Whether you’re a new start up, or an established business, it’s likely that you regularly looking at the competition to work out where you stand, and how to ensure that they don’t have an edge over the products or services that your business sells.
But have you ever considered a competition analysis for your digital marketing strategy?
If you’re new to the world of content marketing, you’ve probably read lots about how great a content marketing strategy could be for building your brand’s online presence. However, just like you would conduct a competitive analysis before launching a product, it’s also important to conduct a digital competition analysis before creating your content marketing plan.
When you put enough time and research into it, a competition analysis will allow you to better prioritise your strategy; finding gaps in the online market and discover new opportunities for your business by understanding what your competition doing is online and what is working for them.
As your content should be focused on helping your customers to solve their problems, a competition analysis will help you understand how well they are doing at meeting the needs of your customers with their content. This will give you a better idea of where to focus your energies and drive real results for your business.
What is SEO competition analysis?
Competition analysis is a critical part of your overall marketing strategy. It’s all about understanding where you are in the market, who your competition is, and where you need to get to in order to outperform them.
A competitive analysis is particularly important online, as search engines are essentially the battleground that you and your competitors fight on to draw consumers to your websites.
In terms of SEO, it’s all about identifying your competitors, evaluating the SEO strategies which are relative to your brand, and determining your own strengths and weaknesses in comparison to them.
Competition analysis should always begin with establishing and understanding where your brand is in terms of your marketing strategy and its success. Are you in position one for your top 3 keywords? Does your website post new content daily, weekly, or even monthly?
Once you have a good understanding of your brand’s current performance, you should then identify your competitors – other businesses that are either directly, or indirectly trying to attract the same consumers as you.
After careful analysis (ways on how to do this can be found in my SEO competitor analysis blog), you can start planning where you need to get to in order to push out the competition and drive more traffic to your website.
Meet Jenny. Jenny runs a small florist in Oxfordshire which has made steady progress over the past few years, mainly through word of mouth of local townspeople who love her flower arrangements.
In response to her growth, Jenny has recently purchased two delivery vans so she can share her flowers to more people.
But how do these people find out Jenny’s business exists?
Jenny has a website but hasn’t really updated any of the pages since it was first built. It contains all the basics of her business – what services she offers, her location, business hours and prices.
She wants to try and reach more customers and knows she can by building a comprehensive content marketing strategy. But before she can build her strategy, she needs to know who to target and what competition is standing in her way.
Jenny decides to conduct a competition analysis to see what other florists in the area could be competing for her main keyword; ‘florists in Oxford.’
She finds Bloom & Wild, one of the UK’s largest flower delivery services ranks in position 1 for the search term. With high page authority and domain authority, she also knows that as such a large corporation, they have lots of external links. This means trying to outrank them for this keyword could be quite laborious, and she doesn’t have a huge budget or capacity to produce the amount of content needed to do so.
Jenny then looks at the brand in second position for the keyword, Fresh as a Daisy. As a local competitor, Jenny knows that Fresh as a Daisy are relatively similar in their size and the services they offer.
She sees that their website has lots of instances of the search term ‘florists in Oxford,’ but it doesn’t have any specific pages on delivery services, which is Jenny’s new business venture. Jenny sees an opportunity to research how popular ‘flower delivery in Oxfordshire’ is as a keyword. She sees it has around 250 searches a month.
Jenny thinks; ‘250 searches – that’s 250 people that could be engaging with my business each month!’
And so, she decides that by creating webpages dedicated to her delivery services and the local areas she covers, she may be able to increase her rankings and gain more business.
She then creates a content plan which includes her current rankings for ‘flower delivery in Oxfordshire,’ ‘flower delivery in Abingdon-on-Thames,’ ‘flower delivery in Wheatley,’ and for the other local areas her services cover.
The plan also includes when she’ll write them, and the date she publishes the pages. This will allow her to track her keyword performance to see if her rankings for ‘florists in Oxford’ rise, as well as a few other long tail terms such as; ‘florists with delivery in Oxford’ and ‘florists that deliver to me in Oxfordshire.’
After publishing 10 webpages dedicated to Jenny’s delivery services in the local areas, Jenny sees that she now ranks in position 1 for ‘florists with delivery in Oxford,’ as well as for a variety of long tail keywords related to the search term.
Jenny sees a spike in visitors to her website looking for delivery services, and, as a result, also has an increase in her sales numbers for flower deliveries.
It’s by seeing the opportunity from her competitors and targeting the people who are interested in local flower delivery services that Jenny has been able to create content for them and draw them to her business.
Competition analysis is about seeing how you can get above your competition in a practical and smart way, rather than creating articles and seeing what sticks.
As we saw from Jenny, it was doing a competitive analysis that allowed her to focus her business’s attention and target consumers that were interested in one of her services. It gave her a great indication of which keywords to start targeting, and how she could work her way to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) for those keywords.
