If you think that spying on a competitor’s SEO strategy isn’t fair play, think again. It’s almost a necessity to look into the techniques other businesses are using to obtain web traffic. Without this information, you’ll find yourself falling behind. With it, you can build an even better strategy to ensure you’re out in front.
How to identify your competitors
In order to spy on your competition, you need to know who they are. While most marketers will be able to name the biggest brands in their industry, it’s worth going a little deeper to get a true picture of who you’re up against. There are a number of different ways to do this and you may wish to deploy more than one.
Simple things like a Google search or asking the community on sites like Quora will offer up some results you may not have thought of. Another option is to survey your own customers to discover which businesses they consider your competition. You can even find out more about why they’re loyal to you and offer incentives to them for sharing their knowledge.
Arm yourself with information
Employing a tool to spy on your competition and using the information to influence your own SEO strategy is commonplace. There are lots of keyword analysis solutions to choose from that collect data and present the findings, but it’s best to use one that can track everything in one place. Among the areas you should be most interested in are:
- Social shares
- Who’s linking to your competitors’ videos
- How many keywords each page is ranking for
- What are those keywords
- What’s the cost per click for keywords
- High cost per click versus low cost per click
Keywords that have a high cost per click and a low search difficulty score are easy to rank for. If you can tap into that keyword organically and rank for it, you’ll see increased traffic to your site.
Using a tool that gives you more information about keywords, like the overall cost per click, will help you to design a cost-effective strategy to target these terms. You want to look out for trends, too. To spy on competitors’ keywords and overlook the fact they may have seasonality would backfire on you, so ensure you understand the reasons why traffic may have peaked at certain times.
Don’t overlook variations of keywords - from Google Suggest and Google Ads - that can help you target audiences in an organic way. Niche keywords are cheaper than the most obvious choices when running ads, so use your budget wisely.
Use data to create content
All of this data collection should provide plenty of inspiration for content that addresses user search intent. If a lot of your competitors are using the same keyword, it means they’re making money from it and you need to be tapping into that resource.
However, it’s important you go above and beyond your competitors. Don’t be complacent, as creating the same content or even the same type of content isn’t enough - you need to see what your competitors are putting out there and surpass it.
Something to consider when analyzing your competitors’ offerings is the Skyscraper Technique. This strategy enables you to capitalize on any weaknesses in high-ranking content and develop it so it’s ten times better.
Consume content like a customer
Signing up to competitors’ newsletters, following them on social media and reading their blogs allows you to experience their content as a customer would. It will give you insight into their SEO strategy, showing you how they announce new products or features and the techniques they use to engage their audience.
Setting up alerts to track your competitors’ web mentions is another good way to keep up-to-date on their activities. Articles and backlinks from trusted publishers can be a valuable source of SEO credentials, so see how businesses within your space are working with well-known sites to obtain these connections.
Check out their brand ambassadors
Advocates for a brand are an important part of any SEO strategy and it’s worth finding out which people are saying good things about your competitors. Businesses that were first to market with a particular product or service often have an advantage when it comes to attracting brand ambassadors, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be lured away.
Before deploying techniques to demonstrate the relative benefits of your company, it’s important you understand an advocate’s value and whether it’s worth the effort. Look at their target audience and ensure it aligns with yours, analyze their stats and see which of the handles they use get the most engagement. As well as their metrics, check out their ethos and values as this will be very important for your brand’s reputation if you do end up working with them.
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