As a conscious marketer working in a competitive market, your aim will be to rank on top of your competitors in Google SERPs in order to gain the highest chance of exposure. To get ahead of the competition, the first step is to carry out mandatory competitor analysis to draw a comparison of your strengths and weaknesses.
By dissecting competitor websites and their digital marketing strategy, you will be able to discover what works, what doesn’t, and devise a list of improvements. These findings can help you manipulate your website its best version by learning from the practices and working style of your competitors. With SEO considerations, content creation strategies, and your understanding of your competitors, you will be able to bolster your approach to win online sales.
Bridging the Content Gap
In reality, if your website displays the relevant information to the reader, both thoroughly and in a well-researched manner, the content will naturally flow with keywords. An effective and active content plan is what will get you recognized through search engines and earns customer trust. By answering the question put forward by the reader, your site will satisfy the customer and earn credibility, all of which is crucial to winning online business. A PWC survey found that customer trust is ranked as the second reason as to why people shop where they do.
— PwC Australia (@PwC_AU) June 13, 2018
When adding competitor analysis to the mix, you will be able to pick up on the weaknesses in the content of your competitors and recognize crucial topics they have not addressed. Competitor analysis also allows you to recognize your own weaknesses. If there are specific keywords which your competitor outranks you for, bridge the gap in content by engineering specific keywords into existing content or expanding your current library of content in relation to the topic.
For example, the Real Business Rescue website focuses heavily on the risk of poor cash flow. As a result, we produced the following topic umbrella: solving cash flow problems. By delving deeper and expanding the content from a broader perspective, we branched out to produce the following articles:
“My Company Has Cash Flow Problems: What Are My Options for Recovery?”
“4 Ways to Supplement Cash Flow When Your Business Isn’t Making Enough Money”
“Dealing with Cash Flow Issues and Creditor Pressure”
“Can My Company’s Cash Flow Affect My Personal Finances and Credit Rating”
By doing so, we answer specific questions put forward by our readers and tailor advice to each cash flow determiner, which gives as an upper hand with readers in terms of knowledge.
The way content is structured can also help search engines pick up on key information which is clearly displayed, such as in a table for different tax rates or a numbered checklist to highlight steps to recover outstanding invoices. Google’s featured snippets can include tables, bullet points and numbered lists. Ranking for a featured snippet is typically more effective than ranking as number one as the snippet is the most prominent section on the page.
In addition to featured snippet text, your competitor may be using additional hooks to entice the reader such as a featured image, a list of further reading recommendations or an infographic that makes information easier to digest. All of which makes the customer journey easier and more fulfilling, helping your competitors win online business.
Finely Combing Through Backlink Profile
Carrying out a backlink audit of your competitors is crucial to winning online business as you will be able to analyze outreach activity and view online sites they have inbound links from. If a backlink profile comprises of quality, high trust flow links, and it’s absent of spam links, this will reflect on the search terms your competitors will appear for.
By gaining a behind the scenes view, you will be able to engineer your own marketing strategy to create placement opportunities with high authority websites, thus opening the doors for more customers to read your content. Setting a Google Alert or using specialist SEO software can help keep a live track of competitor placements. It’s also worth keeping a close eye at the quality of the links as you don’t want to be targeting sites that are irrelevant or high in spam volume.
— Neil Patel (@neilpatel) August 24, 2017
What’s the Social Media Verdict?
Gauging customer reaction through social media is a fast, accessible way to discover how your competition is faring against you. By tracking engagement, comments, shares and the number of followers your competition is attracting across social media, you will be able to gather an impression of competitor popularity or unpopularity.
The marketing budget set aside for social media will give you an idea of the time and resources invested in social media by your competitors. PWC found that the biggest source of inspiration to consumers to purchase is through social media. They found that 37 percent of consumers made a purchase as a result of social media content. If appropriate to your sector, this highlights the importance of maintaining a social media presence and social media advertising.
Fundamental Questions to Ask
Sometimes, it’s the simple questions that bear the most insightful answers. As a marketer with a sharp eye on competitors, it may be the least complex aspects that your competitor is following which you may be missing out on. Vital questions you should be asking yourself are:
- Do you have a blog? If so, is it operating aimlessly or pushing quality content?
- Do your competitors release whitepapers in line with the industry news agenda?
- Are you experimenting with video? How are you marketing this to attract exposure?
- Are your competitors engaging and informing customers with interactive webinars?
- Does your website have an FAQ section which addresses key questions in your sector?
- Are you gaining maximum digital coverage by circulating press releases?
The above questions are simple pointers which, when carried out effectively, can help convert online readers into qualified buyers. Analyzing competition is crucial to winning online business and can keep you ahead of the game and establish an industry benchmark. By forming an amalgamation of your competitor’s best practices, and yours, you will be able to stand out of the crowd of competitors and win online business.