How To Spy on Your Competitors for Your Own Success? Semrush Twitter Chat #9

Hello dear Seotoolbuy blog readers!

How did you like the recent Semrush Twitter Chat “How to spy on your competitors for your own success?”

I think it really was a good one — very informative, dynamic and even record hitting. The statistics speak for themselves. Seriously, every Twitter Chat is getting better and better, and it’s all because of you — our participants! We want to thank you for your interest and for all the great insights that you share!

If you haven’t had a chance to participate in one of our chats, or if you want a refresher, please enjoy this recap of Semrush Twitter Chat #9 with team members of the awesome tool RivalIQ — “How to spy on your competitors for your own success.”

Why you should you ‘spy’ on your competitors? What are the most crucial points of competitor research? How can you learn industry secrets and benefit from them?

We can’t wait to tell you!

Stats for today’s #SEMrushchat is just AWESOME! via @TweetBinder cc: @RivalIQ

— SEMrush (@semrush) 17 декабря 2014

Before we go straight to the Twitter Chat insights, I want to take a small excursus to list the different types of competitors you can analyze.

  • A direct competitor. You share the market with this type of company. You both may even sell the same product, e.g. you sell ice cream and so they.
  • An indirect competitor. This kind of company offers a different type of product but satisfies the same consumer need that your business does — like a local bus service to your taxi company.
  • A competitor you share an audience with. This type of company offers a different product, but it can replace yours and take your customers, segmenting the market and thereby segmenting your consumers. That’s why a gift shop and a flower delivery company can be competitors.

Q 1. Why should a company analyze what its competitors are doing online?

@searchrook @semrush Data about yourself is useful but without competitive context it’s meaningless. #semrushchat— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

Doing business requires one to pay attention to so many different factors, there is always a chance that something will go wrong. “Learn from their mistakes, learn what they’re doing better than you, find holes (missed opportunity) in their targeting” — Brandon Seymour (@Beymour).

Analyzing your competitors will help you determine what is right and wrong with each step of your strategy. So instead of making the same mistakes again and again, you should analyze best practices.

A1. The main purpose of the CA is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market. #semrushchat

— Fernando (@FernandoSEMrush) 17 декабря 2014

Then find the gaps in your strategy and fill them with new ideas.

A1. competitive analysis can give insights into what’s working w/in your industry. “new” ideas, strategies, etc. #semrushchat

— ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM) 17 декабря 2014

Another benefit — analyzing your competitors will help you get ahead of them. You can adopt your competitor’s ideas, develop them, rethink them and turn them into something better that will help you to get to the right place.

A1: It’s important to know what your competitors are doing in order to be a step ahead of them and learn from their strategies #semrushchat

— Pablo López (@popiplo) 17 декабря 2014

Q 2. What steps should a company take to analyze the competition and leverage that information?

Competitive intelligence is a very big topic. You can apply competitor research to every marketing issue: from keyword research to UX.

We’ve got so many answers to this question and others that were dedicated to certain marketing areas that there is no way that we can publish all the tweets here. So we composed a check-list from all the answers.

Before you go any further, let me repeat — competitive intelligence is a very big topic. If you don’t want waste time while digging ito all the directions, remember that your analysis should be “aligned with your business’ goals.” — Rival IQ ‏@RivalIQ

A2. CA needs to be quick (whatever methods/tools used) & general. Don’t spend tons of time analyzing what others are doing… #semrushchat

— ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM) 17 декабря 2014

So if you are ready, let’s go through the whole check-list!

Of course you’ll need some help to get all these data. For starters, “use Google Alerts, setup non-brand email and subscribe to [competitors’] blogs” — Tony Dimmock ‏@Tony_DWM And use tools!

@AltosMarketing I’d recommend: @semrush @spyfu @buzzsumo @screamingfrog to start… #semrushchat

— Brandon Seymour (@Beymour) 17 декабря 2014

Here’s a list of whose tweets we used:

Brandon Seymour ‏@Beymour

David Prochaska ‏@DavidProHQ

Devin ‏@DevDawg

Luke Jordan ‏@LJordanOnline

Niraj Bariya ‏@NirajBariya

Pablo López ‏@popiplo

Tony Dimmock ‏@Tony_DWM

William Harvey ‏@WilliamHarvey

Now we’ll talk more about some points from the check-list we discussed during this Semrush Twitter Chat.

Q 3. What is more important to analyze: how brands present themselves or what people are saying about them?

A3 – You must know a company’s positioning – how they describe themselves but how the market talks about them dictates success #semrushchat

— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

Let’s move to practical aspects of competitive intelligence. And the first area we’ll dig into is brand presence and reputation.

Opinions on this topic were different, but it seems like there were two distinct points of view. From one side, we’ve heard that brand presence itself is nothing without public opinion. That’s why user impression is so important.

@semrush A3: i’d say how a brand presents itself is meaningless if no one is talking about them. i’m gonna go with the latter. #semrushchat

— Anthony Randall (@tonyxrandall) 17 декабря 2014

A3: It is important to track how the market talks about them because it gives you insight on what works and what doesn’t. #semrushchat

— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

From other side — we are not living in informational vacuum and we can’t live without market’s opinion.

