Look for weaknesses and areas of opportunities. Did your competitor miss telling the story from a unique perspective that will resonate with your audience? Did they do a poor job of describing the benefits of a topic to the customer? Is their information just plain wrong? Nobody is perfect, and viewing your competitors’ content is a must for any who hope to have a successful online marketing campaign. Some things to look for include:
Use a tool like SEMRush to see what keywords they're ranking for, and what words they're actively bidding on in PPC.
Are they creating content that's being shared socially? What sort of information are they creating that seems to get the most traction? HOW are they creating content? Is there a formula that seems to work well for them? Can you do something similar (or better!)?
Order a product that's similar to yours. See how the 'process' works - is it seamless? Do they make mistakes? Do they follow up? Do they put in any 'extra touches' that make you want to buy from them again?
Features vs Benefits
Many business owners (including me!) get caught up in talking about how great our products/services are, and not how they can help the consumer. Talking about how the product/service will make them feel and the problem it will solve will get you a lot more sales.
Do a simple Google search to see what words and phrases are working better than yours. Use a tool like SEO Doctor to see if their SEO structure is great, or if they're missing some pieces.
But be careful: Don't get caught up checking your keyword rankings each week. While that used to be accurate a few years ago, nowadays there are too many external circumstances to give you an accurate ranking metric. Your location, your computer and your past search history can all affect how you see results. Use the rankings as a guide to improve, but don't get caught up thinking that what you see is what everyone else sees.
All of this information is marketing ammunition that you can leverage to outperform your competition. Furthermore, you must keep a close eye on shifts in the digital space of your industry. SEO campaigns are anything but static, and there will always be shifts in rankings as your competitors muscle for the top search engine rankings. If you notice a small competitor aggressively obtaining rankings for keywords relevant to your industry, your business might just be in their crosshairs.
However, identifying a competitor that wants to beat you at your own game is only half the battle. You then need to adaptively redevelop your strategy to combat their efforts. Get inside their heads and try to predict their next moves.
Are they trying to swipe your organic traffic? Are they a startup that wants to introduce new products in your space or industry? What is their end game? Are they going after short-term gains or is there a long-term strategy in place?
Finding answers to these questions will help you adapt your online marketing strategy to beat the competition. Tools that track rankings are invaluable for these purposes, but if you don’t know how to use them you might be predestined for failure. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, monitor you competitors, and succeed online, you will likely need the help of an Internet marketing professional (like us!).
Become a Digital Library for Your Market
In order to cast yourself as an online authority figure in your market, you have to show your audience that you ‘wrote the book’ for your industry. The goal is to amass a wealth of valuable content that solves most – if not all – of your visitors’ problems related to your market. You want to be the go-to source for information and provide comprehensive solutions. This will help keep your readers engaged as well as dissuade them from visiting a competitor’s site.
Oh, and let’s not forget that keyword-rich content can help you rank better (just don't overdo it!)
Monitor the Digital Landscape
You absolutely need to track how effective your content production is or you’re dead in the water. Understanding which pieces of content were successful and which pieces of content were flops helps you better understand the needs of your target market. Part of monitoring the digital landscape is staying current with the latest search algorithm updates. And let me tell you, this can be a full time job! Instead of wasting your time and sacrificing the opportunity cost of growing your business, you are much better off working with a talented web design and SEO professional.
Quality content isn’t affected by the Google algorithm. Instead, it withstands the test of time as well as the latest Penguin or Panda updates. If you want to take your business to the next level, you need to polish your online presence and implement these best practices to ensure your business has a powerful online influence.