How are the “others guys” getting traffic? Who’s sending them traffic? Is your site losing traffic?
Below is an actual competitive analysis I recently did for an Electrical Distributor. They wanted to see what their competitors are doing online. Specifically, the source of competitor inbound traffic and overall quality of internal and external links that can affect performance in search engines. Further, they wanted to identify problems with their own site (e.g, page errors, duplicate content, broken links) and other ways they might improve site performance.
I’m only showing the high-level analysis portion of the report. I gave the company supporting detail so we could drill down into specifics and address issues. Company names are kept confidential.
Competitive Analysis: This Is Not A Drill
This competitive analysis covers how [Company XYZ] could go to market in an online business and gain significant visibility with electrical products and hardware. This is an actual analysis I performed for a company, so I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent.
Times Have Changed: Establish yourself now in this New Era
Gone are the days when you could post tens of thousands of products and see a large portion of these product pages appear in the first or second page of search results with some good SEO. Those days are coming to an end, in fact, they already have. Now we’re in the era of content creation, and it’s already beginning to get crowded. You can gain a competitive advantage now by aggressively creating content, and you shouldn’t stop.
Competitors who have established search positions by gaining Site Authority using the old tactics can be difficult to push down in the rankings because they’ve sent so many signals to Google and other engines over time. However, you can do it. Consistently create content. More importantly, create content that will get transmitted (shared) by others.
Mark Schaefer, author of “The Content Code”. appropriately calls this “Cracking the Content Code”. Creating entertaining, educational or problem-solving content gets shared and sends strong signals that say you’re doing something better than that guy who is just putting up products and pictures.
Competitive Link Analysis
Competitive Link Analysis below shows the Competitors I compared and where off-site content “signals were coming from. In other words, the content that was sending them traffic due to being shared among the masses (Social Channels), or the fact that it appeared on an Authoritative site.
The report shows the source of each competitors traffic, so the company I was doing this analysis for could see what others were doing. Next, they could decided if they should be doing it too, or consider a similar strategy.
I suggest that companies spend as much time obsessing over what’s happening externally as they are on their websites. To do this, they will need to add resources or hire outside help.
Social Media is not a fad.
I see some of the more stodgy industrial industries now going beyond Twitter and LinkedIn. The Top 9 Social Sites for Business reveals what’s going on. One of my favorites, SlideShare is shown here. Have some Power Point slides from a presentation that was delivered once or twice? Dust them off and post them here.
Not surprisingly, getting down to business, LinkedIn is near the top. Have a webstore with 1,000’s of images? Of course you do. Check out Pinterest. Make sure your code includes a place for images to be tagged with descriptions, and name the images for what the product is. If it’s an LED Lighting product, name it as such. Then see your images rise to the top of Google Image search and Pinterest listings… more Social Signals.
What Don’t You Don’t Know?
What’s your competitor doing? There are some effective tools out there to dig up Competitor Intelligence like the reports I show here. So go find out what you don’t know about what’s going on beyond your own site. Now is the time to catch the competition in this new era of Content Marketing.