How to use Website Sitemaps for Competitor Analysis?

How to use Website Sitemaps for Competitor Analysis?

Sitemaps are lightweight to download and process without looking into complete website, which can be time and resources consuming. Sitemap can reveal lots of details about the website e.g. whether webmaster/SEO person is knowledgeable or not.

Advantages of Anaylzing Competitor Sitemap

There are several advantages of analyzing a competitor website sitemap over the period of time (Time Variations).

1. Competitor Content Strategy

Have you ever though on “How to find your competitor content strategy using their website sitemap?”

You can conduct additional keyword research by looking into competitor website. Competitor’s website and their sitemap is a gold mine for additional research.

By Continuously monitoring your competitor, you will be able to find answer to the following questions.

  • How much content have they published till to date?
  • How often do they publish/update their content? 
  • Do they publish daily, monthly or yearly and which content get update often? 
  • You can find new keyword ideas by looking into
    • Which pages are they updating on regular interval? As those pages many be more competitive. Your competitor might be targeting to get more ranking on those pages.
    • Once you have identified most important pages of your competitor, then you can search the traffic of those pages in SEMrush or ahref? These tools can tell you how their updating strategy is working.
    • You might want to target the similar pages. URL/Slug of those pages contain your competitor target keywords. So, you know which keywords your competitor is targeting without looking into their website.

2. Extracting Website Architecture

You can look into the URL structure of your competitor on how they organize content. By using any scripting language ( Python or Bash ), you can also fetch header of individual URLs to check response status codes. You will be able to know which pages they want to index and which they want to ignore.

If category sitemap is available, then you can also see how many pages they have published in an individual category and which categories they are using

  • Category 1 -> 10
  • Category 2 -> 5
  • Category 3 -> 11

Looking at sitemap, you will also be able to find how many images per page/post do they use? You will also be able to find name/slug/path of those images.

Once you have already established a relationship between individual pages and their traffic (from SEMrush or Ahrefs) then you will be able to depict their strategy. You should be able to depict your competitor content strategy since this data can be analyzed over timespan.

3. Automation Analysis

You can look into the timestamp of individual pages in a sitemap. If you find that their modification time stamp is a single data/time, then they are probably using bots for content manipulation.

Spying on Your Competitor using Sitemap

As mentioned in previous section, that competitor’s sitemap offer huge opportunities. You might ask “How to keep an eye on your competitor by using their website sitemap?” and simple answer is by regular tracking and monitoring of their website sitemap activities.

You can find temporal variation in your competitor’s strategy by analyzing their data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. So that you can adjust your content strategy accordingly as per modification on your comeptitor webiste. Its a passive approach of learning from others experiences and experiments.

Time variation in sitemap data can answer your questions “How many pages they have changed today?” or “Which page got most changes”. Looking at their data (in combination with SEMrush or Ahrefs traffic), you should be able to see how their daily, weekly, and monthly content plans are working.

Conclusion

Sitemaps are equally useful for competitor analysis by constantly monitoring their website sitemap. These competitor analysis helps to deeply understand competitor SEO Strategy and can be useful for designing a counter strategy.


Faisal Shahzad

Faisal Shahzad

Hi, I am Faisal. I am working in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Data Sciences since 2002. I love to hack workflows to make life easy for people around me and myself. This blog contains my random thoughts and notes on Digital Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Static WordPress Hosting with Netlify and CloudFlare Pages, Python, Data Science and open-source projects.

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