1. Market impacts and changes in customer behavior
Markets and customer behavior are always changing. As consumers, we get affected by local events such as the weather, terrorist attacks or presidential elections, and global ones such as wars, climate changes and pandemics.
These market and behavioral changes can vary a lot from culture to culture, from country to country, and from continent to continent. Some countries are not that affected by climate changes or pandemics, while others are deeply affected.
To give you a present example: In Africa, the majority of populations haven’t been that affected by the Corona pandemic, compared to the populations of Europe or the Americas. The sale of protective equipment such as face masks has increased on the continent, but not like in Europe and the US, where the sale of face masks has exploded, due to both the spread of the disease (the demand), as well as the enormous buying power on these markets.
Events affect markets, and global events can have immensely different impacts on different markets. If you are a company selling products on a global scale, this is something that must be on top of your agenda. But all companies big and small, have been affected one way or the other by the Covid-19 crises, depending on the country and the continent, and this is perhaps the one constant rule in the global market economy: local and global events will always affect markets in some way.
Digitalization of competitor insights
In the old days when entering new foreign markets, you needed boots on the ground, preferably locals or someone with deep knowledge of the different cultures and markets, to understand and react to these local and global events and their market effects.
This is still a very valuable resource, but with the ongoing digitalization and the explosion of ecommerce, the knowledge about different markets and their customer behaviors becomes more and more accessible, and so does the ways in which to gain competitor insights.
Competitor insights – a definition
When markets and customer behavior varies or changes, and you have to adapt your products or the marketing of those products accordingly, the most obvious thing to start with is to look at the competitors, and gain competitor insights. But what does that mean exactly?
A well-known and established definition describes it as insights into the practices and routines of the competition. In the world of SEO, a more precise definition would be to describe it as insights into the digital marketing practices of your competitors.
The changes in algorithms
Change is inevitable, and in the digital world, there are as you probably already know, certain things that will change regularly, and that’s Google algorithms.
Google change their algorithms 500-600 times a year (although major changes only happen 1-2 times a year), to push webmasters to continue producing more mobile-friendly and user-friendly websites, but also to keep every market player on their toes. Not only in terms of how they react to these algorithm changes, but also how they react to their competitors’ reactions to the same, and that’s why digital competitor analysis and insights are essential.
2. SEO competitor insights
When you gain insights into your competitors’ digital performances, and compare them to your own digital performances, you will discover:
1. How your SEO perform against the market and the competition
2. The gaps in your keyword coverage
3. That it helps identify content areas where you are weak
4. That it shows keyword and content areas where you rank well and have competitive advantage
5. That it provides insight to help you define realistic SEO targets
With the Compare Top10 Tool from eye10, you get knowledge about all these things and many more. The tool has been developed to offer customers clear and unfiltered competitor SEO insights. You’ll have to make the changes on your website yourself, and if you’ve read this far, you most likely know how to do that. What you get is data that shows you exactly what to optimize, to beat your top 10 Google ranking competitors – hence the name – Compare Top10 Tool.
This knowledge can give you the competitive edge, and that’s why many companies use a lot of time and resources in gaining competitor insights. It’s priceless knowledge about your market, and it’s more important than ever in the world of digital commerce, but also easier to access than ever before.
3. How to use competitor insights and make data-driven decisions
There are numerous ways that you can use the data you get from the Compare Top10 Tool, and there’s many different expert opinions about what you should focus on. But how do you begin? Here are what we believe would be the best way to use the data, how to analyze them and get the competitive edge. And take your time and be thorough: the more time and energy you invest, the better the result you get. Go to eye10.io, insert the URL, the target keyword and the target location in the boxes, and click Let’s compare.
Lists your top 5-10 competitors and look at the data. What exactly distinguishes them from your website regarding:
- Content analysis – Keywords
How many words do they have on the site?
What’s their keyword density, and do they have the right keyword in the URL, meta-title and meta-description?
Maybe they have found a new valuable synonym keyword, or maybe they have started using an entirely different keyword?
- Technical analysis – Subpage indexing, SSL and Schema.org
How are their subpages indexed?
This is especially important if you are a webshop owner and compete with other webshop owners about selling the same products. Are their product category pages indexed in a special way, and how do they guide their customers to the right CTA-links?
