Original thinking in the business world can be of great help, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't learn from others. Remember the old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Well, this may sound sneaky, but learning how your competitors do their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can really teach you a lot on how you can structure your marketing strategy.
Your competition is one of the obstacles your business will have to face in order to be successful. Keep in mind that in the world of SEO and digital marketing, there's ideally no one closer to you than your competitors. In this case, why would you overlook learning about them when developing your strategy? You can find a wealth of information and achieve a competitive advantage by simply researching and analyzing your competition.
1. Identify your Real Competitors
When finding your real competition, I recommend that you include any website or company that you compete with for web visibility and traffic, regardless of whether you are selling the same product or not. A comprehensive competitive analysis is not a small task, but it will be worth it. Aim at making a list of around five to 10 competitors in your geographical location and your industry. Here is how I went about finding my top competitors:
- Use industry keywords to look for businesses similar to your on the major search engines
- Set up a Google Alerts to ensure you receive all the necessary updates on your competing products/services, and even keep up with industry news
- Find more competitors in your niche via associations' member directories
2. Determine the Keywords You Compete For
Once you have determine your competition, it's now time to analyze the keywords, including the long-tail keywords that you are competing for. You can actually begin analyzing who ranks for the same terms. The Google Keyword Planner tool is what I used for this, where you just enter the competitors URL and the tool will show you the keywords related to the topics and content on their website. You can even identify the level of competition and keyword volume with this tool.
3. Explore their Content Marketing
To improve your rankings enhance your brand awareness, and increase your organic traffic, you have to produce high-quality content regularly and consistently. This is one of the most effective tools in Search Engine Optimization, and gaining more leads. You can learn from the pitfalls of your competition, as well as from their strengths. Check how often they post, the quality of their content, whether they share on social media, and assess the number of views.
4. Social Media Behavior
What social media platforms do your competitors use? What kind of content do they post there? Are there any links to videos, articles, or infographics? Do they use keywords on their social media posts? Have a look at the groups they interact with and how they do it.
Some of the best information about your competitors you will find in blog comments. Comb through the comments you find and find out what the audience is saying. Work with the information you find to improve your product, so that it has everything the audience really want.
6. Product Analysis
Do a comprehensive analysis on the products they offer and find loopholes in the development where possible, this way, you will find features you can include in the products you offer. Or you can combine you expertise in their product, put an effective spin on it, and sell it at a competitive price.
7. User Experience
With online marketing, we are transitioning into the responsive formats to provide a consistent experience on all devices and screen types. The insurgence of mobile marketing means that user experience will still be key in customer satisfaction. Find out what your competitors are doing, so that you can keep up as the technology advances.
Before you start on your link building strategies, it pays to scope out what the competition is doing. You can find some potential link opportunities for your website. Use your detective skills to find out more about their high-authority backlinks, distinguish between spam and quality links, and to identify potential backlink sources.
9. Conversion Techniques
Some businesses utilize lead magnets or provide their audience with free offers to entice them to sign into their mailing lists. The kind of enticements and lead magnets they are using can provide you with an insight on exactly what you can do to increase the value of your offering, and therefore gain more leads.
10. Local SEO
It's important to note the Search Engine Optimization efforts of your competitors in your local landscape, especially if you operate from a physical location. Find out if your competition has updated their local profiles in the popular online directories. Look for consistency in the contact information on their profiles and on their website, how well they have utilized their profile features, and if they bother to interact with local reviewers. I actually Created an ebook on this late 2016 of last year titled: Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO.
This ebook is free and packed with strategies that are still current with resources for local SEO, along with how to overtake your competition!
Now that you have gained some valuable information about the Search Engine Optimization strategies your competition, get started! You are now at a better position to enhance your online presence, and to outshine them all.