You never know what to expect launching a new e-commerce project. The most common and efficient way to take stock of the situation and minimize the risks is to pay attention to your competitors.
In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to take advantage of your competitors learning the sources of their traffic and analyzing their achievements.
Why is this necessary?
In fact, a good SEO specialist will never start promotion without exploring the niche. It’s necessary to:
- learn the whole subject, the competition within the niche, choose the channels of promotion;
- identify leaders and outsiders in the niche;
- compare the structure and usability of competing sites;
- adopt successful strategies for your project;
- assess their mistakes and weak spots to prevent them in your strategy;
How to make a detailed analysis of competitors?
So, how to gather all the information about competitors from scratch?
For this purpose, I’ll use multifunctional SEO-platform Serpstat and analytical platform SimilarWeb or its plugin for Chrome.
I’ll describe every step of the process using an example. Let’s imagine that we’re running an online store selling drones.
Step #1 Analyze the volume and competitiveness of the subject
Serpstat offers two ways for competitor analysis:
- by keywords
- by domain
The second way is useful when you are already promoting, but want to get the maximum traffic and collect all the missing keywords for your project.
The first way is suitable for exploring the niche. Since we’re considering competitor analysis before launching, I’ll use keyword research module at Serpstat.
On the main page, enter the keyword “drone” into the line, choose the search engine and run the analysis.
Here is what you’ll see:
Analyzing the overview, pay attention to the search volume to find out if there is a demand for your product. As we can see – it’s 550 000 for drones. It’s a promising result.
Also, check the commercial queries like “buy drone,” “order drone,” “drone for sale.”
You can also take a look at the Keyword Difficulty feature. This parameter shows how difficult it is to rank high for the desired keyword. It based on backlink analysis, the presence of domains and URLs with your keyword in title, main pages in the SERP.
Thus you can assess your chances of getting to the top of SERP for your keyword in a few minutes.
Analyzing this number you need to decide if it’s really worth spending valuable time and money. Of course, you can beat every competition, but if you see the highest score, it’s probably not worth efforts.
We can see that KD for our keyword is 32.85. It’s an average score, so there is a big chance.
Step #2 Select the leaders in the top
Pass to the “SEO Research” section and choose the tool “Competitors.” Then sort the results in descending order by common keywords and analyze them by all parameters.
Selecting your direct competitor, pay attention to:
- The indicator in the column of “common keywords” should be as close as possible to “all keywords” indicator. If the domain has 1000 common niche keywords with the general number of 600,000 phrases, this is obviously not a direct competitor. For example, look at the service “best buy” in our list. The difference between two columns is huge because it’s electronics corporation. And we’re looking only for specialized stores.
- If both domains have the closest “common / all keywords” indicators, but a strong difference in the visibility parameter, focus on sites with higher visibility. It means that they have more needed phrases in the top.
- If there are sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, Amazon and so on – just remove it from the list manually. Do the same with informative blogs.
Thus we identify leaders and outsiders within the niche. A bit later we’ll analyze their site structure, assortment, and USP.
To extend your list do these steps with the commercial queries.
Step #3 Select the most visited competitors, investigate their traffic channels and site structure
Now we should select the most visited sites for the detailed research. Analysis of their traffic sources will show us the real picture and help to choose channels to pay attention first. For this purpose, I’ll use SimilarWeb plugin.
Visit all the sites one by one and check:
- estimated visits
- time on site
- page views
- bounce rate (better if it’s low)
Now pass to the “sources” tab to see where the most traffic comes from.
In our case, the competitor’s site receives the most amount of traffic from the organic search. So, we should pay attention to it. Collect statistics to understand which source brings the most traffic in your niche.
If another competitor gets traffic from PPC and SMM be sure to investigate his advertising campaigns and social networks.
To analyze PPC-campaigns of competitors, you can also use Serpstat.
For SMM-campaigns: SocialBakers, Karma, Rival IQ, Buzzsumo.
At this stage, we also should analyze site structure and usability. Browse their sites and find what they’ve missed. Is site navigation convenient? Is there available all needed information? Do they have any unique proposition? Would you buy the drone at this online store? Why yes? Why not?
Thus you can learn competitor’s mistakes and avoid it creating your own strategy. Also, you can get inspired by their good sides and note something for your site.
As you can see, competitors analysis is an important step before launching your product. By doing this, you can:
see the niche coverage;
check current traffic channels and know what to focus on;
learn the mistakes to avoid it;
steal some ideas (but like an artist);
and get more traffic as a result.
You always should think critically: even the biggest competitors can be wrong. And if you find their weak spots, it won’t be difficult to surpass them.