Julian Castro once said, "We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others."The unfortunate reality of running a business is that you will face a lot of competition.The question is, how do you get out to the top?
Few questions are harder to answer since there are so many factors that contribute to creating and nurturing a successful business.You need a great product, a large retailer and great marketing – not to mention all the human elements like persistence, belief in the idea and hiring the right people.
You might look into your competitors' pricing strategy or social media campaigns, but monitoring their websites will give you a more solid and general view of what they're doing and how well they're doing it.You'll discover the keywords they're targeting, their ranking, their most popular content, the links they're getting, and their social activity.
And when you know what your competition is doing, you'll have a clear understanding of what you're facing – in other words, what your strengths and weaknesses are compared to other brands that sell the same thing that we are.
You may be a very fast runner, but if you have no idea how fast someone else runs, it will be much harder to improve your skill.When you realize that the fastest runner in the world (Usain Bolt) runs 100 meters in 9.58 seconds, you'll know exactly how much you need to improve to beat that record.
Examples of product branding
Many people mistakenly believe that the only way to outperform their competitors is to offer a superior product.On the surface, that idea seems to make sense.Isn't the superior product or service always the one that ends up being the source of a thriving business?
Gary Dahl took that supposed common sense and threw it out the window.In 1975, the advertising executive launched a line of smooth stones marketed as live pets with cardboard boxes customized with straw and breathing holes. The Pet Rock .
You read that right.
A businessman took stones of all shapes and sizes from the Mexican beach of Rosarito and sold them to people in boxes with plastic eyes.The product was a huge success.In February 1975, Gary Dahl had sold 1.5 million companion stones for four dollars each:
Of course, this product was a craze and died out after six months (although he cared – he became a millionaire).But what its first success showed is that the big brand is often more important than a great product.
Jaiden Vu, founder and CEO of Vantura Cosmetics, an organic and vegan cosmetics company, knew the importance of branding on the product.
By using social media to present a unique, aspirational vision of anyone who feels good in their own skin, the company was able to gain a sizable following before it even launched its product.So when they launched the company into a crowded market, they were able to achieve initial success.
When McDonald's expanded into the Philippines in the 80s, the Filipino brothers behind the Jollibee fast food chain analyzed their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the global giant and realized that while McDonald's had size and experience, Jollibee had a unique understanding of the flavor profile that Filipinos are supportive of and knew that Micky D would have a hard time matching it without diluting it. their menu.
Jollibee now has more than 3,500 stores in the Philippines and another 1,000 internationally, and the company is moving to the United States, McDonald's home ground. Regardless of the size of your industry or company, closely monitoring your competitors will give you an idea of their strategies.
Why focus on competitor website analysis?
Competition, driven largely by globalisation, is increasing rapidly in almost all sectors.And it's proving to be a double-edged sword for entrepreneurs.
Today, entrepreneurs have access to a wider base of potential customers than ever before, but they are not only competing with similar companies in their area, but are exposed to increasing competition from manufacturers around the world.
Such large exposure is causing companies to struggle not only to remain profitable, but also to identify the companies they compete with.
That's why we recommend starting with competitor website analysis.There are tools that make it easy to scrape the web for competitor information, and there are plenty of tactics you can take once you get a feel for their online landscape.
Although there are many other competitor analysis strategies, in this article we will focus on these ten ways to perform competitive website analytics.
- How to discover your competitors' content strategy
- How to Perform Marketing Competitor Analysis (+ 6 Best Tools Comparison)
- 10 tools to monitor the growth of competitors and affect their strategies
What should I look for in a competitive website analysis?
Knowing which tools to use is only the first part of the competitive website analysis process.You also need to know what information you should look for and how to use it to gain a competitive advantage.
The information and data points you actually need to know about your competitors will largely depend on the type of marketing strategies that are most important to your industry and the effort you need to make to improve them:
- Organic traffic. If, for example, your business depends on organic traffic and you really need to improve your search engine rankings, leveraging SEO tools like Moz, SEMrush, or Ahrefs could be a good place to start.
- PPC advertising. If paid traffic will be a key part of your strategy, you'll want to create a paid account with WhatRunsWhere or similar web.Tools like these help you with the daunting task of finding out what other brands are doing with their advertising, such as what kind of ads they're creating, where they're running them, and the level of -ERR:REF-NOT-FOUND-user engagement:
- Customer demographics and market segments. If deciding which customers to target as your primary target, Quantcast and Alexa are excellent tools for monitoring demographics that interact with competitors' websites.You may find that you're getting lost in a big market that you would otherwise never have thought you'd target.
- Find new customer segments. You can also use competitive tools to identify the different customer bases your competitors are targeting to inspire your future expansions, though you'll need to put that demographic information in context with your branding goals first.
Best Tools for Online Competitive Website Analysis
All of these competitive analysis tools have different characteristics, so it's wise to give some of them a test run while you learn to conduct the most comprehensive analysis of your main competitors.
