Competitor analysis gives you a clear picture of what you ar up against. The essence of competition is being better than your competitors and this holds true in almost every aspect of our human existence, in sports, science and in business. Even in finding the best partner in life.

Thanks to competition we can enjoy constantly improving products with more features and at lower cost. The principles of competition hold true in SEO as well of course. You may be well aware of what and how your competitors are doing in the real – offline – world, but do you know enough about their online activities?

Know what the competition is doing

To be able to develop strategies which will distinguish you from your competition, you must know what they are doing. That’s where competitor analysis comes in handy. Maybe you can even learn something from your competition to improve on your own actions. Or you can learn what better not to do.

On the net you can find numerous tools which do a good job at analyzing websites of your competitors. Some of them are free, others require a licence fee which varies according to the capabilities of the tool. Most of the tools you can test free of charge for a limited time. Familiarize yourself with the free tools first, so you can get an idea what to expect. The main difference between the tools is their scope and the way they present the analysis. Before buying you should definitely test drive several tools. 

Who are your competitors?

You sure know most of your competitors in the offline world. However, it’s a good idea to check whether you overlooked anyone. It might be a new contender or someone who is active only online. One online tool helps you find those and you can find it on SimilarWeb.com. The free version will show you 10 websites which appear to be the closest matches. Not all of them are true competitors and you have to check the list one by one to eliminate the chaff.

Analyse the back links of your competitors

The number and the quality of back links can tell you a lot about your competitors. You can see all the back links by using the tools of SimilarWeb, majestic, Monitor back links or ahrefs, to name just a few. You can see not only the site names but also the anchor text as well as trust flow and citation flow, which is a good indication of the quality of the backlinks.You can sort the list

for new and lost links and you can see their geographic origin as well. Many of those links might be the same as yours but you may find some interesting ones that you could contact for a link up.

Check the keywords of your competitors

You can also find out the keywords of your competitors with the previously mentioned tools. In addition iSpionage and SpyFu deserve to be mentioned. They show organic as well as paid keywords like AdWords and the number of clicks per month. This might help you to find keywords you haven’t thought of before.

Check the content of your competitors

The various tools will generate the analytical data for you and give you great insight. Beyond that you should also inspect the actual content your competitors are presenting. Since you are in the same industry you are in the best position to evaluate quality, relevance and topicality. How 

  • is the visual presentation?
  • is the grammar and the style of the text?
  • about spelling mistakes?

Compare these texts with your own published texts. Can you discover anything to improve the quality of your own site? If yes, your effort has paid off.

Are your competitors active in social media?

You can check the marketing activities of your competitors on twitter with the tool followerwonk. It will report the last tweets, the profile, the geographical position ans the authority of the followers.

Another tool is simplymeasured which analyses all activities on twitter, instagram, facebook and google+. You will get a detailed analysis of activities and demographics of visitors to your fan page and a comparison of your fan page and of that of your competitors. You can find out to what extent social media impact the performance of your website.

Twitter followers in detail

Many companies have strengthened on marketing activities in the social media. Twitter – regardless whether you like or hate it – has achieved a prominent status and can be a major generator of traffic. It is therefore important to evaluate how your competitors – and yourself – are represented on that network. The tool SocialBro offers a free starter version and it will show a list of all followers. You can see who follows back, who is inactive, who seems to be influential and who is new on twitter. In addition you can see their geographical distribution and as far as it is known, you may even learn who is male or female. The pro-version will give you also information about their engagement, i.e. the number of likes, mentions and retweets. It will advise you also on the best time of day for launching your tweets to reach as many readers as possible.

Conclusion

There are many tools available for competitor analysis to give you an unprecedented transparency of the activities of your competitors, and you should make use of them. There is nothing wrong with that, neither legally nor morally. Having the insight about strengths and weaknesses of the websites of your competitors and your own you can embark on improving your own online presence.

 

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