10 competitor content analysis metrics you haven’t thought of


Optimising your site content for search engines involves more than looking inward at your own workflows. It’s important to remain aware of how your competitors are operating in your niche, as they are the ones you want to be beating in the SERPs. 

Conducting regular competitor analyses will not only help you to gain an understanding of what others are doing in your space – you will also pick up on whether you are doing better in certain areas than them, or if there are areas you should improve on to maintain your position ranking before they get ahead. 

There are a number of competitor analysis metrics out there to consider, but here at Skittle Digital we perform in-depth content competitor analyses for our clients which also utilise scoring metrics you may not have thought of. 

Here are our top 10 competitor analysis metrics that you might not have considered. 

1. Image originality 

One of the metrics Google Quality Raters use for EEAT scoring is image originality, so it’s worth comparing the images you have accompanying your content with your competitors’ image strategy.  

The general rule for EEAT is that original imagery is better – so it’s a good idea to work out how much stock imagery you are using on your content pages compared with competitors. For example, you may find that your competitor is using original illustrations, most likely because they have an in-house illustrator or hired a freelancer. To keep up, it may be worth replacing your images with original illustrations or photography if you aren’t already. 

2. Structure 

If you haven’t paid much attention to your content structure, and your competitor has, then it will become glaringly obvious once you perform a competitor analysis. Look at the pieces side by side and ask some key questions, like the below: 

  • Does the piece make good use of H1, H2 and H3 headings? 
  • Is the text broken up with images and infographics? 
  • Are the paragraphs short enough to keep the reader engaged? 
  • Does the content take the reader on a logical ‘journey’ from start to finish? 

If you are comparing guides, our post on writing well-structured guide content may be of assistance. 

3. Readability 

Unless your industry is targeting people with knowledge of specific terminology and jargon, it will be important to ensure your content is readable. Run both your content and that of your competitor through a reading score tool, where you will be able to see the average reading age using metrics such as Flesch Reading Score and Gunning-Fog. 

If your reading age is higher than that of your competitors, this is a sign that you need to simplify your content. Bear in mind that the average reading age in the UK is 9, so you want to avoid having a reading age which is significantly higher if you want to engage your target market. As a rule of thumb, ensure you remove long words and complex sentence structures. 

4. Originality 

If you’re comparing your content with a competitors’ and find that, unlike you, they’ve included some original data or experience-driven original content that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, this is a surefire sign that their EEAT score will be better than yours. 

With the influx of AI-generated content and people rewriting existing information on the web without having genuine experience or expertise, it’s more important than ever to create high-value content which will be of use to your readers. 

If you are guilty of rewriting existing content to pad out your blog, or you have a customer base of data which you haven’t tapped into for original reporting, then you’re missing out on the chance to outrank your competitors. 

5. Internal linking 

As we continue building out a site, it can be easy to forget about internal linking – or going back to insert links on older content pages. However, if your competitor has set aside regular time for internal linking strategy audits and ensured that each page is on point, you could be missing out on a metric that could have given you the competitive edge. 

Scan through your pages and the corresponding ones that your competitors have built out, considering where both you and they have included links to other pages within your sites. If you are lacking in comparison, it’s time to start auditing your links.  

If you have a comprehensive internal linking strategy in place, your site architecture will be clearer to crawlers – especially in cases where pages can be discovered that may not have been visible before. 

6. External linking 

It may be tempting to avoid inserting external links, due to the belief that readers will simply click off your site and decrease your dwell time. However, for EEAT purposes, external links provide authority signals in that you are providing additional resources for your readers to benefit from. 

In a recent competitor analysis, we discovered that both our client and their competitors were guilty of quoting external sources without including the relevant links. We found the original source data and recommended including the links. They were surprised that external links were given this level of importance, but the reality is that if your competitors aren’t doing it and you are, you’re increasing your chances of better visibility in the SERPs. 

7. Publish timeline 

When analysing the overall body of content on both yours and your competitors’ sites, look at when they first started publishing content, and when their last publish date was. You may find that you haven’t published to your blog in the last few months – but your competitor hasn’t updated theirs in over 2 years! 

That being said, don’t get complacent if you find that your publishing timeline is superior to your competitors’. You never know when they will hire a new content manager who will give the strategy an overhaul, so make sure you stay ahead and ensure you have some more content in the pipeline. 

8. Publish frequency 

The publish frequency is related to the publish timeline in that you will be analysing the overall body of content and establishing the publishing schedule. If you haven’t heard of QDF – Query Deserves Freshness – then now is the time to read up on it, or at least keep the general rule in mind that you need to be publishing according to a regular schedule in order to deliver those ‘freshness’ signals to search engines. 

While your competitor may be lax with their publishing schedule, this is no excuse for you to do similar. If you notice that your competitor has only published new content every few months on average, then ensure your publishing frequency is superior in order to stay ahead with this metric. 

9. Site architecture 

You’ve gone beyond individual on-page analysis and widened your scope to the overall body of content, but now it’s time to take it a step further and consider the overall architecture of your site. While site architecture isn’t technically a content metric, it’s still worth considering as part of your competitor analysis, as it will inform a number of your next steps. 

For example, if you note that your competitor had made use of pillar pages and topic clusters but you have created content according to whatever strikes your fancy that week or month, then this is a surefire sign to begin building out your content architecture with a similar structure to demonstrate authority with search engines. 

Beyond your content architecture, ensure that your site as a whole is easy to navigate – and be sure to optimise your XML sitemap if you sense that your structure is superior to your competitors’, as submitting your sitemap again to Search Console will improve your chances of sending positive signals to search engines. 

10. Navigability 

Similar to site architecture, you want to ensure your navigability makes sense from both a user and a search engine perspective. This metric does technically fall into the UX remit, but user experience will always go hand in hand with SEO – as, after all, we want readers to click onto a page that they are able to navigate with ease. If this is not the case, then the bounce rate is likely to increase and this will harm your overall SEO performance. 

It is therefore important to compare your navigability with that of your competitors to ascertain whether your content is easy to find and browse through. You may pick up some tricks from competitors; for example they may have a better mega menu or their resource centre pages may be easier to navigate. These are all important pointers you can pass on to your technical and UX teams for discussion and implementation. 

Need help with your competitor analysis? 

If you haven’t taken a look at your competitors’ performance in a while, or you need help with a compiling a cohesive structure for your in-house analysis, we are here to help. Get in touch today with your questions and we’ll see how we can be of assistance. 

Alternatively, we are offering a limited number of Free Acquisitions Workshops for businesses seeking our bespoke, human-led analysis of key metrics such as competitor ranking, backlink profile and more. Contact us today to find out how we can get you on the path to SEO success.  


Imogen Groome

Content Lead

Imogen is the SEO Content Lead at Skittle Digital. Imogen has worked in SEO since 2016. She helped to define SEO strategy at Metro.co.uk before guiding the newsroom at The Sun Online as SEO Editor. She has more than 5 years’ experience in scaling content strategies that drive revenue for brands through organic search channels. In her spare time, Imogen writes books, watches poor-quality reality TV and hangs out with her cats.

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