Competitive analysis is a necessity for any marketing department. Modern business is incredibly fast-paced, and consumers have an unprecedented level of choice when it comes to making purchasing decisions. If your content, products, and services don’t stand out from your competitors and offer something uniquely valuable, you’re going to fall behind. While it’s essential to build your own strategy for success, it’s also vital to keep tabs on your competitors’ SEO efforts, their successes, and what you can do to beat them.
In 2019, any marketing professional or business looking to expand their reach can take advantage of several useful tools and methods to conduct thorough and productive competitive research. Once you’ve analyzed your competition, you’ll have insight into your own digital marketing strategy, which can help you become a leader in your industry.
Use Google’s Tools for Site Owners
Google Analytics is a mainstay of the modern digital marketing industry because Google commands most of the search engine traffic in the world. One of the recent additions to the Google Analytics toolkit for business owners is the Google heat map, a color-coded, intuitive visual display of your SEO success. Instead of complex charts, graphs, and tables to sort through to pick out meaningful data trends, the Google heat map tool presents your analytical data in an easier-to-read format. You can see the pages where users spend the most time, the content that receives the most engagement, and the sections of your pages that seem to keep users’ attention the longest.
Once you familiarize yourself with the Google heat map, you can start referring back to it consistently to check the success of your SEO adjustments. This tool offers an easy and intuitive way to track your SEO success over time, ensuring maximum value for your marketing investments. You’ll gain data to build other marketing strategies like pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, identify the parts of your website and content pieces that receive the least engagement, and determine the best times to publish content for the greatest organic reach.
Keep Keywords Competitive
One of the cornerstones of a solid SEO strategy is keyword choice. Find out which competitor keywords are the most successful for them and determine whether you could emulate any elements of their strategies. Remember: the goal is not to “steal” traffic from your competition, but rather to develop a more valuable experience that will organically draw more traffic toward your brand. A few of the most reliable tools to covertly research your competitors’ keywords include:
- Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer
- AdWords Auction Insights
Whatever tools you decide to leverage for competitor keyword analysis, use the information you gather to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s SEO strategies, and then capitalize on them. The best part is that, by doing your research into your competitors’ keywords, you will have a clear advantage for improving your own SEO strategy and they will have no idea you’re essentially beating them at their own game.
Capitalize on Your Competitors’ Weaknesses
Use your own keyword list to do some experimentation. Start a few Google searches with the keywords you’ve programmed into your website and see how you rank. Look at your major competitors and identify keywords that seem to work more in your favor and vice versa. Also, pay close attention to paid keywords if you can identify them. These keywords tend to generate the best search engine result page rankings, so many of your competitors may be paying to use those keywords. If this is the case, you should probably focus on different keywords instead of trying to out-spend the competition.
Researching competitor keywords can help you identify content marketing opportunities. For example, if multiple competitors seem to struggle with specific types of content, look for ways to emulate that content format in a unique way to create a valuable experience for consumers in your niche. They haven’t seen any content of this type and of this quality from your competitors, so this automatically makes your brand stand out from the crowd. During your research you’ll likely discover new keywords or keyword phrases that you could apply to your own keyword strategy.
Don’t be afraid to use their keywords to draw consumers to your content; just make sure those consumers will see a clear difference in value once they arrive at your site instead of a competitor’s. Thoroughly researching your competitors’ SEO strategies, content structure, and keywords helps you develop better content and strengthen your overall brand.
Track Your Returns on Customer Acquisition Investment
A multifaceted marketing plan may be expensive to maintain; marketing budgets must allow for Google licensing fees, software fees, paid promotional content on social media platforms, and countless other possible expenditures. It’s essential to ensure you’re seeing acceptable returns on every investment you make into new customer acquisition, and that includes your competitive analysis.
If you’re wondering how to calculate customer acquisition cost, first assess the various channels you use to acquire new customers, the type of product or service you offer, the intended market for the product or service, and the potential return on investment per customer. For example, if you are going to invest $10,000 in marketing a product, and 1,000 customers decide to purchase something, the cost of acquisition is effectively $10 per customer.
Competitive Analysis Increases Customer Lifetime Value
While this quick formula can help you with speedy cost-benefit analysis for a proposed marketing campaign, this doesn’t exactly provide the full picture when it comes to the cost of acquiring customers. The other essential metric to understand is customer lifetime value, or how much business a brand can reasonably expect a customer to provide going forward.
Investing in comprehensive competitor analysis can pay off tremendously in the long run. As you identify your competition’s weaknesses and capitalize on them, you are inherently strengthening your brand and likely discovering new opportunities to position yourself as an industry leader along the way.
Grabbing search engine traffic from your competition is certainly beneficial, but it’s even more important to consistently develop your brand and marketing approach in a constantly changing digital business landscape. Research your competitors thoroughly and offer your target consumers something they cannot match.