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Six things missing from your competitor research

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Six things missing from your competitor research


30-second summary:

  • There are ways to save and optimize your SEO budget, here’s how
  • Start with creating an “at a glance” report comparing your competitors’ key metrics. Find interesting trends to look further into!
  • Analyze and monitor your competitors’ online sentiment and customer satisfaction. How can you become better than your competitors?
  • Identify your competitors’ marketing priorities by looking at their competitors’ PPC tactics. Note their branded keywords they are bidding on: what do they consider their competitors?
  • Research your competitors’ branded questions by analyzing “People Also Ask” and monitoring tweeted questions from their customers and brand ambassadors
  • Analyze your competitors’ social media marketing tactics: what can you learn from these and which should you avoid?

1. Competitors at a glance for domain analysis

You can never have just one competitor in the real world. In some niches, you’ll end up with ten or more competitors that need your attention. Where to start?

This is the section I usually start my competitive report with: competitors at a glance which is a chart letting me easily compare my competitors.

What should be included in this section?

This section includes any metrics that would allow you to spot some key trends:

  • How new or old is this competitor?
  • How many backlinks has your competitor managed to acquire?
  • What’s their website traffic?
  • How large is the website?

Seeing all these numbers side by side often allows you to see important niche patterns or spot some interesting cases to explore further. For example, you can identify a new competitor that nonetheless gets a lot of organic traffic. Or you can find a competitor with fewer backlinks that managed to build solid web visibility. These are both good cases to learn from.

Here’s an example of how I use an “at a glance” method for my competitive research that is also color-coded based on how successful each competitor is (green showing very good numbers). 

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Source: Screenshot made by the author

2. Online sentiment and customer satisfaction

How happy are your competitors’ customers? Is there an opportunity for your product here? Is there a particular feature or aspect that makes your competitors’ customers unhappy?

Knowing why your competitors’ customers are unhappy helps on many levels, from learning the mistakes you need to avoid, to developing a better product that covers a niche gap.

So why do so many competitive reports fail to include this section?

And that report is pretty easy to generate. Sentiment analysis and monitoring are doable with some advanced social listening that dives into the segmentation of consumer sentiment.

Sentiment analysisSource: Awario

3. PPC keywords

Most competitive reports include organic keywords and positions but how about PPC keywords? 

Whether you are planning to invest in paid ads or not, knowing your competitor’s PPC keywords will help you understand what they are focusing on. It’s a smart way to understand high and low competition keywords without having to spend your own dollars.

When looking through my competitors’ PPC keywords, I always pay attention to their branded keywords. Firstly, it shows the competitors they as a business take seriously. And second, this may inform my own PPC decisions as there’s a solid case for bidding on branded keywords because they tend to have high intent and are often cheaper.

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Here’s an example of a branded keyword report from Ahrefs. Notice the ‘Traffic’ column estimating the number of clicks a particular PPC keyword is bringing to the target site:

Analysis PPC keywords to inform your keyword strategySource: Screenshot made by the author

4. Branded questions

Niche question research is useful on many levels but have you ever given a thought on how useful it is for your competitive research? Questions people ask about your competitors will give you valuable insight into:

  1. Your competitors’ drawbacks (and how you can practically fill that need gap in the market)
  2. Your customers’ failures (and how to avoid them)
  3. Your target customers’ journeys (and how to best approach them)

When it comes to understanding your niche buying journeys, Google’s People Also Ask results, also known as ‘intent questions’ help you understand and visualize all the different paths consumers are taking when making their buying decisions.

Branded questionsSource: Screenshot made by the author

Always take note of the “People Also Ask” results when searching for your competitors or their products. These help you better understand your target customers’ interests and research styles throughout their buying journeys.

Source: AlsoAsked

You could also use some freemium-based tools to keep track of questions your competitors’ customers are asking in real-time, use Twitter question search which can also be monitored through a free app called Tweetdeck. Create a new column in your Tweetdeck to monitor this search term:

[competitor ?]

