Most business managers and many website developers don’t give a lot of thought to competitor keywords. One of the most useful things business owners can do to improve the performance of their website is for them to understand how their website compares to other sites in their industry and location.
Generally, in order to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in your target market, you, as a business owner, must have a thorough knowledge of your competition. A full competitive analyses can help you understand how your customers and potential customers view the market and to identify your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. This will give you a good position from which to develop effective strategies for competitive marketing to the best prospects in your target market. Competitor keywords are one piece of the analysis puzzle.
How Do We Start Competition Analysis?
First you have to identify, honestly, who your competitors are. An arrogant sales person at Database Company A once told our VP that Database Company B was not their competitor because, “We have never lost a deal to them” (as if she would know that). Competitors do not need to have the same number of employees, revenue, or brand recognition. Any business who offers a product or service similar to yours within the same geographic region would be considered a direct competitor. A business that’s offering a substitute product for yours will be considered an indirect competitor. For example, the seller of eyeglasses would be an indirect competition with the provider of contact lenses.
So, to determine if a company is one of your competitors, ask yourself what product or service are they offering? If you’re selling in a market where there a lot of competitors, your job becomes a lot more difficult; however, you can save yourself a lot of leg work by following the 80/20 rule because, in a lot of these fragmented markets, 80% of the revenue is controlled by only 20% percent of the competitors. So, you would focus your analyses on this 20 percent.
Basic Competitor Analysis
Traditional, professional market research involves things like questionnaires and focus groups. These can provide valuable information about your competitors. However, some of these could be impractical due to time and expense, particularly if you’re a newer business trying to grow. Fortunately, most of the information you need about your competitors is readily available online. The company sites you will research are those of the top 20% your direct competitors and affiliated organizations.
You should be able to answer the following questions regarding your competitors: What is the range of products and services they offer? Are their products or services aimed at target markets similar to yours? Are the identified competitors profitable, expanding or are they struggling to stay in business? There are many other elements to a thorough competitive analysis. Yes, there will come a time when a no un-turned stone approach should be your focus. At this point, you want to be able to get some of the visitors your competitors are getting to visit your site instead [or in addition].
Why Should We Care About Our Competitor Keywords?
Consider why we want to know our competitor keywords; how would one use this information? As you look at a list of search phrases for which your competitors rank, it will become clear that at least one of the following applies:
- Site Ranking – My company website does not rank in the search engines for this good and obvious search phrase.
- Company Offers – My competitor(s) offer products or services that we could easily provide (but don’t).
- Content Development – If we did want to rank in Google or Bing for these keywords, we would be out of luck, because we don’t have any content on our site relating to this topic.
- Advertising – These keywords would be a great focus for a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign in Google or Bing, or to include in some of our ad copy.
- Bait Phrases – Some of these keywords are extremely to rank and will bring leads for our main products and services (think about a notary public that also sells car insurance).
Knowing your competitors’ keywords bring a wealth of information around which you can advance your company’s online strategy. Note, these competitor keywords are extremely valuable even if yours is one of the 11 companies in your market that still doesn’t have a website.
How to Find Competitors Keywords?
Although finding competitor keywords is moral, legal and transparent, it’s not the easiest thing to do. Specific tools are required to compile this information in an efficient way. At SEO Publications, we have a basic, low-cost service that identifies keywords for a handful of your competitors. For more detailed research, you may need to look at keywords for dozens of competitors to find keyword phrases that are best for your organization. For this, we recommend one of the following [do it yourself] products…
Finally, if you haven’t answered the following poll question, please answer…
Also, please include any specific observations or ask questions about this topic by contributing to the comment section below.