A wealth of information lurks in the success (or failures) of the Other Guy.
Here are some ways you can improve your own content marketing results using competitor research tools and tips:
See What’s Popular
Your competitors are working in the same industry as you are, or so I assume. So they have the same audience that you do. This gives you an immediate view on what your audience is looking to read about, watch, view, or listen to.
It doesn’t take a lot to figure out what’s popular with your target demographic. Peek at what is trending on their site(s) and social media profile(s). Make a list of content that has gotten a lot of traffic, views, social media shares, and comments.
From there, you can develop a content strategy that follows the same general idea. Take a note of:
- Why your competitor has started a blog
- How they are using influencer outreach
- If they are doing any contests or digital assets, etc.
Discover Where Competitors Are Lacking
In addition to seeing what they are doing right, you can see what they are doing wrong. I distinctly remember this competing podcast of a client I was working for. They released this video series connected to their show, but not really a part of it. The first couple got a decent number of hits, but then they got next to no views.
Wondering what the issue was, I did a quick viewing of all of their videos (which they continued to release in spite of the lack of interest from their user base). They were cheesy, badly written, and not close enough to their podcast format to brand it properly. It was a trainwreck, basically.
In addition to this travesty of video, the podcasts were suffering because too much effort was being put into a new form of content that didn’t work.
Guess what the client did? Avoided videos, stuck with the podcast, upped their promotion, and ended up poaching a lot of listeners.
We all know that reputation management is an important part of overall branding. But tracking mentions of your competitors really work wonders, as well. You can keep track of announcements both major and minor, and also see what people are saying about the competition.
I worked for a startup once that setup mention tracking for three other platforms in the same industry, with a similar pat structure to their own. When the founder discovered a blog doing a review for a competitor, they asked them to do one for their own.
In the end, the review compared them to the last review and the startup I worked for came out on top.
Tools For Competitive Research
I mentioned before that you will have better tools at your disposal than asking Rebecca’s teenage sister the secret to her cookie selling success. These are some of those tools, though there is an endless supply of competitor research apps and dashboards out there to choose from.
- Google Alerts – The free option, and my personal favorite. You can create alerts that monitor any mention of your competitors across the web. It includes both social and web page results. I use it to monitor my competitors, my brand, and my industry. You can set your alerts to give you a digest of daily results, or to immediately let you know
- Spyfu – Don’t just monitor your competitors, flat out spy on them! Spyfu is a fun and informative dashboard that uses keyword research, mentions and more to keep track of your competitors. It is a combination of SEO and PPC research, so it applies to content and advertising.
- Compete – I don’t always recommend this tool because it is pretty pricey. But if you are a business with a decent budget, you can seriously improve results using this tool. You will learn a strategy to compete with competition on every level, including your social marketing. It is a very in depth tool full of data, and acts almost like a consulting service with a self service bent. It is an investment, but worth it if you have the cash on hand. Some businesses have reported a conversion improvement of 42% or more… seriously.
Do you have a tip for competitor research to improve content marketing? Know a tool that belongs on the list? Let us know in the comments!
Most SEOs are always in search of effective tools to monitor their website rankings in search engines for target keywords. Keyword rank tracking is a usual and common SEO practice by internet marketers and bloggers to find out how their web pages are appearing on search engine results for queries they want to appear for.
Great rank checkers give you an idea how well website rankings are going on over time and how well your site optimization efforts are progressing against your competitors. Everything starts with site rankings! There are no traffic and conversions without rankings. Therefore, the higher your website rankings are, the more traffic you can get on your website.
SEO is a great market that provides a great number of tools to check your keyword rankings and handle your daily tasks. In this post we will show you the smartest rank tracking tools on the market.
#1. SE Ranking
SE Ranking is my favorite seo tool from the list we use every day and recommend to include it in every search marketer’s tool chest.
It is possible to check local and mobile rankings, get extra data on your selected keywords (search volume, AdWords suggestion bid, KEI parameter and results returned by Google), spot Top 10 competitors in order to track their results and add extra users to your account with access to all the data you want them to see.
With its easy-to-use and simple interface, SE Ranking allows to check site positions in Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines. After getting ranking results, you have the option to export them to White Label reports in .pdf, .csv, .html and .xls formats.
My favorite features of SE Ranking are the ability to check unlimited number of websites and a great number of keywords at once and the convenience to check out which search queries are in the top, left top 10 and entered top 10. You can check out the software within a free 14-day trial.
#2. Web CEOWeb CEO is a great rank checker that helps to check not only website keyword rankings, but find out the rankings of your competitors. The tool allows tracking all rankings like organic search results, vertical listings, ads as well as it tracks your website rankings on desktop and mobile devices.
