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How To Do A Competitor Analysis And Why It’s Important

pwd staff OLIVER WOOD
Oliver Wood

|7th July 2021

Performing a competitor analysis is a key part of any successful marketing strategy. This is especially true when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). With so many websites vying for the top spot on search engine results pages, knowing what your competitors are doing can help you overtake them in the rankings. It’s a great way to improve your company’s online presence and increase website traffic.

What Is a Competitor Analysis?

A marketing competitor analysis is an in-depth examination of your direct competitors’ digital marketing strategies, tactics, and performance. It involves researching your main competitors’ websites, content, keywords, backlinks, and other factors contributing to their online visibility. The goal of a competitor analysis is to understand how your direct and indirect competitors are ranking on search engines and what strategies they’re using to achieve those rankings.

Why Is a Competitor Analysis Important?

There are plenty of reasons why you should perform a marketing competitor analysis:

Audience Insights

It helps you understand their audience better, which in turn can inform your own marketing and content strategies.

Identify Opportunities

You might discover new opportunities and niches that your competitors may have overlooked. Maybe they are ranking well for a particular keyword but not optimising their content for another keyword you can target.

Avoid Mistakes

It’s a chance to learn from what they’re doing right and avoid making the same mistakes they’ve made. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from your competitors’ successes and failures?

Competitor Benchmarking

A competitor analysis helps you benchmark your performance against your competitors. This will help you set goals for your own digital marketing efforts and give you a better idea of what success looks like in your industry.

How To Perform a Competitor Analysis

Performing a thorough marketing competitor analysis is not a quick task. Fortunately, there are plenty of templates and tools available. We recommend performing a SWOT analysis at the early stages of your analysis to give an overarching view of your competitors. To get you started, here are some straightforward steps you can follow:

Identify Your Competitors

It goes without saying that before you can analyse your competitors, you need to know who they are. This isn’t always that simple. Depending on your industry, there might be a few apparent competitors, but you may also have indirect or unexpected competition. So, how do you identify and narrow down your list of competitors?

  1. Start with a Google search. Simply typing in keywords related to your business can give you an idea of who is ranking for those terms and potentially competing against you.
  1. Use competitor analysis tools. For a more thorough and organised way of finding your competitors, you can use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or SpyFu to find competitors based on keywords, backlinks, and other metrics.
  1. Ask your customers. Your target customers are one of your most valuable sources of information, and they can often provide insight into who else they shop with or consider as potential alternatives to your products or services.

Once you have a list of potential competitors, it’s time to start analysing them.

Compare Market Positioning

The first step in competitive landscape analysis is understanding how your competitors position themselves in the market. This means looking at their messaging, branding, and overall marketing strategies. It’s important to note any similarities or differences between your brand positioning and that of your competitors. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is their unique selling proposition (USP)? This refers to what sets a brand apart from its competitors. It could be quality, price, customer service, or other factors.
  • Who is their target audience? Understanding your competitor’s target market can help you identify potential gaps in your customer base.
  • What is their brand image? Look at how they present themselves to the public through their branding and messaging. Is it professional, fun, or perhaps innovative?
  • How do they differentiate themselves from other competitors? This could include product features, pricing strategies, or a customer service approach.

Analyse Their Web Traffic

To start your competitor’s website analysis, you need to take a close look at your competitor’s website traffic to see how their site is performing online. There are several relevant tools you can use to analyse competitor website traffic, such as SEMrush. These tools can give you insights into things like:

  • Total website visits
  • Bounce rates
  • Time spent on site
  • Top traffic sources (e.g. search engines, social media platforms, direct)

This information is useful for competitor benchmarking, as it gives you an idea of what you should be aiming for if you want to compete with them online. It can also help you identify areas where your website may be underperforming compared to your competitors.

Analyse Their Content

Social media posts, blog articles, and website content can provide valuable insights into what your competitors are focusing on and how they’re positioning themselves in the market. Are they emphasising certain features or benefits of their products? Are they targeting a specific audience? Here are some things to consider when analysing competitor content:

  • Tone and voice. How do they communicate with their audience? Are they casual or have a more professional tone?
  • Content type. Look at the type of content they are publishing on their website. Are they using blogs, videos, infographics, or other content types? How often do they post?
  • Topics. What topics are they covering in their content? Which topics are most popular? This can give you a sense of what your audience is interested in and help you create relevant content.
  • Visual design. How do their website and social media profiles look? Are they visually appealing? What kind of imagery do they use?

Study Their SEO Strategies

People looking at stats and data

To overtake your competitors in search engine results, you need to understand their SEO strategies. Conducting a thorough competitive analysis for SEO will help you see what keywords they’re targeting, what type of content they’re creating, and how well their website is optimised for SEO.

You can use this information to improve your SEO efforts. For example, if you notice that a competitor is ranking high for a keyword that you’re also targeting, you can analyse their content and see how you can improve yours to outrank them. There are plenty of tools available to help you understand their keyword strategies, including:

  • Google Keyword Planner Tool
  • Semrush
  • Ahrefs
  • Moz

Besides keyword strategies, you should also keep the following on your SEO checklist:

  • Backlinks. Analyse their backlink profiles to see where their links are coming from and how you can develop a similar link-building strategy.
  • On-page optimisation. Check for things like meta titles, descriptions, headings, and alt tags.
  • Domain authority. This is a measure of how reputable and trustworthy a website is. Use tools like Moz’s Domain Authority or Ahrefs’ Website Authority Checker to compare your domain authority with your competitors.

Analyse Their Social Media Presence

In today’s modern era, your social media presence is nearly as significant as your website. It’s where people go to engage with your brand, so it’s crucial to have a strong presence on platforms that your target audience uses. Take into consideration the following:

  • Platform usage. Which platforms are they using? Are they focusing on one platform more than others?
  • Follower count. How many followers do they have? This can give you an idea of their reach and engagement.
  • Content types. What type of content are they posting? Are they using videos, images, or text posts?
  • Engagement rate. How often do their followers engage with their posts? Are they getting a lot of likes, comments, or shares?

This competitive intelligence helps you understand what’s working for your competitors and gives you ideas on how to improve your social media strategy.

Keep an Eye on Their Pricing

Pricing is a crucial aspect of any business, and it’s essential to keep an eye on what your competitors are charging for their products or services. This can give you insights into the state of the market share and help you make strategic pricing decisions.

There are plenty of price intelligence tools available to track your competitors’ prices and get real-time alerts when they change their prices. For example, Price Shape, Wiser, and Prisync are popular options for monitoring competitor pricing. This information can help you stay competitive and adjust your pricing accordingly.

Get Help from The Experts

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by conducting a competitor analysis yourself, don’t worry – we can help. At PWD, we offer comprehensive competitor analysis services to help businesses stay ahead of the market.

Our team of experts will conduct in-depth market research and analysis of your competitors, including their online presence, marketing strategies, pricing, and more. We’ll provide you with a detailed report and actionable competitor insights to help you improve your business strategy.

Contact us today to kickstart your digital marketing efforts and allow us to utilise them to improve your competitive advantage.