The following is a guest post by Eugene Mekeda. Eugene is a marketer at Ahrefs.com. He used to work in advertising, tech support, and journalism but found himself in marketing and copywriting.
Remember in school, we were told that peeping into other students’ test sheets is bad? Well, you can forget it. Because rules for starting a business online aren’t the same as at school.
Because alongside with building a website, you also need to have clever marketing in place.
And whatever niche you’re in, I’ll bet it got super competitive lately. There’s a hundred websites providing the same service and selling same products as you are. And you need to beat them in the race to your client’s browser window.
Before you read on - we have various resources that show you exactly how to use social networks to gain massive traffic and leads. For instance, check out the following:FREE Step-by-Step Twitter Marketing Guide
FREE Pinterest Marketing Ebook
Building a comprehensive marketing strategy all by yourself can be really hard. And outsourcing marketing can end up being pricey.
But there is a way to outrank your competitors without hiring Brian Dean and Neil Patel. Even more so, you can do it for free.
The thing you need to do is competitive analysis. Cause you know who already has functioning marketing strategies rolling? Your top 3-5-10 competitors. And what works for them will work for you too.
In this post, I’ll show you how to use three Chrome browser toolbars to get a sneak peek into your competitors marketing efforts for free.
Basic competitor research with Similar Web
First of all, you need to check what kind of traffic you can hope for in your niche. Identify your main competitor in Google and open Similar Web toolbar on their website.
Similar Web collects their own data and gives you an estimate of monthly traffic any website on the web is getting. But not just that, they also show you website’s target audiences, competitors, best sources of traffic, top referrals and GEOs, etc.
In addition, they give out all that data in their toolbar for free and with no need to register. So it’s a perfect hub for getting a general idea of what you’re dealing with.
With these tools, you can see what social media networks drive most engagement in your niche, what traffic sources you should concentrate on, who else your competitors are, how much money they spend on ads and so on and so forth.
Hey, before you read on - we have in various FREE in-depth guides on similar topics that you can download. For this post, check out:FREE workbook: CREATE AWESOME BLOG POSTS
FREE Beginner's Guide: START A BLOG
A must-have for anyone who wants to do some competitor analysis without spending much money.
Analyze competitors social media presence with BuzzSumo
Here’s how much time you spend on social media these days:
Image source Social Media Today
And hey, let’s face it – this image is an understatement.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the amount of time I spend reloading the newsfeed is a problem too. But for you the time your customers spend on social media is a perfect marketing opportunity.
Now that you’re on The Social MS you’re already making steps in the right direction of improving your SMM game. But let’s also see how you can examine your competitors’ social media marketing efforts with BuzzSumo toolbar.
Once you’ve identified your competitors with Similar Web, use BuzzSumo to check out what kind of content works best for them.
See how many shares and from what networks has each their post collected. This kind of numbers gives you an insight into what type of post names and topics resonate better with your audience.
Do they like case studies, videos, how-tos? Find the best performing content of your rivals and improve on it. Give your customers what they want.
But the best part of the toolbar is that you can see everyone who shared any page on Twitter (click View Sharers).
So your content creation workflow will go something like this:
- Find the best performing posts of your competitor;
- Write a post 10 times better on the same topic;
- Find influencers who shared this content;
- Target these people in your next Twitter ads campaign;
- Or reach out to the best prospects manually and let them know about your piece.
Outrank your competition in search with Ahrefs SEO Toolbar
You can go long distance with Similarweb and BuzzSumo alone. But to really give your competitors a fair fight, you need to analyze their backlink profile and replicate their best links.
Honestly, only this way your content marketing efforts are going to give results. Because Googlebot will hardly ever find a website with no links pointing to it.
You can’t ignore backlink research for many-many reasons, but I’ll give you one piece of statistics:
71% of searches in B2B start with a generic query in Google.
So every business needs to do backlink research and link building to make their website visible. Ahrefs SEO Toolbar comes with Ahrefs subscription, but you can test it out during your free two-week trial.
This toolbar saves marketers a ton of time on their competitive and backlink research. You can see any URL’s velocity, backlink stats, on-page optimization elements, etc – simply look at the top of your browser window.
But here’s how you’d use it in your link building routine:
- Write a piece of content better than any you competitors have.
- Open the page you’d like to outrank and check it’s main metrics like Domain Rating, URL Rating, # of referring domains and backlinks.
- Click on BL(backlinks) to see all the links pointing to this page.
- Find the most powerful ones and get in touch with the website owner or the author.
- Let them know about your content and why it’s better than what they link to now.
- If they see value, they will link to you. And if not, you’ve still put yourself on the right people’s radar.
But keep in mind that the takeaways here are the great content and personalized outreach.
And to outrank your competitors you’ll need two things:
- More organic backlinks from authoritative websites with relevant anchor text;
- In-depth quality content that covers the topic from A to Z.
To sum up
Competitor analysis is an ongoing process rather than a one-time activity. You need to always know what your competition is up to in order to outperform them. But don’t let spying replace creativity in you. Because competitive research helps you catch up with your rivals. And original ideas help you make sure they won’t catch up with you.