For a business to succeed, good marketing is usually half the battle, and this certainly includes many factors that include competitor research. Stick with us if you want to further understand what is competitor research in digital marketing as well as the best competitor research tips.
Owing to the fierce competition in the digital marketing world, competitor research is now a priority for survival. With the plethora of social media platforms available, keeping track of every data becomes a herculean task. Also, do not forget that competitor research is a continuous process and not a one-time activity.
In light of the above, we intend to furnish you with 7 tips for competitor research in digital marketing. These tips will help you stand out from the competitors and make you dominate your online market.
WHAT IS COMPETITOR RESEARCH?
Competitor research is also known as competitor analysis or benchmarking. With regard to digital marketing, it is carried out as part of a larger business strategy to identify the key performance indicators of an industry. With these metrics, new ideas and approaches can be developed to improve the competitive advantage of a business.
7 BASIC COMPETITOR RESEARCH TIPS
1. Know Your Search Engine Competitors
A search engine competitor is one who ranks just above or below you for a particular keyword or search phrase that applies to your digital marketing niche.
To know your search engine competitors, put together a list of the major search phrases that apply to your business. Then identify who ranks for those phrases. They would be your major search engine competitors.
In identifying the relevant keywords for a particular topic, ensure that you also input long-tail keywords as they attract super-quality traffic. In addition, you can enter relevant search phrases into a search engine and identify who ranks top between you and your competitors. You can make use of a software called Google Keyword Planner to obtain relevant data from Google and use it to identify relevant organic high-quality and high-ranking keywords.
2. Make Use of Competitor Research Tools
Competitor research tools help you to analyse metrics that would have otherwise been too difficult to undertake. To stay organised and up to speed with the latest developments in your business, there are several competitor research tools at your disposal. While some of these tools are social media and SEO, others are for content developments, ads and emails.
One of the most commonly used competitor research tools is SEMrush. It is a robust tool for monitoring how your competitors are faring. You can easily track the number of backlinks and search engine rankings of your fiercest competitors. Furthermore, it can be applied in search engine optimisation. However, these resources come with a price.
Another useful competitor research tool is Ahrefs. It gives you the liberty to check the high-ranking organic search phrases of any website. Additionally, you can keep an eye on the traffic from your competitor’s keywords. What’s more, the tool which boasts of running the largest number of backlinks in the world allows you to stay ahead of the competition by showing you the keywords your competitors are using. It is available in a premium package only.
Still on competitor research tools, iSpionage is another sophisticated software used for ‘spying’ on the ads of your business rivals. The tool will show you the paid-to-click keywords index and paid campaigns of your competitors. With this, you can make business decisions knowing the effect it will have on your competitors and the market.
3. Monitor Your Competitor’s Backlinks or Outbound links
Backlinks or outbound links are vital because they can help enhance a website’s domain authority. On the flip side, backlinks can be deemed as spam by Google if they are not from an authority website. Even worse, you can be slammed with a penalty or drop drastically in ranking for using low quality outbound links.
A strong outbound link should be from a website with high domain authority. Also, its content should be related to the one on the landing page.
Immediately after knowing your top search engine competitors, it is imperative that you check their backlink profile using software such as: Majestic, SEMrush and Open Site Explorer. With Open Site Explorer, you can see websites where your business rivals are mentioned and you are not.
Then itemise the backlinks and do some research to have an idea of the domain’s standards and guidelines for guest posting. You should then target the same authority websites for outbound links, while searching for other strong domain that is related to your market. Maximising the aforementioned tools will ensure none of your competitor’s backlinks go undetected by you. This way, you are always a step ahead in the competition.
4. Analyse Your Competitor’s Blog
The importance of blogging in digital marketing cannot be overemphasised. It is very important to put up blog content that is engaging and thought-provoking. Even though it takes time and dedication to develop quality content, the enormous benefits are totally worth it. Bland and shoddy posts will not be enough to thrive in the digital marketing world.
First and foremost, in analysing your competitor’s blog, check if your competitor’s content is unattractive but packed with vital search phrases, or if it concentrates on juicy topics that appeal to the taste of consumers and questions their pressing questions.
Keep in mind that blog posts are more effective than search engine optimisation. Quality content will attract new customers, engage existing ones, increase your visibility and reach, as well as make you stand out from the business crowd.
Endeavor to analyse the blogging strategy of your competitors. Adopt their good ideas and learn from their failed ones. Be the loudest voice in your business line and in a short time, your visibility and profitability will fall into place.
5. Identify Your Social Media Competitors
Having knowledge of who your social media business competitors are is essential in meeting your desired objectives. A super-active social media presence is an important digital marketing tactic because:
- It creates useful social indicators for your website to enhance your SEO.
- It gives you the opportunity to market your business and brand
- It attracts huge traffic to your blog and website.
- It creates an easy avenue to meet your target market.
- It allows customers to promote your business by sharing it on their social media accounts.
If you want to know how your competitors are faring on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram, you can make use of a tool called Hootsuite.
The tool is a social media mentioning software that shows you the content they post and how well their customer engagement is. It also gives you the opportunity to organise your social media accounts, knowing the highs points and downsides of your competitor’s accounts.
When managing your social media accounts, pay keen attention to the type of content that appeal to your audience and the ones that do not. Also, note the time of the day, week, and month when customer engagement is high and make strategic decisions with it.
6. Track Every Online Move of Your Competitors
In the world of digital marketing, cyberstalking is allowed. The aim of this is to outrank your business rivals. But with the stress of keeping up with customers and your company, keeping track of your competitor’s moves will not really be easy. Hence, we thought it wise to share some ways you can do that.
Firstly, you can use Google Alerts or Talkwalker to set up a tracking system for your competitors. These tools are free and also available on Android application. They also track mentions in your competitor’s social platforms.
Secondly, set up a special email account and sign-up for the newsletters of your competitors. Thereafter, create a free ‘If This Then That (IFTTT)’ command to notify you anytime a competitor sends an email that will be forwarded to Evernote. Then, you can keep an eye on their activities by looking at Evernote.
Lastly, create an RSS reader such as Feedly, and transfer your competitor’s RSS feeds to it. From here, you can monitor their activities. However, if your competitor’s page does not have an RSS feed, then copy and paste the URL of that particular page into a tool called Page2RSS. This automatically generates an RSS feed for the page and then you will be notified through IFTTT anytime the page is updated.
7. Compare Your Business with Your Competitor’s
Now that you have extensively researched your competitors, the final step is to rank your business and that of your competitor’s. This will involve constantly monitoring and tracking your competitors to further understand how your business fares in comparison to theirs.
From there, you will figure out what strategies are working effectively for your business rivals and what isn’t. This will help you capitalise on their threats and weaknesses, as well as seize opportunities they never knew existed.
However, bear in mind that no two businesses are the same. What works for your competitors might not necessarily work for you. So, you must be smart and dynamic in analysing your analysis.
All in all, with the continuous tussle for survival and beehive of activities in the digital marketing world, the need for having a well-thought out plan for your business cannot be understated. Knowing the right corners and tools to tap vital information from your competitors can make a world of difference.