If your operating in a particularly competitive online industry it can sometimes feel like an impossible task to outrank your competitors but with a competitor analysis strategy it may not be as out of reach as you may think. With the right analysis and tools it is possible to use your competitors to your own strength, so let’s take a look at what you need to do.
Who Are Your Real Competitors?
The first thing you need to do is establish who your real online competitors are. If you own a physical premises it’s easy to assume that your main competitors are those who are closest to you but in reality your online competitors will most likely be completely different.
To find who your main online competitors are you need to think about what keywords are most relevant to your business, then search for them in Google and see who’s ranking in the top positions for them. This will show you who the main online players are within your industry.
Once you have established who the real competition is then it’s time for some reverse engineering. This refers to the process of analyzing your competitors’ link profiles. The aim of this is to find out who is linking to your competitors and how they are doing it. Understanding this will allow you to determine which of them are realistic link opportunities for you to target. After all if they linked to a competitor then there is no reason they shouldn’t link to you to, providing that you have created something that’s worth linking to.
How Are They Linking
It’s important to understand how the domains in your competitors’ link profiles are actually linking to them. Try and separate links that are earned through different methods such as guest posting, citation listings, direct mentions on a useful links page, image links and the list goes on.
Once you understand how the links are being earned by your competitors then you can go about developing a strategy to earn the same links to your website.
Link Opportunity Tip – Visit Fresh Web Explorer and type in a keyword that you want to rank for minus your own website e.g. “SEO Expert” –rd: levitydigital.com to see who is mentioning it and possibly wanting to link to a piece of content/resource such as yours and hey presto you’ve found a link opportunity.
Analyze Their Website (and Your Own)
Competitor analysis isn’t all about seeing who is linking to other websites within your industry. It’s also important to analyse the structure of their website and how it compares to your own. This includes the usability of the website, calls to action and internal linking structure. Providing an easy to use and well designed website is just as important as ranking well as if your website doesn’t match up to your competitors then visitors will leave it and click on the next results in the SERPs.
It’s not enough to just analyze your competitors’ link profiles, you also need to analyze their content strategies as well. Try to identify common themes that your most successful competitors have in their content and what topics they are writing about that are earning the most links and social shares.
Once you understand which content is most popular within your industry then you should do some research to find out if there is any way that you can improve upon what has already been written on the subject or if there is a fresh angle on it that no one else has explored yet. If you just had.
[notice type=”info”]Content Ideas Tip – Look at content that has a lot of links pointing to it for static content ideas and look for content that has lots of social shares for blog post ideas.[/notice]
Look For Gaps In The Market
The best thing about competitor analysis is that it shows you what your competitors strengths are and while some people may feel daunted by that it can actually be a good thing because it will also show you areas where they aren’t so good.
Through competitor analysis you can identify content and social media strategies that your competition has overlooked and establish yourself as an authority within your industry for those specific areas.
By Stuart Cooke, Digital Marketer at Levitydigital.com
Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com