Google loves brands We understand you’re a nice person.

You want the best for everyone and their families. You love kitties and long walks on the beach. But when it comes to business and inbound marketing, you want to win. You want to crush your competitors. Don’t worry, so do we.

But how do you do it?

One of the most pivotal aspects is proper research and analysis. You have to see where the target is. After all, you can’t win anything if you don’t have a clear idea of what needs to be done.

However, where do you start? What are the key features to look out for? How does one identify certain practices and marketing techniques of competitors? What are the right questions to ask?

All of these questions will be provided in the following 4 steps to analyzing your competitors inbound marketing efforts.

Step 1: Analyze their website

In analysing your competitor’s website, you require a list of questions that need to be answered which we took the liberty to compose. If anything, answering the questions below will make you more in tune with what the targeted audience expects and what unique ideas they haven’t been introduced to yet.

Is the site conversion focussed?
Has your competition included CTA’s that are laser focussed? Do they make sense and how convincing are their arguments? Are forms used to acquire lead information in exchange for valuable content? Do inbound links lead back to CTA’s and landing pages? Most importantly, does the page project features and details that encourage conversion?

If so, it’s likely that most leads feel the same way. Leads are always interested in 2 things:

  1. Does you content provide solution for their problems or needs?
  2. Can YOU, the business, provide a product or service that takes care of these problems and needs?

When you provide the information required and if you make conversions exceptionally simple with effective CTA’s and landing pages for your leads, they will most certainly convert without an issue.

Is the site mobile responsive?
In 2013, more than 37% of internet users utilized mobile devices. That’s a huge amount of potential leads just waiting to be converted. More and more sites are adapting to mobile responsive designs and this has proven to be an extremely lucrative decision.

Is your competitors site mobile responsive? Does it look just as appealing on a mobile device as it would on a desktop? Is it adaptive to different devices?

Last but not least, establish one more important detail – whether or not you’re capable of making a smooth purchase from their landing page without any hassle at all.

Is the site SEO optimized?
Search Engine Optimization doesn’t just apply to an algorithm but to overall performance. Is the code clean or does it contain unnecessary html? How fast is the site’s load time? Is there a keyword strategy in place? Are such keywords being used appropriately? Are inbound links being used appropriately?

Though we are in an era that dictates the use of remarkable content, ignoring SEO is not a practice we encourage. With both remarkable content and SEO working hand in hand, you can build a website that ranks well on search engines and converts better with leads.

How is the site visually?
The manner in which you present content is just as important as the content you provide.

Does the site look attractive? Are the color tones complementary? Does the site have a uniquely designed template? Is it focussed around Brand promotion? Is the design powerful enough to promote the Brand and USP? Is it powered by HTML5? Does it contain interactive features and pop ups? Is it easy to navigate?

It is important to note that an overcrowded design can be detrimental to a business. A sidebar packed with unnecessary widgets will distract leads from the CTA’s, a color palette choice that doesn’t blend into the design scares away leads and a poorly designed site will destroy your reputation as a professional online business.

Step 2: Analyze their content strategy (and quality)

Without a doubt, content is the building block to a well-built business website. If you have any plans of destroying the competition, you need to analyze their content strategy in-depth.

In saying that, identify the following:

  • When do they publish content? Back track a bit, don’t just visit the very first page of a website and expect to get an accurate analysis. In order to really understand a content strategy, one must immerse themselves from the very beginning. Browse through your competitor’s sitemap and take a look at different months. On which days were content published? What time during the day? What is the minimum time gap between articles? Understanding your competitor’s content schedule equips you with enough knowledge to set up a content schedule that is superior and much more anticipated by audiences compared to your competitors.
  • How often is content published? Are you familiar with the term information overload? At times, even too much information can have a negative impact on your content campaign which is why analyzing competitors with a successful system equips you with an understanding of how much content is preferred by your targeted audience. You can find a total number of content published on the sitemap or sidebar of the website.
  • What form of content? This is a very important aspect to content. The type of content you present to the audience you desire needs to be the best form of information. If you were to target a graphic design group, articles that are long worded and full of jargon would simply scare off your leads. Keeping that in mind, what form of content is being presented to your competitor’s audience and which form is most appreciated? Visit different pages and observe the social engagement. Which has the highest amount of engagement and interaction? Identify the form of content that works and design a content plan that utilizes this insight.
  • What is the standard length of written content? This entire section is dependent on whether you’ve figured out how often a website publishes content. Some sites publish multiple times a day whereas others only publish content once a week. With a good understanding of the frequency of published content, you can establish whether you need to construct long-form written content once a week or small doses of 400 word articles.
  • What features make such content popular? From spending time on your competitor’s blog, what are the deductions you’ve made?
    1. Do the articles follow a series like system or are they based on broad keyword?
    2. Do you find that review articles make up most of the content published or in-depth researched instructional article?
    3. Does it contain a lot of visual medium?
    4. Is there interactive plugins infused within articles?
    5. What tone is used in their writing?
    6. Is it simple to read or really witty and humorous?

By answering these questions, you not only discover what audiences like to read but just how qualitative such content is and how this impacts acceptance from an audience.

Step 3: Analyze their SEO

SEO is a constantly developing phenomenon, which is why we present our clients with an improved system referred to as SEO 2.0. No matter what niche you find yourself in, the kind of leads you want or the ranking you desire, without proper SEO techniques you’re leaving the fate of your website to chance.

One terrific way of getting ahead of your competition is by implementing smarter SEO strategies. If you were to find the positive and negative aspects to your competitors SEO, you create the opportunity of outranking them through the use of SEO 2.0. The following is a list of SEO factors you ought to have your eye on:

  1. Title and Description
  2. Keyword Frequency
  3. Meta Keywords
  4. Internal Page Analysis
  5. Headings: H1 + H2 + H3 + H4 + H5
  6. Inbound and External Linking
  7. Backlinks
  8. Images and Videos
  9. Google Authorship
  10. Website Branding

At this point, it’s preferable to use an SEO analysis tool, there’s some exceptionally free services you can check out: lipperhey.com and woorank.com (limited to 1 free analysis a week).

Unfortunately, not even this is enough. You need to find out the core information to your competitors SEO strategy.

Take a look at their backlinks. Do they possess a high quantity of pr1 – pr2 links or low amount of high quality pr4- pr6 backlinks? Knowing the difference is pivotal, sometimes all it takes is a handful of really high PR links to outrank a website built on low quality, tier 1 & 2 links.

How old is their website? Is their domain name purchased for years in advance? Do they utilize Guest Posting techniques to build traffic and authority?

Having the answers to these questions will most definitely aid you in outranking your competitors in the future.

Step 4: Analyze their lead generation efforts

Last but not least, this step is focussed on determining your competitors lead generation efforts and the results yielded. You can do this by getting a clear idea of:

  • How many landing pages are visible on the site
  • Are they giving away Free Content? If so, what?
  • Do they have ad campaigns running?
  • How effective is their Message?
  • How effectively placed are their CTA’s?
  • Who is the targeted persona and is content presented specifically for them?

If you have any plans of making money, building a clientele online or simply turning visitors into leads that make purchases, you need to understand how such persona react to certain triggers.

Once again, use the questions above to establish the efforts your competitors make in order to be successful. Don’t just observe, make notes and answer such question.

Concluding Remarks

Dive into the structure of your competitors efforts. Establish triggers that work and those that don’t, develop techniques that outshine your competitors and only then will you have a plan that is achievable.

Remember, planning is a huge contributing factor to succeeding online. If you know who you’re up against and how to beat such competition, making a bang online will be just a step away.

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