Some of the tools described below can quickly provide a complete overview of your competitor's strategy.Others require a monthly (sometimes significant) subscription fee, but the investment could pay off if, as a result, you're able to significantly improve the performance of your business.
SimilarWeb is a great way to see how much traffic your competitors are getting and which advertising channels they're using the most.This website analysis and data mining tool provides very detailed information about different sites and a comprehensive overview of a website's marketing strategy.
The software does this using data extracted from four main sources:
- A web browsing panel comprised of millions of anonymous users with a portfolio of apps, browser plugins, desktop extensions, and software
- Global and local ISPs and data partnerships
- Web traffic measured directly from a learning set of websites and apps selected for specialized estimation algorithms
- A colony of web crawlers that crawls the entire web and app stores
Here are some of the variables included in the analysis:
- Estimated monthly visitors
- Average time visitors spend on the website
- Bounce rate
- Average page views per visitor
- Percentage of traffic coming from various channels
- Best Referral Websites
- Proportion of traffic from different social networks
- Banner images used for display ads
- Keywords that drive organic search traffic
- Keywords that drive paid search traffic
- Public interests
- Other website visitors view
You don't need to pay to use the service, but the data you will receive without becoming a premium member will be very limited.You'll only get five results for each website metric you're analyzing (for example, you'll only see five of the keywords the site receives organic search traffic from).
If you want more detailed analysis, you will have to pay for it.An Enterprise plan provides three years of data, unlimited results per website metric, nearly 250 industry categories, and an overview of industry leaders.
Alexa is one of the oldest web analytics tools available on the market, but it's still a great competitive analytics option for brands on a budget.It provides solid demographic and regional information so you can see where and to whom your competitors are marketing.
Alexa ranks sites based primarily on tracking a sample set of Internet traffic, primarily users of its toolbar for Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers.The Alexa toolbar includes the ranking of the site the user is visiting, as well as related links and search terms.
While not as informative as SimilarWeb, it offers detailed information about the regions visitors come from, the keywords that drive the most organic traffic to the site, and the website's top referral sites.The more advanced plans also offer information about the keywords used by competitors to drive paid search traffic.
Use the tool to get an idea of the site's demographics.If the demographics of users on your competitors' sites seem to match their target market, you can expect the marketing channels they're using to work well (and may work well for your brand).
The toolbar is free, but Alexa also has an advanced plan that offers SEO tools like a competitor backlink checker, a competitor keyword matrix, and competitor traffic statistics.After a 14-day trial, the advanced plan is $149 per month.
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Quantcast collects detailed insights into the demographics and behavior of site visitors.
By placing tags on websites, blogs, videos, and widgets, the software measures demographic and user behavior, such as audience age and gender composition, areas of interest, and the type, duration, and frequency of engagement with certain types of content, and user retention.
You'll need to embed a tracking code on your website to use Quantcast in order to generate your data, although you can also use it to access limited information on other websites (mostly traffic reports only).
By itself, the tool will not offer comprehensive competitive analysis; however, it's most effective when used in conjunction with other analytics tools to see how changes on your website affect your branding and conversion goals.Monitor the impact of these changes with Quantcast and compare them with competitor data from other analytics tools.
One of the unique advantages of Quantcast is that you can track this data in real time.The benefit of real-time analytics is that you can easily track the impact of any changes as soon as they're made, helping you iterate quickly.
That said, if you plan to use this approach, you'll want to check with other tools as well to see what traffic they're getting first, as their website could be optimized specifically for the visits they're generating.If your preferred traffic sources don't match, this process may not provide much relevant data.
SEMrush is another versatile competitor analysis tool that doesn't require a big budget.It's great for tracking competitors' display advertising and search engine marketing strategies.
The most popular reason digital marketers use SEMrush is to monitor the performance of their websites or competitor's sites in organic search results.
In seconds, you can enter a website's URL into the search engine bar and receive the following metrics:
- Volume of traffic coming from organic and paid search
- Changes in search volume over time for two years now
- The keywords for which your competitors are ranking
- Main competitors
- Dofollow and nofollow backlinks
You don't have to pay for an account with SEMrush, but you'll only receive five data points for each metric, and you'll be limited to five reports per day.If you're willing to pay $99.95 per month for a pro subscription, you'll get a lot more data.You'll also be able to run up to 3,000 reports per day, receive 10,000 results per report, and manage up to 500 keywords in five different projects.
For even more access to competitor analytics data, upgrade to the company's "Guru" plan at $199.95 or the "Business" plan at $399.95.
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Moz is one of the most popular tools for monitoring SEO campaigns and social media and content marketing.You can also use it for site audits, ranking tracking, backlink analysis, and keyword research.
With Moz Pro, you can use the tool to scan not only other people's websites, but your own site to find out any issues you need to fix, such as broken links, duplicate content, and missing page elements.Plus, their Indexing Alerts feature will alert you whenever new issues arise on your site.
