Your online competitors can provide a wealth of information, particularly when it comes to the types of strategies they are using and how they are getting prime real estate positions in the search results.
They can also teach you a few lessons about your target audience and assist with creating an effective digital marketing strategy to assist you with increasing your own online visibility.
In this post I provide some tips on how you can keep a close eye on your competitors and what you can learn from them by looking in the right places.
Identifying Who Your Online Competition Actually Is
Part of your own online business strategy should start with a solid foundation – you wouldn’t build a house without first having a solid slab right?
Whilst it can take some time to determine what it is you should be targeting and whether there is value in those terms, it’s an absolute necessity and something you will thank yourself for doing in the long run. Remember, this is not a set and forget task, things are constantly changing online. However having a good basis to start from is recommended.
By identifying and mapping out your keyword list, you can then take the most important ones to the search engines and see who else is popping up. This can also come in a few different forms with Google providing paid, local and organic search results based on your entered query.
Some of these competitors you may already know of, and some others may come as a surprise to you. Depending on their own strategy and efforts, their positions will also change over time so it’s ideal to complete a competitor review on a regular basis.
Once you have a list of your online competitors, it’s time to analyse and review their profiles and see where you can improve yours.
Gap Analysis – You Versus Them
Whether your business is just starting out online, or is existing, there are going to be things you have done – whether that’s launching your website, updating your content or commencing and offsite campaign.
This is your opportunity to review what they are doing on their website (on-site) and what they are doing away from their website (off-site).
Perform a gap analysis by listing the differences you can see. This also means doing a backlink analysis and identifying opportunities for your own campaign that you may not have considered before. Where are they getting listed? Did they have their business and brand mentioned on other sites? What type of content are they producing, and so on.
You Don’t Need To Reinvent The Wheel
There will always be differences between you and your online competition. Once you have some data and can see the direction they are headed in, use this as your inspiration – but never try to be them. This exercise is a way of gauging where you might be lacking in your own strategy and ways you can add to it using a holistic approach.
Methods have been tried and tested time and time again, so you shouldn’t ever feel like you need to recreate the wheel. Somethings will also work well for others but may not be a right fit for you. It’s important to always come back to your core business objective and adapt methods to suit.
It’s also a must to stay on top of what is happening online. A great idea is to always follow best practice methods, so that regardless of algorithm changes or the release of new updates, your strategy will be long lasting with the future in mind.
There will always be online competition. Why not use that to your advantage! It’s a great way to learn from others whilst staying true to your own direction. With most things that are digital marketing related, they are never set in stone. Part of your review process should be to revisit this exercise and stay on top of what is happening in your market.
Do you need further help with your online strategy and digital marketing needs? Get in touch with Doreen today!