The Importance of Knowing your Industry and Competitors

About the author: this article is a guest post written by Tom Key from DigitalSEO.

 

If your company predominantly operates online then it is likely that you will be keen to jump upon any available opportunity to boost your website’s performance.

The smallest changes can have a massive effect (both positively and negatively) on how successful your website is at bringing in new visitors and converting them into sales or leads.

As an online marketer, I use a variety of different techniques everyday with one eye on improving my website’s visibility in a competitive online environment.

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, I think it is vital that you have a clear strategy in place for what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it.

It’s all too easy to go charging in looking to improve your website by building the number of inbound links and adding fresh new content across your webpages. A gung-ho approach does nobody any favours in the long run.

If you are starting a new role or are working on a new client website, it is vital that you make a concerted effort to understand your market. Having a good overall understanding of your industry will benefit you in the long run.

Studying the types of phrases your customers are using to find the products or services you are selling online will allow you to be a lot more targeted in your link building efforts and content generation strategy. Using Google’s Analytics and Web Master Tool software is a great free way to evaluate all of these things.

You can see the exact phrases that people are already using to find your products and you can compare this against useful metrics such as bounce rates and conversion rates. You can then use this data to inform your online decision making process.

For example, if you run an online shoe shop and you may discover that the term “red trainers” is bringing in 100 visitors a day to your website. However if you haven’t sold any red trainers in the last 6 months it may be time to look at the reasons that lay behind this.

Are your customers landing on a page that tells them about red trainers or are they instead being taken to a homepage that is trying to sell them everything product but red trainers. Are your red trainers horribly overpriced or are the pictures of your red trainers too poor in terms of quality, presenting your product offering in a negative light? Small changes and a shift in focus can reap massive rewards but you need to have this data to hand to inform your strategy.

Although Google’s Analytics and Web Master Tool can tell you what your website is doing, it can be a lot tougher trying to work out how your competitors are doing.

This is where tools like SimilarWeb come in. SimilarWeb allows you to not only look at the performance of your website online, but it also provides you with an overview of how your competitors are doing.

You simply pop your website URL into the SimilarWeb search engine and you will be presented with a whole host of information including:

  • traffic levels
  • organic and paid keyword phrases
  • customer demographics
  • inbound links from other website domains

They then give your website a ranking based on where they consider the website to sit compared against all websites, those in your country and those in your industry. It’s a fantastic way to benchmark your websites performance against those in a similar field.

You can also use the keyword data from your competitors to your advantage. If 3 of your competitors are bringing in a lot of visitors for the term “blue trainers” then maybe “red trainers” isn’t the best keyword phrase for you to optimize your website for.

There’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach to online marketing. All industries are different and you need to cater your approach accordingly. But using the available tools to your advantage is a must if you are going to stay at the forefront in your industry.

Using your website’s analytics data alongside tools such as Similar Web can give you all the information you need to make informed marketing decisions that should help you to increase visitors, leads and sales.

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