Last week, we talked about the Importance of a Competitive Analysis. Part of the first step in Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy that LEADS the Way, a competitive analysis is an important tool in helping you work smarter to create a Digital Marketing plan that places you at the forefront… not ten steps behind.
How Do You Complete a Competitive Analysis?
As we’ve mentioned before, start by making a list of your top 3-6 competitors. Remember: Your competition online may be different than your competition offline. Take that into consideration to ensure you’re making the most of the analysis. You want to focus on companies that sell the same products and services as you, in the same geographies you target or want to expand into. Next, compile their URL addresses so you can start the analysis.
Top 3 Things to Review in a Competitive Analysis
- Your competition’s website
- The amount of traffic they’re getting & where it’s coming from
- Their social media presence
What to Look for When Reviewing Your Competition’s Website
TIP: When completing your competitive analysis, list the items that are hurting your competitors in red. Highlight the items they are doing well in green.
The state of a website can tell you a lot about your competition. Is it updated on a regular basis? Is it easy to navigate? Is the phone number easy to view on every page of the site? Is there a newsletter sign up to stay in touch? Those are just a few basics that will tell you if they’re on top of even the simplest things.
Digging deeper, are there pages or links that take you out of the site? Companies that understand search engine optimization know you want inbound links (links on other sites pointing back to yours), not outbound. Driving people away is an indicator they don’t understand much about SEO.
Is the site responsive? A responsive design will adjust the website to display the optimal view for the type of device the user is browsing from – whether it’s a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s not a separate mobile-friendly design; it’s one website that can change the way it looks like a chameleon alters its colors. If the website is not responsive, your competition is behind the times and Google is penalizing them for it.
Do they have a blog? This another key indicator on whether or not they understand the power of content marketing. While business blogging can be time consuming, it’s worth it. It will help drive traffic to your website, convert traffic into leads, reinforce your credibility in the industry, and deliver long-term results. To learn more, we recommend reading this blog post from Hubspot, entitled “Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing.”
How many website pages are indexed? By typing site:domainname.com into a Google search (ex: site:tbgdm.com) you can identify how many pages each site has indexed in Google. Typically, the more - the better.
Understand How Much Traffic Your Competition Gets and Where It Comes From
TIP: Tools you can use:
Start by identifying the organic keywords each site is indexed for in Google and the approximate rank. 60% of all people who search on a term will select the sites that are ranked in the top 3 organic positions on page 1 of the search results. So, any keywords ranked this high are where your competitors are getting the majority of their website traffic and most leads from.
Is your competitor doing paid search marketing? If yes, pull a list of the keywords they are targeting to help un-layer what their strategy is. For example, if someone is paying to show up high using Google AdWords for the term “Used Ambulances,” then this tells you that this is a key product they sell and are leveraging the internet to get leads.
How many times are people searching their brand each month? This usually shows up in the organic keyword results. A large number of branded terms tells us they are a well-known brand. Fewer searches indicates a lack of consumer brand awareness, which will identify potential for your company.
Inbound links are also very important. Generally, the more inbound links you have, the more influence your site has with Google. Are other people linking back to their site? What blog topics/pages do they find valuable?
Lastly, determine each site’s Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a score developed by MOZ that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. This is on a scale of 0-100, 100 being the highest. Use the Domain Authority when comparing one site to another, as well as to track the strength of your website over time.
Evaluate Social Media Presence
TIP: While it’s important for you to secure a branded username on the most popular social platforms, you don’t need to actively maintain accounts on all of them. You will most likely identify one channel as the most effective for your business, such as Facebook, and dedicate your resources to growing that property.
It’s hard to look relevant and stay in touch with your customers today if you’re not on social media. How is your competition doing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.? Do they actively post on a daily basis? How many followers do they have? Are they engaging in dynamic conversations or simply pushing out company-centric marketing pieces? Social media is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, so it’s important to know if your competition is doing it right or not.
While a competitive analysis can seem like a lot of work to properly conduct, the information uncovered by it is an invaluable part of your Digital Marketing strategy. If you don’t feel confident enough to tackle the process on your own, hire a Digital Marketing Firm to help you do it. We conduct a Competitive Analysis for every client we onboard, and revisit it annually to highlight our wins and assess our shortfalls.
Contact us today to get started on your competitive analysis. The New Year is the perfect time to reset your Digital Marketing Strategy and implement detailed goals for your success.