Moz is free to try for 30 days and after that premium plans start at $99 per month.The $99 plan allows you to track five campaigns, which can include up to 300 keywords, 100,000 web pages, and 5,000 backlink queries.As with many of the other examples above, you can pay for more advanced plans if you need more stats.
As Ahrefs' CMO and Product Advisor say, "We like to think of ourselves as a data company.Here's why: We crawl the web 24/7, collecting petabytes of data in the process.We develop custom storage solutions to accommodate all that data.We create ways to efficiently query that data and extract insights in a fraction of a second.
All this allows you to conduct SEO audits, analyze social metrics and study a competitor's content marketing strategies.
Like Moz, it's best suited to study the performance of various SEO strategies and also provides an in-depth look at backlink patterns, which can help you study, emulate, and outperform your competitors' offsite SEO efforts.
Here are some of the different variables you can analyze with Ahrefs:
- Total reference backlinks
- Total pages scanned
- Number of backlinks from .edu, .gov, .com, .org, and .net domains
- Split between dofollow and nofollow links
- Split between image and text links
- Most popular anchor phrases
- The most popular content on the site
- Regions where most referring domains come from
- Reference IP
- Broken backlinks on your site
Ahrefs is one of the most popular SEO analysis tools on the market.If you want to get the most detailed reports on your competitors' SEO campaigns, basic plans are available for $99 per month, which will give you access to up to five million rows of data.You can also test the site for $7.
Most of the other competitor analysis tools mentioned so far focus on the performance of a website's digital marketing campaigns.MixRank is a little different.This tool provides more information about the company itself, rather than its branding efforts, with the following details:
- Lists of millions of registered companies worldwide
- Advertisers by categories, keywords, and traffic sources they're using
- Contact information about key members of the company
- The technology used by these companies
- Intelligence about the marketing channels they are using
Mixrank is designed to conduct competitor analysis and identify new contacts.In particular, they claim that many of their customers use this platform to find out which customers are serving their competitors so that they can try to steal them themselves.
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WhatRunsWhere is a competitive analysis tool for monitoring paid search campaigns, specifically to gain insight into your competitors' digital advertising strategies.
This tool currently provides access to 90,000 advertisers, 20,000 sites, and 500 networks in five countries, meaning there's a wealth of data available if you want to see exactly where and how your competitors serve your ads.You can use WhatRunsWhere to generate real-time data on display networks, creatives, and keywords used by your competitors.The data is several years old, allowing you to see how your competitors' ad campaigns have evolved over time.
A great way to use WhatRunsWhere is to see what websites or keywords your competitors have performed for certain periods of time.If the contest continues to use the same keywords, ad copy, or publishers, then you might want to consider using them.
Of course, it's also a good idea to use Alexa or another web analytics tool to learn more about the demographics a competitor is targeting regularly instead of automatically assuming that their campaign goals are relevant to your business.Other businesses may be aimed at a slightly different audience than you, so sites or keywords that work well for them may not be right for you.
The data on WhatRunsWhere is of the highest quality, so it's no surprise that so many people rely on it to monitor and copy your competitors' advertising strategies.However, the main disadvantage of WhatRunsWhere is that it does not provide information about organic search rankings or other free traffic sources.In addition, the standard service does not provide any information about a brand's social advertising strategies, so it is best to use it together with other competitive SEO analysis tools.
Datanyze is a specialized software program that focuses on lead generation opportunities.However, you can also use Datanyze to gain more insight into the competition.
The information you can find using this tool includes:
- Contact information of a particular company
- Expected revenue and financing
- Date of foundation
- Industry category
- Country where the domain is based
- The technology providers that a specific company is using
This information can give you an idea of the revenue your competitors generate and the amount of money they're investing in their marketing campaigns.This data can be useful for any industry, but it's especially useful for technology providers.In addition to monitoring their competitors, technology providers can also monitor other companies to see when they stopped using their competitors' software, helping them identify potential leads to follow.
There are a number of factors you need to consider as you conduct your competitor research, including customer demographics and the keywords and publishers they're focusing on.You may need to use different tools to gather the information you need, but there are many options out there that you need to consider.
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After collecting data from your competitors…
Collecting data on your competitors with these tools is ridiculously easy.
The hard part is finding out what the data says about the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors' marketing campaigns.Learning how to do competitive analysis and evaluate data in this way, however, is a much better approach than blindly copying their strategies.
For example, you probably don't want to copy the link building strategies of a competitor who doesn't rank for any of the major keywords.You also don't want to show ads on websites where your competitor ran ads once three years ago, as they probably won't benefit from it again.
Gathering information about competitors is only the first step.You also need to carefully analyze this information to understand their marketing strategy and how your business should respond accordingly.There's no point in trying to mimic a competitor's strategies if they don't work.