How to Discover Your Competitors’ Content Strategies and Use Them to Your Advantage

Posted on August 27, 2019 by Paul D

If you were starting a business right now, one of the first things you would do would be to check out who’s already in that space and determining whether there’s an opportunity for you.  The same applies to digital content marketing.

By conducting a quick analysis of your competitors’ online presence, you can gain insight into what they’re doing online with their content strategy.  This can help you design a content marketing strategy to counter their moves or make sure you’re in the conversation.  Here’s the good news:  You can find out most of this information online for free.

When you can find places their efforts are working, you can target those same areas. You can create more content – or higher quality content – in the niche. You can create more SEO-friendly content that can outrank your competitors. If they are buying keywords for PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, consider buying them yourself.

Researching Your Competitors Online

There are a lot of worthy paid tools online, but it’s best to start with the free ones and see how they work. You may find you get the information you need without having to spend a dime.

Free Research Tools

Google

It may be obvious but start with Google.  List out the keywords and phrases you think people are most likely to search for your products.  Take note of where you show up in organic rankings compared to your competitors.  Check what shows up as paid search.

It’s a good way to find competitors as well.  Enter “related:” and the name of your business and Google will surface results similar to yours.

Pay particular attention to what shows up in the Google Map Pack (the listing right under the paid search results but before the organic results.  Check out where you and your competitors show up in the listings, how many stars and reviews each has, and whether the listing is correct.  Try searching in your industry and try various combinations of locations, such as city names.

Google Keyword Planner

Advertisers use Google Keyword Planner to estimate how much traffic they will get for a particular keyword and what the estimated cost would be to purchase that keyword.  You can research your competitor’s keyword for data for both paid and organic search.  It’s also free.

SEM Rush

Another popular tool is SEM Rush.  While there are paid options for more in-depth reporting, you can conduct 10 searches for free.  This allows you to analyze a host of information about your competitors:

  • Website traffic
  • Backlinks
  • Organic search rankings
  • Paid search spending
  • Display advertising
  • Keyword analysis
  • Engagement statistics

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb can help identify and benchmark your competition.  It can provide details on customer behavior, conversion rates, and channel acquisition to evaluate the effectiveness of how your competitors are attracting customers.  SimilarWeb offers free sign up and 1-3 months of data.

While you are researching your competitors, you should do the same research on your own online presence.  You may be surprised at what you find (or don’t find).

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo will let you enter any domain or subject.  If you enter your competitor’s website, it will show you which content is performing well organically.  If you enter a keyword or phrase in your niche, you can see what content is attracting attention.  Basic searches are also free.

Website Grader (By Hubspot)

Website Grader (by Hubspot) can measure the strength of your competitors’ websites up against yours.  It can help identify strengths and weaknesses.  You can use this information to create content or keywords to improve your score.

Link Explorer (by Moz)

Enter the URL of your competitor’s website on Link Explorer (by Moz) and you will get information about:

  • Links to their website
  • Link profiles
  • Link building opportunities
  • Top performing content
  • Domain Authority and Page Authority scores

In addition, run a scan on your own your site to see how you match up.  Link Explorer will also send you a list of any dead or broken links on your website.

Don’t Chase The Extremes

When you are researching your competitors, you may find that they tend to overlook some categories of business.  While this may represent an unserved target, you will want to carefully gauge the opportunity.  Many businesses make the mistakes of chasing the extremes.  89 percent of full-sized pickup trucks buyers are male.  While it might be tempting to go a different direction and target female truck buyers, it’s a smaller market niche.  You may sell more trucks to women, but it may come at the expense of the larger overall volume.

Cosmetics represent a $17 billion industry in the U.S.  Men buy cosmetics, too, but unless you are supporting a male-focused line of grooming products, it represents such a small portion of the overall industry.

Here’s the bottom line:  Unless you have a considerable marketing budget, focus your digital marketing efforts on your target customer.

Be True To Yourself

While it’s helpful to know what your competition is doing, you still want to be true to your vision and your business plan.  It starts with having a great product or service that has a unique value proposition for users.  Without that, the rest won’t matter.  Every piece of digital content you create should relate back to your core business,  your business goals, and target your core customer.

We Can Help

If you need help creating engaging content for your website or content that helps with your inbound marketing, outbound marketing, or digital marketing efforts, WriterAccess has skilled writers in every business niche.

Let us show you how we can help grow your business today.

 

Paul D. has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist writing news stories for some of the country’s top news organizations. For the past 10 years, Paul D. has worked as a marketing and advertising expert, working with hundreds of clients. He writes clear, concise, compelling copy that converts. He has had writing published in dozens of major magazines and websites. His work has been featured in USA Today and Newsweek and has been honored by Broadcasting & Cable, the Local Media Association, the Red Cross, Boys & Girls Club, and the United Way. Paul D. has published two books on marketing and currently writes for several websites and publications and at his own blog.


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