- Google Trends
- by County
- by Category
- Top Directories by Category – Moz
- Search Various Terms – int’l, national, assc, global, jobs, trends, stats, infographics
- Top 5 Pages for Broad Category
Individual Competitors’ Research
Top Search Engine Ranking Factors
All of Google’s Top 20 Search Engine Ranking Factors can be summarized by the following 4 factors;
- Authority – Your Website’s Strength Based on Backlinks & Trust Signals
- Google +’s – User ‘Votes’ for Your Website within Google+
- Backlink Attributes – Attributes of Links and Pages Pointing to Your Website
- FB Shares – User ‘Votes’ for your Website within Facebook
It is important to recognize these factors when researching the competition in order to emulate search rankings.
NOTE: Google actually says social signals ARE NOT part of the ranking factors (read more here), despite the insane correlation with high ranking websites.
– Get Ready to Start Taking Notes –
As you research the competition, you’ll start to come up with a variety of ideas. Make sure you don’t forget what you find!
Manually Researching Your Competitors
Important, yet sometimes skipped competition research ideas;
- How did you hear about them? Word of Mouth, SERP, Billboard, etc?
- Taking the time to obsess over their website. Hrs, Days, Take Notes
- Why do you consider them competitors & why are you a better option? Because they outrank me, because they stole my clients, not a direct competitor, but another option, etc
Using Google Search for Competitive Research
- Search Tools (Search Options)
- Time – Latest Results – Brand
- Location – Geo-target Keyword Results
- Alerts: brand/phrases/@
- Searching Content Titles in Quotes – Article, PR, Infographic
- Search Competitor Along with Your Target Term(s) IE:
- Google Images – What do you find when searching images for their brand?
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner – Punch in competition’s websites
- Multi-Competitor Mentions – Search 2 Competitors for Common Website Opportunities
Researching the Competition’s Backlinks
- cognitiveSEO – Backlink Explorer
- Most Linked Pages – Find which of your competitor’s pages get links the most.
- Ahrefs (Direct MajesticSEO Competitor/Alternative)
- Moz – Open Site Explorer
- Also has a toolbar
- SEMRush – Referring Websites
Research Your Competitors’ Keywords
Here are the online marketing world’s top (PAID) keyword research tools (in order of recommendation).
- SEMRush (Presentation Example)
- Keyword Spy
All are so similar and continue to compete. But should you decide to subscribe to one, conduct your own research and/or test to see which YOU feel most comfortable with.
Social Media Research
- Hootsuite (PAID) – to monitor @mentions
- Topsy – Free Alternative to Hootsuite
- Twitter Tricks
- Follow your competitors
- Monitor your competitors’ @replies
- Any influencers following them? [Tweepi]
- Look at their twitter for links or specials for clues
- YouTube Channel: Discover videos & topics they cover
- See if it’s been synced with G+
- Knowem: Check to see how social your competitors are
- Are they trademarking anything?
- Do they have additional domains for additional marketing strategies
Local Search Marketing Tools
- Whitespark Local Citation Finder – Can add competitors to tool to find citation opportunities.
- Moz Local – See if competitor is listed in all local directories
- Examine their profiles
- Which research strategies are worth my time?
- Value of Top Rankings: http://training.seobook.com/google-ranking-value
- Prioritize based on Relevance, Alexa, potential Impact
- Prioritize based on Time & Budget
- What are you Competing for (in order to increase ROI/Bottomline)
- top search placement?
- more social visibility?
- local popularity?
- How to I go about executing/emulating my competitors list of strategies?
- Days of the week
- Total Hours
- What 1st?
- What are the most efficient ways to match the competition?
- Combining site types
- Combining ad types
- Combining tasks types
- Knocking Out 2 Bird with 1 Stone