How to Find Pages That Send Your Competitors Organic Search Traffic
We are going to show you how to get more organic traffic by analyzing and replicating the pages that are sending your competitors the most traffic from Google.
This is a super actionable SEO tutorial that approaches competitor analysis for SEO from a very important angle - traffic.
This research method is super helpful because basically, what we’re going to do is find the exact pages that are driving the most search traffic to your competitors’ websites, and use that data to increase organic traffic to your own website.
Let us tell you how it’s done.
How to find pages driving the most search traffic to your competitors’ websites and use that data to increase organic traffic to your own website
The tool that we’ll be using is Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, which gives you a ton of data on any website or page like backlink reports, keyword metrics, organic search traffic and more.
So first, you would need to enter in the domain of one of your competitors in Site Explorer.
By competitors, we are referring to people who are actually getting organic search traffic from Google.
There are two ways you can find a list of competitors.
The first is pretty straightforward. Just throw in some search queries related to your business into Google and look for websites that are ranking for the keyword phrases that you want to rank for.
So for our example, let’s pretend that we have a golf blog.
We might search for something like “best golf clubs” or “how to hit a driver.”
With the first search query, we can see that golfdigest.com owns a couple of the top rankings, followed by pga.com.
And then we see businessinsider.com.
Golf Digest seems like a perfectly relevant competitor just by looking at their domain name and pga.com is the official site for the professional golfers’ association.
Business insider, on the other hand, is more of a general website that covers nearly every topic under the sun, so they wouldn’t be a good fit for our competitor analysis.
There’s also another cool way to find competitors that you might not know exist, but we’ll tell you that in a bit since it comes later in the workflow if you want to scale this technique.
Alright, so back to Site Explorer. We’ll enter in our competitor’s domain here and hit search.
So once Site Explorer loads, you can click on the “Top Pages” report in the sidebar.
The pages you’re now looking at send your competitor the most organic search traffic.
You’ll likely notice a bunch of flags here which are actually filters. By default, the top pages report will choose the country that sends them the most search traffic for the website that you’re researching.
So in this case, it has defaulted to the US.
How to get a more accurate representation of the total SEO traffic to the pages?
If you want to get a more accurate representation of the total SEO traffic to the pages, you can switch this filter to "All countries".
You’ll see that the numbers get bigger.
With the top pages report, there’s a lot of cool stuff we can do. So first, we are going to break down these important metrics and then we’ll tell you about a couple simple workflows that will help you actually put this into action.
Since we’re looking at the “top pages” of this domain, this report will sort the table by the pages that receive the most search traffic.
Beside each traffic figure, we can see the percentage of search traffic each page generates for a website in the selected country.
So the story on Bill Clinton would account for around 3% of the total search traffic across our domain search.
Sometimes, you might find that certain pages bring your competitors over 30% of their overall search traffic.
When you find a site where the traffic is not diluted across all of their pages, it’s usually a good indication that the website you’re analyzing is the perfect target to find some great topics you can piggyback off of.
Next, we have the “Value” column which shows the equivalent amount it would cost to generate this many search visitors
with pay-per-click advertising. This is based on clicks from all of the keywords this page ranks for, multiplied by the cost per click.
The next metric is one of our favorites. The keywords column shows you how many keywords that the page is ranking for.
And if you click it, then you can actually see all of the different search queries a page ranks for in the top 100 Google search results.
This goes to show that keyword research isn’t just about targeting a single keyword. But it’s proof that a single page can rank for tens, hundreds, and even thousands of different keyword phrases.
We have a more detailed study on our blog where we analyzed 3 million random search queries. Our data shows that the average #1 ranking page will also rank for around 1,000 other relevant keywords.
This is definitely worth a read! You can find the study here.
Referring Domains column
Alright, so next is RD, which is short for Referring Domains. This column shows the total number of unique websites linking to the target URL.
And then we have the page URL, which is pretty straightforward.
The next couple of metrics are also interesting.
Top keyword column
The top keyword column shows the keyword that brings the most organic search traffic to its corresponding URL.
