A very important step in creating an online presence is researching your competition. Knowing and understanding what your competition has to offer, how much they charge, how they generate leads, and what keywords they use will help you create an effective website.

Simple Web Search

If you are new to your business and am unsure who your competition is, do a simple web search. For instance, let’s say you are in the business of selling anvils. Using your favorite web search engine (e.g Google or Bing) enter your business’ category or field. As an example, you would type  ‘Acme Anvils’ followed by your location. Boil down the results and create a list of your top 4-8 competitors.

Take Notes

Now that you have an idea of what competition is present in your area, start taking notes. When you visit a competitors web page, pay attention to a few things:

  1. How does their website introduce you to what they do. A good website will state clearly, exactly what they do within the first three seconds of viewing the page.
  2. Read their services or about pages and take note to any keywords or buzzwords that may be thrown around numerous times.
  3. How much do they charge for their services, and how do they convey this to the user?
  4. How easy is it to contact the business? Is there a clear contact method displayed on every page of the website?
  5. Is their website mobile friendly? Visit the website on your phone if necessary, or use this tool.
  6. Do they have a call to action on every web page in their site? If so, then what do they state that compels you to follow the call to action?
  7. Do they have social media links or profiles? Are those pages complete or active?

Feel free to add any other notes that you feel is necessary.

Research Traffic

Alexa

You should have a pretty comprehensive list at this point. The next step is to research your competitors traffic and history. We can use a free tool called Alexa to accomplish this task. Once you load the website, simply type in the URL of one of your competitors websites and click the search icon.

Take a look at the results and take notes on how long the average user stays on the website, the bounce rate percentage, demographics, and countries. You can use this information to create a more specific target demographic which will yield higher search rankings.

There are many more tools on the internet that I won’t mention here for the sake of introduction and simplicity.

Conclusion

Now you have an idea of what you need to look for when researching your competition. In the future we will release more in-depth guides that will hopefully help you maximize your web presence and return in investment.