Competition today is higher than it has ever been before. One of the common truths in conducting business these days is you are now facing threats across industries and verticals, rather than just geographic location.
And with increasing competition comes the need for smarter competitive intelligence. It shows you how your efforts are performing in relation to your surroundings, how to target specific customers, ways to refine your marketing mix, inform your content strategy, and much, much more.
Nowadays, finding crucial insights all boils down to the tools and systems you put in place. Here are three incredibly powerful tools you can use to keep an eye on the competition.
Talkwalker Alerts – Stay in the Loop
The first step to any worthwhile competitive analysis is to know what is going on in your industry. One of the greatest advantages of using the web for competitive analysis is that it is very easy to stay on top of what is going on in the industry by tracking brand mentions, keywords, online visibility, and the like.
Keeping an eye on how people are interacting with you and your competitors across the web is key to planning your next move. For instance, if a certain ad or piece of content is getting a negative reaction, having an instant notification system in place can be a lifesaver in conducting damage control.
Talkwalker Alerts is a very simple-to-use (and free!) tool that enables you to filter notifications based on a number of factors.
Right on the landing page, you can search for anything such as your own brand, your competition, certain events, topics, keywords, etc., and get email updates with the latest and best content that covers these areas. And the best part? This includes mentions and tweets directly from Twitter.
Talkwalker Alerts is specifically designed to track metrics with the most engagement, so you don’t have to perform the tedious task of sifting through and identifying the ones that matter the most. You can customize your results to show content from only blogs, news outlets, forums, social media, or all of the above!
You can use Talkwalker Alerts’ Boolean operators to customize these results even further and provide more informed insights on content management, SEO, and influencers. This alert system can be a VERY powerful supplement to your social listening and reporting strategy, with notifications delivered straight to your phone.
Unlike Google Alerts, you can choose how often you receive notifications. Upon connecting your email address, you can get results in real-time, once a day, or once a week.
A robust alert system is a must-have for all competitive analysis strategies. Not only will it keep you informed on everything going on in your business ecosystem, but it can also be a deciding factor in knowing how to react to industry sentiment.
DeepCrawl – Pick Apart Their Sites
Okay, so you know what is “in” in your niche. But so do your competitors. Are they pushing you out when searchers google these terms?
SEO is one of the building blocks of today’s digital marketing mix. Ranking on page 1 of Google for preferred keywords is something every marketing department aspires to. To see the best results, you need to be on top of how SEO changes according to Google’s declared and undeclared updates to its algorithm. In addition to knowing how your competitors’ sites are performing on the SERPs, you also need to know why they do so.
When it comes to digging for info on how solidly your competitors’ sites are optimized, the data you will find with DeepCrawl gives you all kinds of on-site technical insights for constantly improving your online presence. It allows you to answer the following questions about your competition:
Are their pages crawlable by Googlebot? Are these pages getting indexed?
Do critical files like sitemap.xml and robots.txt work properly?
Are the inner pages reachable within a few clicks? Do their horizontal and vertical linking structures work?
Does the site have a lot of broken links that lead nowhere?
How fast do their pages load? How is this affecting UX?
Is their site on the verge of being penalized?
DeepCrawl conducts full scans to identify any weaknesses in the website’s current architecture, such as server response errors, along with evaluations of performance levels. The platform digs deep to craft KPI reports, with around 200 metrics per individual URL.
The single biggest advantage of DeepCrawl is that it can even identify keywords that your competitors are not targeting, providing you the opportunity to create timely content and beat them in the SERPs.
All this is done with “stealth crawl” technology, meaning IP addresses are randomized so that your clients don’t identify and block you out.
Staying on top of changing algorithmic preferences is vital for a healthy SEO strategy. DeepCrawl’s system signals which chunks of code are not up to the mark, letting you find kinks in your competition’s site structure.
Quantcast – Know Their Audience
Now that you are on top of your industry trends and also know how well your competitors are positioned to make use of their website against you, you need to get a feel for how their messaging is resonating with their audience. Running a successful brand is all about putting the right content in front of the right eyes, at the right time.
This is hardly a simple task. In fact, it is nearly impossible to accomplish this feat without the appropriate tools and insights. The current business and marketing world runs on a foundation of huge amounts of data. Omitting big data content analysis from your competitor research is a surefire way to be left behind.
Quantcast is an incredibly intelligent tool that combines big data and machine learning to understand audiences and what makes them tick. The system gleans information from datasets like Oracle Bluekai, V12 Group, Datalogix, Symphony IRI and others, to give marketers an in-depth look at certain online behaviors to better serve targeted customers.
In terms of competitive intelligence, the data Quantcast provides can be used to understand the reach and traffic trends in relation to millions of websites. You can see all the way down to the number of unique visitors and page views for a certain URL. Additionally, you can analyze audience composition in regards to gender, location, income, age, ethnicity, level of education, and even political affiliation. This allows for very granular segmentation and targeting.
Based on these insights, you will get a good sense of what segments you should be targeting. From here, you can use AI assistance and predictive modeling to plan and design your marketing campaigns to provide highly-personalized and relevant messages across any and all of your chosen channels, something Quantcast calls “augmented intelligence.”
Over to You
Just like an athlete needs to understand their competition’s strengths and weaknesses for their success, we have to keep track of the competition to beat them in business. It is MUCH harder to win if you don’t know exactly what you are up against. This is why athletes spend hours watching game film, and it is also why you should be investing serious time in competitive analysis.
Fortunately, we live in a time when access to this knowledge is readily available. The key is knowing what to look for, how to get it, and which tools will deliver it in a way that inspires business growth. To get the right information in an easily-understood fashion, consider using these exceptional tools in your approach.