What is it and why do you need it?
Okay you have a great website AND you say, “It’s doing pretty well, thank you very much.”
…but is it really?
How do you know? You say that you’re getting calls or emails. Your website seems to be doing pretty well for you.
Here’s a little insider information that I’ll share with you.
Our sales representatives call on business owners every day…about their websites. Sure, we get a lot of unsolicited business from clients who call us about their websites. However our sales guys cold call too. …and here’s a little secret that won’t be a secret as soon as you read it (because we KNOW you’re going to run out and tell everyone!)
Our sales guys actually perform a little website competitive analysis on the websites that they are cold calling potential clients about. Not every company does that. We personally get calls and emails (and we know you do as well) from designers and so-called SEO gurus who call or write that our website LOOKS great…but that they can help us with our rankings. That tells us two things. First, we know they didn’t take the time to look and see if we were ranked worth a darn or they would not have called us. Second, it tells us that they are calling anyone and everyone without regard for how successful a website may be.
The reason that they take that “call everyone” approach is because they KNOW that most websites don’t rank all that well.
When we cold call on a potential client, we already know that they don’t rank well and especially when compared to their competition. Yet we hear just how great a website is doing – when we know better. THAT, my friends is competitive analysis.
The question for you is, “Why have a website unless you can get your share (or more) of the leads that could come from it?”
Once you make the smart decision to GO FOR all of the traffic and lead generation – THE NEXT STEP is to conduct a competitive analysis to see where your website is currently ranked or getting traffic from and THEN compare that against your competition. THEN, armed with those answers, you formulate a plan of attack to meet and beat your competitor’s websites.
THE BEST WAY TO GET THE MOST INFORMATION AND FORMULATE A GREAT STRATEGY IS THROUGH A PROFESSIONAL SEO FIRM (like us ;-) )
Understanding your competition in search results is extremely important. Hiring a pro is the best way to go because digital marketing companies have access to tools that we spend a lot of money for (monthly) that will provide much deeper analysis than some of the tools available for free…however if you want to do it yourself, here are some tips and suggested tools.
1. Check the ranking of a site and sites that link to it
Opensite Explorer is an SEO tool provided by an SEO product company called Moz. You can enter a website address and Opensite Explorer and it will display some very useful information.
Domain Authority – If you want to compete on the same search terms as your competitor and your domain rank is much lower then you are going to have difficulty. If you want to increase your domain rank you need to start building links to your content.
Page Authority – Really good links back from many sites to your website will get you that.
Linking Root Domains – This is the amount of unique domains that link back to a site. Google likes to see that many websites link back to you as opposed to a low number of websites linking to you many times.
It is also awesome to get your most important links to your website FROM websites that have great domain and page authority themselves. (How do you know that? By running THEIR domain name in Opensite or other tools like it. If you manage to get a link from a highly ranked source this will be hugely valuable to you and it will help increase your ranking (this is assuming that this site is similar to your site in terms of content). (See the catch?)
2. Analyze Competition for Keywords
If you are researching to see if you could rank on particular keywords it’s very useful to see the domain and page authority in search results. Moz provides an add on for Firefox and Chrome which displays these alongside the search results.
3. Analyze Optimization of Competitor Pages
Screaming Frog is a free tool that goes through the pages of your website and gives you a view of what page titles you have for each page, descriptions, tags in images and much more.
This is very useful to compare your site against your competitors. The page titles are very important for SEO purposes and these should all be unique and most should target in on keywords that your customers/readers search for.
4. Review keywords sending traffic to your competitors
SEMRush provides lot of useful data about your competitors related to links and traffic. Here are a couple of really useful charts it provides.
Estimated traffic for top performing keywords
SEMRush shows the top 10 performing keywords (for free) on a competitors site. This gives you an idea of any potential keywords that you should also target.
Ranking over time
This shows if the competitor is improving in terms of more pages appearing in search results or less. And if they appear in search results is it in the top 5 result placing or lower?
5. Spy on your competitors advertising
When your competitors advertise on Google it’s obviously for keywords that are important to them and if they advertise for a long period then it’s likely these are converting keywords.
Spyfu allows you to spy in on your competitor to see how much they spend on advertisements and what are the keywords they target. You get a limited version within the free component which is still useful and then you can pay for a more comprehensive view.
6. Check Link Distribution
Google doesn’t like it if people always link to one page on your website (e.g. your home page). So it’s much better to get links to a variety of pages. That’s one of the reasons why a blog with great content will help your ranking as you will get links to your content.
There’s more. No, really there is. Maybe I’ll cover some of them another time. If you have questions about how your website stands up, click here and we’ll see if we can help. Competitive Analysis