86% of consumers use the Internet to find a local business. With most consumers now searching online for products and services, how do yours rank among the others out there?
Simply knowing what the competition offers is no longer enough. Having that competitive edge over rivals is necessary for business growth. With the emergence of digital marketing technologies, it is now possible to gain more insight into the competition than ever before. As most customers today begin their purchase journey online, it’s essential that company websites be visible and that they provide the experiences that customers expect. But before you develop or modify your company website, it’s important to see what your competition is doing and where you stand in comparison. That’s where a website competitive analysis can help.
As a critical component to a company’s marketing strategy, doing a competitive analysis of your competitor’s website can help to identify what makes your business stand out to the target audience, while, at the same time, evaluating your competitor’s weaknesses and strengths. It is essential to gauge yourself on factors like content, design, functionality, and effectiveness to see how you stack up against the competition. Apart from analyzing the best practices of the competition, in order to gain competitive advantage, the website should be analyzed against certain key parameters.
The central elements of competitive analysis revolve around SEO, technical aspects, and content. SEO being the first instrument of attraction, it draws customers to the website through the appropriate use of keywords. The technical component is equally important, as the website needs to be user-friendly, attractive, responsive, and easily connecting to social media. It essentially functions as the hardware of the site. Content analysis is really the heart of the matter. Acting as the soul of your website, value is created through relevant and easily-accessible content.
For an effective competitor analysis of a website, the following factors should be considered in each of these three broad areas:
- SEO Analysis
When it comes to competitor’s keywords, there are two types normally referred to. The first being those that rank well in search results and those that the competitor is aiming for, but has failed to rank well in. Both need to be considered, as they inform keyword strategy. While there isn’t a simple one-click solution to perform keyword research, there are certain tools like looking at the HTML source code of the site, using specialized software to perform an SEO audit or using AdWords software like Spyfu or Google AdWords to conduct a deeper keyword analysis, which will ease out the examination process.
Prior to getting into things like optimizing content, keyword mapping, and link building, a competitive analysis is necessary. Gaining a comprehensive insight into who the competitors and where they stand can reveal the loopholes present. Conducting an analysis can present transparency in the industry, reveal what keywords are most effective, and which strategies are most successful. Altogether, they can be used to grow the site’s traffic.
- Technical Analysis
Focusing on key areas like image enhancement, text size, content, structure and format, responsiveness, depth, social media integration, technical aspects and site dynamism, a technical analysis is an essential aspect of competitive analysis. When conducting an analysis, the website offering needs to be compared and contrasted with these elements as this will highlight both you and your competitor’s strengths and areas for improvement.
- Content Analysis
Possibly the most important element in an analysis, this deals with the published content of the site. It covers everything from whitepapers, case studies, POVs and thought leadership articles to research studies and blogs, infographics and video content. The key parameters for analysis are content coverage, content overview, tonality, the purpose of the content and the frequency of fresh content. Tonality is important to evaluate as a point of difference as different websites approach it with contrasting styles such as aggressive, conversational, influencing, explanatory, perceptive, formal/informal.
In summary, being competitive in the web space is key to success and it is imperative to stand out from the competition in order to succeed. Customers are increasingly looking online to assess products and services and engage with companies, which makes a company’s web presence incredibly important.
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