Analysis and research, these are two very important parts for any online marketer to understand while handling any project. I am sure SEO is still alive, not dead in 2016 and it can never be as long as this online business exist which gives opportunity to SEO professional or agency to provide service. Competitor research is something most important aspect you should do at the preliminary stage for any project. I have seen many marketer and SEO agency just go randomly at the beginning, jumping into On-Page optimization without doing Business research. It is always important to understand thoroughly the subject you are going to work and for that business analysis is important based on provided information from client side and little online research. On the basis of better understanding of any business, you can do keyword optimization followed by competitor research and analysis.
Terms are not new for anyone, anymore but honestly but to begin with there are few aspects you need to kept in mind when you need to do Competitor research. Let’s check them out step by step:
How To Identify Your Competitors
While Performing Keyword Research:
Keyword is the key! Hence, when you hit the preliminary step of SEO, you need to do comprehensive keyword research and while performing it; you also use Google to see competition level and relevant searches well for the targeted keyword. As Google display results WebPages and Ads depending on your search term, you need to go through manually each website and check what website is actually similar to yours/client’s website. Keep collecting the database randomly and later filter out precisely that offer similar service/products. For a start, you can finalize 3-5 websites. You can also use Google Advanced Search Operators to do manual analysis from Google. All you need is good understanding of the business and with the help of search operators; you can find out your competitors more precisely.
(Note: You should choose those websites only which are doing better than yours online because poor performed websites are of no use for you.)
Location Based Business:
While doing keywords research, if you have picked up few websites that are relevant and fit enough to be in your competitor’s lists, you should also check whether that business is Local based or just have presence over online. This is very important to know because you should always track what exactly your local business competitors are doing online. Create Google Alert and understand their both online & offline behavior and make strategy accordingly.
(Note: This is only applicable if you are working on local based business)
Aside to your research and analysis, you should always prompt to your client to know about competitors. This is definitely easiest thing to do but you get very accurate and clear picture about it.
Competitor’s Website Analysis
Once you have done searching and sort listing competitor’s name, it’s time to do dig little deeper about them. It is good to do manual work but taking help from SEO tools for doing competitor’s website analysis is a smart move. There are plenty of popular paid SEO Tools like SpyFu, SEMrush, MOZ, Compete, SEOProfiler, Ahrefs, Majestic & Alexa that gives limited access for free but it is always good to take one subscription if possible. It will give you lot more than you expect and accordingly you can make your SEO Plan. Out of all SEMrush is my favorite because of its organization and presentation. With the help of these tools, you can check competitor’s website overall search traffic, keywords ranking, back links, PPC campaigns, Social Media & Anchor texts which will show how they are building links. For each segment, you can check individually and make planning.
Competitor’s Backlink Analysis
This is the most important segment of competitor research. You need to do in depth analysis of every links that where and how you competitors have built. Paid tools will give you enhanced level details of any link. You can check see Root Domains, Dofollow & NoFollow links, Domain Authority, Anchor text and date of punishment. Many prefer Ahrefs for doing precise and comprehensive Backlink analysis. There is also one free tool – BacklinkWatch which is my favorite to see all backlinks with anchor tags of your competitors. Open site Explorer from Moz is another best tool to see Domain Authority of any website. With all backlink details you can figure out what kind of website you can approach even if placing links on the fetched out domain is difficult.
Competitor’s Social Media Reputation
No one can deny how important Social profile has become for any business. After doing typical competitor’s research, it’s time to go though Social Platform profile pages of competitors. There is a free tool called Socialmention to see citation about the brand on Social platforms. Besides, there is very impressive paid tool that offer free view but limited access as well named – social-searcher.com. It grabs all buzz about any brand from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Youtube and all other social channels. You can use search and create 2 Email Alerts for free. For more alerts and monitoring, you can take subscriptions. Google alter is also very strong tool to track buzz over brand.
To perform better competitor research, you always need to understand everything about business. Hope you like the simple tips. Enjoy!