Competitor Analysis: Measure your Competition
To ensure your marketing strategies are as effective as possible, these days it’s key to properly understand your landscape as well as understand and measure your competition. This will help you quickly identify key competition, future threats and who the established brands are.
There are a number of techniques and tools used to first gather this data, and then interpret it so you get valuable, relevant insight. You can apply and overlay surrounding SERP variables: for example, Google algorithm updates that allow further insight on how completion is performing. It’s best to consider all platforms, not just the core domain, so take a look at YouTube, Facebook and more.
You should also carry out direct comparisons to quickly identify where the opportunities may exist, and then create actionable strategies. Covering numerous metrics to help frame the competitor analysis is advisable; these include metrics such as SEO Visibility, Market Share, SERP Rankings, Social Visibility, Social spread, Competitor backlink analysis and much more.
Landscape Analysis: Define Your Environment
Landscape analysis is the process of plotting your domain and online assets within a relevant vertical. To do this, look at all the surrounding factors that influence your ability to engage effectively with your audience. The landscape analysis is a step on from analysing direct competition and helps paint a full picture of the obstacles and opportunities that exist.
These opportunities take many forms, all of which are relevant to a successful campaign. These include the shift in the physical SERP landscape across devices such as mobile and tablet, SERP updates (such as the introduction of Google Knowledge graph, structured data, Algorithm updates [Panda/Penguin/Hummingbird] and the increased importance of Google Local Search.
Within the landscape analysis, you should also look at opportunities by cross-referencing available technologies and strategies. This shows whether there are opportunities to position you prior to any other individual or company, and therefore positioning you at the forefront of that landscape.
All of these facets and variables make up the marketing environment, and as such must be fully understood to help guide you toward the most effective strategies.
Gap Analysis: Further Your Opportunities
After you have outlined the landscape and explored your competition, next comes gap analysis – essentially, isolating opportunities that currently do not sit within the web offering or core marketing strategy. Gap analysis is done by highlighting search demand and needs within a space not currently being targeted, ensuring you can zone in on this gap.
For example, one travel company found success by implementing video-based content. While travel sites are a dime a dozen and travel content is very popular, research showed that the number of airline companies using video content was low. The introduction of this gave the blog content which was easier to share, and material to further populate social media platforms for additional brand awareness.
Based on research like this, other travel companies could understand the importance of video content in this arena: a series of videos could be produced covering topics found in travel news, and the description and written content (transcript) to accompany the videos could be used to link to other onsite pages, boosting internal linking and contextual relevance to further target pages.
Furthermore, these videos can leverage the transcripts to target long tail search queries which, coupled with the Google fresh content algorithm, would help place relevant target URLs highly within the SERP landscape. The narrative could also be used to bolster both inbound links, further social signals, referral traffic and brand awareness.