Search engine optimisation is not only about making the best of your own web site, you have to know who your rivals are and how they are performing as well by keeping on top of competitor analysis.
Identifying your key competitors should be a basic part of any marketing plan, but the market change as new businesses rise and others fall.
Mergers and takeovers can also change your marketing landscape as competitors who were never much of a threat suddenly overshadow your own efforts.
Most SEO firms look at Google keywords and search rankings to find competitors but there are other ways that are more thorough as well.
Now, Google may dominate search rankings, but social networks are also a force to be reckoned with.
So here are some tips about extra research to add in to your competitor analysis:
- Bing your keywords and the names of your rivals. Look at the paid-for searches – some firms may show up on Bing that are not on Google
- Scour Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other relevant social networks – including any advertising on Facebook as well
- Put some Google Alerts out for your keywords and competitor brands, so any web action is reported back to you
- Listen to your sales team and customers – if someone else is active in your space, they are bound to mention them at some time
Do not rest on your laurels. Perform a regular competitor search as part of your regular monthly analytics report.
Forearmed is forewarned and gives you time to tweak your own SEO and marketing to counter any intrusion that might affect conversion and sales.
Other places to look include Google Trends – try inputting brand keywords to see where you rank.
Open Site Explorer lets you peek at who is linking to your competitors and how they are doing with building inbound links, which count a lot towards Google’s page rankings.