Competitor Website Analysis: 5 Things to Look For

April 2, 2018
April 2, 2018 Madeleine
competitor analysis digital marketing

You may not want to analyze your competitors. You may want to ignore and just continue on with your business, keeping your head level and free from anxiety. Keep your mind free from worry and potential distraction.

While this is commendable in certain aspects, what if we told you that it would actually help if you looked at your competitor’s site for content? Now, there is a certain way to go about this. Just glancing and scrolling through a website isn’t going to do anything other than make you realize how your site is better in this way while theirs is better in that way.

Competitive analysis can be incredibly beneficial and insightful into how you can change your own site for the better. By asking certain questions, you can put those worries away and learn. Think of it as a research project—where all you can learn is something that will be constructive for your own site.

These five questions are what you need to look for. And, trust us, it’ll really help to analyze the content of the websites and social media sites of the competition—possibly more than you initially realize. As there is some key analysis you should try and make, we’ve recommended some programs and websites that can help you find accurate information that isn’t readily available, like traffic level and advertising.

competition analysis digital marketing

Is the Traffic Organic or Paid?

Traffic, as a whole, is possibly the most important aspect to analyze. Finding out if a competitor’s site traffic is organic or paid is the first step to knowing just what sort of traffic you’re competing against.

There are a lot of components to learning about the traffic that your competitors have through their website and the social media platforms they use. First of all, their traffic volume is incredibly helpful to know. Whether they have hundreds or thousands of more visitors daily than you, it’s always useful to know just where you stand in your little niche.

Engagement is also important. Quite often, if the traffic is more organic than paid, you’ll see more engagement. Of course, engagement is highly important. You don’t just want traffic to your site—you want engagement

Now, there aren’t any specific competitor analysis tools or programs that give you direct access to their engagement, data or overall traffic. However, there are some programs that do give you access to certain aspects found on these websites. For example, the Alexa is a great tool to use if you’re looking for traffic information and certain competitive analysis. Even though there are no dedicated competitor analysis tools as of yet, Alexa also gives you a website ranking on any given website that you want, showing the traffic volume, certain data and an estimation of said website’s popularity either in a country or globally to help maximize your marketing strategy and reach your target market.

Alexa is also able to show you common demographics that visit a site and give you the edge over the competition. If you’re having trouble with your audience engagement and are looking to rebrand to a different target audience, this could be helpful. You could see the demographics that visit your competitors, and then change your target audience pertaining to the results that you find.

A simple way to see if your competitors use paid or organic traffic is by simply googling them.  After looking at their website, try googling that blog post you just read or maybe even their website title. If their site pops up as an “ad” at the top of Google, you know they’re getting traffic through paid advertisements. If their page pops up naturally, or organically, in the Google search instead, then they’re probably getting a lot of organic traffic.

Do They Use Organic or Paid Keywords?

Keywords, long-tail keywords, and keyphrases that your competitors use for search engine optimization (SEO) are helpful to analyze. Are you using the same ones? Where do you rank in the use and effectiveness of these keywords or phrases, compared to others? Should you adopt some new keywords for your own SEO strategy after comparing your results with some of your competitors?

Finding out if your competitors use organic or paid keywords or phrases is also helpful to learn where you stand—and whether you should put more effort or money into certain phrases.  Finding out where they rank, in regards to certain phrases, is simple to do with a Google search.  Again, Alexa helps find this out quite well, as does SEMrush, which is great for analyzing others on-page SEO and off-page SEO across the board.

What Backlinks Do They Have?

As you probably know, the more links you have coming and going from your website (from other reliable websites), the better your search ranking will be. Therefore, backlinks are incredibly important.

Try and find out their backlinks. What is your competitor’s overall link popularity? Are these backlinks from reliable websites? Links really play hand in hand with domain authority because a website will have a higher authority if they have credible backlinks.

Finding out where your competitor has links and backlinks can really help your own progress, as you could potentially pitch your own website to these other sites to attempt to form your own backlink! MOZ has a tool that makes this really simple for you.

What Is Their Overall Domain Authority?

Domain authority is all about how high a site can rank on search engines like Google. Are they a reliable and safe platform? Do search engines consider them to be trustworthy? This has everything to do with SEO (as does most of this article, really). As they say, the better you know how to mess around with SEO, the better your website will probably be.

There’s really not a way to figure out a competitor’s overall domain authority yourself. We recommend using MOZ to figure this out.

What is their overall user experience? How are their design and branding effective?

Of course, a nice and effective design and branding will keep engagement high and visitors to continuously come back to a site. Look at your competitors: how does everything look? Clean and orderly? How can you improve your own site by looking at their design?

See what framework or website developer they use, as this could really help overall user experience more than anything else. Do they use WordPress or something else?

This is quite easy to do—you don’t need software or another tool to find this out! More often than not, you’ll be able to see how the site is powered by just searching on their own website.  After analyzing their website, see how you can incorporate useful information to potentially better your own design or website platform if needed.

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