Knowing what your competition is doing can make a significant difference in the way your brand is viewed online and in the search engines. Although it takes a concerted effort from your marketing team, you can successfully analyse the competition to gain traction from your online tactics. One of the first things you need to do is audit the sites of your competitors.
In these types of analyses, you want to identify and assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors to enhance your own online marketing strategy. An essential part of your business is understanding your customers and competition to use tactics that have an impact and promote growth.
How can you do this and get the results you seek?
You should start with an assessment of your own website. Once you know where the flaws are in your own website, you can understand how these have affected your traction against the competition. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Use Screaming Frog Crawl for a breakdown
Screaming Frog will crawl your website and let you know if there are any issues. It looks for the following:
- External links
- URL problems
- Page title tags
- Duplicate pages
- Meta keywords tag
- Meta description tags
- Meta robots
- File size
- Page depth level
- Internal links
- Anchor text
- Follow & nofollow
- Bot crawling
- Use Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics
You must be registered with Google Webmaster Tools to get the analysis. If you prefer to use another analysis tool, you can still retrieve the same information.
- Evaluate keywords
You should take the title tag, meta description and meta keywords from Screaming Frog and input them into Google Analytics keyword data to determine the words that are getting traffic generated to the site. It is important to focus your efforts on local searches, and stay away from any competitive keywords to get full results.
- Look at the URLs
The URL analysis is important. Your URL should be under 100 characters, easy to remember and static. If you are lacking any of this criteria, you should create new URLs, but redirect your old URLs to the new ones with a 301 direct to keep the traffic that was already going to that URL.
- Look at the title tags
Title tags are measured by pixels. You need to make sure the tags are relevant to the page and unique. They should all have a call to action and should be no more than 160 characters total. They should be at least 1-2 complete sentences, with a keyword once close to the start of the sentence.
- Meta keywords tag
Do not use these on the website
Every page should have an H1 tag, as this is what search engines look for first. They should be text only, and should be present every 2-3 paragraphs.
There should be at least 2,400 words of content on your pages, but Google ranks these pages the highest. At a minimum, each page should have at least 300 words of content, with at least 400-600 words of unique content.
- Internal Linking
Your assessment with Screaming Frog will provide information on your internal links. The more you link within your site, the easier search engines will have the ability to crawl within your site.
- Image and alt texts
Your images should have ALT tags that describe the image with a keyword relevant to your website. Descriptive words should be used for these images.
This tag helps preserve relevancy in page rank. These tags should be used on blog comments or any internal links that have low quality content.
These are just some of the ways to assess your website. Once you have assessed your site for its issues, you should do the same for your competition. There are a number of competitor analysis tools on the market that will help you determine how well their sites are doing and help improve your traffic:
SpyFu helps research the keywords that are generating the most traffic and profits for your competitors and download them for your use. It also provides the organic search keywords they use to help you improve your SEO performance.
The QuickSprout competitor analysis tool will help you learn about sites that are comparable to yours and provide information your need to outrank them.
This tool helps conduct research on any domain name and optimize your campaigns for success. It focuses on four things: competitor research, keyword research, site audit and backlink analysis.
Similar Web provides accurate insights on any site. It takes a deep dive into any site, app or platform.
Alexa provides analytical insights on businesses all over the web. It provides traffic metrics, strategic insight and competitive intelligence to benefit your audiences. It is widely used by digital marketers, content strategists and site owners.
This tool helps find specific search criteria to quickly tweak your search terms for better results.
This analysis tool reveals keyword slots that have been ignored by your competition. This will help in the integration of long-tail keywords that are relevant, boosting your on-page SEO.
This tool works in real-time, searching brand mentions. It searches images, videos, questions, microblogs and also used broad-brush sentiment analysis.
This tool checks backlinks to uncover the SEO backlinks and traffic sources of the competition.
This social media tracker provides the most shared content on a topic or competitor. Once you insert the search term, you’ll see how many times the content was shared within a certain period of time.
With these competitor analysis tools, you can learn quite a bit about the competition and their digital footprint. This is a good way to understand their key strategies to integrate them into your own digital marketing plans. These tools were designed to help you gain a competitive edge while learning new ways to optimize and enhance your own site.
The data you acquire should be viewed from two different perspectives: the customer point of view and the competitor point of view. Why would you do this? If you are looking at competitor sites from a customer’s point of view, it can help you determine why the customers utilize their services. Is the site more interesting? Are the colors more engaging? Is their SEO stronger? All of these elements play a role in determining why the competition’s site is doing better.
When looking at the competitor data, you should be asking the following questions:
- What products or services are they selling?
- What is their market share?
- How aggressive are they in advertising?
- How competitive are they as an organisation?
- How big of a threat are they to you?
- How do their strategies affect your business?
The answers to these questions, mixed with the analytics will take your SEO and online marketing to the next level. Being proactive in determining what the competition is doing to gain more followers or visitors to their sites and reversing their strategy to work in your favour is beneficial. Keep in mind that your competitors may be using the same tools to understand their competitors, so the cycle is continuously changing. Having a sound strategy and implementation process can be the advantage you need.