Doing a brief comparison of your marketing efforts and those of a competitor, as noted above, will be helpful to you. However, if you want to perform a more in-depth competitor analysis of a competing company’s marketing strategy, look into the following elements.
The previous list contained all of the types of content you should look for. Content is what draws new leads and what helps to establish your brand as an authority (thereby building trust). However, simply publishing a variety of content on your site isn’t an indication of a good content strategy. In addition to looking for different types of content, you’ll need to analyze the content itself as well.
What To Consider When Analyzing
These are some of the elements to look for when analyzing the content of a competitor:
- Accuracy - As a direct competitor, you should be familiar with the subject matter they cover. Read (or view) their content. How accurate are they? Do they draw incorrect conclusions? Do they present false facts? Accuracy is a good indicator of their authority.
- Spelling & Grammar - Take note of spelling and grammar mistakes. If there’s a lot of them, it means that their content strategy is sloppy (there’s a good chance that they aren’t using an editor for their written content).
- Topics - What kinds of topics are they covering? Are the topics relevant to their brand? How in-depth do they go? Do their articles simply scratch the surface of the topic, or do they go into detail?
- Tone - What tone do they use in their content? Is it appropriate for their brand? Is it consistent throughout their content? An appropriate tone that remains consistent is a sign of a strong brand identity.
- Readability - How readable is their content? Do they break up their written content into sections? Do they make use of bulleted lists and numbered lists when possible? Do they use multiple headers? Do they use carefully chosen images to break up the text? The less readable it is, the less effective it probably is.
- Access - Can anyone read their content, or are readers required to opt-in to get access?
- Author(s) - Who writes their content? Do they have a single author? Is there an in-house team of content writers? Do they source writers from all over?
- Byline or Bios - Check content for bylines or bios. These help readers identify who wrote what article/blog post, which makes it easier to track posts. Having these can help increase brand authority as well.
Their SEO Structure
If your competitor has content that is of similarly high quality as your own, but it seems to be more effective, there’s a possibility it’s because of their SEO structure. A good SEO structure enables higher page rankings and brings in more web traffic. Inspect the SEO structure of your competition by identifying what keywords they are ranking for (which can also provide you with new keywords that you can use as well) and how they are using those keywords. A good SEO structure will employ relevant, high-quality keywords in the URL architecture, page titles, H1 tags, body content, internal links, and image alt text.
In addition to identifying the quality of their content, determine if their content strategy is effective. Start by looking at how engaged people are with their content. You can do this by identifying how many shares, likes, and comments their content has. Go beyond the numbers and look at whether the comments are negative, positive, or a combination of both. You should also track readers on social media to see if they are commenting on specific topics more than others and whether they are responding better to updates about certain content on social media.
Inbound Links & Referring URLs
There are plenty of tools available that allow you to identify the inbound links and referring URLs of a given website. These are important to SEO because they indicate to Google that a page is of high quality (depending on the link source), boosting the page ranking. Inbound links are also important because it indicates a strong brand authority. Authoritative websites don’t add a link to another website unless it has high-quality content. All these links bring in more visitors.
By identifying the inbound links and referring URLs of a competitor, you can get a good idea of their brand authority, especially if those links are coming from popular websites. It may also introduce you to new websites that were unfamiliar to you and, in turn, present an opportunity to earn inbound links for your site.
Paid Advertising Presence (Google Ads, Bing, Facebook, etc)
Paid advertising is a cost-effective way to target a specific audience. Also referred to as PPC (pay per click) ads, you can run them on search engines, such as Bing and Google, as well as some social media platforms, such as Facebook. Look for any PPC campaigns your competitor is running and analyze their campaigns to see what they are promoting and who they are targeting. This search can give you an idea for new channels to run PPC ads on, who to target, and what kind of content is effective for PPC advertising.
Social Media Presence
A strong social media presence can significantly increase brand awareness and help drive traffic to your site. Here are a few ways to gauge the effectiveness of a competitor’s social media strategy:
- Which Social Channels Do They Use? - Find out what social platforms your competitor is using. Most businesses have at least two or three social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter; however, there are hundreds of different channels out there, some of which may be more niche than others, but that could be relevant in your industry.
- Do They Promote Their Social Presence? - Do they have social share buttons on their content to make it easy for readers to share with their accounts? Do they have links to their social media pages on their website? Do they have calls-to-action encouraging people to follow them on social media?
- How Strong Is Their Social Presence? - Having a social media page doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a “presence.” Take note of how many followers they have on each channel, how often they post to each channel, and how engaged followers are with their content (do people comment on posts frequently?). Do their followers appear to be organic and not purchased (a good sign of this is an account with 40,000 followers but little to no engagement)?
- What kind of content do they post on social platforms? - Are they posting original content? Are they sharing content from other sources? Are they trying to drive people to landing pages to generate new leads? Are they posting questions to promote engagement? The type of content they post indicates what their social media marketing goals are.
- Do they interact with their followers? - Does the competitor address questions and concerns posted to their social page? Do they respond to comments made on the content they post? Do they contribute to discussions?