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Get Started: Competitor Analysis And Tools

Competition

In any industry, there’s the chance that other businesses may have similar ideas to you and that some of them will have been doing it for longer or already be well established on the market.

That’s why it’s important for businesses to carry out competitor research; when starting out, launching new products and services, or simply to stay ahead of the game. This valuable research will give you a clear indication of what’s already on the market, how it’s being promoted, and how well it’s being received. This data can then be collected to provide key learnings so that your business is able to successfully develop their own unique selling proposition (USP).

Dr. Friederike Posor from Xovi, a software company that works with competitor analysis tools, says, “Regardless of how old your company is or what stage you’re at, you should always keep one eye on the competition. It’s particularly important in the start-up phase in order to be able to react quickly to any competitor offers or promotions.”

Here are a few tips on how you can get started with competitor research:

Identify Competitors

The first thing you’ll want to do is to explicitly identify your competitors. Having a list of your top 10 is often a good place to start and will make it easier for you to start carrying out your analysis. You can use search engines such as Google to help with this by searching for similar products or services to your own and seeing which ones show up.

You can also use sites such as SEMRush where you simply type in your website URL and are presented with a collection of statistics on your current website performance. Here you will also find a whole section listing out your main organic competitors to look at.

Analyse Their Online Content

Once you have a list of competitors that you want to focus on, visiting their sites and checking out their online content is a great way to see what they’re up to. Carrying out a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) from a visitor’s point of view is an easy way to do this. This can be carried out quickly and means you can see what works and what doesn’t, deciding how to improve your own website accordingly.

To get a little more data from behind the scenes, you can use tools such as Buzzsumo - to use some of their premium features for a period of time, you can sign up for a free trial. The tool allows you to enter your competitor’s URL and see which pages and pieces of content have performed the best across their main channels. You can also compare your website with one of your competitor sites to see how your content matches up.

Look At Their Appearances On Google

Looking at where your competitors sit when it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation) is really important as it allows you to see what you’re up against when it comes to appearing in Google searches. And these days it's not hard to find SEO competitor data thanks to the wealth of tools now available.

Handle is a business tool that collects data about your business - such as your digital profile, credit and finance information, and competitive performance - in one simple dashboard. As a Liberis customer, you will have FREE access to Handle.

Olly Betts, CEO at Handle says, "The digital profile of your competitors is easily available and can help you quickly understand; where you need to defend and where there are opportunities. Check the website; does it use the latest security SSL certificates, is it optimised for mobile and where does it rank on the top 2 pages in search for your most valuable search terms?” 

Other tools such as Similar Web can also be useful for this as they allow you to see what keywords your competitors are using (both organic and paid), how many visits they’re getting to their site, what sources their visits come from and their top referrals.

SEMRush also allows you to look at what keywords competitors are using and their ranking. This can help you to come up with your own keywords and decide what you want to rank for. To find linking opportunities, tools such as Open Site Explorer will show you all the backlinks for your competitor. Gathering this data allows you to set benchmarks for your own business so that you can devise a realistic SEO strategy with a list of keywords that you want to rank for and referral sites that you want to go after.

Look At Their Social Media Accounts

A lot of your competitors will already have an online presence across their social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So this can be a great way for you to see the content they’ve been posting and the interactions they’ve been having.

Things to look out for may include the number of followers they have, how frequently they post, and how many likes, shares and comments they get. Looking at the conversations that they’re having with their followers - are they positive conversations? Are there any negative interactions? Using this information means you can learn from your competitor’s mistakes as well as take on board what they’re currently doing really well. It will also give you more data to measure your own following and interactions against.

 

So now that you’ve learned a bit more about how to carry out analysis on your competitors, it’s time to put some of it into practice. And remember to repeat this exercise at least every few months to see how you’re doing - you might be surprised at how far you've come!

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