A3. Look at both for trends that emerge. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but insight can be gained from seeing cross impact. #semrushchat

— ClearVoice (@ClearVoice) 17 декабря 2014

Whichever way you choose, don’t forget to draw conclusions from your research. Analyzing your competitors’ online presence will help you to determine your niche, and find out similarities and differences that you can the turn into to advantages. Analyzing community opinion can help you make a list of your competitors strong and weak points.

Q 4. How can a company improve its SEO/SEM Strategy by spying on their competition?

  • Organic and paid traffic
  • Organic traffic source
  • Keywords
  • Keywords’ ranking

A4: Know what keywords you are ranking on and who your top competitors are. More importantly, know where you aren’t ranking! #semrushchat

— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

Keywords are the basis of SEO. Every single keyword represents someone’s intention to find relevant information or to buy something! The purpose of researching your competitors’ keywords is to figure out which ones are taking your customers away from your site.

A4 – it’s very helpful to see the source URLs and content the competitors are using to rank for keywords #semrushchat

— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

  • Backlink portfolio

Let’s move on to backlinks. Backlink profiles have a huge influence on a website’s ranking in Google. Analyzing competitors’ backlinks will help you to find new trustworthy sources and create content plans.

A4: See where they’re getting links, what kind of links, strategy analysis, backlinks, social signals, etc. #semrushchat

— Devin (@DevDawg) 17 декабря 2014

Q 5. How can content marketers benefit from Competitive Research?

A5: Competitive research brings you great ideas for content creation and let you know which ideas work better #semrushchat

— Pablo López (@popiplo) 17 декабря 2014

Yes, we all know how hard it can be to determine the right topic. But researching your competitors’ content can give you much more than just a new idea for a post. It can give you ideas for new content formats, information about frequency of new content appearance, targeted audience information and etc — all together those data can be a great help.

A5: Q5: Competitive research helps you understand the story your competitors are telling & the story you want to tell! #semrushchat

— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

It’s very important to find your own unique voice and ‘language’ for speaking to your audience. So pay attention to what your competitors are saying.

Don’t forget the main purpose of competitive intelligence — to help you get ahead of your competitors.

@semrush A5. Helps your brand stay relevant with ‘industry talk’ and draw deeper conclusions than competitors. #VALUE #semrushchat

— Manish Patel (@manishw2gi) 17 декабря 2014

As a content manager myself, I’d like to add that it’s also important to analyze your indirect competitors — this is how you can generate a new audience.

Q 6. What’s one “Pro Tip” or best practice for Competitive Research on Social Media you would like to share?

A6 – Go beyond number of followers & activity to engagement – how are your competitors engaging and why – that is critical #semrushchat

— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

Level of engagement is a key point. To improve audience engagement you can, first of all, analyze the content that your competitors provide.

A5 – On social, you can see what content, themes and images are engaging with the target market #semrushchat

— Rival IQ (@RivalIQ) 17 декабря 2014

Building a community can be tough! One secret for success — find opinion leaders that helping other companies engage audiences, promote content and drive more visits.

“Remember at the end of the day, both B2B and B2C are truly H2H (human to human)!” — Rival IQ ‏@RivalIQ

A6- Seeking out authority figures in your niche, seeing how they go about posting/when they post/the engagement/ and emulating #semrushchat

— Matt Banner (@BlastYourBlog) 17 декабря 2014

Q 7. What is a no-brainer Competitive Analysis Strategy that some marketers don’t use but should?

Summing up, let’s take a look at the best tips for improving your strategy. First of all, keep in mind that researching your competitors is very time consuming. Be ready, think over the basics you want to explore, and be sure that you have enough resources.

A7: Finding the time and resources to actually do a thorough competitive analysis on their competition. #semrushchat

— Blue Fountain Media (@BFMweb) 17 декабря 2014

While discussing these questions, the top three metrics were revealed. They can serve as a starting point of your analysis.

First of all — content. It’s still king, so don’t think that you are wasting your time reading competitors’ blogs or magazine articles.

A7: Actually reading the content a competitor puts out, and not just focusing on SEO rank. Quality of writing is important! #semrushchat

— Austin Paley (@AustinPaley) 17 декабря 2014

Second — backlinks. We’ve talked about them a lot today, so I’m pretty sure you are already convinced that you should take a look at your competitor’s backlink profiles.

A7 I’d say a quick link metric comparison using Moz’s OSE. Simple to do, exports to Excel, great for a bird’s eye view #semrushchat

— Brandon Seymour (@Beymour) 17 декабря 2014

This one is hard for me to say in one word. Engagement, community relations, users’ feedback, relations with opinion leaders — all your community building efforts need to be compared with your competitor’s tactics.

That’s it for today! I hope you discovered some new techniques and came to some conclusions! We are going to take a break for the holidays, so our next Semrush Twitter Chat will be held on… We hope that your interest in these chats will not fade away, because we have great plans for the new year: new topics, advice from leading experts, giveaways and a lot of fun!

So on Wednesday, we hope you’ll join us, using #semrushchat as usual!

We wish you happy holidays! Be safe!


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