July 13, 2012 by Jamshaid Hashmi
Do you monitor your competition and their online presence? In this very competitive economy, businesses owners are looking to identify any advantage that will help them rise above their online competition and gain the leading edge. At the forefront of these initiatives there are methods such as employing the ‘Online Competitive Analysis’ tool which mark the cornerstone of all prominent online marketing strategies. This has become increasingly important as brands begin to realize that:
-Higher ranking drives conversions and ultimately increases sales
-In SEO (Search Engine Optimization),the results are governed by‘winner takes all’
Understanding a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses will help you identify what ad prices to pay, content to offer, links to gain and customers to seek. There are a number of free and paid tools available to monitor your competitors; discover the keywords they are targeting, the amounts they are spending on ads, and the opportunities that exist.
Here are 4 key areas that make up the framework to beat your competition:
1) Know your competitors- Share of Voice (SOV)
2) Understand their On Page SEO strategy
3) Assess their backlinks - Off Page SEO Strategy
4) Analyze their Social Signals
So let’s begin by understanding the steps in identifying a competitor’s SOV.
Step 1.Identify a group of related target keywords
Step 2. Run the keywords through Google Keyword Tool
-Make sure you use local exact match
Step 3. Take the top 10 ranking pages for each keyword
Step 4. Convert search volume from step 2 to visits by multiplying Search Volume by click-through-rate (CTR) depending on ranking (See PPC and SEO CTR Charts)
Step 5. Summarize by domain
Once you have figured out the SOV by domain, the next steps are to breakdown the On Page SEO Factors employed by your competitors.
Begin by taking each page from the SOV analysis and:
Step 1. Build a spreadsheet of each page grouped by the domain
Step 2. Capture the On Page factors
Once you see the grouping of keywords on this spreadsheet, you will understand structurally how these companies are going after that specific pocket of keywords you want.
Step 1. Spreadsheet of Domains
Step 2. On Page SEO Factors
Once the On Page Factors begin to get clear, the next step is to take a look at analyzing the number of links pointing to each page, the Off Page SEO Factors.
a) High Value Link Targets – Identify Link Hubs that are driving rankings for this market segment
b) Identify Link Strategies – Classify links based on types (blogs, news, PR, partnerships, social, etc.,)
Off Page SEO Factors – Competitive Link Analysis
Social Media Optimization Factors Analysis
With the web going more and more social, Google’s algorithm has changed to take into account Social Signals that drive up rankings. Compile these Social Signals and compare then with your own.
There are a number of tools used to build this competitive analysis. Here is a quick demo of a really cool tool that produces a report that you can share with your client.
It is important to realize that online marketing is an extremely competitive arena, where winner takes all. If one site goes up in ranking, it requires another to give up its position. A professional online marketer can help assess your online presence and build your industry-specific competitive analysis so you can have the road map to beating your competition online.
About the Author : Google
A serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of a renowned international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded WSI Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.
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