How to do a competitive analysis for your website?

Master website competitive analysis

Julian Castro – the youngest member of President Obama’s Cabinet – said:

We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others.

In our day to day life, we may notice some businesses prospering more than others. This can go back to the fact that they might be making some mistakes without even noticing them. But what if you are the one making these mistakes, how will you find that out?

Well, a website competitive analysis can help you find that out, but it’s not quite as simple as scoping out your competition. A website competitive analysis can give you the edge you need to one-up your competition.

The website competitive analysis gives you information that provides both opportunities for improvement and potential threats to your business. It is one of the best ways to get to know your competitors, what they are thinking about the market, which tactics they are using, and what they are up to.

Knowing what your competitor is doing can help create a difference.

 

According to a study, 74% agreed that competitive analysis is “important or very important,” but 57% admitted that they weren’t very good at it. This article will show you how to conduct a website competitive analysis the right way.

What is a website competitive analysis?

Competitive analysis is a broad term for the practice of researching, analyzing, and comparing competitors in relation to yourself. It could be done for a wide variety of aspects like website, branding, marketing strategy and pricing.

Companies do it for a wide variety of reasons— website, SEO, branding, go-to-market strategy, pricing, etc.— and you can use it for UX and conversion optimization, too.

So, what is a website’s competitive analysis?

A website competitive analysis is analyzing competitors’ websites in relation to yours. It is done through the lens of improving the site’s ability to meet or exceed the competitors’ website.

There are many techniques that can be used to analyze a website, including:

  • Keyword analysis: It is the process of researching the language of your audience so you can be more easily found in search.
  • Usability analysis: It is the process of considering how to design and structure your website to meet the needs of a certain demographic. Every redesign should start with a website analysis.

Why is it important?

Conducting a website competitive analysis will help you to:

  1. Build a unique website: Take the time to look at and compare each of your competitor’s websites. Take note of the design, functionality, and content. And start designing and building your website accordingly.
  2. Reach more potential customers: According to Pew Research center, 81% of consumers conduct internet research on products or services before they buy them. You need to optimize your website in relation to your online competitors. Do not miss an opportunity to target those customers who might have an interest in your business.
  • Build up a portfolio of Media connections: The competitive analysis’ results will show you who in the online trade press is writing about your competitors. It is an easy way to discover which media institutions would be interested in writing about your business.

How to complete a website competitive analysis?

Website competitive analysis consists of three main steps:

  1. Determine your competitors: You may not know who your competitors are, and that is okay. You can use tools like Alternativeto or SimialrWeb.

Competitive analysis website Alternativeto

Also, you can conduct keyword and social media research, to  help you know which websites rank for the same keywords you want to target and which social media accounts attract the audience you want to target.

  1. Find out your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses: Check your competitors’ website design, content, and social media channels to find out where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
  2. Implement a strong strategy to support your business’ growth: According to the analysis of your competitors’ websites, keyword research, backlinks, and more, you will be able to implement a strategy for your website and business growth.

Now, it is time to know which data you need to check out and analyze!

Check out their backlinks

People trust websites with a generous number of backlinks. If your competitors have several quality backlinks from authority sites, then you will need to target some of your own authority sites for backlinks.

You can use Long Tail Pro to learn more about your competitors’ backlinks. It shows you how many external backlinks your competitors’ websites have. You can increase your backlinks by pitching authority websites in your industry for guest posts.

Check their highest ranked keywords

According to Kissmetrice, 30.5% of online business website traffic comes from search engines, like Google. Keywords are a vital part of your success and your competitors’ analysis.

Know which keywords your competitor uses and then try to rank for similar, popular and profitable keywords. You can also work on words with fewer competitions.

Keep a close eye on their content

You will use the keywords throughout the  content in your homepage, blog, and pages. Remember your content should be informative, up to date and well organized. It should also give your audience a chance to engage, for example You can encourage your audience to share your blog posts with clear call-to-actions.

Look at things like word count of their blog posts, images and infographics used and how helpful the content is. And try to post longer, more useful, and more engaging content.

What tools can you use for a website competitive analysis?

Knowing which tools to use is a crucial part of the competitive website analysis process. Some of the tools mentioned below can provide you with a comprehensive overview of your competitors’ strategy.

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a great free tool to figure out how much traffic your competitors are receiving and what advertising channels they’re using most. It provides very detailed information on different sites and a comprehensive overview of a website’s marketing strategy. Some of the data included in the analysis provided by SimilarWeb is:

  • Keywords driving organic or paid search traffic
  • Estimated monthly visitors
  • Average page views per visitor
  • Average time visitors spend on the website
  • Percent of traffic from various channels
  • Bounce rate
  • Top referring websites
  • Pictures of banners used for display ads
  • Audience interests

With the free account, you will get five results for each website metric that you’re analyzing. If you want more detailed analyses, you’ll need to pay for it.

Alexa

Competitive analysis website Alexa

Alexa is one of the oldest available web analytics tools. It provides robust demographic and regional information so you can see where and to whom your competitors are marketing.

However, it is not as informative as SimilarWeb, the free plan offers detailed information about the visitors’ region, the keywords driving the most organic traffic and the website’s top referring sites. The advanced plan offers information about the keywords your competitors are using to drive paid search traffic.

SEMrush

website SEMrush

SEMrush is another competitive analysis tool. It is great for monitoring competitors’ display advertising and search engine marketing strategies.

Within seconds, you can enter a website URL into the search engine bar and receive the following metrics:

  • Main competitors.
  • The keywords for which your competitors are ranking.
  • Dofollow and nofollow backlinks.
  • Volume of traffic from organic and paid search.
  • Changes in search volume over time.

With the free account you will only receive five data points for each metric and will be limited to five reports per day. For more access to competitive analysis data, upgrade to the company’s “Guru” plan or “Business” plan.

In conclusion

Collecting your competitors’ data is one of the first and easiest steps, the challenging part is finding what the data says about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and using it to your own advantage.

Analyze the data you collected carefully and understand your competitors and how your company should respond accordingly. Doing a competitive analysis and evaluating the data in depth is a much better approach than blindly copying their strategies.

Image by: GoDaddy

Selina Bieber
Based in Istanbul, Selina is part of the GoDaddy EMEA team managing the Turkey and MENA regions to help grow the GoDaddy brand and business. With a background in marketing communications, Selina is passionate about small businesses, the entrepreneurial eco-system and leveraging digital technologies to get ahead of the game. Prior to joining GoDaddy, Selina led the PR activities of Facebook, VeriSign and Euler Hermes in Turkey, and was based in Amsterdam to head up regional media relations across Europe for a natural gas project. Selina is a self-professed foodie and travel addict.