Keeping a watchful eye on your online competitors is an excellent idea of growing your business. So, please, ask yourself a question: Who is your online competition? I bet you can easily list a few of your online competitors off the top of your head. However, who you think your online competitors are and whether you are right or not matters; without any substantial research, you can never be sure.
Of course, it is always highly beneficial to devote some time and energy for correctly identifying your online competition. Monitoring your competitors on an ongoing basis will give you a different angle on the current status of your market. This insight makes an excellent baseline for planning, executing an intelligent business strategy and, ultimately, rising to the top.
New to SEO? Learn more about Search Engine Optimization! Download this free Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
Who are your online competitors?
Your online competitors are any entities from the same business niche who are competing with you, fighting for the same customers, traffic and a higher position in SERPs. So if you want to identify your real competitors, you need to act accordingly:
- Do some diligent keyword research. Discover more about that by reading this: What is keyword research?
- Read how to multiply keywords versions & add modifiers. Make sure that you come up with a complete keywords list.
- Prioritize your keywords among their traffic potential, so check impressions and rankings of your top keywords in Google Search Console and see how much you can improve on through on-page optimization and correct link building strategy.
Doing so, you will be able to extract keywords from your targeted phrases which hold the most potential for your niche. They are a top priority to focus on.
Now sign up for a free 14-day trial in Positionly & add your keywords list to the Positionly keywords ranking tracker. Wait for the first results to come up and check what your keywords positions are.
During the first configuration in Positionly, type in your initial keywords list which will help generate competitor suggestions.
Don’t forget to play Positionly Snake while waiting for results ;-)
You will then be able to add the competitor ideas to your competitor’s list and compare their results with yours.
These are the fundamental steps you ought to take, but you don’t want to miss the several tips for proper research on your online competition I’ve got coming up, either! :)
Depending on the target audience, your competitors differ a lot.
Remember, Google search results are tailored to the location of your target audience; namely, your customers. Additionally, localization is critical for determining your competition correctly.
When you establish where your customers live, you can boost your local rankings. Make sure that you’ve included local search ranking factors within your organic SEO strategies, such as geographic (city/ neighborhood) keywords and consistent NAP matching Google My Business location on each page. Moreover, you should gain high ratings on Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google local guides and positive sentiment in social media reviews.
Continually build pages of great local content using long tail keywords and get more organic traffic. Frequently check Google local listings to find out who is competing with you.
If you need to check manually listings for different countries, I recommend using the free “Hola” plugin, which enables consumers to browse the web privately, securely and freely, making the world wide web worldwide again. This tool provides you with a real ranking, and you can quickly select the browsing country.
Finding The Keywords Your Competitors Use
Take advantage of AdWords Keyword Planner and discover what keywords your competitors are targeting. This Google tool is a fantastic resource to help with research and to improve your SEO strategy.
The trick is to access the Keyword Planner dashboard by
Inserting your competitors’ web pages, one after another. This may be a little redundant, especially if you are dealing with an extensive website, but it is worth doing!
Now, just pick and choose the keywords that suit your purpose best. The tool will show you results divided into groups by topic and cumulated keywords ideas.
Analyze the keywords extracted from a page and select those with a decent search volume that match your market. Add them on top of your keywords list and voila!
Create Google Alerts
Heard about Google Alerts? It’s a very easy tool to use. All you need to do is visit google.com/alerts and establish alerts according to what you need. Plus, you can also specify how often you want to receive notifications. That’s it!
Now, Google will email you with their juicy insights from all over the world. Google Alerts was designed to automate your job. This tool monitors the web for interesting new content based on preferred keywords and collects the data on your request.
First and foremost, it is highly important to control your brand name. For instance, I have created an alert titled ‘positionly’, which usually consists of notifications of customer opinions or if someone mentions us in their article, and check it weekly.
I love alerts because they simplify my job. They give me an excellent opportunity to interact, whether I need to say “thank you,” partner up or apologize when necessary.
It’s a good idea to use Google alerts for web monitoring, too. You can use it not only for your brand and primary keywords but alerts of your top competitors’ activity as well.
Tracking what your competitors are doing without having to visit their websites is smart, fast, and efficient.
Google Alerts provides you with valuable data. It enables you to be notified the instant your competitor makes a move. This can help you identify the reason some people are choosing your competition’s services over yours. You will also discover where your competitors are building their backlinks, find out who mentioned your industry in their text and were able to reply quickly.
Also, you will be informed about what customers say about your competition.
In the case of when they are unhappy, you can inform them of your willingness to offer superior services.
Polish up Your Social Media Strategy
Do a quick search and check where your top competitors are present. Do they use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Vine, Linkedin, G+ and Reddit? Perfect! Once this is determined, you can consider whether you can establish your social presence using the same social channels.
Evaluate the health of their pages. If they are active daily and have a strong following + engagement, it’s a clear sign to leverage the channel they are using, too.
Pay attention to the market leaders because they can make a great benchmark for your activity.
Determine what types of content they deliver on their social channels and what language they use. How often do they post? Do they focus on self-promotion or rather publish non-promotional articles? What is the ratio of their branded vs. non-branded content?
Do they try to engage their audience by initiating any discussions or chats? Or do they focus on posting high-quality information?
Always, the most efficient way of learning is from the mistakes of others and by observing what works well in the hopes of utilizing that knowledge.
So why not to take a closer look at the social ups and downs of your top competitors? :) Implement their best ideas into your strategy.
I’ve mentioned some tricks you can use to keep close tabs on your competition; and yes, there are plenty of them. It is vital to know who your real competitors are. Watch them carefully and let them inspire your online activity toward company improvement and an increase in traffic. Conquer them by utilizing their best strategies and learning how to use their moves in a beneficial way.
Want to discover more about SEO & understand how you can benefit from an SEO-friendly website? Download this free Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Also published on Medium.