Make sure there’s a space in between your competitor’s brand name and the question mark.

Source: Screenshot made by the author

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5. Your competitors’ promoters

Who are your competitors’ most vocal promoters? Can you get them on board to promote your brand instead? Or how did your competitors manage to win their love?

Your competitors’ friends are not your enemies. These are people who may fall in love with your product or agree to collaborate on similar or better terms.

Checking your competitors’ backlinks is the most popular way to find their promoters but it seldom includes people behind those links.

Social media is another great place to look for your competitors’ promoters.

6. Social media content

Are your competitors using social media to find and engage your customers? There are some lessons to learn there as well.

You can run a solid analysis of any Facebook page engagement metrics which you can use for your competitive report:

Social media analysisSource: Screenshot made by the author

Conclusion

Competitive research is much more than tracking your competitors’ organic positions and checking their backlinks from time to time. 

It can give you a lot of insight into your target customers, their struggles, and buying journeys, it can teach you to build a better project and identify niche gaps. Finally, it can help you identify mistakes to avoid and build a stronger business. Good luck!

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Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.





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SEO

Build Trust & Boost Conversions With 6 Key Principles [Webinar]

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Build Trust & Boost Conversions With 6 Key Principles [Webinar]

The digital landscape is highly competitive and wildly oversaturated.

And when it comes to digital marketing, how can you set your business apart from the competition and capture the attention of your target audience?

What are some effective tactics to create compelling campaigns that are sure to stand out?

The answer: Understanding the levels of trust that help a build strong marketing foundation.

Building trust with your chosen marketing agency or team and establishing a strong marketing foundation is critical to the success of your business.

Register for our webinar, 6 Keys Your Business Needs To Win With Your Marketing Agency, and discover how to forge relationships and create effective campaigns that generate genuine interest and transform consideration into conversions.

1. Align Your Goals

In this live session, you’ll learn the key areas where your agency should align with your goals:

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  • Transparency: How to have 100% transparency into every dollar you invest with only one goal in mind: delivering a true return on investment (ROI).
  • Investments: How to respect your digital media investments the same as traditional financial investments.
  • Investment Models: Understanding that the math always needs to make sense to ensure the investment models being implemented set programs up for success.
  • Expectations: How to work together to set realistic expectations in terms of investment level and ROI.
  • Tracking: Learning to track everything – the data always tells the real story.
  • Results: Mutual understanding that if your business wins, your agency/team wins, too!

The most impactful digital strategies are those which focus on transparency with your marketing team and value creation for users.

In this webinar, Eric and Erin Wilder, Co-Founders of 81 & Sunny, go in depth on these principles and how they can help you drive results.

The key to online success with an agency comes from understanding the delicate balance of your goals, setting realistic expectations, and ensuring the investment models being implemented will help you achieve your goals.

“It’s not about following the traditional marketing funnel (awareness → consideration → conversion), as that is common knowledge amongst all marketers and advertisers. It is all about how a marketer executes within the marketing funnel, given their client’s goals and available resources, that makes a partnership scalable and successful.”

– 81 & Sunny

2. Understand Your Business

When implementing a digital marketing strategy for your business, ask yourself:

  • Which platforms should I invest in to achieve company goals?
  • Which platforms produce the highest quality leads from a conversion-to-sale ratio or drive the most online sales?
  • Which platform is most efficient or is the most profitable for my business?
  • Is lead quantity or quality a better fit for my business model?
  • Can I afford a multi-channel strategy and still be profitable?
  • Am I investing enough to compete with or beat out my competition?

Getting ahead in this oversaturated market starts with aligning goals with your agency and building value for your audience.

Looking to outperform your competition and boost organic conversions?

Join us and our special guests on October 12 at 2 PM, and learn what it takes to develop a winning digital strategy for your business.

You’ll have the opportunity to ask about your unique situation, too, in a live Q&A session.

Can’t make the webinar live? Register now and we’ll send you the on-demand version after the event.

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