SSL stands for secure socket layer and makes the data flow through an encrypted connection. This is what makes the URL start with Https://, and not Http://, and what makes Google determine the site as secure. This is especially important if you are a webshop owner because your customers must provide personally sensitive information when buying something from you. It is therefore of great importance to them that you have SSL in your URL.
Which schema markups do your competitors have? Schema markups are a great way to boost your CTR which end the end will boost your Google rankings. Schema markups include reviews, FAQ’s, etc., and if you don’t have any, we recommend you get it sooner rather than later.
- Linkbuilding analysis – Inbound, Outbound and Internal links
Which inbound and outbound links do they have, and could you manage to get the same or even better ones with other collaborators?
How are their internal link building implemented? Do they have a specific strategy that guides the customers in a special way?
Competitor analysis and insights are also important on social media and in all PPC campaigns, and this data can also be generated with the Compare Top10 Tool.
If you want an overview of the best competitor analysis tools on the market, read SEO-guru Neil Patel’s guide.
And for more about how to use competitor insights in your PPC campaigns, try reading Search Engine Land’s in-depth guide.
4. A great example of how to use competitor insights
Competitor insight stories aren’t abundant, since everyone is keen to keep their secrets on how they obtained and used their competitive insights data. But as link-assistant.com explains on their blog, the story of how Scott Paxton became one of the Apexforum SEO contest winners, is a great example of how to use competitor insights.
The Apexforum SEO contest participants were required to register a new domain and rank it on Google.com for the same long-tail keyword (Club Penguin Walkthrough). Every day throughout the contest, each candidate ranking in the top 100 got “100 – their position” number of points. So, if you ranked #1, you got 99 points, and if you ranked #99, you got 1 point. The participants with the highest total score over 90 days became the winners and got up to $9,000 in prizes each (along with the glory of winning a huge SEO contest as a sweet bonus).
Google’s major ranking factors
Google’s major ranking factors apply to every industry, but the part each plays and the specifics of how it works may vary a lot from niche to niche, which means that SEO optimization can be very different tasks if you are a webshop owner selling bikes, compared an NGO supporting the global fight against hunger. Especially now that RankBrain is part of Google’s ranking algorithm. As an example: Google might analyze the pages with the best user experience metrics from its search results and look for common traits that make those pages a good fit for a certain query.
Competitive research and insights
When Scott started out, he analyzed the industry in a similar manner. He looked for user experience metrics and common ranking query traits among the top rankings sites in the industry: he analyzed the different pages regarding site structure, content, inner linking, keyword optimization, and backlinks.
Here is what he found:
– Inner page ranking. 100% of sites ranked for the search phrase were inner site pages, not the homepage.
– Inner linking. Top ranking sites shared a similar inner linking scheme: the main walkthrough page typically linked to more specific individual mission pages.
– Keyword optimization. The keyword was found blended into phrases with very rare exact match occurrences. Broad keyword match was common within the meta tags, image alt tags, and headings.
– Content. Keyword score was relatively low within content.
– Backlinks. For this niche, Scott observed a higher than usual blended and related anchor ratio and very few exact-match anchors. This helped him formulate his link building plan and understand which anchors he should be aiming to get.
From these results, Scott got a domain name and setup a simple WordPress page:
Since he had no time to lose in the 12-weeks the contest lasted, he sent in traffic signals to the site to make sure it got indexed quickly. He then incorporated the insights he got from his competitive analysis into his own site structure, link building campaign, and content.
All this research and data helped Scott win several of the top prizes in the contest. He managed to rank the main keyword higher than anyone else in the contest. He also ended up with most days ranked in Google’s top 5, and he got more organic traffic than any other participant.
5. Get on top of the SERPs
If used correctly and thoroughly, competitor insights regarding site structure, content, inner linking, keyword optimization and backlinks can get you on top of the SERPs, which inevitably give you more traffic and conversions.
It’s about going all in and all the way in terms of customer behavior and user-friendliness. To do that, you need data from tools like eye10’s Compare Top10 Tool, and you need to study the craft of SEO, and in the end, most often sooner than later, the rewards will come.
There’s no sweeter feeling than getting more visitors, a lot of clicks and more conversions, organically, because you’ve done your homework to the core, and because users dig your content.
You get the maximum effect when you combine these efforts with PPC, and these are the most important factors when practicing ecommerce in the 21st century.