffic, social traffic, direct, email, links, etc., etc.

Problems to solve/questions to answer

These five I'm going to reference as we dive into problems to solve and questions to answer. But before we do that, I'm a little under the weather, so I'm going to blow my nose. I know this is unusual on Whiteboard Friday, but you don't want to see anything gnarly happening on the video. This is the proof that we only do one shot, that I really do one take.

A. What is my competition doing that's bringing them success along various vectors?

This is the most obvious one. This is the one that everybody uses the top pages reports for. So they go, "Okay, what is the most linked to? What has the most social shares?" Fine, so I can see what content has been most successful in any different one along any of those vectors. It's obvious, it's good to use, it can answer some questions, but check out these other ones.

B. Where has my competition created broad content, leaving gaps of specific queries I can fill?

Potentially fill with answer boxes, featured snippets, I could potentially fill by having a more targeted page that answers that query directly better, and so doesn't need as many links to rank, because it's very, very hyper-targeted? You can do that by looking at things that your competition has done really well on number four, top pages by number of ranking keywords, but has not done as well with total organic estimated search traffic. The gap between those two will give you those kinds of content opportunities, hyper-focused content and keyword targeting opportunities, which is killer.

C. What content has done really well, like resonated with social or direct traffic audiences, but then it's done poorly in SEO?

So, for that, I can look at number two, top pages by social shares, or number five, by total traffic, but then look at ones that have performed poorly on number of keywords and estimated search traffic.

D. What content has helped my competitors grow their link profile, but may not be ranking or maybe it used to be ranking, but it's not ranking anymore because they haven't kept the content up to date?

Maybe people were looking for stuff around 2017, and they created this content way back in 2015, and even though they got a bunch of links to it, it's just not ranking that well anymore. These are huge opportunities, and so you can look for number one being very high, high number of links, but lower number of ranking keywords and estimated search traffic.

E. What content is low on links, but high on getting search traffic and getting lots of keywords ranking for it?

Which means that there's a strong opportunity that if you can out link build them, you can probably overtake them. Because if it's weak on number of links, but it's strong on estimated search traffic and number of ranking keywords, there's probably a golden opportunity.

So you can see how by mixing and matching these things and by comparing top pages data from multiple sources against one another, you can get some really cool, powerful, advanced SEO opportunities in your content and keyword targeting.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, how you've done it in the past, and we'll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

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