By now, you’ve probably heard of competitive research. Basically, it’s the practice of comparing your business to competitors in order to identify things you can do differently and better.
But what should you be specifically looking for? In the past, we’ve talked about how to perform a competitive analysis and how to use this information to make strategic decisions.
Today, I want to give you some specific tips on where and how to find out more about your competition.
|Gain insights into your competition’s online activities.|
|Identify websites your competitors frequently visit.|
|Understand your competitors’ online marketing strategies.|
|Discover potential partnership and collaboration opportunities.|
|Learn how to use this information to improve your own strategies.|
|Stay updated on industry trends by monitoring competitor interests.|
|Leverage competitor behavior to enhance your online presence.|
TIP 1: Use Alexa To Research Your Competition’s Traffic Sources
You can use Alexa to see where your competitors rank in search engine results and which sites are sending traffic to them.
Let’s say you want to know what kinds of sites are driving traffic to a competitor’s site. You have a few options:
Use their organic keyword research tool. If they have one, this will show you keywords that are bringing them traffic from Google and other search engines, along with the amount they’ve received within the last month or so (if you’re looking at the “month” view).
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TIP 2: Identify Your Competition’s Top Keywords
The next step is to identify your competition’s top keywords. Keywords are what users search for in Google and other search engines like Yahoo! and Bing.
They’re also the terms people use when they come to your website your customers’ needs and interests, whether it be “how do I build a website?” or “web hosting deals.”
Keeping track of which keywords your competitors are ranking for will help you understand how you stack up against them when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization).
If one competitor is getting more traffic than you, there’s probably something they’re doing right or more accurately, something that they’re not doing wrong.
You can use tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer or SEMrush to get a bird’s-eye view of all the keywords being used on top sites in your industry. Both tools let you see which keywords top sites rank for so that you know where to focus your efforts.
TIP 3: Discover Similar Sites
There are a number of ways you can find similar sites to yours. You can use this information to inform your content strategy and improve your search engine optimization (SEO).
Use Google’s Similar Sites: Google has an extension for Chrome called the Similar Sites feature, which allows you to see the most visited sites that are similar to yours.
For example, if I look at http://www.creately.com/, it shows me that other accountancy software companies like Xero and FreeAgent have been viewing Creately’s website recently (as shown below).
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TIP 4: Perform A Backlink Analysis Of The URL
Since you’re tracking the sites your competitors are visiting, it makes sense to see where they link to.
Ahrefs is a great tool for this. It allows you to easily see who links to your competition (and also track where their traffic comes from). The next step is to find out who links to them and then see if you can add value for those sites.
If you notice any sites that link to your competition that have an audience similar in size or larger than yours, reach out and ask them if they’d be interested in hearing more about what you do.
TIP 5: Leverage Competitive Link Research Tools
Tools like Open Site Explorer, SEMRush, and Ahrefs can be very helpful in determining the links that your competition is building. These tools will tell you where your competitors are getting their authority from (which pages on their site are most linked to).
You can also use these tools to identify what sites have already linked to a competitor’s website. This can be an indication of how much trust they are gaining within the community and how likely it will be for that site to link back to yours if you reach out with a request!
TIP 6: Identify Potential Link Prospects Visited By Your Competitors
Another way to identify link prospects is by finding out which sites your competitors are linking to. This can be done through a variety of tools, including Ahrefs and Moz’s Open Site Explorer (OSE).
When you use OSE, you’ll be able to see what sites are linking back to your competitor’s website.
You might also find that some of these links are not directly pointing at their homepage or main landing page but are instead directing visitors toward a specific section of the site for example, an article about company news.
If you’re curious about what types of content is attracting links for your competitors’ websites, try using this tool:
[URL REDACTED] It will give you insight into which articles have received the most inbound links over time so that you can create similar content on your own site while still keeping up with the competition!
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TIP 7: Evaluate Your Competitor’s Social Media Presence
The next step is to evaluate your competitor’s social media presence.
- What social media sites are they active on?
- How many followers do they have on each site?
- What kind of content do they post to those sites?
How often do they post new content to their social media accounts and what kind of engagement does it get (shares, likes, comments…)?
TIP 8. See What They Do Differently Than You Based On Their SERPs
If you’ve done your research properly, you should be able to see what your competitors are doing differently to achieve better results on their SERPs than you. If their content is more engaging or receives more external links, try and emulate it in your own work.
Likewise, if they don’t do something that’s working for them such as having a blog post about a topic that isn’t currently ranking well for them you can consider adding this to your own strategy.
In general, if competitor A has rankings on page one of Google while competitor B doesn’t (and they’re after the same keywords), then there’s something going on here that makes A stand out from B somehow.
