Competitor Website Analysis

How it can help your school's website

competitor website analysis

Like all industries, running a successful school depends heavily on knowing the competitors in the field and their strategies. Nowadays, the internet and school websites, in particular, are major contact points where schools showcase their quality. 

Therefore, it’s not wrong to think of websites as one of the main arenas where schools compete for talented students and highly qualified staff. There is also no denying that a lot of insights can be gained by studying the school websites of competitors. 

That’s why competitive website analysis has become such a popular strategy among schools. You may be wondering what competitor website analysis is. And how can it help your website? Let’s find out together.

competitor analysis

Competitor Website Analysis: What is it?

A competitor website analysis is looking at your competitors’ websites to grasp their marketing tactics and find where they come short. You can create a more successful online marketing strategy that makes you stand out from the competition by learning your competitors’ strategies for attracting customers. All businesses, including your school, can gain from knowing what their competitors are doing.

Four Elements of Competitor Website Analysis

Gathering and evaluating data on competitors is the first step in the competitive analysis process to help you understand who your rivals are. Using a logical approach, you can realize how the various sections interact with each other.

Your competitive analysis may be divided into four key categories:

  • Company: information about the company’s size, location, and other details.
  • Customer: aspects of the target audience’s demographics, interests, and values.
  • Product and pricing: information about the product, such as features, promotions, and mobile app info.
  • Marketing: a strategic plan, SEO strategies, channel usage, and marketing tactics.

Now, let’s see why your school website needs a competitor analysis.

your school website

How Can it Help Your School Website?

Competitive website analysis can help your school in both obvious and subtle ways. It can help you:

1. Identify The Main Competition

The first advantage of competitor website analysis is that it enables you to identify the main rivals. That’ll help you study them closely, learn their secrets to success, and find how you can use their shortcomings to your benefit. Identifying the main competition will show you where to go because you’ve essentially done your job once you defeat them.

It’ll help you find out which websites are linked to other schools but not you. Therefore, you can optimize your authority and reputation by including those websites in your link profile. Linking to those websites will significantly grow your website’s value. One way to do that is by contacting them and providing some of your insightful content that they can use on their platform.


3. Identify High-Quality Keywords

A keyword gap analysis can help you identify high-frequency keywords in your competitor’s website. It is wise to include specific keywords on your school website if you see that they are working very well for other schools. You can also try altering the design of your site, creating links with keywords, optimizing your content marketing, reviewing older content to include those terms, or creating fresh content for your website.

4. Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategy

You need powerful marketing on your website and social media channels to attract top students and talented hires. It’d be amazing to know what works and what doesn’t before planning a digital marketing strategy. It would save you a lot of time and money. Competitor website analysis will help you do just that. By analyzing other schools, you can adjust the marketing strategy based on their successes and failures.

5. Learn What People Think of Your Brand

Brand mention is critical to your growth. That’s because the more your brand is mentioned, the more popular your school and its website become. 

As a result, conducting competitor website analysis will help you find out how others feel about your brand. You can optimize your website based on these insights to attract the best to your school.

Things to remember

Three Things to Remember

Before you begin the competitive analysis, there are three things to remember. You should consider this even if you’re solely focusing on your website.

1. First impressions Matter

Typically, parents who want to learn more about a school start by visiting that school’s website. Put yourself in their shoes and explore the website. How easy is it to search for information? Does it contain an adequate amount of information? How is that data presented? Does the website offer parents the opportunity to contact faculty for more information?

2. Compare Your Website Performance

Prospective parents carefully select schools that seem suitable after initial research. They note and compare every positive aspect of their experience on their website, so you need to do the same. Consider whether your website’s accessibility, visual design, and content marketing efforts are compatible with your overall message.

put yourself in parents shoes

3. Put Yourself in the Parent’s Shoes

It doesn’t matter if ten other schools compete with you or you’re the only player in town. The most important thing is understanding what parents and students want from a school. In other words: how can your school help them achieve their goals and address their concerns? 

To do that, you need to put yourself in their position, including reviewing the ways your website will benefit them.

How to Conduct a Competitor Website Analysis

In a nutshell, competitor website analysis is made up of three steps:

1. Knowing your competition: First, keyword research and social media will help you determine which school websites are performing equally well or better than you. 

2. Identifying their weaknesses and strengths: Examining the site’s content, SEO tools, and design will give you a lot of information about optimizing your school website. 

3. Implementing a strategy to move forward: Now, you can design and implement an approach based on your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths to offer students and potential employees what others do not have! Here are some ways to do that:


Define Your Competitors

Your school faces two types of competitors: Direct and Indirect.

