How to do a Competitor Analysis

by | Sep 21, 2022

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A competitor analysis can give valuable information and insights to your business. It can help you spot gaps in your content, areas to improve or ways to innovate, but it’s no secret that it’s not the easiest thing to carry out, especially when you’re not sure what you’re doing.
Hopefully this guide on how to do a competitor analysis, including carrying out SEO and PPC competitor research, will help you understand what steps go into effectively researching your competition.

What is Competitor Analysis?

First, it’s important to understand what a competitor analysis is before you think about trying to do one.
A competitor analysis is the process of researching and evaluating your major competitors in order to gain insights into their products or services, content and marketing strategies. You could also see it as trying to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.
You can then use the information and analysis you gain to get to know your industry better, identify content gaps for your business and determine strategies that have been successful for your competitors. This can then help to build and inform your own strategies, whether that is for SEO, PPC or for both.
So now that we have an idea of the definition of a competitor analysis and how it can benefit your business, how do you do one?

Know who you are

Before you even start to think about looking at potential competitors, it’s important to understand who you are as a business or organisation and where you fit into the industry you work in.
You want to know what who your target audience is, and what your mission is so that you can identify other businesses who are trying to achieve the same or similar things.  This can also be done by looking at your industry as a whole and evaluating the general competitive landscape.

Find your Competitors

The next step in your competitor analysis is finding the competitors that you want to look at. It is important to note that your business competitors aren’t necessarily your SEO competitors so, choosing the right competitors really depends on why you’re doing your analysis. For example, for SEO competitor research you want to look at competitors who are targeting similar keywords for organic search, competitors who are creating content that ranks well, and who are getting a lot of traffic.
Whereas, for PPC competitor research, you’ll want to look at companies who may be placing search ads on your target paid keywords, ones who are placing search ads on organic keywords you want to target and more generally competitors who are gaining the most traffic through ads.
While making this list, you always need to keep the relevance of these competitors in mind, which should be easier once you know who you are. But just in case, on a wider scale you want to make sure these competitors are targeting the same customers as you, provide similar products or services or are market leaders in your niche.
We recommend identifying a list of around 5 – 10 competitors (if you can) so you can get a good gage of the competitive landscape in your industry.

Take a Deep Dive into Competitor Marketing Activities

Now we get into the interesting stuff! Once you have your list of competitors you can now take a dive into their marketing activities in order to start building your competitor analysis.

SEO Competitor Research

You’ll want to start looking at what’s working for them. What are the most popular products or services that they’re offering? In addition to products and services, for SEO competitor analysis, you will also want to look at content, such as blogs or news sections, if your competitors have them. If they do, how often are they posting and is it consistent? What topics do they cover? Which of these perform well?
Then, you do the same thing for content and products that aren’t as popular or don’t seem to be working for them.
Look for evidence of SEO marketing strategies, such as optimised content and URL structures, and how they’re performing in the search results, before collating this all together to give an overall overview of each competitor’s performance.

PPC Competitor Research

For PPC competitor research, you need to look at different metrics compared to SEO. Some of these metrics include impression share, which is the frequency of the time that you and your competitors receive impressions and the overlap between how often a competitor’s ad and your own ad received an impression.
You can also look at how often a competitor’s ad is shown at a higher position than your own, and the number of times it is shown at the top of the search results page. By better understanding your PPC competitors, you can better understand whether you need to increase your bids or optimise your ads.

Benchmark your Performance

While you’re evaluating your competitors, you always want to relate it back to your business and your marketing efforts, so you don’t lose sight of what you’re analysing.
The best way to do this, is to document your research into a written analysis. You can set out your document however you think would be most helpful, with graphs or charts, and your written analysis.
Within your analysis you will want to document not only your competitor findings, but also what this means for your business and how you can improve your own strategy while being able to visualise your place in the market. Within this step, you can also identify gaps in your strategy or content and potential opportunities you may be missing such as blog topics.

Back up your Conclusions

Once you have a written competitor analysis, you can also back up your findings with some additional keyword research, to find the most viable and worthwhile opportunities. This is particularly helpful for content gaps and informing your content strategy.
From here, you can create a plan of action with relevant goals and KPIs, and then begin to improve and execute changes to your content.
Overall, competitor analysis is a vital aspect of digital marketing for your business and can help you not only get a better understanding of where in your industry your business is compared to your competitors, but to also create an effective strategy that will appeal to your audience and help you generate conversions.
You can use this guide to better understand the process and help you when you’re carrying out your competitor research.
Or, if you’re still unsure on how to do a competitor analysis or would like help with your research, we are digital marketing experts who are pros at carrying out analysis and research on your competitors. Our process always begins with discussions with you so that we can understand who you are as a company and what you are looking to achieve, and we will present our findings in a clear format that is easy to understand.
So, get in touch with us today to find out more information about our competitor analysis and research capabilities!

Photo Credit: Firmbee

Article written by

Beth Chadwick

Beth Chadwick

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