Copying your competitors will make it difficult for you to be successful in any industry.
SEO competitors are difficult to find because…
- No one knows what they are doing.
- Confirmation bias will be used as the default.
- Being different is more rewarding than being the best.
- Your competitors may be copying your ideas.
- There are other reasons.
You will do it anyway, so we have a few suggestions to make it easier.
Direct Competitor Research should not be done
Competitor research can yield valuable insights.
An hour of interviewing potential customers can give you a lot more insight.
In a world of limited resources, direct competitor research is unnecessary.
Let’s get this straight:
Your competitors won’t teach you much if they work in industries that allow you to attract organic traffic simply by being better.
Your industry doesn’t allow for organic traffic.
Let’s suppose you are a member of a winning local soccer team. You want a way to improve your skills and win matches.
Would you like to watch your children play? Would you be willing to spend hours just watching FC Barcelona in action?
No! Practice the basics and have fun!
The best insights come from keyword, audience, and topical research.
But, in this case, you should not go to the site of a competitor and click around.
Instead of relying on confirmation bias, you should create a standard system to allow you to extract useful insights from data with less likelihood to be biased.
Do you conduct systematic competitor research?
I’ve worked with many clients, and have seen hundreds of Google Analytics dashboards. There is one thing that all of them have in common: –
Without having access to their Analytics profile you won’t be able to know which pages or sections of a website have been most successful.
One post can have many shares.
It’s all speculation.
Do not click around on websites.
Instead of creating a spreadsheet, you can use the example of –
- To get more shares, you can collect data from multiple URLs.
- By scraping and categorizing competitors’ pages, you can reach more customers.
- Copy and taglines can be taken from other companies to help you better describe your product/service.
Although you won’t be performing any data analysis, you will have a goal and a system to help you save time and see the broader picture.
This will allow you to quickly draw insight from multiple sources in an objective manner. This will improve your chances of finding the right solution for your site.
Majestic and Ahrefs software can speed up this process.
Research the real competitors
To gather data for systematic analysis, you will need to get data from both your indirect and direct competitors.
Your competitor is not online. Your visitor’s attention is often divided between thousands of websites.
SEOs know that keyword difficulty can be judged by user intent, site type, and relevancy.
Your swimwear brand might be competing with bigger discounters and publishers than your competition.
we include relevant subcategories on Amazon and Target when we conduct competitor research for clients or ourselves.
This applies to more than just SERPs. This applies to Pinterest, Facebook, and all other marketing channels.
Now you have a spreadsheet with real competitors. What are you looking for?
Sometimes insight is obvious. Other times, confirmation bias might occur. You will only see what you want.
Instead, we looked out for outliers and 2nd levels as well as “intersections.” “
Learn what makes content successful
When you look at competitor data, consider why some competitor content is more popular.
What content does your competitor use to succeed when it shouldn’t?
Most of the traffic to a site comes from a few content pages. Make adjustments based on this information.
A client of mine was an industrial manufacturer. They used their homepage to rank them for the term.
But, they lost that ranking. They moved up to the #3 spot.
Why? Search intent has changed. Search intent has also changed.
The entire SERP was for activated charcoal retail listings…except one.
This homepage is now a valuable educational resource in a Buyer’s Guide. It was created for both consumers and purchasing managers.
We were able to create a page that was superior to any accidental success of our competitors. We not only got back in the top 10, but we also beat Amazon and Wikipedia to the #1 spot.
You may find content that isn’t intended to be successful, but it is still useful.
Find outliers in Failing Content Research
It is the reverse. It is important to search for content that ranks, gets links, gets shares… but not.
Campaigns are important in a world of limited resources and limited time.
This angle works well for large competitors.
REwehas, for instance, is one of the most innovative digital marketing teams on the Internet. If you view them as an indirect competitor, it is worth looking at which pages don’t get shares/links.
When someone is targeting a specific query or running a campaign that’s not working, it can be a sign they need to look into other variables.
Get the best link & sharing types
Influencer Stealing and Linking to Competitors is one of the most common uses and misuses of competitor research.
It is obvious Competitor A has a link from Website X. The exact link you want.
Bob the Badass Influencer might also be on Instagram, promoting Competitor 1. He may ask you to promote your product.
Don’t do this.
Congratulations on your success. You can still achieve more than them.
You can’t fail and you risk your reputation by running boring campaigns.
There are many methods to locate and obtain competitor links. This will be covered by me soon.
Competitor research can be used to identify influencers and link types that are successful.
You can also classify links from your competitors into categories, and then create outreach campaigns around those categories.
Consider, for instance, that you are competing against an online golf retailer. They have links to local clubs and some from youth camps.
It’s possible to get different links. Your competitor might be able to get more links. Both link types can scale out.
Influencers are the same.
Research 2nd Tier Links & Shares
Many competitors have to deal with this problem when they keep coming up against the same influencers or sites.
You need to dig deeper.
These were the best lines we found for research:
Start by looking at competitors’ referring websites. Take these domains and use them as a starting point for general opportunities.
Next, look for pages that are similar or identical to yours. These backlinks may help identify specific opportunities.
This principle says that you can use the competitor to help find potential link opportunities.
You can use social shares on Pinterest and Twitter to do the same thing.
Research Customer Language & Feedback
Sometimes, it is tedious and manual work to find competitors. Remember that the barrier of entry determines your advantage.
If your competitor operates in public or has large enough brand products, you will find customer feedback and reviews all over the Internet.
It is possible to find it, read it, and analyze it. Use Google Search Operators and Q&A platforms like Reddit or Quora.
ConversionXL provides more information on this approach.
Intersect Direct Competitors & True Competitors
Remember when we said you shouldn’t try and get the links from your competitor?
You should only search for links in reports that are called “Link Intersect”.
While you may find few, these are often quick wins.
You will need to take two or more competitors, and run them through a tool called “link intersect”. You will then find the most interesting links.
You can find higher-quality links by using a twist. Interact directly with “True Competitors”, like Amazon or industry publishers, as well as other SERP competitors.
Be sure to filter out bad links. You might be getting a PBN or a paid link. This will eventually come back to haunt your competitor.
Competitor Research is an important part of the SEO and the content market. Your target audience should be your focus.
Systematically conduct competitor research with clear goals. Determine what is objectively most effective, and then modify it.