Direct competitors are companies that are just like you in all three respects: they serve the same market segment, provide a solution to the same issue, and are in the same category. 

For instance, if you run a high school in a particular region, you should look for other sites with similar qualities in the same area.

The second type of competitive analysis involves indirect competitors that are identical in only two of the three domains. They could reach the same group of people and offer a solution to the same problem, but they might use a different product. 

An excellent example of an indirect competition would be educational institutions offering courses to help parents homeschool their kids.

Try to focus on the first category, but keep an eye on any indirect competitors because they could become more significant in the future. Sometimes companies expand outside their core industry.

Direct competitors have the flexibility to change course at any time and can add something new to their service overnight, like a school website. Consumers and technology are driving the development of websites that have the potential to transform the education sector instantly.

search engine optimization analysis

Start with An SEO Analysis

We always begin with the school website, which has the greatest influence on lead generation. This helps you assess how well-prepared your rivals are for battle.

For instance, you can see if a competitor relies on incorrect marketing strategies if their website exhibits unclear calls-to-action, poor content, user experience problems, and no form.

No matter how much money they spend on marketing, you can beat them by converting your traffic more effectively. The level of search engine optimization (SEO) is another sign of how skilled your rivals are.

Smart marketers know that organic traffic is the most cost-effective and high-converting source of prospective parents currently present in the education industry, and SEO should be a top priority.

Backlinks (links from a website to a page on your website) are a great indicator that people trust your website as a source of information. In other words, they show you have authority and expertise on a particular topic. When it comes to backlinks, you should pay attention to both quantity and quality. 

The more backlinks a school website has, the better. Plus, if the external website is a reliable, top-notch source in the relevant field, the quality of the backlink will improve significantly. 

You can also use some tools to consider the quantity and quality of your competitors’ external backlinks. Also, you can write guest posts to link your school website to a high-authority source in that field.

Explore Their High-Ranking Keywords

Keyword research is one of the essential aspects of competitive website analysis. What’s your current ranking in online search results? Using the right keywords will get you a higher seat. Some keyword research tools will show you school websites that rank highly for your chosen keywords.

This will help you identify your main competitors for those keywords. Also, you can work on keywords with less competition that don’t appear on other schools’ websites.

school website content

Analyze the Content

It all comes down to content. You may immediately think of blog posts and articles when you hear content. But, it is much more than that. It includes images, videos, infographics, and almost anything else you use to convey information. 

So it’s not just about finding keywords and incorporating them into your current and future articles to improve your SEO ranking. You can’t keep visitors on your site for long if you don’t provide them with helpful information, tips, guides that they need immediately, and even enjoyable videos and images that invite viewers to stay awhile. 

You should carefully examine your competitors’ content to see where they excel and fall short. For example, you might consider things such as word count, the number of images, the usefulness of the information, and call-to-actions. 

For example, if the last video or news article on the competition’s website dates back to early 2022, many parents and students may leave their site because they can’t find helpful updates. This is an area you can work on to gain the upper hand.

user experience

Focus on the User Experience (UX)

Focusing on the school website’s user experience is one of the easiest and most insightful competitive analysis tasks you can perform.

Since UX is about website navigation and focuses on the time an average user spends on the school website, it is better to get feedback from regular users instead of website designers. Of course, you can consult with website developers and use their expertise in UX principles to make necessary changes.

You can rapidly analyze the competitor’s website UX by asking your team members, regardless of their position or expertise in the field, to visit competitor university or school websites and try to use them as potential students would.

Ask your team to learn about specific courses and activities, funding, accommodation, or other vital issues and concerns of your common audience. That’ll help you tailor your website design to their challenges and present your school as the solution.

This is the primary goal of analyzing the website UX of your competitors. Imagine yourself as one of your potential customers visiting their website, and consider how satisfying the experience was.

Was it easy to find the data you were looking for? Did you have a good overall impression of the school? 

Have someone repeat the same experiment on your website. Since your team members are more familiar with your website than a regular parent or student, it’s best to leave this to an outsider, possibly a website service provider.


Mystery Shopping

What happens when a prospective parent contacts one of your rivals? How good is the follow-up? What media outlets do they use? How persuasive is the admissions staff?

Although it can be difficult, it’s not impossible to find out all of this. One creative technique to assess a school’s digital marketing strategies from the outside is through “mystery shopping,” sometimes called “secret shopping.” This involves asking people to research the competitor’s school and courses to see what kind of response they get.

Mystery shopping can be an excellent approach to get a first-hand look at your competitor’s follow-up schedules, networks, and techniques to determine how they compare to yours.

You can observe their contact tactics, touchpoints, and email content marketing they send to prospective parents.

