Competitive research is an important activity for any marketing strategy. Without competitor research, how can you make a better product? The same applies for digital marketing. Without competitor research, how will you attract more users to your brand’s website? Before investing in an SEO campaign, it’s imperative to understand the competitive landscape.
Importance of the Right Keywords
According to Google, 89% of B2B buyers use the internet during the B2B buying research process. Furthermore, 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. This means most of your target audience isn’t initially searching for your brand or product name. If you sell a flat cable product called “Mighty Cable,” start with a targeted list of keywords that searchers use to describe your product. This could include terms like “flat cables,” “ribbon cables,” or “flexible cables.” If you’re not optimizing for terms that describe your product, you’re missing a lot of potential traffic.
Who are you sharing the SERPs with?
I’ve often found that few organizations in the industrial space are aware of who their true online competition is, unless they’re well versed in SEO. One way to find out is to analyze the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). These pages are often neglected when performing competitive analysis. Your brick-and-mortar competition in most cases is different than your online competition when it comes to organic rankings. For SEO, your competitors include those websites competing for the same top spot for your target keywords. This also includes features in the SERPs like Knowledge Graph, sponsored ads, video and image results, and more. All vying for the searcher’s click.
Keyword Gap Analysis
Once you’ve identified your target keywords and competitors, consider doing a keyword gap analysis. Performing analysis at this level, will help you see where you stack up against your competitors and where there may be opportunity for additional keyword optimization. Check out this post by Josh for more on how to perform a keyword gap analysis.
One of the three most important pillars of SEO is backlinks. It’s not only the quantity, but also the quality of the link that helps build your website’s authority. Think of the link ecosystem as a grading system in school. You may have a bunch of small assignments that equal 25% of the end grade, but the final exam is worth 50% of the final grade. That’s similar to how links work. Five links from joeslocalbikerepair.com make up some of your domain authority, but what’s really helping it out is the one link from HarleyDavidson.com.
Finding new link opportunities to build a strong link profile can be time consuming and tedious. But there is a way to save both time and sanity – competitive research! Start by comparing a list of your competitors’ links to links your website has. The best opportunity is the backlink gap. This is where there are links going to your competitors’ sites but not yours. Sites linking to multiple competitors but not your site are likely to add another resource (link) to their site if the content is similar. Start there and build your list of targets.
Competitive research is an important step in understanding opportunities that may otherwise go unnoticed. You first have to understand the competition before you can get ahead of it.