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9 Competitor Research Methods to Use to Overtake Your Competitors

Competitor Research
Take the results of the Competitor Research you will get from using one or more of these nine methods to overtake your competitors.

Use these competitor research methods to conduct a competitor analysis, compare against your own business and make changes to increase sales and conversions.

What's a Competitive Analysis & How Do You Conduct One?

A competitive analysis is a crucial component of any business strategy. It is the process of analyzing your competitors – their strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and market position – to gain insights and inform your own business decisions.

By doing a competitive analysis, you can identify what sets your business apart and develop tactics to gain a competitive advantage. To undertake a competitive analysis, you should start by identifying your major competitors and gathering as much information as possible about them.

This will include things from market research, customer surveys, and social media monitoring, to website analysis. Once you have collected the necessary data, you can analyze it using tools such as SWOT analysis, Porter’s five forces, and market share analysis. 

The results of your analysis will help you to develop strategies that capitalize on your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, and respond to threats from your competitors. Ultimately, a well-conducted competitive analysis can help you to optimize your business operations and improve your bottom line. Doing a Competitor Analysis will help you identify how you can improve your business, whether you have a product or service.

Competitor Research: Assess your top 3 Competitors

Did you know there are competitor research methods you can use to overtake your competitors and help your product or service stand out in a crowded marketplace? We recommend you start by researching your top three competitors.

Study your competition to assess:

  • their strengths and weaknesses;
  • what your competitors do well;
  • what they don’t do well;
  • their unique value proposition;
  • how you compare.

If you implement changes based on good competitor analysis, it will definitely give you a competitive edge and more than likely, increase your sales and conversions.

How to Conduct Competitive Research: 9 Top Competitor Research Methods

Whether you use one method or use all nine, good competitor research will help your business be more successful with your products and services.

Naturally, if you do a more comprehensive competitive analysis of both your direct competitors and your indirect competitors, as well as those that have good market share, you’ll get the most out of the process. 

1. Read through your Competitors' Websites

This is one of the first competitor research methods you should use. How well a website is performing as the salesperson for a business can tell us a lot. The website user experience (UX) is also very important. Look at:

  1. How appealing is it?
  2. Is it clean and easy to navigate?
  3. Have they used much ‘white space’ (aka negative space) or is it cluttered, busy, and overwhelming?
  4. What are their Calls to Action (CTA) as well as how and where they use them?
  5. Is their menu easy to navigate to find what a visitor might be looking for?
  6. What added value do they provide?
  7. What extra features does their website have?
  8. Are any features missing?

Now look at your own business and make a comparison. What could you be doing better on your own Website?

Competitor Research, competitor research methods

2. Research Their Social Media Accounts

Your competitor’s social media presence is another easy competitor research method to start with. Look at what social channels they are using – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Business Profile, TikTok, Pinterest etc. Think about:
  1. How are they giving value to their followers?
  2. What type of content do they produce?
  3. Are they using long-form videos, short-form videos (reels, stories), podcasts, blog articles, educational, engagement, or inspirational posts?
  4. How frequently do they post?
  5. What seems to be working well for them?
  6. What is not getting much engagement?
  7. What tone of voice do they use?
  8. What are they doing that you are not?
Once you’ve researched your competitors, you’ll be able to see whether there are social channels you should be using and what you could do more to increase your brand presence and follower engagement.

3. Google is your best friend for Competitor Research!

Make a list of niche keywords and questions people may ask or search for, for your industry and type them into Google, to see two different things:

  1. What are the top 10 pages appearing in the search result.
  2. What does Google bring up as related questions in the ‘People Also Ask’ section? This usually appears in the search results but Google will also start auto-suggesting common related words searched as you type.

See what comes up in the search results and how your competitors are ranking for those keywords. Compare your own business. 

4. Paid Advertising -v- Organic Marketing

What marketing methods are your competitors using? Paid advertising, unpaid organic marketing, or both?
 
There are lots of different options for paid advertising. From ads on social media platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, to newspaper, paid media spots, PR, letterbox drops, the list goes on.
 