This way, your team can determine how much better or worse they are doing than their rivals, how practical their approach is, and how engaging their work is. This could be the start of a better follow-up strategy for your company.

school marketing strategy

Observe Their School Marketing Strategy

You will learn more about how each competitor stands out from the others by studying their school website.

You should look at your rivals’ lead generation tactics to better understand their strategy. To do this, you must put yourself in potential parents’ shoes and go through their sales funnel. Read some blog posts, join as many of their services as possible, and use their tools.

Remember to gather all the answers systematically. This will save you time and give you ideas for future developments.

You should identify:

  • The primary issues they address
  • The exact solutions they provide
social media strategy

Study Their Social Media Presence

Social media channels are not websites, but the two are closely intertwined. Social media users interact with a brand by commenting, reposting, or sharing material on its social media accounts. This way, the brand becomes better known and can attract additional visitors through social media sharing.

All schools now inevitably have some type of social media activity, although the actual tactics used might differ greatly from school to school. Ask yourself:

  • Which social media networks are your competitors involved in?
  • How energetic are they?
  • How do they answer reviews, tweets, postings, or comments?

If your competition uses social media, you may get valuable knowledge and develop your own social media presence by examining their whole social media strategy.

Be aware that just because a school is on all the popular networks, it doesn’t mean you’ve to be.

You should duplicate their successes and avoid mistakes on the same channels to boost engagement and build authority. The more people view, like, and comment on your posts, the more website visitors you will get.

When evaluating a school’s social media activities, it’s essential to distinguish between paid and organic movements. “Organic” refers to the regular, free posts the school’s followers see in their feeds. “Paid” refers to promoted content displayed to people you want to target. You’ve paid to attract their attention.

There are two ways to evaluate a competitor’s organic quality: you can pay for a tool to do it for you, or do you can do it yourself.

If you choose the second option, hire a staff member who enjoys social media, and give them free rein to investigate each school’s social media posts and engagement. If your employees are busy, you can hire a social media service provider to handle this task.

facebook strategy

Use Facebook for Paid Social Media

Finding a paid social media service that can show you how much a rival spends on each social website is tricky. However, Facebook allows you to make educated guesses about your competition’s target market, budget, and social media strategy.

You just need to:

  1. Visit the other school’s Facebook page
  2. Find Page Transparency and click on it
  3. See the View in Ad Library that’s in the Ads From This Page box

Facebook will display all of the ads that your rival is actively running. That should give you enough information to answer the following questions:

  • How many ads are there?
  • Are they using A/B testing? In other words, are they running similar ads with slight adjustments in the headline or call to action (CTA)?
  • Do ads target a specific group or multiple groups like parents, students, alums, etc.?

You can determine how advanced a school’s Facebook strategy is by answering these questions, which may also give you an idea of how much the school spends on social media. Anyone may use this strategy; it’s free and it works.

Analyze Their Message

As the independent school environment evolves, the way a school presents itself will become increasingly crucial in the future. Reviewing the messages used in marketing is an excellent technique to assess a school’s positioning.

You can see all the ads the brand has run on networks like Google by simply typing your competitor’s name into the search box. This is useful for learning what ads, positioning, and campaigns a competitor runs and how well coordinated their display approach is.

Setting up Google Alerts for each significant competitor is another excellent monitoring solution. Google will notify you when these schools are mentioned in the media, which can help you learn about your competitor’s PR tactics.

At the very least, you can keep track of any changes in competing schools this way.

Gather Your Findings

After completing some of the essential parts of a competitive analysis, categorize your findings and develop an assessment to get the most out of your study.


After the competitor analysis is complete, summarize your findings and possibilities. How will this information be incorporated into your marketing and recruitment strategies?


Your study provides insightful information that can improve relationships within the organization, spark exciting discussions, and build internal credibility. Share your survey results with team members, and discuss the results with your website service provider.


It is better to do your competitor analysis regularly to identify trends and changes. The frequency may vary depending on your competitors’ marketing capabilities, but an annual competitor analysis is a good starting point.

Next steps

Next Step

In the tech-driven age, where other schools are just a click away, you can’t afford to overlook their accomplishments. You need to understand their weaknesses and their strengths.

However, the game is constantly changing, and you need an accurate, reliable system to continuously analyze your competitors’ websites. That can be challenging unless you have the expertise, experience, and infrastructure, which usually goes beyond an educational institution. 

This is where a reliable website service provider like School Webmasters can help. At School Webmasters, we can help you understand your competition and design the roadmap to put you well ahead of the curve.

You can easily get a quote right now or just contact us (call 888.750.4556 and speak with Jim) and let us point you in the right direction.