Before internet research resources were as powerful as they are today, it was extremely difficult to gain any real insight into what your competitors were doing to win over the market. Of course, you could have looked at their press releases, email newsletters, onsite content, pricing structure, and social media presences. But that didn’t really tell you anything about the intricacies of their marketing strategy, top-performing channels, or what they were working on behind the scenes.
In many ways, this made it more difficult for new entrants to gain a foothold in the market, as many small to medium-sized businesses found they had a tougher time competing with the larger, more established companies. Part of the reason for this is that they had to carry out much of the research themselves and were left to go through the same trial and error processes with significantly fewer resources. As a result, the bigger players in the space found it much easier to outmaneuver their smaller competitors.
Fast forward to the year 2022, and it’s safe to say the internet has leveled the competitive landscape quite substantially. Thanks to the powerful intelligence tools that businesses have at their disposal, key decision-makers can gain access to highly insightful traffic analytics about their main competitors. And while it’s true that the data offered on these platforms is based on educated extrapolation, it is accurate enough to gain a general gist of any competitor’s strategy, allowing companies to make reactive adjustments as necessary to gain market share over time.
The ability to discover where and how your competitors acquire their visitors is one of the most valuable features of competitive intelligence web analytics services. For example, you can learn about a site’s core audience’s geographic location and how it has changed over the last few weeks or months. This could provide insight into competitor attempts to penetrate new markets and show the success or failure of product launches.
Armed with this information, you can begin to develop a deeper understanding of the consumer categories that your competitors are targeting, which could reveal areas of opportunity for you to explore within your strategy.
In addition to this, you can also look at which online channels contribute the most to your competitors’ website traffic. If you know they are a successful organization and want to model your strategy to align with theirs, then you can see how your internal metrics stack up against theirs.
For instance, you may discover that one of your main competitors obtains a big chunk of its traffic from Twitter, but you don’t invest any time or resources into this channel. Likewise, you may uncover that paid search accounts for a significant portion of your top competitor’s traffic, which may have been something that you overlooked. Insights such as these give you a great opportunity to refine your practices to align with some of the industry leaders.
One often overlooked aspect of competitor analysis is investigating their external linking strategy. As most people are aware, link building is one of the most important facets of SEO as it helps build authority, leading to a higher ranking on the SERPS. However, where you send your outbound links can also give clues into elements of your strategy.
If you, for example, discover that one of your main rivals is continually linking to the same domain time and time again, it could mean that they have developed a mutually beneficial relationship with a third-party publisher where each of them is encouraged to link to one another’s content. If you believe this to be the case, then there is no reason you can’t try a similar approach and contact the publication, or similar ones, to see if you can set up a similar arrangement.
Furthermore, you can also check out the top destination sites of your competitors. This will show you how people leave the site you’re analyzing. If you notice a large proportion of their traffic leaves for another website, that may be another place you’d want to guest post on or get featured.
Search is usually one of the most significant contributors to a website’s traffic. In fact, Google alone is estimated to account for nearly 58% of all website traffic in the world. Therefore, you must analyze their current levels of keyword ownership, both paid and organic.
Understanding the keywords your competitors focus on will help you become more aware of what consumers are searching for and interested in within your niche. Furthermore, if you search for the keywords on Google, you will see what type of content ranks for those search terms.
This will give you clues as to what content you may want to focus on within your marketing strategy. And, if you think that you can create a more valuable piece of content than your competitors (or what is already ranking highly on the SERPs), then go for it.
As mentioned, observing competitor search data is a great way to gauge their audiences’ interests. However, some web traffic analysis tools go one step further by actually breaking down an audience’s interests by showing you what the site’s visitors do outside of that site itself.
Evaluating this data can help you understand user intent, analyze cross browsing behaviors between multiple competitors, and attain a broader knowledge of your audience’s wants, needs, and interests.
All of this can help you to create a well-defined strategy that caters more accurately to your ideal consumers, which should help you to optimize your content strategy and, in turn, boost your overall marketing ROI.
A never-ending process
It’s important to remember that competitor analysis is not just a one-time thing. These days, consumer interests, demands, and tendencies are changing more rapidly than ever. As a result, your competitors will be continually altering their strategies in order to meet these demands, which generally causes the market to shift.
Therefore, keeping a close eye on competitor web traffic data is a great way to stay on top of your game by evaluating new business opportunities, highlighting potential areas for traffic growth, and staying up to date with the latest industry trends. Lastly, if you can turn this data into actionable insights, you will be well on the way to gaining a competitive edge over your rivals.