For any business, there is, or should be, a great deal of importance in competitor analysis. It should rank as a priority for any company with a presence on the web and a goal to generate more business online.
Where to start? Two of the primary, non-technical areas for competitor analysis relate to the design and content of their sites. Both are just a quick Google search away, but you have to know what to look for.
Finding Your Competitors
A good place to start finding the sites that compete in your space is a simple Google search. Look for sites that outrank you in searches on important keywords and phrases that relate to what you offer.
If sites outrank you on these searches, make a note and check out their site. Those are the sites you want to beat.
Analyzing Competitor Content
Quality content is one of the major ranking signals for Google and driver of sales. Here are some of the factors to look for when evaluating a competitor’s website.
Quality. Read through some of the content. Is it “word salad,” which refers to simply churning out copy that is stuffed with keywords and keyword phrases without any “meat”? Content should be relevant, engaging, value-driven and answer questions visitors to the site often ask.
Frequent publishing. If you’re competitors are pushing out valuable and engaging content consistently, you need to look at your own content marketing strategy to make sure it is on par with what they’re doing. Most blogs and/or content pieces on a site have timestamps. See how recently their content is published and how often. How does it measure up to your editorial calendar?
Speaking of blogs, this post provides tips on effective content marketing through blogging that can help you outrank the competition.
Social media. Most companies have links to their social media pages. See how “social” your competition is. Social pages should be active, engage consumers in conversations and provide content that links back to important pages on the company’s website. Focus less on the number of followers and more on the engagement of posts i.e. likes, comments and shares.
Again, how do your competitor’s social pages compare to yours? If people are liking their posts, commenting and sharing, take a look at the kinds of posts they have and see what you can learn for your own social channels. You can study and mimic strategy without directly copying what they’re doing.
Analyzing Competitor Design
Web design is also a key element of a successful website. Again, this is something that you can investigate by simply looking at competitor sites. In what ways can a site have a better design than yours? Look for these elements. If your competitor has them but you do not, it’s time to act.
Security. The site should have ample security measures, particularly on e-commerce sites that contain shopping carts and check out pages. A very simple, yet important, security measure that all sites should have in 2018 is being on HTTPS.
This post provides further insight into HTTPS and why all sites should be on it.
Ease of use. Pages should be designed in such a way that it’s easy for users to both read content and navigate to different pages. Typically, individual page design should adhere to a “Z” pattern, because that is the way human beings typically scan pages (top left to top right, down to bottom left and then bottom right).
This post on the psychology of web design does a good job of outlining how the mind responds to what they see on a website.
Responsive design. This allows pages to be viewed well on multiple devices, not just a desktop. Check out your competitor sites on your computer, phone and tablet. If they’re navigation is seamless throughout and yours is “wonky,” it’s time to invest in making your site responsive.
These are areas where you can analyze a competitor’s site simply by taking the time to look at it thoroughly. It’s also helpful to bring in professionals from a full-service digital marketing company with a strong track record working with thousands of clients in many different industries.
The bottom line is that competitor analysis can show you where you stand in your market – and help you find ways to make improvements.
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