How To Conduct A Competitor Analysis

competitor analysis

Competition forms part of our daily lives whether we like it or not and your business is no different. Regardless of your products or services, you need to perform a Competitor Analysis to see who you are up against. In Digital Marketing a Competitor Analysis is an extremely multifaceted process looking at more than just your competitor’s website. A good analysis includes identifying their entire online presence, the actions they take and the techniques they use.

Seeing as you will be competing with other businesses to find potential customers, ask yourself these questions. What can you do to get your product or service in front of the right people before your competitors? What do you do better than them? More importantly, what is the competition doing to stop potential customers from finding you?

An effective competitor analysis should be a comprehensive document outlining all the key elements. In this article, we will show you what to look for and why it’s so important to understand your competition. You can often do the surface level analysis on your own but you need certain tools and expertise to do a deeper competitor analysis.



Elements Of A Digital Marketing Competitor Analysis

Digital marketing has changed the way businesses build relationships with their target audience. It’s considerably easier to connect and engage with people which results in increased sales and business growth.

Understanding how you compare to your competitors will provide valuable insights into what you may need to change or improve. Learn from your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and use the information about their marketing strategies and tactics to help guide your own. Let’s take a look at these 6 key elements that an effective competitor analysis should include.

Website Audit

Performing a website audit is the most obvious part of any competitor analysis. On the face of it, a website audit looks at a competitor’s site to see what works and what doesn’t. Using your competitors as a benchmark is the perfect way to determine how you stack up against them. It can reveal if you’re outperforming them and often help explain why you may have had a sudden change in visits or conversions.

Ask yourself these questions during a website audit for optimal results:

  • Does their website tell the customers what they need to know?
  • Is their content and design fresh and relevant to their audience?
  • Are they using social media to amplify their content and engage with potential customers and clients?
  • Is their website
  • mobile-friendly?

The more in-depth analysis includes things like page load speed, server response times and overall website responsiveness. Picture-heavy pages may look beautiful but they often load slowly resulting in a higher bounce rate as more visitors are put off.  While some integrations and plug-ins may seem sleek, they sometimes double or triple page load times leading to lost customers.

Websites should not only be responsive to different screen sizes and browsers but friendly to them as well. It’s one thing if a page ‘responds’ to a different screen size but if that response is simply to make everything smaller and cluttered, it’s not really mobile-friendly is it? If you know your competitors are not hitting these key checks then it gives you the opportunity to improve. You can get ahead by focusing on the mobile aspect of your website to target customers more efficiently.

Organic Web Presence

An organic web presence is not simply how easy it is to find you and your competitors but also what visitors find. The only way forward is to employ a wide range of searches across multiple search engines. While this is relatively simple, it takes a long time to understand the nuances of effectively measuring organic presence. The results for ‘Company A’ ‘Company A Trustworthy?’ ‘Company A Legit?’ ‘Company A reviews’ ‘Company A product X’ will all be different. Mapping relevant search terms across multiple competitors, products and locations is a time consuming process.

A powerful way to increase brand recognition is identifying areas of improvement for your business and weaknesses of your competitors. There are several different factors that affect how Google ranks your website and your pages, some of which are on the ‘back-end’ of your site that you might not be aware of. This is especially the case if you outsource your web development.

Gain valuable insights into competitors looking at whether they have proper Sitemaps, conduct backlink audits and properly indexed pages. If they consistently lack in this department, it could be a sign that they will be slow to react to online changes or problems. Position yourself at the forefront and you will notice incremental gains often without effort.

Take a look at this excellent article from Neil Patel on “How to Get Google to Instantly Index Your New Website”. It includes a step-by-step process along with loads of valuable information and statistics.

Search Engine Optimisation and Keywords

Identifying keywords shared between you and your competitors is key as well as the ones you don’t. Sometimes it is impossible to organically rank for a specific keyword but you can focus on boosting those you already show dominance in. Proper analysis of search trends can allow you to gain and prove authority in ‘down’ periods for predictable keyword trends.

There are various tools you can use to find identify key phrases that your competitors are targeting. Use those keywords and phrases to guide your own content and build a consistent digital presence in the areas your clients are searching.

A thorough understanding of competitor’s keywords and search traffic maps will help strengthen your own Organic and Paid Search strategies. It also indicates, once again, how seriously they take their Digital Marketing and what strategies they employ. Cycles of focus and decay require one strategy while continued authority/dominance around a few keywords requires something totally different.

The key to strategic insight is the range of data collected and the depth of the competitor analysis. Nowadays it is much simpler to see what keywords of your competitors are ranking, but determining their strategy is more challenging. In the long run though, it can help you create a comprehensive SEO/Organic strategy that keeps you ahead.

Local Presence

While ‘near-me’ search terms have been on the rise, even without them local searches make up a large portion of product/service based search terms. There is almost no point in searching for ‘Engineering companies’ without some kind of location filter. Based on local presence, use keywords and phrases with location in mind. If your competitors are not taking full advantage of all the Local Directory Listings, you have another perfect opportunity.

Most businesses know by now that they should have claimed and completed their Google My Business (GMB) listings. Surprisingly though, few businesses have actually engaged in any strategy to ensure their reviews are linked to GMB listings. A comprehensive review of all Local Directories will show where your competitors have failed and where you can take advantage.

Paid Search Audit and Remarketing

PPC and remarketing can quickly drain your advertising budget if not managed carefully. Spending money on paid search campaigns without the relevant search data can lead to unnecessary over-spending. A professional competitor analysis in this area will act as a guide for your own campaign. If researched correctly you can find useful insight into the Paid Search habits of your competitors, estimate their budgets and understand the balance they strike between Paid and Organic Search.

It’s all about finding out how your competitors spend their money enabling you to establish the terms and the costs. This also helps to accurately determine which are too expensive to pursue. You’ll also be able to see which of your own phrases are not being targeted and maximise on the opportunities.

Related Article: ‘Pay Per Click Advertising

Social Media Engagement

Monitor your competitors’ social media engagement to see what they do well and not so well. What social media platforms are their audiences most active on? What type of content do they engage with most? This will help identify what works in your industry and what doesn’t, which allows you to tailor your content effectively to drive more engagement.

On the deeper side of the analysis, determine if they are using certain strategies and if some data is useful, apply it to your social media strategy. These data points include things like optimal posting times, target demographics and frequency of posts.

While this article includes vital information, it is not everything that should be in a professional competitor analysis. At WSI eMarketing, we provide a comprehensive competitor analysis service looking at up to 5 of your competitors. It comes complete with detailed analysis and recommendations. Get in touch if you would like to find out more.