By: Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team

Competitive analysis is by far one of the most important processes to your website’s search engine success. But what is competitive analysis and what exactly should you be researching?  Essentially, competitive analysis is the process of learning about your competitor’s online marketing efforts-from SEO to pay-per-click advertising. It is important to see overall how good (or bad) your competitors are performing to judge how well your website is matching up.

The first step to competitive analysis is determining who your online competitors truly are. The brick-and-mortar store across the street may compete with you directly off-line, but online it is an entirely different ball game. Your competitor is no longer located across the street, but now is any website ranking for your targeted keywords. These online competitors may compete with you organically (through search engines like Google) or may compete with you through pay-per-click advertising (which can include image ads, search text ads or video ads).

Once you determine who your competitors are, the next step in online marketing research is to understand what it is that’s making your competitors so successful. The following are just a few of the important factors to look at when starting the competitive analysis process.

  • Page Rank: What is the page rank of your competitors compared to the page rank of your own website? This will give you an overall picture of how well your competitor’s site is performing organically.
  • Inbound Links: How many linking domains are pointing at your competitor’s websites? This will give you an idea of the link building effort needed to compete with them directly.
  • Unique Visitors: How many unique visitors does your competitor average on a monthly or daily basis? Knowing this information will help you see the potential traffic your site could receive from ranking above the competition on your major keywords.
  • Indexed Pages: How many pages does your competitor have indexed in the search engines? If your competitor has 3,000 pages indexed and your website only has a hundred, a strong content strategy for building out relevant pages will be important to your overall internet success.
  • Pay-Per-Click: How much money are your competitors spending on PPC advertising and how many clicks are they getting from this ad spend? Also, what keywords are your competitors bidding on and how are their ads written? This information can help you make an informed decision about whether PPC is right for your business and your overall marketing budget.
  • Meta Data Optimization: What keywords are your competitors optimizing for and how is the meta data written? You may find that your competitor is optimizing for a keyword that you overlooked or even a variation of a keyword term that you never thought of. It is essential to see not only what keywords your competition is going after, but also the way in which they are optimizing and enticing viewers to click through to their website in the meta description and title tag.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there is also a lot of valuable information that can be gained just by viewing the overall look/feel of your competitor’s websites. For example, how are your competitors laying out the navigation of their site? What are the important calls to actions they are focusing on? Etc.

To get started down the path of competitive analysis and online marketing research, there are many different tools online (both free and paid) that can help in the process. There is also the option of getting expert advice from an online marketing agency, such as Bayshore Solutions, to perform in-depth competitive assessments for your business.

Remember, understanding why your competitors are ranking so well for targeted keywords is only half the battle, the other half is getting there yourself. The digital experts at Bayshore Solutions can help you get there!

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