The rule in business is that to be successful you need to be competitive and to be at least in some ways better than the competition. This post is about exactly that: being better.
Of course, there are various ways to achieve this, but one way is to start by copying your competition. If you can emulate your competitors but do things slightly better you have a good chance of being successful.
Here are a selection of tips for doing just that:
Check The Competition Regularly
This is obvious but it’s amazing how few businesses do this. Checking your competitors’ websites is easy and this is the simplest way to find out what they are doing that you are not. Even if you look no further than a simple glance at their website, doing this will ensure that you know what promotions they are trying, any new products are services they offer etc…
You should also regularly check Google (or Google local if you run a more localized business) so that you know when new competition enters the market. Here’s how to do this using a Google alert.
Don’t Just Monitor Your Rankings
Many businesses monitor their rankings, but they forget about some vital information that they could also monitor: your competitor’s rankings!
By tracking your competition’s rankings for all of your target terms you can get a clearer idea of how you are performing, but you can also potentially gain essential insight into how to rank better.
For instance, if your competitor suddenly gains:
– Check out their site, find out what’s new and whether they have changed anything
– Check their backlink profile, have they just gained an important new link?
– If they have suddenly gained some links, where are those links pointing?
– Maybe they just released a successful blog post, or maybe they have hired an agency
Needless to say, when you know that your competition is doing something you need to figure out what it is and do one better. And if the opposite happens (they suddenly lose rankings) you need to make sure you don’t make the same mistake.
Keywords That They Are Targeting
There are a few ways that you can get clues as to which keywords that your competitors are targeting. One of the simplest is to check their basic SEO if they are doing any.
If they use meta_keyword tags then you can see which keywords they have there, but often checking their title tags is a better indication. Look for common themes to get an idea of their strategy.
You can also check which keywords and phrases they are bidding on for Adwords. This is as simple as Googling the phrase to see if their Ad shows up (and where).
Monitoring PPC Keywords
This isn’t an exact science, but if you have a list of keywords to monitor you can check which of your competition appear to be bidding on those phrases and by noting the position you can estimate how much value they place on that keyword.
Hopefully, as your competition try new keywords and track their progress they will drop certain phrases too. This is an excellent way to find out which keywords are more likely to be profitable for you.
This certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t make a keyword profitable for you which wasn’t profitable for them, but it’s certainly a good way to choose which phrases to test first if you are starting out. iSpionage is the perfect tool for helping you monitor PPC keyword activity.
Follow Them On Twitter
For one thing, you should be tracking their follower counts and retweets etc…
If their follower count suddenly goes up:
– Where did the followers come from?
– What have they Tweeted about recently?
– Have they had any promotion elsewhere?
Again, by tracking these changes you can scrutinize them when something important happens so that you can find out what about their social media strategy is working and how you could adapt it for your own use.
Of course the suggestions above are just a few ways that you can spy on your competitors. The important thing is to make sure that you have at the least an awareness of your competition so that you can plan your own strategy better.
My name is Adam and I am a digital marketer here at Digivate. We are a London based SEO agency and we specialize in helping to grow your web presence. We also have a blog, so if you would like to read more please checkout our latest blog post on Google+ for beginners.