The best way to win the marketing battle is to know your opponents. That's why competitor analysis should be an essential part of your strategic planning. Knowing enough information about how your competitors are holding their positions allows you to determine the best course of action for the future. There are many SEO hacks to learn from your competitors so you can discover working strategies without having to test them on your own. And besides your competitors, you will also acquire a better understanding of the market situation in your industry.
How to learn from your competitors: SEO-wise?
Whether you are just starting a new business or improving the existing one, competitors can help you. By observing how they distribute their SEO efforts, you will learn better ways to promote your business. In general, it all comes down to a simple point: If you want to be the best, you have to compete with the best. But first, you will need to identify your competitors.
You can start it with a simple Google search and look for similar products and services. You will soon distinguish two major types of competitors:
- Direct competitors - offer the same service or products to the same audience;
- Indirect competitors - target the same audience but don't offer the same service or products.
Once you identify them, you can start learning by examining the different strategies they use. Of course, you will always target those on top positions. Because, obviously, whatever they are doing, it's working well for them. For example, it can be great content, quality backlinks, good local SEO, and many more. And, usually, it's a combination of several effective strategies.
After classification, it's time to learn from your competitors by checking the following SEO aspects:
- Explore your competitors' link-building strategies
- Find what keywords they are targeting
- Analyze their content strategy
- Check the website design and functionality
- See how active they are for local SEO
- Borrow their social media marketing strategies
- Observe from customers' perspective
1. Explore your competitors' link-building strategies
Start with backlinks because it's still one of the most important and influencing SEO factors. Take a look at your competitors' backlinks and see where they are getting them from. This way, you will know what sources are reliable and can provide you with quality backlinks. Also, this shows you the websites that are already cooperating with businesses in your niche. On the other side, this is also helpful for correcting mistakes you might have made in the past. There is always a chance you are getting backlinks from irrelevant sources that don't add any value to your website. Even worse, they might harm your SEO. Use this information and get rid of links that are harmful to your website SEO, if that is the case.
2. Find what keyword they are targeting
Every business has something to "sell" to a specific audience. When it comes to SEO, they do this by targeting specific keywords to reach particular audiences. To improve your keyword strategy, find what keywords your competitors are going for. This can be a tremendous task, but fortunately, many SEO tools can help you with it. With them, you will be able to extract the information about keywords and apply it to your keyword planning.
This is especially crucial in a heavily competitive market where businesses have operated for years. Because of the overall popularity and competitiveness, you might not be able to compete for the exact keywords. But, you will know which varieties to use and where to focus on long-tail keywords.
3. Analyze their content strategy
In the SEO world, relevant, useful, and quality content prevails. If you want to rank better than your competitors, you will need considerable effort to create informative content. That's why you need to analyze how your competition is approaching this problem. Learn their strengths and weaknesses to find opportunities in which it is possible to overtake the competition. Only after checking their website, blogs, and social media will you know exactly where to provide quality content and how to use it to your benefit.
4. Check the website design and functionality
While exploring the content, pay attention to other elements on their pages. Considering that search engines are paying close attention to the user experience, you need to beat them there as well. Or, at least, ensure that you don't stay behind. High-quality design, functionality, and performance are essential, especially now when visitors use different devices to access websites. Looking at this proves that loading time, speed, structure, and navigation play a significant role.
Also, don't forget to analyze how your competitors interlink their pages. This is an often underestimated part of SEO but has a lot of influence on ranking positions.
5. See how active they are for local SEO
If your business has a physical location, local SEO can be a major gamechanger. Good GMB profile, mentions, and listings allow you to compete with larger competitors. That's why it's necessary to see what your competitors are doing in this field so that you can do it better.
For example, if they are not in the same geographical location, you have more chances to win customers. However, you need to provide plenty of information, invest in a considerable amount of citations, and keep everything up to date. Also, by analyzing competitors, you can discover new websites and directories to submit listings yourself.
6. Borrow their social media marketing strategies
It wasn't always like that but, today, social media like Facebook remain one of the most effective tools for digital marketing. To be successful, you have to check what platforms your competitors use. Knowing where and how to promote can be crucial for enhancing your brand visibility. And also, it gives you the chance to dip into the rich pool of potential customers.
7. Observe from customers' perspective
Basically, you can find plenty of valuable information if you place yourself in a position of a customer. By doing this, you will better analyze your competitors' advantages and flaws. But, it will also help you analyze your own advantages and shortcomings. You can start with customer service and reviews. This is plain, non-biased information from the first hand. After inspecting your competitors, you can compare the results. Eventually, it will give you enough info about how to improve your service to increase customer satisfaction. And, one of the primary reasons for this is the value of returning customers. By having a satisfied client behind you, you can earn valuable reviews.
There is nothing wrong with spying on your competitors. On the contrary – there are many SEO hacks to learn from your competitors and apply to improve your own strategies. This is, in essence, a common aspect of any business and the only way to remain competitive. Whether you are a small startup or expanding business, there is always something new you can learn and use.