How To Use the New @SPYFU for Smart Competitor Analysis

The point of a competitor analysis is NOT to copy moves or strategies. Rather, it’s to FIND OUT what your rivals are good at to come up with better techniques.

There are hundreds of tools out there for competitor analysis. Some are free, most are not. One of our favorite tools is SPYFU; which we have been using since 2013 for our keyword research needs. They recently released a new version that lets digital marketers do more than keyword research.

Whether you’re new to SEO or are already an expert, use this tool for competitor research. Here’s how to perform competitor analysis on the three core elements of search engine marketing using the updated SPYFU.

Employ Clever Keyword Research

Don’t remove keywords from your campaign just yet. While modern SEO does not focus on them as much as we used to, they are still important for search queries and ranking. And when it comes to keywords, no one does it better than SPYFU. Faster, smarter, and more streamlined: you can quickly see which of your competitor’s keywords are ranking.

Go as far back as six years’ worth of data if you wish. Their new layout makes it easy to view how many terms gained in ranking, and which ones are losing. Plus, compare up to three competitors with their KOMBAT feature.

Description: spyfu.overview.jpg

There are three things you want to look for when using this tool: keyword gainers (those that are ranking), exclusive keywords (terms you rank for, but NOT your competitors), and shared keywords (terms your competitors are ranking for, but YOU don’t).

Your goal is to keep your keyword gainers on the first page of search engines, like Google. Next, work on your exclusive keywords so they rank on the first page (if they haven’t yet). Remember: these terms are unique to YOU – so leverage them properly. Then, look at the shared keywords from two of your biggest competitors. Use the EXPORT function to save this list for further study.

Description: spyfu-kombat-keywords.jpg

Beat Them with Backlinks

What’s great about the new SPYFU is that it allows you to analyze the other factors of SEO, such as BACKLINKS. This makes it a one-stop tool for all your online marketing needs.

Now that you have a list of Shared Keywords, choose 5 – 10 phrases that you want to focus on, and then check on their backlinks. Use filters to refine your results. What type of backlinks are they? Why are your rivals ranking for them, but not you? Are they worth pursuing? How can you penetrate them?

Description: spyfu-backlinks.jpg

Your goal is to know WHERE they are putting these keywords, so that you can utilize this to your benefit. For instance: upon studying the keyword ‘seo companies los angeles’, we found that one of the backlinks points to an article from a high-ranking website. This means that our competitors are using informative posts to gain quality links using the given keyword.

Description: spyfu-backlink-sample.jpg

With this knowledge, you have two options: one is to post on the same website; second, is to gather similar sites and publish there. This gives you a chance to rank HIGHER for those shared keywords. Either way, now you know your competitor’s secret.

Less Stress – More Productivity

A smart competitor analysis eliminates the stress of creating new strategies and having to test them. Instead, know what has worked for the most successful brands, and experiment around those. Tweak existing tactics to suit YOUR business needs. There are limitless resources out there that a lot of companies are using all the time. All one has to do is to spot them.

Video is Everywhere Today

As a small business today, you simply can’t have enough funds to promote your brand, and this is why you need to find inexpensive, yet efficient methods to get more exposure! One way to achieve that is video marketing, and before you navigate away from this page because you think that video marketing is super expensive and only for the chosen few, bear with me for a minute.

Today the costs of video marketing are much lower than you would think, making video marketing an amazing investment into the future of any company. It used to be that you needed fancy cameras and super complicated software that only a rocket scientist could navigate, or sell your soul to the devil so you could afford to hire a video agency. But not anymore, today all of us are walking around with an HD camera in our pockets, and video software is getting more and more powerful and easier and easier to use.

And besides being easier and cheaper than ever to use video marketing, there are a bunch of real, actual rewards to using video marketing. Here are a few of them:

Better SEO

If you didn’t already know it, YouTube is a huge untapped SEO goldmine. In fact, YouTube is the worlds second largest search engine (and often it’s easier to acquire a first page rank with a video than a blog post) and can be a massive traffic driver to your business.

Being first in the search engines will help you drive traffic, and the same happens on YouTube as well. Through video marketing you get better rankings for your keywords, which means more traffic, more customers and a higher revenue margin in the end. Google (and other search engines) place a lot of importance on videos and see them as supporting signals for the quality of your site’s content.

Traffic generation                                                                                                         

Thanks to the ability of ranking higher in search engine results, video marketing simply generates a lot of trafficto your website, traffic that allows you to raise brand awareness and grow as a company in the online world. Every marketing tactic that can create leads is good and you shouldn’t ignore the potential gold mine that is video marketing.

Video can be used in a variety of places, for example social media, websites, as Google AdWords (YouTube pre-roll ads), as case studies, tutorials, testimonials, company culture, explainer videos, special offers, digital signage and a host of other use cases. Good video marketing comes from an understanding of which channels and type of video work for your brand and target audience.

