Who are your competitors? When we begin working with a new client, we always have a look at their online competition. This gives us an insight into what works well in their industry, what they might be able to do better than a competitor, where there are threats, and where there are opportunities.
Often, just analyzing the websites of the companies that come up ahead of or alongside our new client in search gives us what we need. Add in the companies our client sees as real-world competition, and we’re likely to see one or more of these scenarios:
- There are bigger, more established competitors with strong content and good design, plus some elements our client doesn’t have the resources for. Our client needs to identify an underserved niche or special service.
- There are evenly matched competitors with similar websites and equal resources. Our client needs to differentiate the goods and services they provide and find an area where they can shine.
- The competing websites are of low enough quality that a new website and strategic management will let our client romp in and eat the competitors’ lunches. Our client just needs to get going.
If things aren’t that clear, there are further steps you can take to get to know your competitors.
Spyfu is a tool that can give you insights into the keywords your competitors are working on, and how you stack up with them in comparison. They’ll estimate keyword rankings, monthly clicks, and overall SEO value of websites.
Bear in mind that rankings aren’t what they used to be; search is now so individualized that — while rankings haven’t changed — they have less effect on what your potential customers see than they used to.
You can also check your competitors’ backlinks using tools like the following:
This is a good way to get a sense of the strategies competitors are using. If most of the backlinks you find are for paid advertising, you know your competitor is investing in ads — try Spyfu to get some moderately accurate insights into what exactly they’re doing. If you see a lot of blogging, videos, strong participation in social media, and publications, you know they’re going with a content marketing strategy.
Can you beat them at their game? Be realistic about the resources available to you and the resources they’re using. Be aware, too, that your activity might cause them to take action. A client of ours had a competitor nipping at their heels last year, copying some of the strategies they were using. We stepped things up, and I’ve been interested to see that the competitor has now given up — their investment didn’t let them get ahead, and since they didn’t keep it up, it probably didn’t do much for their sales, either. If you can’t beat your competitors at their own game, choose another strategy that fits better with your strengths and resources.
Call 479.966.9761 if you’d like some help with strategies for besting your online competitors. We will be happy to help.