competitor research article

Why competitor research is important for your digital strategy

5 min read.

Reaching the eyes of your intended audience/customer is becoming harder by the minute. The online space is highly competitive, and it’s hard to survive without a smart digital strategy. Keyword analysis is one of the best ways to attract users to your site, and you can’t do this without peeping over your competitor’s shoulders (digitally speaking, of course). 

This article will explain what competitor keyword analysis is and how to use it to improve your digital strategy.

What is competitor research and keyword analysis?

Competitor keyword analysis is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a research process that focuses on identifying your main competitors, and analysing how and where they are succeeding.

The first step is to identify your top competitors. Make sure you reach for the top – go for your best performing competitors so you won’t just beat them, you can learn from them too.

Once you have identified your competitors, begin your research. The aim is to identify the keywords other sites in your industry are ranking for. This includes any blog posts, advertising they pay for (PPC) and social media.

Take the top keywords your competitor is ranking for and then decide which ones are relevant to your business. Remember, it’s still quality of quantity. To attract your perfect customer who is ready to buy what you’re selling (and not vague customers who may or may not be interested), you need to be very specific with your choices.

Analysing your competitors’ is also a free pass for marketing information, instead of going through the trial and error rigmarole yourself. This can include identifying a new audience demographic – age, location (local, regional, international) and interests.

Use the information you have identified in your own strategy to improve your ranking.

Why analyse competitors?

The best way to find your ideal customer, or for them to find you, is to get inside their mind. Keyword research will show you what words are ranking in your industry, and therefore what words potential customers are using.

Analysing your competitors shows you the landscape that your site exists in and what potential customers are seeing on their way to find your site. It shows you how your site compares. Try to look at this landscape through unbiased eyes, and ask yourself is your ad the one you would honestly choose to click on? Are your competitors’ sites more attractive? Easier to use?

Analysing your competitors can also give you insight into other SEO techniques that you might not be taking advantage of. If a competitor’s site has a number of high-quality backlinks, that tells you working on your backlinks is a worthwhile thing to do. It could also give you insight into how your customers use social media, the length of articles or blogposts they prefer to read, and whether paid advertisement is a good idea.

By analysing your competitors and learning what keywords or other SEO techniques they’re using to improve their search engine results page rankings, you are putting your site in front of the same web users they are. If your site isn’t seen, it won’t be chosen. You need to be in it to win it and competitor analysis puts you in the game. 

6 steps to find and analyse your competitors  

To help simplify the process of analysing your competitors, we’ve put together a six-step list:

  1. Identify your competitors: We did mention this in the section “what is competitor research and keyword analysis” but it’s good to go over it again. When determining which competitor’s to analyse, identify the ones that are the most similar to your business – that way the information will be relevant to you. Also focus on high performing competitors, so that you know you are improving your site.
  2. How do they brand themselves?: Market positioning is a great way to know which competitors align with your own brand. How do they present themselves? What is their image? Do you know who their target audience is? Can you identify a way to stand out in the market?
  3. SEO: Have a broader look at how your competitors are using SEO techniques to find their customers. What keywords are they ranking for? Can you find information about their site traffic and engagement levels (you’ll need a plugin for this)?
  4. Check out their content/products: When researching your competitors take notes on how they present/market their products or services. Do they offer special promotions or discounts? Do they focus on a particular product as their main drawcard? If you’re competing for content, analyse what content they create. What topics get the most feedback? Have they missed something that you think is important? How do they present their page? All this information is useful to determine where your site sits in the market and what areas you can work on.
  5. Review customer engagement: Are customers leaving feedback on their products or content? If they are, use this direct line of engagement to take on board what customers want for your own site. Also, check out how your competitors use social media. Is it something customers engage with? What posts perform best? This is all free information that can improve your site’s performance.
  6. Improve your own site: Once you have conducted a full analysis of your competitors’ sites, work out a plan to implement the areas of improvement for your own site. Continue to monitor your competitors to follow industry trends and customer demands.

There are some great keyword competitor research tools that can make the job of analysing competitors easy. Our top three are:

  1. Ahrefs: one of the most popular SEO tools, Ahrefs is a simple and straightforward program that has several keyword analyses features. Ahrefs allows you to search competitors’ sites and compare your keywords.
  2. Moz: a similar program to Ahrefs, Moz offers several tools to analyse your competitor’s keywords. Their Keyword Explorer allows you to compare your keywords rankings to those of your competitors.
  3. SEMrush: SEMrush is the king of keywords. They allow you to see the keywords your competitor is ranking for, compare your own keywords and filter your results depending on selected criteria. An additional feature allows you to analyse backlinks as well.

For more suggestions on the best plugins for WordPress, check out our article here.

Your website doesn’t sit in a vacuum. Instead, it sits in a highly competitive, highly dynamic market that is competing for the attention of search engine users. Competitor analysis gives you great insight into where your site sits in the market and what your competitors are doing to draw traffic to their site. The tips and tricks to improve your site waiting for you to discover them, so start researching your competitors today!

For more information about our SEO, content creation and digital pr services, get in touch with us here.



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