Here at 97th Floor, we love research and use data for everything from developing scopes of work to achieve business development goals, to all aspects of content ideation. In short, spreadsheets are our best friends, and today we’re going to talk about 5 things to look at specifically (and put into a spreadsheet) when researching your competition.

Let’s get to it!

#1: Find Your Competition

There are a lot of good reasons to do competitive research:

  • To get a better understanding of the market
  • To replicate your competitors successes
  • To avoid their failures
  • And generally, to help you find new customers...and serve them better

However, your digital competitors may be different than your industry competitors because ultimately, your competitors online are those going after the keyword terms you are also trying to rank for. You can use tool like SERP Workbench, which is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to plug in keywords and quickly see who is also ranking for specific keywords.

You may be surprised to find your competitors include Wikipedia or WikiAnswers or .edu or .gov sites.

#2: Inbound Links

Undoubtedly, when doing an audit of a website, one of the immediate red flags we see often is the stark difference in the quality and quantity of links between the site we’re looking at and the winning competitor’s site.

This is a good reason to invest in a tool like Ahrefs (which I talk about in our “5 Tools for Content Ideation” video); using Ahrefs you can see not only what your competitor’s backlink profile looks like but exactly where they are getting links, which may be great for building a starter list for your own outreach and guest posting efforts.

#3: On-Page Metrics

Beyond inbound links, other off-page metrics to note in your competitive research include:

  • Load time and mobile response time - you can use Google’s Page-Speed Insights
  • Word count of primary landing pages
  • And number of indexed pages

These are all great metrics to tell you where to focus in terms of improving your own on-page efforts, vs trying to improve everything all at once in order to outpace your competition.

#4: Social

Make a note of your competitions most shared content and the cadence, as in the days of the week and times, they are sharing. This will give you an idea of when audiences in your industry are engaging and potential gaps in the marketplace that you can fill.

#5: Content

Audit their content and look for the following:

  • Medium (ie. infographics, white papers, blog posts, images, resources guides - you get the idea)
  • And target personas - who are they gearing their content towards?

This will either reaffirm what you already know about your audience but may uncover some new insights you can apply to your content strategy.

That’s it, 5 things you need to look at when researching your competition. Until next time!