First and foremost, for any business, online or offline, it is very important to find a niche with less competition. However, many times, less competition also means less market demand, and it also means a sizeable investment in educating the market. Which leads most of us to be a player in a high demand market ending up competing with many. So let us understand in a very structured and simple way on how to do competitor analysis for online businesses.
There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there. – Indira Gandhi
I am writing about online businesses alone because it is fairly simple to do a competitor analysis for internet based business with lots of tools and data available readily and for free.
Why do you need to do competitor analysis?
This is for those who are not convinced to do this exercise or those who think they do not have a competitor. If you are the later one, then it is pertinent that you find one competitor, even if it is remotely relevant.
Your competitor helps you build your product features or service deliverables better. Add your market survey experience, and you know what else does your potential customer need that your competitor does not offer. Competitor analysis helps you decide your price points. Your competitor’s pricing is always a reference point, both for you and your customer.
Not convinced yet?“It’s not enough that we win; all others must lose.” – Larry Ellison Click To Tweet
So you can conduct a competitive analysis for the obvious reasons — to bludgeon the competition and raze their villages and enslave their women and children. (Just joking).
Let me reveal my secrets on how I do competitor analysis and how it helps me build my organizational strategy.
Bonus: Content Upgrade
Organic Approach towards Competitor Analysis
It all starts with your competitor’s website. Study your competitor’s website to understand their selling proposition. What is their USP that they highlight? Are they selling features or value proposition? Whom are they selling to? What is their customer segment that they are calling out to and what is their target market?
- If I like my competitor’s selling proposition, I will try to work on similar lines. If I don’t, then I will do just the opposite.
- If my competitor’s target market is cluttered, I will find a new one. If it is not, then I will also compete for the same pie.
- If they are selling features, I will sell value.
- I will create a pricing metric far more lucrative than my competitors.
- If their product lacks some features, I will build those and make them more prominent as the differentiators.
Competitor Analysis with Free Tools
Ahrefs – I have installed the Chrome extension of Ahrefs. I use it to measure my own and my competitors’ Page Rank, Domain Rank, Backlinks, and social share counts.
Open SEO Stats – I have installed the Chrome Extension which I use to measure my competitor’s Indexed pages by different search engines, Alexa Traffic Stats, On-Page Optimisation elements including Meta elements like Meta Keywords, Meta Description. This helps me understand my competitor’s focus keyword and targeting techniques.
SimilarWeb – I have installed the Chrome extension which I use to measure my competitor’s website traffic, sources of their traffic, geo locations, sites that are giving them referral traffic, what are their top organic and paid keywords, traffic from their social channels, and what type of audience interests visit their site.
Quantcast – I use this to get a more detailed audience insights about my competitors.
SocialBakers – I use this to keep a track of my competitor’s social media stats like follower counts.
Google Alerts – I have signed up with Google Alerts using multiple and relevant keywords. Every morning, I have in my Inbox, all news, and posts related to my keywords, which are usually published or distributed by my competitor.
Rank2Traffic – This is my secret weapon. Known to only a few experts. These tools help me scan my competitor’s website and get literally all keywords for which they are getting traffic and SERP positions. You will be surprised to know the strange and quaint keywords with which your competitors are stealing low competition traffic.
Competitor Analysis Paid Tools
The paid tools are quite comprehensive and will allow you to spy on your competitor for all that the free tools are doing combined.
MonitorBacklinks – Check your competitor’s backlinks with a description of which are the highest domains, which are the lowest, and whether or not they are dofollow or nofollow.
SemRush – You can visit the homepage and type in a competitor’s website (completely free) and immediately get information regarding organic keywords and rank, ad keywords, and traffic.
- Get organic keywords and ranks of competitors
- Get ad keywords and traffic numbers of competitors
- Look at data in a graphic format
SpyFu – Download Your Competitors’ Most Profitable Keywords and Ads For Paid and Organic Search
OpenSiteExplorer – Research backlinks, find link-building opportunities and discover potentially damaging links with Open Site Explorer.
iSpionage – Steal Your Competitors’ Traffic & Uncover Their Conversion Strategy
You can suggest more tools that you like by using the comment section.