Competitive Analysis For SEO
Our last article examined the importance of analyzing your business’ competition. Now, we will look specifically at three instrumental components of writing a competitive analysis. Before digging into the logistics, however, it must be noted that conducting good business means maintaining good relationships with your competitors. A thorough competitive analysis cannot come at the expense of these relationships!
How Many Competitors Are Out There?
First, identify your top competitors. List any companies that are popular in your target audience and are at the top of their game. Do a Google search of your products and services to see what companies provide those same products and services to your constituents. Tools such as Moz for SEO strategies can also be utilized to identify your competitors in keywords research. Social media platforms also provide search features (e.g. hashtags in Instagram, featured stories in Snapchat, etc.) that you can use to ascertain how popular your competitors are among a certain group of users. We will talk more on competitors in the next article.
Know Your Competitors
After listing all known competitors of your business, begin conducting a more thorough assessment of each one. To gain the greatest understanding of your competition, find out:
- What is each competitor’s target audience?
- What advantages are they providing?
- Do they have superior products and services, marketing strategies, or customer relationship management?
- What are their marketing, promotional, and pricing strategies?
- Did they reinvent themselves after doing something different?
On average, a user checks a website at least 3 times before buying its services or products. Because of this online assessment, you need to make sure that your website is more appealing to your consumers than your competitors’ websites. A SWOT analysis (i.e. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) will ensure that your website is functioning optimally. One means of conducting such an analysis is by research trials and surveys. Blind trials whereby members of your constituency test the usability, functionality, and overall preference for either your site or a competitor’s can provide a means of gathering such research data. Blind trials (i.e. when participants don’t know which website is yours) control for user bias, thus giving you more reliable results.
In such a trial, provide a survey asking about all the top websites in your comparison group. Ask which website they liked the most and why? What were the flaws in each website? What things did they like least about it? Was the website’s main selling narrative appealing to them? In this way, you can have a SWOT analysis of both your website and your competitors’. Data gained from this type of research will equip you to work on your weaker areas and build on your strengths; it also allows you to adopt the strategies that led to a competitor’s success while avoiding implementing those approaches that led to a competitor’s failure.