What's The Importance Of Analysing Your Competitors?
The information gleaned from gaining a comprehensive understanding of your competitors will inform many key digital marketing decisions. From how to strategically position your USP to offer what your competitors aren’t to finding and targeting the right audiences on the right platforms, competitor analysis will give us a valuable roadmap to making quick gains.
Our comprehensive competitor analysis utilises various tools and techniques to assess what your competitors are doing that you’re not and vice versa. We will tailor our competitor research to your specific business model, industry sector and marketing objectives to ensure that our digital strategy is thoroughly informed, measured, and laser focused towards securing positive growth and brand exposure.
We will assess your competitors to understand the following information:
- Identifying who your competitors are
- Details of their products and/or services
- Their standing and reputation within your industry sector
- Analysis of their backlink portfolio
- Analysis of all published content on their website and on third party sites
- Identifying their website’s SEO strengths and weaknesses
- Assessment of their social media platforms including audience / follower analysis
- The types of media and digital platforms they are using for business promotion
- Any potential threats or challenges they pose to your business or market share
- Any opportunities available that your business can capitalise on
Accurate and consistent competitor analysis will also highlight shifts within the marketplace and digital landscape, allowing us to ensure that your business always remains one step ahead of the curve and is ready to adapt quickly and effectively to take advantage of opportunities your competitors may have missed.
What is competitor analysis?
Competitor analysis comprised of the identification, analysis and evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors in relation to your own business. This can be done at the platform, channel or business-wide level. Information gained from competitor analysis can be used to inform your own strategy by identifying opportunities and areas that your competitors aren’t present in (what we sometimes call ‘content gap analysis’).
A detailed understanding of who your competitors are and what they offer will be hugely beneficial in determining how to market your business in ways that will ensure it stands out for the right reasons. It also allows you to contextualise what you are doing and helps to establish what you need to do to gain ground on your competitors in areas like search engine rankings or social media presence.
Who are your competitors?
Every business faces competition. Your competitors may not always be who you think they are, however. The digital landscape has opened increasing numbers of opportunities, but at the same time, it also means that you are no longer just in competition with neighbouring businesses. In fact, you may discover that you are in close competition with businesses located on the other side of the world. Without a thorough competitor analysis, it may not even be obvious who your competitors even are and as a result what you are up against.
The following areas are just a few examples of where we can harvest information about your competitors:
- Business directories
- Search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Backlink portfolios
- News stories
- Trade fairs
- Industry influencer analysis
- Industry and consumer blogs
- Marketing and advertising
- Product research
- Social media
- Print media
Competitor analysis can throw up lots of very useful information. Your competition in the search results pages may not just be those businesses offering similar products or services for example. You may be in competition with leading blogs and industry experts. As such it is essential not to overlook non-related businesses competing for engagement with the same audiences.
Even if you find yourself in competition with a large organisation it is extremely important to note that you can still compete by identifying content areas and topics that they may have neglected. Content gap analysis like this allows us to compete in highly competitive industry sectors by targeting more niche or specialised subject matter. The lower search volume on this kind of content is often offset by the engagement level of the potential audience.
Why do we need to analyse your online competitors?
Competitor analysis can provide much of the essential foundation knowledge required to secure positive growth and establish your reputation within your niche. Whilst a lot of the information gained from this analysis may not be very useful it is more than worth it for the nuggets of highly useful information that can be gained from a simple data harvesting activity.
It is one thing to acknowledge the presence of online competitors and another to fully understand who they are, what they do and how they are achieving the success they are. Often, competitor analysis will show the bar to gaining traction in the search results and on social media is very low indeed. On others, it may help us establish that your target industry is extremely competitive.
All of this will help us adapt our approach accordingly and manage your expectations when it comes to how long it will take us to achieve our objectives.
How do we do competitor analysis?
Our process is comprehensive and complex, looking into various key areas to gain as much knowledge as possible to shape our digital strategy. Our competitor analysis is split into four broad areas:
Once we know who your competitors are, we will start putting together comprehensive reports into their business structures, operational systems and key digital strategies. Conducting thorough audits of their websites will reveal large numbers of key pieces of information in the following areas:
- User experience
- SEO strategies
- Lead generation
Whilst our in-depth SEO audit will give us a ton of quantitative data to examine we’ll also examine the user experience (UX) of competing websites. This will quickly tell us what your business is up against on various levels and how to capitalise on your competitors weaknesses.
Analysing on-page content will also provide essential information surrounding their keyword strategy, which will allow us to build a picture of how well they are ranking in key SERPs on target terms and whether you should be competing with them on these terms.
Not all content is created equally. Highly relevant, fresh and consistently posted content can be hugely beneficial, but it must also be engaging, thoroughly optimised and designed to provide audiences with meaningful and useful resources. Quite often the most successful content is completely original and identifying areas that aren’t well covered through gap analysis will allow you to plug these holes and win over new audiences.
A detailed analysis into the following areas will help in the development and implementation processes of content calendars for your own business:
- Subject matter
- Frequency/content schedule
- Headline and keyword optimisation
- Substance and layout
- Comments and engagement
- Ratio of branded to non-branded content
Examining the levels of engagement your competitors are receiving will highlight what kind of content is working best. These insights can be capitalised on and provide us useful additional insight into your target audiences and what kind of content they like.
Analysis into backlinks will provide some of the contextualising information needed to approach the development and implementation of both our onsite and offsite SEO strategy. At its core, backlink data will show how and why your competitors are ranking where they do for key search terms and what is needed for you to creep above them in the SERPs.
This data will ultimately contribute positively to our own keyword research and keyword mapping. It will also help us identify important guest blogging and PR opportunities that can be targeted through our outreach campaign.
Informing key goals and targets, understanding how your business metrics compare with those of your competitors will also highlight neglected keywords and ranking opportunities, encouraging innovation in our content strategy and growth into underdeveloped but potentially lucrative keyword areas.
Social Media audit
Equally as important as understanding the effectiveness of competing businesses in the SERPs is how they fare on social media. Our social media audit will examine the following areas:
- Popular platform utilisation
- Engagement levels (likes, comments, shares)
- Follower counts
- Audience profile and demographics
- Tone of voice and imagery
- Implementation of CTAs
- Responsiveness to audience questions, comments or queries
- Negative / positive reviews
Information from several key areas including how your competitors are utilising social media platforms, how their audience are responding, which pieces of content are the most successful and the rate at which their follower base is expanding can all be used to shape your own social media strategy.