Being secured in your online business is not all about setting up your defenses but also by analyzing your competitors. Keeping track of what services they offer work for them and how they bring people into their site will provide a good overview of how to improve your business. No matter how they hide their trails, there will always be tools that will let you analyze and track your competitors.
Ready for research? Let’s start right now!
1. Identify Your Competitors
First thing to do is to identify your competitors. I find SimilarSites.com accurate and one of the most simplest tool to use.
It has a voting system for every result if it is similar or not and SimilarSites also gives you a view of what your competitors are good at: www.example.com is rank 1 in WordPress tutorial, 13 in Photoshop tutorial, 2 in web resources, etc.
2. Search Engine Ranking
Image by: Christian Ferrari
It is important that you know Page Rank. Google ranks websites according to their popularity, and obviously it gives you an idea on how competitors use their resources effectively.
An alternative to Google Page Rank is SEOmoz.com. Free registration and you are good to go with their Trifecta Tool Report. They have their own ranking system which I fancy, reading “44% – Somewhat Important”. Better to top all rankings instead of just one, right? However, regular members can only run one report per day.
3. Traffic is good for business
Image by: Sigurd Decroos
Analyzing your competitors’ traffic gives you an idea on the number of visitors they get. Google Trends, Alexa, GetClicky are good tools to compare statistics, they let you see on what regions the website is doing great as well as what search terms prospect visitors might search for. It is also good to note competitors that are not doing well in order to avoid being like them, more like a grave example.
The next thing to know, after learning what websites have good traffic, is how effective their keywords and link building is.
4. Importance of Keywords
It all comes down to keywords, it tells search engines the content of your site. Wrong keyword means no traffic. A successful competitor knows full well what keywords to use to harvest visitors to their site.
A tool to see good keywords in your niche is SEOdigger.com.
It provides a list of domains with common keywords and shows the position of the site for the search query in Google and what among them brings more traffic. It gives you enough facility to compare several competitors’ performance in SEO.
There are many instances when a higher PR website is outmatched by those with lower PRs, this is due to careful manipulation and good use of keywords. Thankfully you can see what keywords your competitors are using and which of them has the biggest impact. That’s what I call handy.
I almost forgot to mention Google Wonder Wheel. It provides relevant terms of your search query of what is gaining popularity among searchers. Neat, eh?
Image by: Svilen Milev
Backlinks do two things to help promote your site if done correctly. First it serves as a tunnel from a website to yours, if the referring website is of high standing the better. Second it boosts your keywords. Have I not said that it’s all about keywords?
Knowing who the promoters are of sites within your niche is like learning some of the enemy’s strategies. This may serve you well in terms of knowing what direction your linkbuilding should go. It will be a good thing if the website that links to your competitor will take interest in you as well. Remember that good competitors have good backlinks.
6. Social Networks
Image by: Sanja Gjenero
Facebook is aiming to be the web’s standard for everything you do online. With its Open Graph,websites will customize themselves based on their users’ interests through the Like button. Imagine logging in to Amazon and finding all of the things that interests you neatly arranged on their home page without even having to search for it. Just thinking about it makes me shiver! It is predicted that in the very near future, Facebook will be the one to drive more traffic on websites, the blood of e-commerce! And most likely other major networking sites will follow this lead.
Consider following your competitors on Twitter and subscribe to their newsletter and blog. You may also want to search Twitter and see what people are posting about your search query and know how they’re feeling about it.
Other tools to use:
There are more than a hundred tools in the web for analyzing competition, below are some of the easiest to use:
Estimates global traffic for websites. It is pretty flexible. You may compare statistics on the spot, who the audience are, worldwide traffic rank, and many more.
It boasts 4 main tools in running reports for good estimate of site analysis, performance, and general recommendation.
Provides most of the information you need about backlinks.
Another great tool to track web traffic. Boasts analytics in real-time.
If you feel like spying and be alerted whenever your competitors appear in the web then Google Alerts is right for you. It is pretty flexible and fast too. I remember using it to keep track of Harry Potter and in just a day almost 300 blogs, videos, news, and everything appeared about my search term! People are broadcasting about this fantastic website? Be alerted and see why.
These are free tools that you can use to analyze your website and competitors. There are a lot of paid tools out there but most have the same usage as the tools above.
Everywhere you go, information and correct execution leads to success. Good luck to all!
Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.