Competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs.
One of the things that attracts me most to web marketing is the competitive aspect. Unlike many traditional marketing media, the internet is completely transparent. You just need to know what to look for and how to find it. Here are some tips for performing competitive recon:
- Identify the Competition – The first step is to identify your web competitors. To do this, select a handful of keywords that you think your prospective clients might use to find you in search engines. Go to Google and and search on these keywords. Make a note of which websites appear in the top positions for those results.
- Analyze Competitor Websites – Once you have a list of 10 or so competitors, head to their websites. Make note of their domains, URL structure, title tages, and other html components of their site. This will tell you what keywords they are targeting. You should also click around their site. What types of things are they doing? Are they writing blog posts? Do they have resources pages linked with other websites? What are they doing to get visitors to interact? Do they have contact forms, free downloads, phone numbers and email addresses?
- Backlink Analysis – Next, head back to Google and search: link:yourcompetitorsdomain.com -site:youreompetitorsdomain.com. This will show you some of the external sites that are linking to your competitors. You may also want to head over to opensiteexplorer.org and majesticseo.com. These sites will provide more detailed back link reports.
- Execute – Take advantage of quality link opportunities that your competitors are pursuing. Determining quality opportunities is part art and part science. Focus on link targets that are relevant to your practice, are authoritative on your subject matter, and have reasonable page rank.
It stands to reason that, if you are able to take advantage of the techniques that your high ranking competitors are doing, you will likely increase your own visibility.
It’s important to recognize that blindly copying everything that your competition is doing online is inadvisable. On the other hand, selective competitive analysis and link building can have a very positive impact on your site. Further, it will help you understand, more holistically, what your competitors are doing online and where they are investing time and money.