What's the Importance of Competitor Analysis for Local SEO?

April 22nd, 2024, 09:00 AM

Competitor analysis is at the core of any marketing strategy, and is especially relevant to local SEO — competition in local search is incredibly fierce, to say the least.

Conducting competitor analysis for local search is essential for identifying opportunities to outrank competitors in local search. 

Sure, following best practices for optimizing your Google Business Profile can go a long way towards setting you up for local SEO success, but none of it really matters if you ignore competitors.

Local SEO competitor analysis has the power to shape and guide your local search engine optimization strategy right from the get-go, and should be an integral part of your ongoing rank tracking and optimization processes.

What Is Local SEO Competitor Analysis?

When it comes to local SEO, competitor analysis is mainly concerned with identifying and monitoring a business's competitors in the local pack, or those top three or so results on Google Search and Google Maps, also known as Google's 3-Pack.

Examples of insights that competitive analysis for local search can provide include:

  • What competing businesses are ranking at the top of Google
  • How often competitors are appearing in Google's 3-Pack for specific search terms
  • What factors may have contributed to competitor rankings (e.g., Google reviews, categories, etc.)
  • Where competitors are outranking you at a hyper-local level
  • Where/how you might be able to outrank vulnerable competitors

Benefits of Competitor Analysis for Local SEO

Identify Your True Top Local Competitors

Any business that sells products or services similar to yours in an overlapping geographical area can be considered a local competitor. 

While it's normal for business owners and marketers to have an idea of who their competitors are, the competition in search results can look quite different from that idea.

By running relevant rank tracking scans, you can see exactly who the top competition is on Google for all the keywords and areas you want to target. This is the competition you should be most concerned with, since so many people rely on Google Search and Google Maps to find local businesses.

When you compare the rank tracking results for who your competition actually is to who you thought it was, you might notice some surprising differences. 

For example, a business you thought was a top competitor might really be ranking 10 positions below you, while another one you hadn't even considered is three spots above you.

Gaining insights into who the true competition in local search is can help you focus your local SEO resources in the right areas to improve your position and outrank competitors that actually matter.

Get Ideas for Local Search Optimizations

By analyzing your competitors in local search, you can gain insights into optimization strategies that may be helping them rank highly and apply those strategies to your own local SEO efforts.

For example, you might see that a top competitor has additional categories selected for their Google Business Profile that you could add to yours, if relevant, to help your listing rank better in more local searches. 

Or, you might see that your top competitor has way more reviews than you and a better average review score, so you could focus on getting more positive reviews to improve your ranking.

Outrank Competitors at a Hyper-Local Level

Succeeding in local SEO often means fighting block by block for a better position in local search results.

By performing competitor analysis using a geo-grid-based local rank tracker, like Local Falcon, you can see exactly where your competition is outranking you in super specific geographic areas. You can analyze the competition down to a hyper-local area as small as a neighborhood, a commercial district, or even just a few city blocks. 

Then, you can look for opportunities to outrank individual competitors at specific points on the map, potentially winning over a new chunk of your target market performing local searches near those specific areas.

Gradually, as you implement local search optimizations armed with knowledge about your competitors, you can watch your market share grow on a granular level as your business starts ranking highly at more and more spots on the map.

Optimize Your Local SEO Time and Other Resources

There are always going to be certain search terms you want to rank for that are highly competitive, but that might not be worth optimizing for right away.

Doing competitor analysis for local SEO can help you determine when trying to outrank a competitor for a certain search term might not be the best use of your time and other resources. It can also help you identify easy wins and less competitive terms that you can optimize for to see immediate results, as you work towards being able to target those more competitive keywords.

For instance, let's say you're doing competitor research for an auto mechanic, and you're looking at the rankings for the keyword "mechanic," which is a highly-competitive keyword. 

Now, imagine you see that there are three competitors showing up in the top three positions on Google 50% of the time or more, and the business you're doing local SEO for isn't showing up in the local pack for the term "mechanic" at all.

When there is such a huge performance gap between the top competitors and the business, it would require a ton of time and other resources to start moving up in the rankings, and it would be very hard to get a return on investment any time soon.

However, in cases like this, you can look at the competition for less competitive keywords (usually more specific, long-tail keywords) to see where you might be able to jump up in the rankings with minimal optimizations, thereby providing fast results and ROI.

For example, rather than trying to optimize for the broad term "mechanic," you might see there's an opportunity to start optimizing for a keyword like "auto tune up near me." 

While it might not be as gratifying as ranking for the most coveted short-tail search term, showing up in local searches like this can provide you with a strong ROI, since people who perform these types of searches are looking for "right-now" solutions and are likely to convert into customers.

To sum up, the true strength of local SEO competitive analysis lies in helping you identify these types of opportunities and avoid sinking time and resources into areas where you're not as likely to see results.

Wrapping Up

No matter how big or small your business is, competitor analysis is crucial for local SEO success. It helps you understand who your real competitors are, gain insights into their strategies, and find opportunities to outrank them. 

By refining your local SEO strategy based on competitor analysis, you can improve your rankings, attract more customers, and grow your business in the highly competitive landscape of local search.

Looking for a local rank tracker to help you perform competitive analysis in the local search market? Look no further! 

Local Falcon provides real-time, on-demand local SEO competitor analysis, backed by artificial intelligence. Falcon AI even takes care of much of the analysis for you, providing near-instant insights into the local search competition and offering actionable optimization recommendations.

Try Local Falcon Today

Return to all Blog Entries