One of the first steps we take as marketers when beginning a new search engine optimization campaign is to research a client’s competitors, industry, and their target markets. While this one research element can consist of a multi-layered project, there are some key elements that you can do yourself in order to stay on top of the competition and enhance your website’s search engine performance.
Researching Your Competitors
On a very basic level, you can see where the priorities are for your competitors based on the topics and outline of the pages on their website. For instance, if their products or services are similar to what you offer, but they incorporate many more pages dedicated to specific uses of those products, or have services listed by the type of customer that would use them, then they are likely capturing more specific, focused, and relevant search traffic than you may be.
You can also do a quick review of their page names and titles (the descriptive URL of those topic-based pages and the title that appears in the top of your browser window on each page) to determine which keyword phrases they consider to be the most important and relevant.
By having a better feel for what your competitors are structuring their websites around, you can make better decisions on the topics and tactics of highest priority for your own.
Surveying Your Customers
Want to know what your customers and prospects are looking for when they search online? The easiest way to find out is simply to ask them.
Tools such as email marketing surveys and Facebook application surveys allow you to easily send out a quick request to your target audience in order to get a better feel for what they are looking for. Beyond helping you start to build a topic-focused strategy for your website, you may also be surprised to learn about new uses for your products, or services that your clients are hoping you’ll add to the mix.
Researching Your Vendors & Suppliers
There is so much you can learn from how your vendors, suppliers, and business partners position similar products and services for their own sales strategies. Do they have a unique way of pitching, or a great tagline that tells your story well? Can you package together products or services in a unique way that you haven’t thought of before?
Staying On Top of Industry Trends
Lastly, one of the top priorities for any website content marketer is to make sure that your site is always up to date with the products, services, and features that your potential customers may be looking for. Be sure to stay on top of industry news, deliver your opinions and reactions to current industry trends by writing topic-specific blog posts, and be sure to comment regularly on those 3rd party news websites.
By keeping your eyes open and always being aware of how others are talking about your products, services, customers, and industry, you will be sure to stay on top and capture a bigger share of the search market.