There is truth in the saying that the true wind beneath your sails is usually what you generate yourself. Every website has a different journey and trajectory. You cannot possibly compare yours with others, but at the same time, you cannot dissociate yourself from the competition altogether. Unless you keep up with what the others in your domain of business are doing, you will be like the proverbial emu which buries its head in the sand!
There are valuable lessons to be learnt from the competing websites in your arena. For example, you can pick up something new that they are trying but a weapon which is missing from your quiver. Secondly, you are more aware of what you are doing wrong.
Usually, you are so caught up in your own game that you can barely spot glaring mistakes and missed opportunities on your own website. Your competitors wake you up to the task. Thirdly, you are conscious of other trends that you have to do something about if you don’t want the competitors to run away with the domain’s entire business.
Keeping these in mind, there are three areas where you should focus while checking up a competitor’s website: backlinks, content and technology. Let us take them up one at a time.
Backlinks: Before Penguin update of Google in the April of 2012, SEO executives would scour the internet for backlinks, picking up almost everything in their wake. They would glean the competitor’s backlinks to find out what value each of them is giving to the competing websites. Immediately, they would work to neutralize the positives of these links, adding several junk links in the process.
These links, which had zero value then, suddenly began attracting a negative value post the Penguin update. Websites could no longer hold on to these links. Today, you look at competing websites for link ideas and sources that you have not tapped yet. You can check up the origin of their links and think how valuable these sources may be for your own website.
Content: Just as you would spend hours and even days poring over Google Analytics and other keyword research tools to develop your own content, your competitors are doing so as well! There is no harm in dipping into their research a little to pick up keyword ideas! You can be sure that they are doing so from your website, if you are a serious player in the game. Pick up keyword ideas from their website and use them to populate your content pages.
The same goes for other content ideas, like the use of videos or infographics. In some genres of websites, videos may be more useful than the written word. You may have missed out on them because you felt that publishing written posts were more effective. You visit the competitor’s website and find their videos shooting through the roof in terms of web traffic. Cue for you to join the game!
Technology: This is the bulwark of the website, the very foundation on which the online business runs. The backend coding and programming make all the difference to a website. There is no doubt that you have a robust frame but what about your competitors? What are they doing about improving customer experience?
Factors like page speed and website architecture, including the navigability of the website, on your competitor’s website can add a new leaf to your own site. You can work towards making your site more useful for the visitors, a factor that Google greatly appreciates.
The digital marketing has moved several rungs up the ladder towards sophistication, especially in the methods and means used to bring web traffic. Still, the pillars of the old-world SEO, content and links, continue to hold much importance. What’s more, they are in strong correlation with other players in your business arena. You don’t function alone or decide the rules of the game. You play with your best hand and that includes picking up lessons from other players.
Use the competing websites as guide books. Don’t imitate them. Just pick up their thought process and figure out how you can use them to improve your own site and digital marketing blueprint.