The success of any business starts with understanding the market you are operating in and the businesses you are competing with.
That is where competitive analysis comes in.
What is Competitive Analysis
Competitive analysis is the process of identifying your competitors and then conducting deep research about them to gain insights into their positioning, sales, product, marketing, and strategies.
The idea is to find the strengths & weaknesses of your competitors.
Why is it important to Research Competitors?
- Understanding how your competitors are positioned will help you to craft a unique positioning for your business. In a market full of thousands of businesses just like yours, have a unique positioning matters.
- If your competition has been in the market longer than you, you can learn from what they are doing right. This will save you from Trial and error, ultimately saving you time. You can even find ways to do the same thing but better.
- It is important to find what mistakes they are making and the gap in the market. This will enable you to find opportunities to move ahead of them.
- The results you find from competitor analysis will act as a benchmark. You will be able to measure your business’s success against these metrics.
Do you know that companies spend nearly 5-10% of their annual revenue on market research as it provides a deeper understanding of their customer and competitors?
Now that we have established that competitor analysis is a crucial step before starting a business, let us get into the main question.
How to do a Competitive Analysis?
In this blog post, we will look at the step-by-step process to perform effective Competitive analysis and generate actional insights.
Step 1. Identify your top ten competitors
The first step of the competitive analysis is to know who your competitors are.
In real life, your business will have hundreds of competitors, but you want to analyze the best of them.
Now there are two types of competitors that you would have.
Direct & Indirect Competitors
Direct Competitors are those who target the same audience as yours and offer the same or similar services.
Indirect competitors on the other hand may have the same audience as you, but products are slightly different from yours. Their products are a substitute for your products.
For example- If your business sells Tea, a business that sells coffee will be your indirect competitor.
You want to focus on your direct competitors in this step. (However, make sure to keep an eye out for the indirect ones)
But how do you find the top 10 Competitors?
One way is to go to Google and type in your keyword.
For example, if you sell cosmetics or makeup go to Goggle and type Cosmetics. You will get SERP results from all the major competitors.
Another way is to use SEMrush’s Organic Research tool.
See the Image Below!
You have to enter your URL and click on the competitor’s tab.
You will get a list of competing websites. These are your direct competitors who rank for the same keywords as yours.
Step 2. Analyze how your competitors market their Products
A product or service is the cornerstone of any business. Your direct competitors have products that are similar to you but they might have some unique selling proposition.
Your goal is to analyze the value that your competitors provide with their products. Also look into their positioning, pricing strategies, and marketing channels.
It is easy to find your competitor’s products and pricing but a Competitive analysis is needed to find the marketing channels.
The best way to start this is through their website. For most businesses, a website is the digital hub of the business.
Now all you need is a tool, by the name of Similarweb.
Similarweb is an intelligence tool and it provides a detailed analysis of traffic on any website.
Similarweb has many features and it gives you a detailed analysis of website visitors, fetching other competing websites ( which can also help to find more of your competitors), and most importantly, analyzing marketing channels.
Another option is using SEMrush
On their SEO dashboard, you will get the entire analysis of a website. This will include Authority score, paid keywords, organic keywords, the sources of organic traffic and so much more.
Step 3. Take note of your competition’s content strategy
Now you have a list of all platforms that the business used to drive the traffic, it’s time to analyze the content from each source.
The idea of this activity is to find any content gaps and build your content strategy that fills those gaps.
In a good content marketing strategy, each platform serves a purpose.
Your first job is to analyze what purpose does each platform serves. Also, consider the content from the Blog posts while doing this.
Focus on the following areas:
- Types of the content that a business invest in
- The tone of the content
- Content pillars
- Trends that they leverage
- Quality of content
- Frequency of publishing content
One tool that may help you in this is Buzzsumo
This tool analyzes content from all over the web to give you insights and also build your content strategy.
Step 4. Analyze Competitor’s SEO Strategy
SEO ( Search engine optimization) is a technique by which websites are optimized for the Search Engine.
Having a good SEO strategy will help your website to get discovered easily and provide an
edge to you in the digital space.
To ace your website SEO you have to analyze your competitor’s SEO strategy and find opportunities to do better than them.
There are 3 areas on SEO you want to look into
Keywords are an essential part of On-page SEO and to analyze your competitors’ Search engine ranking and gaps in their keyword strategy. Then you can use the opportunities that they have missed to rank better than them.
SEMrush can help you with this.