I love Web CEO for the option to check YouTube rankings, as YouTube is now the second video search engine in the world that helps to promote your company. All results can be provided in PDF format with your logo and brand name that gives a touch of professionalism and elegance in eyes of your clients. The too is free to use, but with additional restrictions.
#3. Rank WatchRank Watch is one of the most powerful and accurate tools that carefully calculates your keyword rankings at once. It enables not only showing your current, highest and initial rankings with search volumes, but also keeps your historical rankings that are a huge benefit for SEO experts to have historical and competitive intelligence for certain search queries.
With Rank Watch, you can track site ranking as precise as possible with the specific city on which you want to track. The tools offer users a wide range of fully customizable and branded reports with your company logo and brand name and with the ability to schedule reports for delivery on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. To check out the best features, you can start a free 14-day trial.
#4. RankTrackrRank Trackr has one of the greatest layouts that you can ever find in a rank tracking tool. The tool uses the most advanced approaches to access ranking results for local tracking with precise accuracy in an area using a certain region, city and zip code. It gives a great ability to filter keywords that are doing the most progress for your website.
I love RankTrackr for the ability to track any form of ranking such as organic search results, local map results, and images. You can try out a 10-day free trial without obligations.
#5. Rank TrackerRank Tracker is a free tool that has one of the smartest interfaces of all rank tracking tools that I have ever used before. It has a simple and easy-to-use dashboard that displays all search queries how they rank on search engines and how they have changed over time.
If you need to optimize your site, the tool has a great keyword suggestion tool that helps you disclose best and profitable keywords for you. One of the greatest features is that Rank Tracker monitors site rankings on all localized versions of search engine and even on additional ones like Yandex, Ask.com, and Alexa.
Over to youNow you have a clear idea what rank tracking tools should better get to work. The quicker you work, the quicker you get results. I can’t deny that there are other SEO tools that can help you monitor site rankings in search engines. You can just look through suggested tools and check out the best features.
If you use other rank tracking tool that works well for you, let us know in the comments below!
Google has announced a new change to its webmaster policy – from now on, if your website gets a manual penalty, it may not get a second chance to dominate the listings.
In a change that is designed to hurt black hat SEOs more than the Penguin and Panda updates, Google has stated that it will no longer tolerate those who repeatedly breach Google’s webmaster quality guidelines.
The announcement was made on September 18, 2015, in a blog post on the official Google webmaster central blog: Repeated violations of Webmaster Guidelines. Unlike many of the blog posts that appear on the webmaster central blog, this was written anonymously. Being banned by Google is every webmaster’s worst nightmare and some people take it very personally, so it’s no surprise nobody wished to put their name to the change in policy!
Why the Change Now?
In their blog post, Google says that the change in policy is to further improve the quality of the search results. Google has carried out many major changes over the last five years that have made great progress in improving search quality, but one problem still persists – some people are still gaming the search engine.
Google started cleansing the SERPs with the Panda series of updates. These penalised websites that had low quality, poorly written, duplicate and thin content pages. The old SEO trick of creating a new page for each target keyword and filling it with spammy, keyword stuffed text was over.
Google followed this with a series of updates that tackled the problem of link spam – the now infamous Penguin updates. Suddenly, SEO was no longer about getting more links that the competition. Links now have to be earned, and acquired from very high quality sources. The inner workings of Penguin are still unclear, but it seems that just about every easy-to-get link is now devalued – many are probably totally worthless. Directory links, comment links, blogroll links, forum signatures etc. are now deemed by many to be ineffective for SEO.
However, some SEOs are still doing very well because although Google has improved its search algorithm. With some careful planning and some excellent links, you can still rank well. In short, unnatural links are still working for many people.
Google works hard to identify and manually penalise websites that buy or sell links. Whenever Google has good evidence that somebody has been selling links to pass PageRank, it applies a manual penalty.
However, in these cases, manual penalties are easy to recover from. All you need to do is remove the links (or add a nofollow attribute) and submit a reconsideration request, explaining how very sorry you are and beg to have the penalty lifted. In the past, Google trusted webmasters enough to grant them their wish, and would lift the penalty.
Unfortunately, some webmasters have exploited this and, after having a reconsideration request approved, they would start selling links again or remove the nofollow tags. This is Google’s main bugbear at the moment, and this latest change in policy directly tackles this problem. Google says that it will no longer tolerate webmasters who repeatedly breach its quality guidelines.
Google has not said exactly how harshly it will treat repeat offenders, saying only in its blog that “repeated violations may make a successful reconsideration process more difficult to achieve”. In some cases, Google may still allow a website to recover – but in other cases, there may well be no way back in the SERPs after a repeat offence.
We have already seen some websites, most notably known link sellers, completely drop out of the Google index. We predict that in the future, more sites will suffer a similar fate. If you are not a white hat SEO, take heed – your days may be numbered!