SEM Competitive Analysis - The Importance Of Understanding Your Paid Search Competitors

SEM Competitive Analysis – The Importance Of Understanding Your Paid Search Competitors

There are several moving pieces involved in establishing and managing SEM campaigns. First, you must design a solid paid search strategy, do keyword research, construct a solid structure for your campaigns and ad groups, decide budgets, produce successful ads, and so on. Following the setup process, you’ll be neck deep in continuous campaign management, which entails fine-tuning your campaigns and ad groups depending on results. This involves optimising keywords and advertisements, generating new ad groups as needed, suspending underperforming ad groups or campaigns, split testing ads, and so on. This covers managing campaigns on both the Search and Display Networks. As you can expect, SEM is not for the faint of heart.

Based on all that is involved with sponsored search, I believe it is easy for SEMs to keep driving campaigns forward without pausing to examine the competition environment. For example, who organisations do you compete with in SEM, what advertisements do they run, what sorts of landing pages do they use, how does their pricing line up, and so on. This is where a good competitive study may pay you big time. There are so many valuable lessons to be learned by evaluating the competition that I’m amazed more businesses aren’t doing it.

In this essay, I’ll go over five key insights you may gain from conducting a SEM competitive study. My aim is that after reading this essay, you’ll be excited to begin your own analysis. Let’s get this party started.

What is a SEM Competitive Analysis?

Simply put, a SEM competition study allows you to learn about the organisations who are bidding on the same keywords and categories that you are in paid search. Let’s face it: if you’re bidding on a set of keywords, you need to know who your rivals are bidding on, where they’re bringing traffic, how aggressively they’re bidding, what price they’re offering for similar items, and so on. While conducting the analysis, you may come across fantastic nuggets of knowledge that might help you improve your own efforts. You may also comprehend why some rivals may outshine your own efforts.

Tools for Competitive Analysis

This piece is not intended to be a lesson on how to use the many competitive tools available in the market. There are several to pick from, and you should try them out to see which ones work best for you. Some are paid solutions, while others are provided for free. SEMRush and SpyFu, for example, are two premium solutions that allow you to access a multitude of competitive SEM data such as keywords, advertising, CPCs, traffic volume, and so on.

Google’s Ad Preview Tool is free and allows you to examine an unpersonalized SERP while also specifying geographic area, mobile vs. desktop, language, and other options. Furthermore, AdWords just unveiled Auction Insights, which provides a perspective of the organisations with which you compete on a keyword level (if there is enough data). You may see a competitor’s impression share, average position, overlap rate, proportion of times they rank higher than your own advertisements, and so on. Again, there are several tools available, and my advice is to choose the best mix for your requirements. Many of the premium solutions provide free trials, allowing you to evaluate their performance right away.

Read More: 5 Common Paid Online Advertising Techniques

Scope of the Analysis

When choosing the scope of your research, you have two options: start small and examine a single ad group, or start broad and evaluate a wider campaign (or set of campaigns). If you’re just getting started, you might want to start small and focus on a single major ad group. You may extend to other ad groups and larger campaigns once you’ve determined the best approach to utilise, along with the proper tools. I propose selecting an ad group that is crucial to your business but may not be performing well. You never know, the competitive analysis could disclose why…

Let’s look at five things you may gain from a SEM competition study to aid your own SEM efforts:

  1. Who Are Your *Authentic* Competitors? (in Search)

Whenever I start working with a new client, I usually inquire who their top rivals are. It’s a trick question since the industry’s typical list of rivals may not be the same competitors in SEM (or SEO). Understanding which organisations appear in the SERPs for relevant keywords is critical. When consumers are unsure of which firm to do business with and begin Googling Google, offline competition may not make a significant impact. That is why you must understand your genuine SEM competition. That is who prospective clients will look for while conducting online research.

When I deliver my results about actual competition, my customers frequently jump out of their chairs. They may run into some old people, but they may also come across some new businesses or websites. Say welcome to, the web’s largest and baddest ecommerce shop. If you sell online, Amazon might be a significant SEM rival. If that’s the case, you should investigate the price on, how frequently they appear for your target keywords, if third-party merchants offer similar items, and so on. Let’s face it: cheap prices and Amazon Prime membership are a deadly combo that you’ll have to deal with at some time. You are not alone.

You may also come across comparison shopping sites, forums, answer-driven sites such as Yahoo Answers, personal blogs, and so on. If you do, you may need to develop a plan for monitoring those sites to ensure your presence there (the right ways). Manufacturer websites may provide connections to internet businesses that sell their products. Is your name there? Are you sure? I think you get the idea. Understand the true competition, delve deeper, and devise a strategy to cope with those “competitors.”

  1. Determine the keywords your competitors are using.

Okay, so you now know who your competitors are in SEM. Your next enquiry may be about the keywords they are using. This is significant for a number of reasons. First, double-check that you haven’t overlooked any vital keywords or categories that clients are looking for. Even if you conducted keyword research, you may have overlooked anything. Analyzing the keywords that your rivals are using might help you bridge the gap.

Read More: An In-Depth Guide To Keyword Research To Help You Rank Higher

  1. Landing Pages of Competitors

The landing pages used by rivals are next on our list. Assume you were operating an ad group for a significant category. You have a lot of traffic but not a lot of conversions. You’re perplexed as to why… Analysing the landing pages used by rivals might tell you a lot. Are they directing users to product detail pages, campaign landing sites, lead generation pages designed to collect contact information, mobile landing pages (for mobile traffic), and so on? All of the information might assist you understand why your rivals may be outperforming you in search engine marketing.

Understanding the prospective consumer landing page experience might help you generate ideas for your own landing pages. If you are leading people to a product detail page while your rivals have dedicated campaign landing pages with a lot of information, photos, video, reviews, live chat, and so on, you should reconsider your efforts. Don’t belittle yourself in relation to your competitors. It’s possible that’s why you’re seeing less conversions (or no conversion).

  1. Advertisements, Ad Extensions, and PLAs

You may examine the text advertising that your rivals are running using competitive tools. When prospective buyers see a SERP full of sponsored advertisements, it’s critical to stand out (for the right reasons). Are your rivals making sales, bargains, special offers, and so on? Are they including genuine cost in their advertisements? Are rival text advertising congruent with the landing sites to which they direct visitors? All of this can assist you realise why your own performance isn’t up to par.

  1. Costing

The third point I’ll discuss is possibly the most important: price. A comparative study will identify the pricing your competitors offer for the identical things you sell. For many vendors, the internet’s strength is a double-edged sword. You may now compete with the big boys, but you’ll also be judged against every other vendor on the internet. This may happen in a matter of seconds when individuals search for things on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.


Are you ready to begin your own competitive analysis? As I mentioned before, there is a lot you can learn. It is critical that you do not become so focused on your own efforts that you overlook what your competitors are doing, how much money they are spending, where they are driving people, and what sort of landing pages they are utilising. You never know, you could wind up discovering major flaws in your own marketing. This can result in more revenue, profit, and a higher ROI. Best wishes.

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