Spying on your competition

How to Spy on Your Competitors: The Best Tools and Tactics to Use

The average florist simply doesn’t have the time to use cutting-edge marketing techniques to one-up their competition. The common thought is that it’s good enough to simply create a website, spruce up your social media profiles, snag a decent amount of web traffic, and that’s it. While all of that is fine and necessary for a business that is beginning their online marketing campaign, will it really be enough to propel you past your competitors? Will it make your website/blog an authority? Will it guarantee a tremendous amount of sales?

Nope. Not even close.

Spying on your competition

If you want to take your online endeavors beyond the status quo, while also becoming garnering the most authority and sales, you need to try harder.

And I’m not saying that you need to launch a marketing campaign equal to the likes of Samsung or Coca Cola; I’m saying that you need to be better than your competition is willing to be.

The good thing: accomplishing this really isn’t that difficult. In fact, it’s pretty simple. It will take a little initiative and effort on your part.

You’re going to be spying on our competition. You’re going to see what they’re doing well, and make it better. This will all be done legally, of course.

So, let’s say you’re a florist in Dallas, TX that also has an ecommerce shop.  You’re on page 3 of Google for the keywords you want. Your competitors are on the first page and have more engaged social media followings than you do. And they seem to be doing well with their online sales and conversions. How do you go about researching your competition, replicating what they do well, and succeed where they fail?

The key: Spy on their search engine rankings (and how they achieved them)

So, your search engine position is currently mired in the proverbial swamps. You’ve been stuck on the third page of Google for what seems like forever now. Newer websites have surpassed your ranking position and your older competitors remain near the top. To see what you’re doing wrong, you need to see what they’re doing right.

Luckily, there are is wide array of tools to help you spy on your competitors. We’re going to discuss the best ones.

To spy on their keywords: The Google Keyword Planner

Everybody should be familiar with Google’s flagship keyword researching software. If you want to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for, then put their website url into the field that says “landing page”, hit enter, then click on the “keyword ideas” tab. It’ll list some of the keywords that the website is ranking for, and the data (avg. monthly searches, competition, etc.) for those keywords.

Price: Free, but you must sign up to use their service.

To spy on their backlinks: Open Site Explorer

This is the juicy stuff. It’s pretty simple to use. Simply put in your competitor’s web url and you will see how many inbound links they have and the websites that gave them these links, with info on:

  • Link anchor text-The text that describes the link. Very helpful to know, as you can get ideas on what keywords your competitors are trying to link for.
  • Page authority- This summarizes the potential for a website to rank well. The higher the page authority, the more likely it is to rank well.
  • Domain authority- The power or authority of a domain. This will tell you the power of the links that your rival is receiving. If your rival is receiving links from websites with high domain authority, take notes—and see if you can snag some links from the same domains.

Price: Free, but there is a Pro option that will allow you to export data to an excel sheet, among other features. Alternatives: Majestic SEO, Ahrefs

All-around online marketing analysis: Alexa

Alexa has been around for a while. Enter in a web url and you will find all sorts of actionable information, like…

  • How engaged your rival’s web visitors are. Specifically, the bounce rate, the daily pageviews per visitor, and the average time spent on the site.
  • The demographics of the web visitors. Things like gender, age, education (when applicable)
  • Traffic sources. Whether the traffic comes from—how much of it comes from Google.

Price: Free, but there are some paid plans. And it’s best to create an account.

The reason you will be spying on your competitor’s SEO traffic:

See and analyze the keywords that they are ranking for, and discover the ones they are pursuing (but have yet to rank for). This is key to usurping their ranking success.

See what websites are giving them link juice. See if you can acquire links from the same or similar websites. You can approach these websites to see if they’ll link to you (or if you can possibly pay for a link on their site). This won’t work 100% of the time, as some sites won’t need or want to give you a link, but many sites will. Plus, you’ll see a variety of different directories or associations (that you may not have heard of) that will give a free link. These are all powerful tactics.

Without the proper research, trying to climb the rankings is like shooting a target in the dark. See what your rivals are doing. Replicate their success. Capitalize on their failures.

2 thoughts on “How to Spy on Your Competitors: The Best Tools and Tactics to Use”

  1. Never thought that spying others web is as easy as this by using the available tools. Knowing these tools, a florist can be more competitive and look for ways to improve more in the aspect or online marketing. Researching and studying could really generate more leads.

  2. It makes sense to spy on your competitor because it’ gives you a chance to create extensions to your brand that sets you apart to the customer. There are a plethora of marketing opportunities offered online but there are very few ways you can get your message out there without the full knowledge of the competitor in order to make an impact.

    Since the general niche is floral design, I think it’s important to focus on sizing up local competition first then focusing on the larger competitors. There is a space in the marketing sense for everyone but I appreciate this post because it shines a spotlight on some of the programs available that even the beginner marketer may not be aware of.

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