Getting yourself an online store is a piece of cake today. There are tons of tools out there, allowing you to quickly set up an online retail business. So, mere entering the market is easy, thus more and more people are attracted. On the other hand, simultaneously the number of competitors grows as fast. Have you analyzed yours, thoroughly?
What are the benefits of knowing your Google competitors inside out?
Before your open, say, a stationary store or a cafe or a hotel in any city around the world, your first concern should be its location. Without the people actually dropping by, even top quality products or services will make hardly any sales. High-traffic areas, with potential customers swarming, are therefore desirable. In such circumstances, even locating several companies with similar offer makes business sense. However, to compete effectively, they need to know about each other, and need to know each other; this way they can tailor the offer to the needs of the customers, outbidding their competitors. It’s the same with your online store.
Your location, however, is the Google search results page. In this milieu you can effectively reach out to your potential customers, showcasing whatever you offer. If you position yourself right, your chances of success increase dramatically.
In the real world, such perfect location would probably be the city center or a freshly built housing estate, always with a large number of high-income inhabitants. Online, however, it’s the Google TOP10 of displayed search results for carefully selected keywords. However, selecting the best keywords will not be enough to make sure the customers will find you. That’s because you’re not the only one endeavoring to do it. You need to identify your competitors, their marketing strategy and their customer sourcing. This will allow you not only to attract many potential customers, but also, to refine your offer as better or unique compared against your competitors. To sum it all up, knowing your competition is extremely beneficial. It’s a battle-proven method of getting more converting traffic on your website, ranking better, and also react to changes on the market and in the search engine. About positioning yourself right, read also our previous entry: “5 On-site Page Optimizations You Can Do On Your Own” Now let’s deal with your never-resting competition.
Competition analysis – where to start?
A step-by-step approach usually works. Competition analysis is no different. First, search; that is: identify the competition. Unfortunately, it happens that certain websites are mistaken for our competitors. Therefore, before we’ll move on to the rival-screening tools, let’s define who our Google search engine opponents exactly are and highlight the most important things to know about them.
How to find your Google competition?
SEO focuses on getting as large organic traffic from Google as possible – we should look for our competitors there. If you applied the steps we wrote about in previous articles about keywords and website optimization, you have entered the game, so to speak; now’s the time to learn more about your competitors. Simply speaking, those are the companies offering similar products / services and targeting the same audience. To outbid them, learn their strengths and weaknesses, but first and foremost, learn who they are.
Step 1: Identify the most business-crucial keywords. If you’re uncertain what to focus on, the simplest keyword would be “product name + store”. If your articles / services offer is broad, the keyword list is likely to be long.
Step 2: Google the keywords. Now take a look at search results page – who are your search results neighbours – pages displayed both above and below your own site. List all of your competitors *.
* But skip all large general online retailers, like Amazon, price comparison sites and Adwords sites. You can’t go against some of them giants (unless you are an industry leader yourself, then go ahead!).
Step 3: Use the tools presented below to get the info about your own website and your competitors. Add the sites found this way to your list of competitors.
Now, ask yourself several questions: do you know what the ecommerces from the list offer? Is their business similar to yours? Do you know their profile? Can you determine their online marketing strategy and figure out why they rank in Google as they do? If not yet, it’s time to change it. You have already done the first step. You know who your opponents are. Congratulations! Now let’s move on to a more in-depth analysis.
What are the highlights of competition analysis?
Knowing who are you running against, there’s a list of what you need to know about them. Most importantly, find out their ranking vs yours for your common keywords; additionally, it’s good to know the keywords they rank for that you don’t. If your offer is similar, you are certainly competing for more than one keyword’s TOP10. Another important information to get your leverage, is your competitors’ optimization level. Both the content and the back-end matter. Another crucial point is the content published by your competitors, especially on third-party websites, and any website of interest for your potential customers, that refer to their pages. This intelligence will be your brand image building starting point.
Useful search engine competition analysis tools
The market offers many tools for getting accurate info on your competitors. Unfortunately, most of them are paid. We’ll overview their main functionalities to help you make the best choice. Moreover, there’s a free trial available for each of these tools, which is strongly recommended to take prior to purchase. However, getting an upper hand in e-commerce battle is worth a lot.
SIMILARWEB‘s free version is perfectly usable. Its features allow you to expand the list of your known competitors, and determine their traffic sources, as well as their favourite keywords. For those researching the industry, the tool will prove useful, presenting the best (according to similarweb) prospering sites from verticals, globally. This will inspire your strategy.
SENUTO is a Polish tool that screens pages identified (by the program) as your most important competitors. SENUTO will update you on the target keywords shared with your competition and their rankings. On top of that, you can see the keywords that your competitors already rank for and you don’t.
SEMSTORM – another Polish tool, featuring keyword analytics, incl. search volume details, business competitors listing and traffic sources identification features. This tool is a keywords intelligence pro.
AHREFS and MAJESTIC are two tools with tons of functionalities. One of them, useful for competition analysis, is backlink screening and analysis. Such valuable info is out for taking, without a necessity to be a site admin. Learning about your competitors linking sources, you can build there links, too, referring to your website. It’s best to test both and pick the one your find more user-friendly.
At first glance BRAND24, SENTIONE, MONITORI are tools similar to AHREFS and MAJESTIC. Although their core feature allows you to search the mentions about your competition across the web there those mentions don’t have to feature links to be found. Anytime a user mentions a company name (your competition or yours) or any of the keywords selected in the comment section somewhere, or any other place, a notification pops out. This way you’ll learn your competitors’ PR and where you can advertise yourself as they do. GOOGLE ALERTS will too keep an eye for online brand mentions for you, for free this time, however, offering fewer functionalities. ALERTS will notify you about your competitors’ activity or other customized events.
You’ve learnt how to identify your competitors, what to learn about them, and which tools will help you to. Getting all the useful info takes a lot of work, but it pays off. You will be able to:
- open new communication channels with customers;
- get new backlinks sources for your website;
- learn about valuable keywords your website’s not optimized for yet;
- develop a strategy integrating SEO and online marketing beyond it, e.g. brand building, content marketing, etc.
- determine the pattern among your competition and come up with the way to break it, thus standing out;
- Quickly respond to market and search engine algorithm changes.
We’d love to see your site succeed and rank high anywhere it’s good for your business. Actually, we can help you make that happen – and we’d love to!
This is an update of an article published in 2018.