Spying on Your Competitors’ Digital Marketing Efforts
Spying on your competition has never been easier than it is today. Whenever your competition engages in digital marketing activity they leave a footprint. We are going to show you how to find those footprints.
Once you’ve found your competitors’ digital marketing footprint, you can then analyze what they’re doing and understand what you need to do to catch up to or stay ahead of your competitors.
We felt it was important to confine ourselves to using free tools as we know many small business owners work with tight budgets. We would rather have you spend your money improving your digital marketing efforts than on digital marketing software.
To save you time, we located an awesome web grader that is both free and extremely robust in terms of intelligence-gathering.
You’ll really like HubShout’s web grader because it provides data that would normally require expensive monthly subscriptions for free.
This web grader pulls in data from sources like SEMRush and Ahrefs who are heavy hitters in the SEO software business.
The web greater then organizes the information in such a way that helps you understand how you compare to your top competition.
In the next paragraph, will explain how to use the web grader and what to do with that information.
Step 1: Enter your website URL
We used a dentist stuck on page 4 in Google search results for this example. Their URL is uptowndentaloffice.com
Step 2: Enter the URLs of Up to 3 Competitors
Once you enter your website URL and your email, you will be taken to the web grader itself. The next step is a piece of cake; all you need to do is enter three of your top competitors.
You have a choice here of choosing businesses that you believe are your competition or you can look to see who occupies the top results in Google and simply enter them into the web grader.
You will get better keyword research if you decide to enter the URLs of the top search results in Google, so for this example, we will do that.
Simply type in a typical keyword, your customers would you use to find you. In our dentist example, we typed in “dentist San Diego.” Enter the URLs of the top results in Google.
Check out the screenshot below to see what we mean.
Your web grader should now look like this:
Here is where the fun comes in. Let’s start analyzing the competition. The most important thing to understand is the dollar values expressed above, which are called monthly traffic values.
A website’s monthly traffic value represents how much they would have to spend in AdWords. To get the equivalent amount of traffic, they’re already getting from their current organic rankings.
In simpler terms, it tells you how much their organic traffic is worth.
It’s important to note that this web grader does not have access to a site’s analytics account. It cannot directly measure how much traffic you have coming to your website.
However, it is a good approximation, and more importantly, each website above uses the same formula to calculate monthly traffic value.
All you care about is how far behind or ahead are you in terms of the competition. In the example above, this dentist is clearly behind all three of their competitors.
In fact, we can say that Uptown’s rankings are worth approximately one-ninth of Mesa Dental’s.
The big takeaway for the monthly traffic value is that we are behind our competitors. The question now is, why are we behind? To understand that, jump down to the backlinks scorecard.
The backlinks scorecard provides key metrics for our sample dentist and their three competitors.
The backlinks scorecard shows three key KPIs that help small business owners understand why their monthly traffic value is below that of their competitors.
Let’s Take Each one Individually
Domain rating is a number that measures the overall strength of a website’s link profile. The score ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest.
As you can see, Uptown has a domain rating of 0 while the competitors have domain ratings of 2, 10, and 34. As a website’s domain rating improves its traffic value will typically move up in lockstep.
The scorecard shows how many backlinks you and your competitors have come from other sites to your websites. We care about this KPI because Google views backlinks as votes for your website.
Typically, the more backlinks you have from other websites, the better; however, there are also other important considerations such as link quality that matter as well.
Generally speaking, the more backlinks you have, the better.
Referring domains show how many different URLs are linking to your website. We care about this because, for ranking purposes, a site can only vote for you once.
You may receive 100 links from a website; however, the first link is the only one that matters. This has important implications for your link-building strategy.
You will want to attract links from many different websites rather than a lot of links from the same website.
Step 3: See Which Keywords Your Competitors Rank On
It’s now time to see which keywords your competitors rank on. To do this, simply click on the “See full keyword analysis” link.
You will now be presented with a full list of keywords that you and your competitors rank for.
You may notice that you and your competitors rank for a number of keywords that are entirely irrelevant to your business. That’s okay.
Ranking for keywords that are unrelated to your business is pretty normal. However, all we care about are finding the keywords that will move the needle for your business.
Finding those keywords with this web grader is super easy; simply type in the city where you live or your services to find relevant keywords.
In this example, we typed in “San Diego” to find a treasure trove of specific keywords just an awesome web grader.
Wrapping It Up and Understanding an Awesome Web Grader
We did a lot today. We now understand how to find out how far behind or ahead of the competition we are. We also follow a few key metrics that need to be improved in relation to our competitors if we wished to outrank them.
We also were able to do super quick and impressive keyword research to help us get ahead of the competition.
We advise you to take the keywords identified above and add those to your title tags, metadata. A website copy as well as blog posts to help you improve rankings on those keywords.
If you have a larger budget, we advise you to hire an SEO company to help you build links to increase your domain rating and a number of referring domains.
We hope this article helped you understand where you are in terms of your search presence in relation to your competitors and some simple action steps to help you catch up.