In the highly competitive digital world, being able to succinctly understand what your competitors are doing is a real advantage – it can help to benchmark your performance, and look out for any new tactics that your competition are running. Here are my 4 things that you can look for to get an overview of someone else’s digital activity (without paying for an analysis tool):
Website: This seems like an obvious one doesn’t it?! But it is worth checking both the desktop and mobile websites. Often the experience of a website differs by the device that is being used. So, start off with desktop, then move to tablet and then take a look on a phone. It is likely that some functionality will be sacrificed for the user experience, so this should offer you an insight into the parts of the website where the company really wants the user to focus on. And picture yourself as a user of the website – ask yourself what the user experience is.
Search Engine Optimisation: The quickest way to measure the effectiveness of SEO activity is how a website ranks against a series of keywords – however, who, apart from the company who you are analysing, is to say what those keywords should be? And the ranking of a website is the output of an SEO strategy, so what is the input? There are a lot of tools on the web to help you with this – Woorank is a decent free starting point and will show you which SEO elements the website is good at and which ones it can improve on – this could highlight an opportunity for your website
Pay Per Click: This is a tough one to measure without being able to access AdWords, but there is something that you can do. SEO and PPC should work together through the customer journey, so you should be able to get a view of what that mix is if you understand the customer journey (you will if they are a direct competitor). For example, in many industries, the searches start very broad and gradually get more specific – so start looking for the SEO and PPC mix through a series of keywords which take you through the user journey.
Social: In many industries, social media is an important part of the digital presence. It can offer a human face to an impersonal company, as well as giving the customer a reason to choose one product or service over another. So, you can tell a lot about a company by its social presence. When you are looking through the social networks (you should check at least all of the ones which the company’s website points you towards), look out for:
- The mix of content type (image, video, link, etc.)
- How consumers are using social to communicate (is it a customer service line?)
- What is the tone of voice – is it formal, informal, etc.
Of course, the best way to truly analyse a competitor website is to pay for an analysis tool, there are plenty out there, but if you have half an hour, you should be able to get a view on what the competition are doing.
Image via getmemedia.com