If they are not already, at some stage your competitors are likely to use paid advertising, which will target your customers. Did you know that if they are advertising on Facebook or Meta, you can look at their ads in the Meta Ads Library to see what ads they have ran. If you see an ad that has been running for a long time, it is likely they’re continuing to pay to run the ad because it’s working well for them.
 
If you have the budget, for it, you can look at what is working for your competitors, think about what platforms your ideal customers hang out on, and what might be the best options to target them.
 
Paid Advertising can be an effective strategy that brings results quickly, but you will need to keep an eye on your ROI (return on investment)
 
Organic Marketing by using the power of Search Engine Optimisation, while exceptionally effective, is a long-term game. Although it can sometimes happen faster, it usually takes 6-12 months to see results. 
 
Competitor Research, competitor research methods

5. Are your Competitors posting Blog articles?

The importance of regularly creating and sharing high-quality content by posting blog articles to your website cannot be underestimated. This is especially true if you are blogging in topic clusters, which, when done well, will help move the ranking needle in your favour. Look at what your competitors are blogging about, where they are sharing those blog articles and whether they have a call to action with them. If you consistently post valuable content to your website, the site can effectively build its online presence and brand authority, leading to an increase in organic search traffic and improved search engine rankings.

Simply creating great content is not enough. It must also be shared and distributed effectively through various channels, such as social media and email marketing.

Shares and engagement are also ranking factors. By sharing your blog articles and promoting engagement on them, you can successfully attract and engage your target audience, while also building a positive relationship with Google’s search algorithms.

6. Do Keyword Research

Doing keyword research as part of an analysis of your competitors can help you create content that competes with and eventually outranks your rivals. By analyzing the keywords and topics that your competitors are ranking for, you can identify the gaps and overlaps in your content strategy, optimise your content for the keywords that match the search intent of your audience, and measure the performance and impact of your content.

Doing keyword research as part of your research into how your competitors are performing, can help you discover new opportunities, follow the best practices and trends in your industry, and differentiate and outperform your competitors.

There are tools such as SemRush and Ahrefs that can uncover this easily for you, but there are also a range of Google Chrome Extensions that can list the keywords an article is ranking for. Try Keyword Surfer, Keywords Everywhere, SEOquake and SEO Pro extension amongst others. 

7. What are their Reviews like?

Reviews left on places like Google, Facebook, TrustPilot etc all paint a picture of the actual customer service experience. In a competitive market, reviews left by actual customers carry a lot of weight.

Look at the average rating your competitors have on each of the platforms and see what their customers are saying they do and don’t like about them.

8. Assess their branding

Don’t just look at their logo and branding on their website but look at the design assets they use across all the social media channels they use. 

Is their branding consistent? Is it memorable? do they have a brand voice? Compare it to your own branding and think objectively about whether you need to make any upgrades. 

9. Put your spy hat on and do some recon

It can be hard to do, but if the opportunity is there for you to analyse their customer service, do that. It can be helpful to look at all aspects of their marketing, not just individual funnels.

What is their customer service like? Are they helpful, polite and having their customers walk away having had a pleasant experience with them. If they have business premises, are they well presented? Can you find what you need easily?

Expert help with in-depth Competitor Research

If you want to do some competitor research yourself, these tips will help you. They’re by no means an exhaustive list though. As specialists in all aspects of SEO, we have a range of tools we have either purchased or subscribed to, which can dive much deeper to uncover what would otherwise be your competitors’ SEO secrets. 

Get in touch if you’d like us to perform SEO Audits on your competitors to uncover the information you could then use to outperform your rivals and grow your business.  

If you’re thinking about researching your competitors to do a competitor analysis, should also have on your list of things to do:

  • Digital Marketing Strategy: Create a Digital Marketing Strategy if you haven’t already or consider whether it’s time to review your existing Digital Marketing Plan. Doing Competitor Research and implementing things from  the results of your Competitive Analysis, should be part of your goals.
  • Website Audit: Auditing your own website should be done every 6-12 months.

We are able to help you with both your Digital Marketing Strategy and a no-cost, no-obligation Website Audit, so feel free to read more on those pages.  

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