And the column beside it is the estimated search volume for that top keyword.
Finally is position, and that’s where Ahrefs’ last saw this page ranking in Google’s SERPs.
Okay great. Now that you can see the top pages of your competitor’s website, what’s next?
So the beauty of the Top Pages, and actually almost all of Ahrefs’ reports is that there are some super helpful filters you can use to narrow down the results to see the metrics you actually care about.
Top Pages metrics
The first thing you can do is to set up some filters similar to the ones below.
For example, you can set the positions to 0 to 5, which will show you only the pages that rank in the top 5 results of Google.
Then you can set the traffic filter to have a minimum of 500 search visitors.
You might have to play around with the minimum search visitors number a bit depending on the site that you’re analyzing.
Now you can export the list to CSV
And with this CSV export, you can do some pretty cool stuff in Excel to find high traffic topics without much competition.
We’ve already set this up in a Google sheet since most of us should have access to this tool.
First, freeze the first row so you can see the columns as you scroll down.
And then you can actually sort the table by the referring domains in ascending order.
What this is going to do is reveal pages that are getting a ton of traffic without any or many backlinks.
With the particular site we’ve investigated, there are a lot of ‘top stories’, since a lot of their content is news based.
But there are also some low hanging content ideas you can dissect from this report.
The page you see below ranks in the second position for the top keyword “Ping G Irons” which is a branded type of golf club.
And this table also shows that this page receives approximately 677 search visitors with zero referring domains, which is pretty surprising.
One more cool thing you can do in the top pages report
One more cool thing you can do in the top pages report is find individual pages that get a ton of traffic and basically create an entire outline for your content using the keywords they rank for.
Here’s how to do it.
Clear all the filters and sort the table by traffic in descending order.
So, if you skip through some of the branded search queries like these ones
As well as the ones that don’t have much context or commercial value, you’ll see this cool one here.
You can see that the top keyword is “best golf drivers” and this page ranks for over 2,600 relevant search queries with over 12,000 monthly search visitors, which is a conservative estimation, not the actual traffic value.
We are sure these pages also get traffic from other sources like social, referral, email etc.
In fact, the actual SEO traffic will almost always be higher than what Ahrefs reports.
So let’s say that you wanted to create your own post on the best golf drivers. What you can do is click here under the keywords column to open up a pool of relevant keywords that this page is ranking for.
And by analyzing these, you can basically create an entire outline of what you should be covering in your blog post.
For example, it's 2018, but people are still searching for a “best list” from 2017. They also want drivers that are known for distance.
You can click on the “Next 100” link to see more of the keywords that they’re ranking for.
Then you’ll probably want to talk about game improvement drivers.
Maybe create this post in a review-like style.
Talk about different handicaps and to make sure to include something about mid handicappers.
And you can see that all of these rank in the top or near the top of Google, which shows high relevance from the content to the searcher’s intent.
So rather than spending your time creating multiple pages targeting a single or just a few keyword phrases, you can confidently focus on creating one epic post on drivers.
Now that you’ve read about the top pages report, it doesn’t mean it’s time to stop your research.
You can obviously search for more competitors in Google….or…. You can go to the “Competing Domains” report inside Site Explorer.
This page will show you a list of websites that rank in the top 10 for the same keywords as this competing website.
Please note that you’ll see that there are some irrelevant sites like Wikipedia and Twitter in the report.
So a quick way to look for relevant competitors is to scan for lots of “green” in the visual bar.
The blue color represents the amount of unique keywords for the website you’re analyzing, the green represents the number of shared common keywords, and the yellow portion shows the corresponding site’s unique keyword rankings.
In the above example, you can instantly see that golf.com, pga.com, golfchannel.com and golfweek.com are all highly relevant sites to this domain.
You can then rinse and repeat with the process that you just went through and find an endless number of topics that you can use as inspiration to create new content for your site.
Over to you
We hope you enjoyed this SEO tutorial and will start using the top pages report to increase organic traffic to your website.