A Guide To Digital Competitor Analysis

Whilst a company needs to find its own strategic direction in its marketing, it is always worth keeping a strong eye on competitor activity. You can learn a lot about your target market by studying your competitors, allowing you to see what is working and what is not for them, so you can benefit from their experiences. 

Analysing what your competitors are doing can help you to identify a gap in the market, or ways in which they could be outsmarting you. Enhance your own business strategy with competitor analysis so that you can gain a competitive edge. 

Digital marketing is an iterative process, where businesses test and make improvements whilst identifying what is working and what is not. Having an understanding of what your competitors are doing in their digital marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can help you to refine and improve your own marketing tactics.

Why Is It Worth Doing A Competitor Analysis For Your Business?

There is only a finite number of customers who will be interested in your products or services. To become the ‘go-to’ brand for these customers, you need to know what your competitors are doing and what their online presence is like – is it strong for example, or weaker than yours currently is. Running a competitor analysis will give you an that insight into where your business can improve and how you make the most of what your competitors are not doing.

Due to the fast-paced nature of digital marketing, competitors regularly review their online processes and activities – that’s why it is worth scheduling competitor reviews across the year. This will keep you up to date with the latest market landscape, meaning you can implement relevant and effective tweaks to your own marketing. 

Competitor Analysis to Support Digital Marketing

A competitor analysis takes a detailed look at what your rivals are doing with the aim of using these key learnings to inform your business decisions and your understanding of the marketplace; this lets you see what they are doing well, or not so successfully. Your competitor analysis should focus on key digital marketing elements such as their website usability, traffic, social media content and engagement. It is also a good idea to have a detailed look at any specific keywords and phrases that they are targeting on Google.

Also keepan eye out for any events that your competitors are attending, the content they produce, their PR activity, as well as any paid online advertising campaigns they have invested in. When identifying whether a competitor has invested time and resources into SEO, we recommend taking a look at their title tags as a starting point; this is usually quite telling as to how SEO-friendly their website design is and what keywords have been targeted. 

Once you’ve done that, have a look at what pages are indexed and what backlinks the client has – using the Link Research tool from Moz will give you an idea of what their link profile looks like. Following these steps will provide you with some handy insights as to how effective your competitors’ marketing and SEO activity really is.

Key Areas Of Competitor Analysis

As you begin your competitor analysis, have some clear objectives in mind but also remain open-minded as to what you might find. Focus your analysis on areas that are essential to your digital marketing. Here are some potential ideas and tools that you can use to give you hand with your research:

Compare With Rivals

Comparing yourself to rival businesses allows you to make direct comparisons between elements of their online marketing strategy and your own. SimilarWeb is a handy tool that analyses and compares different areas of your strategy against your competitors. Thanks to its free version of the tool, even small businesses can begin their analysis without any heavy financial investment. To help you get the most out of a competitor analysis, here are some of the comparisons to think about:

Analyse Website Traffic

Using tools such as SEMrush is a great way for you to take a look at the traffic volumes of your competitor’s websites and where this traffic has come from. Keep an eye on whether the traffic has gone up, down or remained the same over the previous 6 months.

Understanding Traffic Sources

Think about where your competitors are getting their traffic from. Is it coming from a paid affiliate scheme or a successful social media campaign? If you are struggling with a channel that a competitor is getting a lot of traffic from, have a good look at what they are doing and learn from them. 

Once again, SEMrush is a great tool to help you do just this. You can do a ‘domain overview’ research with each of your competitors’ URLs and see what they are ranking for. This will also give you an idea of other potential competitors that you may not have also considered. 

Organic And Paid Keywords

This is a great way to provide you with some inspiration for new keywords. You can get separate reports for each of these to help you understand which keywords are working well for your competitors and why it is worth paying for them.

Social Media

Social media is a great way to market your business. Take a look at which social networks are driving the most traffic to your competitors. Follow your competitors across all social channels to regularly see what they are posting, sharing, and who engages with them. It is also worth looking at tools such as FollowerWonk to analyse your competitors’ social media authority.

Identify ‘what good looks like’ for social media for your competitors. Look at the type and style of posts and which ones seem to be the most traction and engagement. This tells you the type of content that your audience might respond to. 

Competitor Link Building

Getting a backlink from a high authority site can confer a higher authority onto your own website, making link building important for your SEO strategy. To find out where your competitors are getting links from, you can use an advanced search operator in the Google search bar – type in “link:” followed by the domain name of the competitor you are researching. This can help you plan your link building strategy going forward (plus, it is always interesting to see the types of sites your competitors are getting links from!).

Finding The Right Keywords

Popular keyword phrases can change and evolve over time. SEMrush is a useful tool that provides you with detailed reports of your competitors’ keywords, including their organic and paid phrases. It is important to understand which organic keywords are driving traffic to your competitors and then you can figure out how you can make the most of these keywords on your website.

Stay Up To Date

Staying up to date with any changes your competitors are making to their digital marketing is important – you can use Google Alerts to help you with this. Whilst setting up alerts for your own brand and keywords, it is definitely worth setting up alerts for your main competitors to help you exactly know where they are getting links and mentions from online.

Next Steps

Competitor research can help you understand how your rivals are running their digital marketing. Using this information in the right way can help you get the most out of your strengths and capitalise on the weaker areas of your competitors. Using the many tools available will allow you to analyse your competitors’ link building, social media, website traffic, as well as paid and organic keywords. This will equip you with the information you need to stay ahead of your competition and ultimately lead to an increase in traffic and sales for your business.

Blog written by Wagada, one of Bubble Agency’s trusted digital marketing partners


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