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This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would.
Okay, so competitor analysis is one of those things in SEO that everybody thinks they do, and everybody thinks they do well. But in actuality, not a lot of people do. And it might be that you just don’t go deep enough and don’t look in enough depth at different competitors. Or it might be that you go really, really deep, but you don’t actually use the information that you’ve learnt in the right way.
So I recently wrote a post about this, providing some steps to get you started. And I’m going to elaborate on that a little bit more today.
So there’s four key elements here, the who, the what, the where, and the why. And I’ll discuss them as we go through.
So firstly, who. And it might seem obvious. You might think you know who your competitors are, or your client might think that they know who their competitors are, and they might be right. But actually, there’s a good chance that when it comes to search competitors, you haven’t got an exhaustive list just by thinking about it or off the top of your head. You really need to think about who your search competitors are. And they may not be the same ones you think they are. And it may not be the same ones that they are offline.
So one really good way to do this is the related search. So you can just search this in Google, related: yourdomain.com. And it will show you the sites that Google thinks are related to your business. And that is a great way to get a really good search understanding of who your competitors are. Obviously, you can also see who’s ranking for the keywords you want to rank. And sometimes those lists will collaborate, and sometimes they won’t. But the more competitors you’re aware of, the more you can research and the more information you’re going to have.
And another good way to learn about competitors you might not have considered is LinkedIn. If you have a look at your company LinkedIn page, over on the right, it says pages that other people view. And often, they’re brands that work in your industry, in your niche, that you may not have thought about. So it’s another really good way to think of more competitors. And then you can go in and have a look at those. And obviously, you can then click through into their page and see who the suggested companies and brands are there, and they may be different again.
So when you’ve got a really good understanding of who your competitors are, you need to have a think about what they’re doing. So this is primarily things like social and content. Obviously, there’s a much bigger scale in terms of things you need to look at your competitors. But this process is really to help you get information that you can use for your own campaign. And social side of things and content is where you can really find some great ideas and some good opportunities.
So what channels are they engaging with on social? What platforms? And how are they doing it? Are they successful? Do they have a big following? In terms of content, do they have a blog? Are they regularly updating it? What kind of content are they doing? What works well for them? Really starting to dig deep into what their content strategy is is going to help you build your content strategy and make sure that you’re one step ahead.
And there’s loads of tools out here that can help with that, BuzzSumo being one of them, really good for getting social shares and understanding what works best. There’s so many tools out there that can help you better analyse this. But really have a dig deep into their blog and their social channels and get a feel for what they might be doing.
So where. Similarly, you need to think about where they’re getting their links and their good engagement from. So this comes down to backlink analysis and really analysing those social platforms to see which ones work best for them.
If you’re in a B2B environment, you’re probably going to see things like LinkedIn and Twitter work best. But you might find that they found a way to capture Facebook interests in a different way that you haven’t thought of and you might have not thought was possible.
Where are they getting their links from? Now, this is really vital. If you carry out a comprehensive backlink analysis and look at all of their really strong links, I guarantee you will find some opportunities that you haven’t considered, sites that are linking to them that may very well link to you too and that you can build a relationship with. And suddenly, you’ve got a much broader understanding of the opportunities available to you on the basis of what they’re doing.
Most importantly, and this is the step that a lot of people miss, is the why. Why have they done it, and why are you going to do it? What’s their audience? Who are they talking to? What’s the purpose of the piece? And what are they trying to achieve? What are the goals?
If you can’t understand what their goals are, then it might be that their strategy didn’t really consider goals? They may not be measuring the success of their piece. They may not have thought much about who they’re actually talking to and what they want them to do.
Every piece of content that you do is different. And you need to think, when you’re putting your piece of content together, who is this for? What am I trying to achieve? And how am I going to measure its success? And that’s really, really important because a content strategy should be made up of lots of different types of content, and it’s going to be for lots of different audiences.
You may think you’ve got one target audience, but I guarantee that you haven’t. You’re going to have people that are your peers, your clients, prospects, potential influencer link, people who are going to share your content and link to it, and they all behave very differently. You need to understand those audiences so that you can deliver content for each one and measure the right KPI for each piece.
So looking at your competitors to see what they’re doing and how they’re differentiating their content on social channels or the tone of voice for different pieces is a really good way to get the idea and maybe think about some audience types you haven’t thought about that could really deliver value for your business.
So that’s a top level overview of competitor analysis for social. And obviously, you see it’s a cycle. You’ve always got to keep coming back to this. You shouldn’t do this once at the start of a project and be done with it. This is an ongoing process. There’ll be new competitors entering the market. There will be new links to look at on a regular basis. And you should. You should look at their backlink profiles at least once a month to see what they’re doing. Have a look at their blog, their social platforms, at least once a month. What’s new? Have they changed anything? Are there any new ideas? And all of this comes together to help you be in a better position for your own content strategy.
So I hope that’s given you something to start with. And as I say, go ahead and check out my blog post as well for a little bit more details and also some tools that can better help you do this. But make sure that you’re doing competitor analysis, that you’re doing it well, that you understand what you’re finding, and that, most importantly, you use it in the right way and strategize your content accordingly.
Thanks for listening.