The biggest point you want to keep in the back of your mind when looking at your competitors is NOT to do what they are doing, rather to see what they are doing and do something different and unique! When you started your business, it came from the place of seeing a need and knowing you could satisfy that need. Even if your industry seems saturated, there is always something you can focus on that will set you apart.
As I mentioned in my last post, your website is where you want to focus on creating and sharing your original content. Then you will use your social media platforms to point back to your website. You want to build your authority by creating this original content. Therefore, the first place you want to look is the websites of your competitors. Again, not to copy them, but merely to see what type of keywords are the most popular on their sites.
The first (and easiest way) to start watching your competition, is to sign up for their e-newsletter if they have one. You also want to like/follow/connect with them on as many platforms that they participate on. This way you can monitor which types of content they get the most engagement on. You can see this by the number of likes & shares (on Facebook) or retweets and favorites (on Twitter). If you see a post all of a sudden get lots of engagement, take notice on what was different about that post from their other posts. Was it a photo, video, a paid ad or something humorous?
Another tool that can be really resourceful (and it has a FREE version) is Semrush. I highly recommend registering for their free account to be able to see the top 10 keywords that your competitors get found by. Simply go to www.semrush.com and create your free account now. Once you have gone through the steps to create your new account, simply enter the url for your competition in the search field to pull up statistics on that page. You can learn which keywords were entered in searches that resulted in their page being found. There is a limit to how many you can search per day (with the free version), so have 3-4 competitor urls determined ahead of time.
Here is a screen capture of the results I got when I did a search on Andrea Vahl’s website. You will see that not only did I learn which keywords were used to find her site, but also who her competition is. This can assist you in further research of competition in your area of expertise.
With the free version, I was able to drill down to see the top 10 keywords by selecting “View Full Report” under the section labeled “Top Keywords”.
By using this feature, you can see what people are typing in to find your competitors’ websites. You want to incorporate those words into your original content on your website, so that traffic starts to come to you.
Another interesting section in the Semrush results is the backlink domains. When I drilled down into this section, I can see which sites are linking to Andrea’s website. For your purposes, you can see who is linking to your competitor’s page. These are then the pages you want to get noticed by, as they will likely link to you in the future when you provide valuable original content.
Next you can use the tool Social Crawlytics. This site is free and can be quite resourceful in capturing data that you can use to come up with post ideas in the future. By knowing what types of content get shared the most by your competitors, you will know what people are interested in learning more about. Inversely, you can see what content is not interesting to your target market, and not waste your time creating content on that subject matter. You can also learn who is sharing this content and become engaged with those individuals and/or businesses.
The main takeaway I want you to get is there are resources out there which you can use to see what your target market is interested in learning more about. Find out how your competitors are being found, and then create original content that will set you apart from them. You do not want to copy what they are doing. Because at the end of the day, being different is what makes you stand out.