How many of you liked the idea of being a spy? Complete with gadgets, fast cars, and other attractive significants? It would be a great way to get secret information.
Well, it may be too late for us to join the Secret Service, but we can indulge in a bit of undercover information gathering by taking a sneak peek at competitors.
It’s almost impossible to come up with a digital marketing strategy without consistent information regarding the trends in the niche. And if you think that it’s only what works that matters, you may not get too far.
In order to develop a way to leverage customers’ and influencers’ behavior to your advantage, you’ll have to make yourself comfortable in the office chair and start to seriously monitor the entire niche. That’s the wonder of a free market – it has made it compulsory to weigh everything on the scale of competitive advantage.
- Discover exactly what keywords they are using.
Everything starts with keywords. What keywords is your competitor targeting? Knowing this can give you a rough idea of what is driving traffic and sales to your competitors.
Many websites include their keywords directly in their metadata, which is available to anyone who wants to take a look.
Visit your competitor’s homepage. Then look at the source code. In the Chrome browser you can go to View → Developer → View Source. Search (CTRL + F) for “keywords.” If the site has meta keywords, you should be able to find them with the tag meta name=”keywords”.
- Assess their Twitter presence.
If you’re doing due diligence on your competitors, you’ve probably scoped out their social-media feeds. One service, Topsy, provides a handy line graph for tracking a site’s daily Twitter mentions. You can perform searches by Twitter handle, domain name, or keyword.
Traffic analysis is essential for getting a solid gauge on a competitor’s overall web performance.
You can find out their monthly traffic, which channels bring the most visitors, and specifically where these visitors come from.
The best tool for this is SimilarWeb.
Type in a website of your choice.
SimilarWeb Digital Market Intelligence Website Traffic
Here’s some of the data you will receive.
It’ll let you know which channel is the most impactful. In the chart below, it’s clearly organic search.
- Google search operators
There’s nothing better for content analysis than a good old Google search.
But there is one problem.
Google has way too much information.
Even if you type in a relevant keyword, there’s no guarantee that what you get will match your search intent.
Think for a second about how you search for information.
You typically have to type in several keyword variations to get what you’re looking for, right?
That’s where Google search operators provide a unique opportunity.
It’s a means of creating more sophisticated and targeted Google searches.
By using certain modifiers, known as search operators, you can get more relevant and precise search results.
Here are the some of the key search operators for finding your competitor’s content.
Enter “Search term” e.g. “International Centre for Culture and Education”
Use this operator to search for an exact phrase.
It has to be within quotation marks. Otherwise, you’ll get every web page with one or all of your keywords.
There’s no escaping it.
You operate in a competitive landscape.
Analyzing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses aren’t just an option. It should be a necessary part of your growth strategy.
The only way to outcompete other players in your space is to get a holistic and thorough view of where they stand.
Use the tools in this article and you’ll have a unique edge.
But don’t just use one tool. Get multiple sets of data from different sources and connect the dots to view the big picture.
It will be the single best thing you do for your business.
One last bit of advice?
Don’t get fixated on the data.
Data are just numbers and letters unless they’re being put to use.
Ensure that you have a plan to implement the valuable insights that you gain. It is only then that you’ll find yourself in a position of strength.