Whether it’s quality of content or external links or social shares (or whatever else), there is likely some way in which A stands out from B and other competitors in its space.
And so by keeping an eye on these kinds of things across all competition we can begin to build up our own picture of how best to compete ourselves
TIP 9. Find Out Who Is Tweeting About Them and How Often
It’s important to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing online, and you can do that by looking at their social media accounts.
To find out who is tweeting about them and how often, search for their name in Twitter’s search bar. You’ll be taken to a list of tweets from all users who have mentioned them in any way either directly or indirectly (by mentioning another person who has tweeted about them).
Scroll through these tweets and read through the most recent ones first; they’ll probably talk about what your competitor has recently done or said, which will give you an idea of what people are talking about right now when it comes to that competitor.
Once you’ve found some recent tweets related to your competitor, click on one of the profiles listed as having tweeted something relevant;
This should show a list of all their other latest tweets as well as those they’ve been retweeted by others. From here, it’s easy enough: just look through these lists until something sparks your interest!
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TIP 10. Find Out What They Are Doing Better Than You On Social Media Sites
Social media is a great tool for your business, but it’s also important to know what your competition is doing well so that you can replicate their best practices.
For example, if one of your competitors has a thriving Instagram presence, look at their posts and see if any of those styles could be applied to your own account.
The next time you visit a competitor’s site or social media page, pay attention to the following:
- Their overall strategy (do they have a plan?)
- The tone of voice used in content (is it similar to yours?)
- Who has access to post content (are there multiple people posting or just one person?)
You can use this information as inspiration for how you want to improve your own efforts moving forward!
TIP 11. Look At Your Competition’s Youtube Videos And Check The Subscribers They Have, Their Favorites, The Number Of Comments, Etc
You can easily learn and see what the competition is doing right or wrong with these stats. (What works and what doesn’t)
Look at your competition’s youtube videos and check the subscribers they have, their favorites, the number of comments, etc. You can easily learn and see what the competition is doing right or wrong with these stats. (What works and what doesn’t)
If you want to do a full analysis on their videos then use TubeBuddy or TubeAssist which will help you track all of their stats in a spreadsheet format which will help you better understand how they are performing online.
TIP 12. Look For Areas Where Your Competition May Have Dropped The Ball On Their Marketing Efforts And Pick Up That Slack
As you’re analyzing your competitors’ sites, look for areas where they may have dropped the ball on their marketing efforts and pick up that slack. For example, if one of your competitors is not doing a good job of optimizing their SEO, you can take advantage by doing so yourself.
Or maybe they aren’t putting out new blog posts as often as you would like them to be. If this is the case, consider creating more content than they do and focus on topics that are more relevant to what your audience wants.
TIP 13. Take Note Of Your Competition’s Best Performing Organic Keywords
One of the best ways to get insight into your competitor’s organic strategy is by taking note of their best performing organic keywords. If a keyword has been performing well for them, it can be easy to see why they optimized the content on that topic.
Take some time to research what those keywords are, then take some time writing new blog posts or pages around those topics with your own spin on them. This way, when someone searches for these terms, you will be above your competition in search results!
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I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of competitor research and how you can use it to improve your marketing campaigns.
Remember that competitor research is not just about stealing your competitor’s ideas, but more importantly understanding how they are thinking and what strategies they are using to succeed in the market.
Check out these resources for more insights on researching your competition:
Researching Competition Short Description: Learn effective strategies for conducting competitor research and gaining a competitive edge in your market.
Keep a Close Eye on the Competition Short Description: Discover why monitoring your competitors is essential and how it can drive growth and innovation for your business.
How to Spy on Your Competition Short Description: Get tips from industry expert Neil Patel on how to ethically gather and use competitive intelligence to improve your business strategies.
Got questions about researching your competition? We’ve got answers:
How can competitor research benefit my business?
Competitor research provides valuable insights into your industry landscape, helping you identify market trends, customer preferences, and potential gaps in your offerings.
What are some ethical ways to gather competitive intelligence?
You can gather competitive intelligence through public information, social media analysis, attending industry events, and analyzing their marketing strategies without resorting to unethical tactics.
How often should I update my competitor research?
Regular updates are important to stay current with the evolving market. Aim to review your competitor landscape at least quarterly to ensure your strategies remain relevant.
How do I analyze the information I gather from my competitors?
Analyze the gathered data by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis), and use these insights to refine your own strategies and offerings.
Can competitor research help with innovation?
Absolutely! Studying your competitors can spark innovative ideas by identifying gaps in the market, understanding customer pain points, and finding ways to differentiate your products or services.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.