It's crucial to keep a close eye on your competitors, and this should be an essential part of your online marketing strategy. But how do you know who your competitors are and what they do? In this blog, we take a deep dive into your online competitors. So you'll discover who your online competitors are, what they do, and how to catch up with them to achieve great success.
Our strategic Sterc model always has a chapter about the competition: who are your competitors, which kinds of competition are there, and what can you learn from them?
Competition is crucial for development and to improve yourself. Together you'll "fight" to achieve the most success. Competition causes commotion and excitement. It makes sure you'll take steps forward and backward too. It's essential to keep an eye on developments in the market, trends, and competitors, to make sure you won't show up as the last search result or get tucked away in the invisible corner of the shopping street.
Want to know more about creating a complete online marketing strategy and analyzing your competitors? Download our Sterc model, and in just four steps, you'll get to your online strategy.
Find your competitors
To analyze your competitors thoroughly, it's essential to know who your competitors are. Competition is everywhere, both online and offline. Below we'll show you the difference between offline and online competitors:
Offline competitors: The ones that are fishing in the same water, having their shop in the same street, are locally findable and are focusing on the same target group, having the same specialism.
Online competitors: Competitors that can be found all around the world. These are the ones that focus on the same keywords, but having a great online strategy (or just dumb luck) gives them a better place in the online search results.
This blog, we'll focus on the online competitors, and below we'll show you some tips & tricks to discover who your competitors are and what they do.
Before getting started with discovering who your competitors are, it's essential to know what your online focus is. As we've discussed earlier, online competitors focus on the same keywords as you. You probably know what you want to focus on, but it may still come in handy to research the words you want to score with. A quick search in Google will show you related searches and subjects. You can also use Answer the public for this.
MOZ1 shows that you can also research the keyword gap. What this means is: which keywords are your competitors scoring on, and you aren't? With the Moz Keyword Explorer and SEMrush Magic Keyword Tool, you can find out which keywords you're ranking for, and your competitors are ranking for. Taking a look at the website of your competitors will probably show you why they're ranking for it, and you aren't.
Who are your online competitors?
You can use multiple tools to find out who your competitors are. But before we tell you all about these tools, the best tip we can give you is: ask your colleagues, employees, employer, or customers who they think your competitors are. They know your company better than anyone and have worked there for many years. And it's always good to know who your environment sees as your competitors.
Below we'll show you a shortlist of tools you can use to find out who your competitors are:
Although MOZ, many platforms, will show you more information when you have a paid account, it's still a great platform that shows you an overview of your website's performance, keywords, competitors and featured snippets. Use the Domain Analysis tool to see what you can get out of this platform.
The most significant disadvantage of this platform is that it only shows a few results. A workaround for this may be filling in your competitors' websites and see who their competitors are. Now, you'll get a nice list of competitors you have to keep an eye on.
SEMrush is almost the same platform as MOZ. You fill in your URL, and you get a clear overview of keywords, links, and competition. Besides that, SEMrush also offers more free tools for you to research keywords, the website's performance, links, and many more.
Other platforms you might know are Ahrefs and Spyfu, and probably many more. Do you know another tool that is great for researching your competitors, keywords, et cetera? Feel free to share this with us!
Google & social media
A quick search in Google shows you a lot of information about your own company and those of your competitors. Just search with the keyword you want to rank for or the branch you're working in, and Google will show all the companies that rank for this. In no time you have a complete list of business that are in the same location or are offering the same products or services. You can do the same thing on social media.
Discover what your competitors do (great)
The most usual method to find out what your competitors do is visiting their website. So go to your competitors' websites and find out what you think makes them rank better than you. You can also visit their website to get some inspiration for your website and strategy.
Besides that, you can also use the tools listed below:
Google offers many Chrome extensions you can use to find out what makes your competitors rank so high. Use, for example, MOZ's Chrome extension or find other Chrome extensions searching for 'Competitor' or 'SEO'. You can also look at Ahref's list full of SEO Chrome extensions.
You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to find out what and when your competitors are posting. Are they focusing on a specific story, what are they posting about, and what seems to work for them. Of course, this doesn't have to mean it works for your company's social media, too, but you use this as a source of inspiration.
With Twitter, you can easily follow your competitors using lists. Create a new list, add your competitor to this and you'll see not only what your competitor is tweeting, but also what other people say about this company.
ith HubSpot Competitor Report (Marketing Hub Professional needed) you'll get insights into the online performance of you and your competitors. Manually fill in your competitors, and HubSpot will show you their online visibility, link authority, and rank. Besides that, HubSpot shows you how to improve your website.
Finally, you can also use ads to find out more about your competitors. The SEMrush Domain Analysis tool shows you which ads a company is running inside Google. Besides that, you can also easily find out the social ads of a company. Just go to their company page and scroll down till you see 'Page Transparency' on the right side of the page. Click on View more and go to the ad library to see which social ads a company has. You can do the same in LinkedIn by going to the company's LinkedIn page and go to the tab 'Ads'.
With this, you can find out what your competitors are advertising, how they do this, which tone of voice they use, and much more.