Competitive analysis can be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both your business’s website and that of your competitors’. Using this information can help you further improve, and capitalize on the weaknesses discovered in your competition.
Analyzing your competition should be something all business and site owners should be doing, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. To improve your website to be as good as your competitors, you should devote the time and effort needed to analyze them.
Why should you be interested in competitive analysis?
Though you might think you’re ranked number one for the search results of all your important keywords, there would always be another site that might look insignificant to you but is capitalizing on your website’s weaknesses.
A competitive analysis allows you to take a wider view of the situation and identify not just your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, but also yours, even before your competitor notices them. This knowledge can serve as a roadmap for you and would enable you to improve your search rankings and the user experience for the visitors to your website.
Who are your competitors?
It’s shocking to some that their biggest competitors aren’t usually the ones they have in mind. Most times your biggest competitors are the websites that lack ranking on the money keywords. But could be making deep progress in other keywords.
To identify the competitors to focus on, it’s imperative that you examine specialization and not just general terms. If you do not do this, you could be missing out on a considerable amount of traffic and conversion. Consider the segments they dominate and determine the level of importance that segment has to your website.
Though sometimes, you would want to identify competitors that may rank above you in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) but are not true competitors, and also identity does that might not be as important for you to outrank when compared to others. Sometimes it’s just not worth the time investment.
Here are some of the steps you can take to perform a competitive analysis.
Find the keyword Gaps on your website.
Give deep attention to the keywords you’re already ranked for, but still lag behind your competitors.
And ask yourself these questions.
- Why are they ranking and not you?
- Do they have better supplementary content for those particular keywords?
- Do they have an exceptionally higher number of backlinks to those specific pages that are helping them rank higher?
Once you identify these gaps, be sure to work on closing them. What is needed to be done on your sure so you can have pages targeting those individual keywords?
Discover your competitors’ popular pages.
You must know the most popular pages on your competitors’ websites.
Take note of these questions.
- Which pages rank for the most keywords?
- Which pages have the most traffic?
- Which pages have the highest percentage of their overall traffic?
Never assume you can guess which pages are the most popular.
Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
Find out the differences between strengths and weaknesses between you and your competitors? What do they excel at and what are your weaknesses?
Every website has a weakness, even popular ones like Amazon.
In case it starts to prove too difficult to identify your website’s weaknesses, talking to your employees and visitors/customers would help to give deep insights.
You also need to think about the things you believe are your strengths and check if these strengths are learned in your competitor’s. Also, identify their weaknesses and see how you can take advantage of them.
Here are some simple ways to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
- Find out how authoritative your website is in comparison to your competitors’. Do they have important links coming to the site? It would be harder to beat your competitor if they have higher authority than you, and that’s where the keyword gap comes in. Find out keywords they aren’t focusing on, but are relevant to your industry and capitalize on these.
- You can also gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the content they produce.
- Do they create shallow content?
- Do they publish high-quality content?
- Do they only focus on product pages and not on any supporting pages?
Find out the areas where they are lacking and capitalize on this.
- Check their product page and try to figure out what it is about their page that’s better than yours.
- Do they have a detailed explanation of the product?
- Do they suggest similar products?
- How are the ratings and reviews for the product shown?
- Do they provide links and support for the product?
- How hassle-free is it to purchase their products?
- Try to find out any technical issues they might be having. Check how fast the pages load, also figure out if some of these technical issues are hindering their search performance. If you find that you have some of the issues found on your competitors’ site, then improving on your site would greatly improve the visibility of your business.
Also, check out the feel of the website on both mobile and desktop and find out what was done wrong.
Analyze the contents your competitors share on their websites.
To properly analyze the contents shared on your competitors’ websites, you must take a look at not just the product pages, but also at supporting content they have and how well their rankings compare to you.
Find out the kind of content they’re sharing and how much effect this had on the traffic they are generating. If you notice that this content has positive effects on the generation of traffic then you can incorporate this into your strategies. But be sure to not overdo this, and end up adding strategies you do not need.
Find out the website tools your competitors use.
Finding out the tools your competitors use would help you in figuring out additions and improvements to make on your website.
A free service like Builtwith would help you take a look at the tools and plugins being employed by your competitors to run their websites. With the tool, you’ll be able to see what services host their website and what email services they use.
With this knowledge, you get to decide if you would want to add this tool to your website to further improve it.
Analyze your competitors on social media.
Taking notes of the social media presence of your competitors would give you an edge on the things they’re doing right or wrong.
There are so many social media tracking tools out there, but be careful of the very expensive ones that might water your time. Simply following your competitor and observing the goings-on of their feeds would give you a basic idea of their activities online.
Find out the most performing post and at what time these posts perform well. Also, find out why these posts perform well and if you can do anything differently.
Patronize your competitor.
This idea might not sit well with you, but swallowing your pride and doing this would give you an idea of the things your competitors are doing right or wrong and how you can greatly improve on their mistakes and blunders.
Find out what the process of purchasing is like. Do they have a hassle-free system, and if they do what can you do differently?
Take note of the speed at which they respond to customer queries.
When is a competitive analysis necessary?
There’s no need to spend most of your time focused on what your competitors are doing. You can make your analysis occasionally, but regularly checking on your competitors can push you off track.
The best time to do a competitive analysis is when you’re starting a new website, trying to redesign, or simply looking for something to write about.