SEO competition analysis allows you to fill the gaps
Competition analysis allows you to see what content is working for the keywords you are trying to rank for.
But, this also presents an opportunity to see where the gaps in your keyword plan are.
For example, after conducting a competitive analysis, you may see that you are ranking for the popular search term ‘projectors,’ which may drive lots of traffic to your website.
However, when looking at other closely related terms, it could also show that you’re not ranking for the term ‘best projectors’ which may also have a high search volume, if not higher. If your competitors aren’t ranking this term either, then it presents an opportunity to fill the gap yourself and claim the top position.
By seeing where these gaps are, you are presented with new opportunities to grow your audience and can adjust your content marketing strategy accordingly.
Competition analysis allows you to size up the competition
Another benefit of spending time on a competition analysis is that is allows you to see the size of the beasts you are dealing with. As a new start-up, a competitive analysis is a great starting point for your marketing strategy so you are aware of how much effort will be needed to break into the industry.
It’s good to have an understanding of who the big market players are, as well as seeing the direct competition from other smaller businesses.
For example, if you’re a small and cheap clothing boutique, looking to target keywords like ‘cheap clothing,’ your biggest competitor is probably going to be someone like Boohoo or Missguided. That means to outrank them, you’re going to need a big workforce who can create tonnes of amazing content daily, with a huge budget behind it.
Instead, you should try and focus your efforts and target one key thing, such as ‘pink shoes.’ This keyword is much more specific and will have less competition than much broader keyword terms. This means you can create a comprehensive content strategy that hones in on your speciality and will drive more achievable results based on your time and budget.
Remember the example I gave above?
Jenny was able to see that she was competing with big floristry brands like Bloom & Wild for the term ‘florists in Oxford.’ But, after seeing the smaller and more direct competitors, she was able to focus her content plan on her delivery service and outrank smaller business, Fresh as a Daisy.
Remember, you only need to be better than your competition to win the Google race.
Improve your overall marketing strategy
If you’re conducting a comprehensive competition analysis, you won’t just be looking at SEO, but all other digital marketing areas including social media, online directories, email campaigns and more.
This could again, present some great opportunities for you to improve different areas of your digital marketing strategy. For example, if one of your competitors has a great social media presence, you can see what’s working well for them and find inspiration on how to improve yours.
We often realise that the key to beating the competition is to utilise the strategies of our competitors and implement them into one cohesive content marketing strategy.
Focus your business’s attention
Putting marketing to one side for a moment, from a business perspective, a comprehensive competitor analysis will allow you to focus your energies on the things that really matter and drive sales.
Looking at what consumers are searching for, and where competitors are directing their attention can help your company to pivot your strategies, and hone in on the areas of your business that are most relevant right now.
Not only will you be increasing your revenue, but you’ll also be making effective use of yours and your employee’s time to focus on things that really create results.
Creating and articulating your plan
Going back to a content marketing perspective, conducting an effective competition analysis should also help you evaluate the size of the challenge and how much work will be required to get you to that top spot for rankings.
You can create a comprehensive content marketing strategy which will outline a set of practical details and goals that you can get started on right away.
After all, if you need to persuade other decision makers in your company who are not as marketing-savvy as you, you need to be able to explain why you should be focusing so much time, effort and money into a plan.
Presenting a practical plan with clearly defined goals will help them to better understand and support your strategy.
Prioritise your actions
You want to make sure you’re making effective use of this time.
A cohesive competition analysis won’t only create a list of tasks for you to complete, but also give you a practical way of getting started. You’ll be creating a detailed plan which indicates, based on search and level of competition, which of your long list of tasks you should prioritise.
For example, with Jenny and her floristry business, she was able to see that her main competitor wasn’t targeting home delivery services for florists. Because the competition was low, she was able to prioritise creating her local area delivery pages and increase her rankings on the short term, before moving onto bigger projects.
If she didn’t have this indicator, she may have tried targeting the most competitive keywords which would have taken a lot of time, content, and money to deliver any results. By going for the smaller search terms with lower competition, she was able to increase other rankings and improve the overall performance of her SEO.
Using SEO competition to get your business ahead
Although a competition analysis can seem like a rather long and arduous process at the start, the benefits it can drive for your business are huge.
Once you’ve put the initial hard work in – more details on how to conduct a comprehensive SEO competition analysis can be found here – you’ll have a clearly defined and practical strategy to implement and drive results.
Not only can it open up opportunities for you to market your business, with enough time and research, it can help you to enhance your overall marketing strategy and focus your business on areas which consumers are clearly interested in.
If you can find an opportunity to increase your rankings, you’ll be driving more traffic to your website, away from the competition, and increase your sales.
Just remember, that with opportunity comes growth. And I’d be happy to help you achieve this growth. Contact me today for an obligation-free chat about your SEO goals and how a marketing consultant can help you to drive real results for your business.