In their Keyword Gap section, you have to add your domain, your competitor’s domain(s). It will analyze the sites for the keywords and give you a list of keywords that you can target.
Also, check out – Keyword Rank tracking tools
Find out how your competitor is building on backlink – Analyse the backlink profile of your competitor.
You may need a Seo Tool like Semrush or Se ranking to analyze the backlinks of competitors.
Additionally, to find new opportunities for yourself you can find the website that your competitors link to or get backlinks from.
To do so, head to SEMrush Backlink Analysis Tool
With this, you can enter the URL(s) of your competitors, get their backlink profiles and receive a list of domains that you can target for backlinks.
Tech Stack of the Website
The technology that goes behind a website plays an important role to optimize a site. The use of the right tools, plugins, and technology has a big impact.
BuiltWith analyzes all the technology that has been used for a website and will give you an inside edge.
Step 5. Analyze the level of engagement on your competitor’s content
Analyzing how their audience reacts to their content will give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
One clever way to do this is to monitor the conversations that people are having about your competitors.
Buzzsumo can also help you here by analyzing the level of engagement on the competitor’s content.
Step 6. Analyze the social media content of Competitors
Competitors’ social media engagement is a good indicator of how is the brand perceived.
Check out all the platforms your competitors are present on and analyze how people are engaging with it.
Keep an eye out for the following:
- Number of followers
- The average number of likes
- Average comments
- Engagement rate ( Likes/Number of followers)
Consider using a tool like – Social Blade. It will give you statistics of your competitor’s social media profiles.
It will also give a detailed report of the engagement and impact of each piece of content.
To Improve engagement on your social media platforms, you might want to add the following activities to your list
- Utilize Twitter Spaces – Talk about your Product or Service
- Organize Chat Sessions with Hashtags. Semrush Does a good job by organizing such #Chat or #Ask me sessions on Twitter
- Have Polls on LinkedIn or Twitter
Step 7. Observe how they promote their Marketing content
Marketing content can broadly be done via the following channels – Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned.
You should analyze all the channels.
This is the content that the competitor pays to get published.
This includes – Google ads, Facebook ads/ Instagram ads.
To monitor your competitor’s ads, the keywords they target, budget and segmentation.
Try using a tool like Semrush
Semrush gives you insights into your competitor Ads Strategy and will help you shape up our marketing campaigns
These are promotional content that competitors earn because of their activities.
This includes media mentions & guest postings. Once you get the idea of the external sources your competitors are getting promoted from, you can reach out to get pitch your business for the same.
Bonus Read – Free Backlink Checker Tools
This includes the content put on social media sites.
The goal is to analyze how they create content in a way that can help them in selling their products.
Find out the hashtags and strategies they are using.
This includes all the content on your Competitor’s website.
Analyze their website & blog content. See how they have constructed their websites to appeal to readers how they use their blog content to drive sales and improve overall SEO.
For this, you can use the SEMrush Content Template.
Once you enter a target keyword, the tool will analyze content from the top 10 sites for those keywords and help you craft content that ranks.
Good Read – Top website SEO analysis tools for minimal spend
Step 8. Perform a SWOT Analysis
While we have been working on understanding the strategies of your competitors, it is also beneficial to conduct an overall SWOT analysis.
SWOT Stands for :
- Strengths– These are the internal factors that give the company advantage. This can include core competencies, patent technology, Patent products, etc.
- Weakness– These include the internal factors that present challenges to the competitors. You can use this opportunity to stand out and do what your competitors can’t.
- Opportunities– These are external factors that the competitors can benefit from. For example, some government policies or changes in the industry trends.
Since this is an external factor you can also use those conditions to your advantage.
- Threats– These are external factors that can be detrimental.
For example- A change in privacy policies of some social media platform or some platform getting banned in a country. Once you find them, make sure to account for them while planning your business and keep an eye out for them.
Step 9. Identify areas for improvement
The goal of a competitive analysis is to find gaps in your competitor’s positioning and strategy.
This will help you to understand where you stand in the market and what opportunities you can leverage to get ahead.
Sit with your team and analyze each area of your business to make the necessary improvements.
Final Thoughts – Competitive Analysis
We have provided you with steps and resources to analyze your competitors. Working with the tools will make the whole process faster for you and your teams.
Download the Competitive Analysis template from here. This will keep all your research in one place and conduct your research in a streamlined manner.
Remember that the object of this process is finding opportunities for your business and surpassing your competitors.
You can also check: Competitive Analysis with SE Ranking