SEO Guide: Finding Out What Your Competitors Are Up to

finding out what your competitors are up to

How is your business performing? Is your company doing better or worse than the competitors in your industry? Maybe it’s time to do a competitor analysis?

If you haven’t done a competitor analysis in a while, or never have; it’s probably time you did. Doing one not only identifies where your brand is strongest and weakest, but it also allows you to take the appropriate actions to help your business grow and gain a competitive advantage. 

This article will explain what it actually means to conduct a marketing analysis, how to conduct one and how it will benefit you to do one.

What does an SEO Competitive Analysis Actually Mean?

You may have heard the term competitive analysis many times, but do you actually know what it means and why you should do it? 

A competitive analysis is a method in which you identify who your major competition is. You research their products and/or services, their sales and marketing strategies and analyse them, looking at which pages are performing the best. This allows your business to learn some new strategies to gain an advantage.

Not only does it help you understand what your competitors are doing to be successful, but it also helps you identify what your business is doing better and worse. In addition, it allows you to find gaps in the market and opportunities in your industry for your business to take advantage of and improve. 

How does it relate to Marketing?

Conducting a competitive analysis directly assists with how you market your products and services going forward. After you conduct a competitive analysis, you’ll be able to discover market trends, identify gaps in the market, develop more innovative products and services and alter your marketing strategy to make more sales.

Marketing is one of the most important components in selling your products/services and in maximising your conversion rate. Through conducting a competitive analysis, you will be able to refine and alter your marketing strategy. 

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Conducting a competitive analysis requires research and analysis of your competitors. It is split into different steps, but it is imperative to complete each one to have a foundation for future actions. Below are the steps needed to effectively conduct a competitive analysis and why they will help you improve.

Identifying your competitors

The first step in any competitive analysis is finding out who you’re competing with on a daily basis. This is so you can compare your data with theirs in the most accurate way. A very simple way of doing this is by categorising your competitors into direct and indirect competition.

Just for context, a direct competitor is a business that offers very similar or substitute products/services to yours, and they operate within the same area as you. Whereas, indirect competitors are those businesses who offer different products to yours but could have the same customer base and compete for similar keywords.

After splitting your competitors into the two categories, you want to focus initially on the direct competition. This is because your potential customers and everyday traffic are most relevant and similar to your direct competition.

Identifying the products and services your competitors offer

When you think of your business, you build your marketing strategy and operations around selling products or services. This is the same as your competitors. The second step in conducting a competitive analysis involves identifying what specific products and services your competition offer. This involves noting down all of your direct competitor’s product line, the quality, pricing and whether they have any discounts on.

You should also be assessing whether they’re selling their products in a volume or one-off, what their different pricing strategies are, what their market share is like and how they distribute their products/services.

Researching tactics and results

This next step can be harder to conduct but will give you beneficial information on how competitive the sales process is amongst your competitors and the relevant information you need to prepare your sales process to compete.

It includes gathering information on what the sales process is, whether they’re expanding or downsizing operations, their sales channels, locations, reviews of products, revenues and whether or not they discount their products regularly.

Analysing the marketing of products

In order to understand how your competitors market their products, you need to analyse their website. Specifically, you should note down their URL’s for content such as:

  • Blogs
  • Ebooks
  • Videos and webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • FAQs
  • Featured articles
  • Media kits
  • Guides and data sheers
  • Advertising campaigns

Collecting this information will assist you with understanding how broadly your competitors are marketing their products, allowing you to compare how many avenues you are using to market your products.

Content strategies

The next step is noting down and analysing your findings above. Have your competitors been doing blog posts for a while and have many or have they just started? How often are they releasing content? 

You should also assess the SEO quality of their content. If their content is low quality, chances are it has no beneficial effect on their marketing. To do this, take a few of their pieces and asses it against the following criteria:

  • Is the content that’s been created accurate?
  • Is the content that you’re reading grammatically correct?
  • Does the content cover topics in-depth?
  • Is the content well structured and written using headings?
  • Is the content written by your competitors or have they employed an SEO agency to produce SEO related content.
  • Have they researched to utilises relevant keywords for SEO?

Doing this will allow you to understand the quality of their content and provides for an SEO competitive analysis.

Analysing the performance of your competitors content

Once you have analysed the quality and volume of their content, it’s no good to conclude without seeing if their SEO content is responding well with an audience. This is done by analysing how your competitor’s target market is responding to its content. You’ll want to check the number of likes and comments on a variety of pieces. 

You’ll need to find out if their comments are positive, mixed or negative, and the general response to the quality of content. You can also use SEO software such as Moz to assess the quality of your competitors content and how many other businesses may have back linked their content. If your competitor’s content is fulfilling all SEO requirements, chances are, they’re experiencing increased traffic to their sites and higher conversion rates.

Research how marketing content is promoted

For this step, it is a good idea to use SEO software like Moz in order to have the right toolkit for research. Its all about:

  • Researching which keywords your competitors are focusing on which you haven’t used.
  • Which of their content is highly linked to and shared? Does your content have the same effect?
  • Which social media platforms are being used by your competitors to promote their marketing content, are you using the same?
  • Are other sites and blogs referring to your competitors? Are there any other sites driving traffic to your competitors?

Social media presence and preferred platforms 

The last research-based part of conducting an SEO competitive analysis involves looking at your competitor’s social media presence and their engagement rates. The question you should be asking is, how do your competitors drive engagement with their brand using social media? 

If your competitors are using more social media platforms than you, or platforms you don’t use, they’re doing more to gain better conversion rates than you. Especially your direct competition. It’s important to learn about how the platform works and to get started on using the same platforms. It is worth considering having a business page on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat

Once you’ve identified what your competitor’s social media presence looks like, you should be doing the noting down how much effort they put into it. This means noting down the number of followers they have, how often they post, how users are reacting to their content and how many shares they’re getting.

This allows you to understand your competitor’s social media strategy, helping you gain more organic traffic.

Performing a SWOT analysis

This is where all of the information you’ve collected comes into play. For each of those sections, you’re able to conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis refers to the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your competitors.

It’s important to answer the following questions with the information you’ve gathered:

  • What does each of your competitors do better than you in?
  • What areas are they in a competitive advantage over your brand?
  • Where are they lacking?
  • Where does your brand beat them? What does your band do better?
  • Where can they improve?
  • What areas does your competitor pose a threat to yours?
  • Have your competitors exposed a gap in the market that you can fill?

Through comparing your business with your competitors, you’re able to understand your brand’s position in the market. This could give you valuable information regarding needing to improve your SEO marketing, or that you’re doing the most in the market. Conducting a SWOT analysis is always beneficial to your business.

Conclusion

Completing an SEO competitive analysis is very important for your business. Through following the steps in this article, you’re in a position to improve your business’ SEO marketing continuously. It is important to note that you should be conducting a competitor’s analysis as often as you can. Indirect competition may become your direct competition, and your competitors may be conducting an SEO competitive analysis to gain an advantage over your brand. In order to stay ahead, or implement strategies to get your business in the lead, conducting an analysis is the most effective method.

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