Social benefits

Videos can be seen as the driving force when it comes to online content, and with video marketing you can harness the power of video on social media, something that can lead to some very impressive results.

Users love visual content, and having a strong presence on social with video will surely delight your audience. Big brands have used video on social media for a long time with good results, and you should as well.

Customer engagement

Videos engage people more than other content, which helps you build a community! That video engages people are a fact, with Diode Digital reporting that video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined. As well as that, the report states that before reading any text, 60% of website visitors will watch a video if available.

And these figures are consistent if you look at B2B as well. Compared to text, 59%of senior executives favor video, 75% view videos whilst at work, and 65% visit a website after viewing a related YouTube video. Videos are a wonderful way to generate a name for your business, and at the same time you can get real, valuable customer engagement.

Press and exposure

Videos also help your business when it comes to connecting with the press, since you can engage with the press much faster and at the same time in more of an interactive manner. Well produced video give you credibility and authenticity.

Through video marketing you can, at the same time, obtain the much-needed exposure you need, because publications can link to your videos immediately and share information with their readers a lot faster.

Inexpensive

Many people believe that video marketing isn’t for them because it’s so expensive and complicated to get started with. But fact is that it’s a very efficient marketing tactic while at the same time it doesn’t cost that much to begin with.

Unlike other marketing methods that require a lot of investment, video marketing is nothing like that, because even with just a small amount of money you can easily obtain the exposure and help you need at any given time! Today it’s easy to make great video, either by yourself and your smartphone camera, editing in free tools like iMove or using video templates from services such as Shakr.

In conclusion, video marketing is a very efficient, inexpensive and engaging way to promote your content online. With the help of video marketing, any small business can obtain astounding results by successfully promoting their brand in the online world.

Video marketing has started a new era in the promotional world, and with its help, any business can achieve success. At the same time videos always have the capability to become viral, so video marketing is definitely the way to consider if you want a to promote your business online!

Free Tools to Do A Competitor Blog Audit

Your content is one of the greatest tools you have at your disposal, from a marketing point of view. It gets your name out there, attracts attention, bring in regulars, markets your brand, builds your authority, connects you to other experts… you would be hard pressed to find a way it wouldn’t be helpful. Having a consistent, high quality blog can launch your entire career, and turn a hobby into a money making venture.

But how does it rank with the content of your competitors? Competitor blog audit involves gathering data that allows you to compare your work with someone else’s, or to get a feel for what your target audience is looking for in a successful blog. It is something that every blogger should be taking part in regularly; to make sure they are constantly evolving with the needs of their potential readers.

Step 1 – Determine Your Competition

While you may be able to get some idea of what people are reading by looking at the biggest industry blogs on a topic (such as TechCrunch or Gizmodo, for example), chances are that you are nowhere near their level of visibility. Maybe someday you will be, but for right now you should focusing on websites that are more direct competitors.

Put as few as three on this list, and as much as five. If after you have made this list you feel the need to put some big names on there, one or two could be added. Just keep in mind that these big names will be best case scenarios for the future, as a goal in mind. When comparing their data, it should be as part of a longer term strategy, with the bulk of your information coming from the direct competitors to start out with.

Helpful tool: Use BuzzSumo to find recently active and successful blogs on any topic!

BuzzSumo

Step 2 – Look At What Content They Provide

Not all blogs are all about text blog posts. Multiple media forms is just a part of an overall, well rounded content strategies on the web today. Look and see what your competitors are doing on a regular basis. Infographics? Podcasts? Videos? Slideshares? Mini clips, like Vines? Comics? Are they specializing in one or two, or have they branches out into every niche possible?

Helpful resource: Here’s an easy guide to understand blogging easier

List all content under each name, and see what sites have what media in common. You should be able to narrow down what is working and what isn’t based on who is trying what.

Step 3 – Figure Out What Is Popular In Each Media Type

It is pretty simple to get an idea of what is bringing in the most benefits for your competitors blogs. SEO ranking is part of this, but we will look at that in another step. Right now, you should be looking at their engagement.

Helpful resource: Give this tool any blog RSS feed and it will pull out recent articles and their social media numbers

Social media analytics

Comments, social media shares, and referral traffic present a clear picture of how people are reacting to those topics, the tone of the post, and the media style. Take a collection of links to the most engaging content on those sites, and include it in your spreadsheet.

Step 4 – Start Sorting Out The Most Popular Posts In Each Category

Take the links you are finding, and start sorting them into categories by media type, topic, or style. That will give you a look at what is working most for each site. Note any patterns that begin to emerge, where the sites have data in common. If three of your five competitor blogs are getting a lot of engagement on posts that include infographics, but not a lot on audio podcast downloads, that should tell you something.

Helpful tool: Our Social Media Tool will process lots of links for you and return helpful social media stats and author details:

Social Media tool

You can also start to compare these links to your own content, to see what it has in common (or doesn’t) with your own posts. This process is excellent for pointing out things you may have been doing wrong, or just not quite nailing down.

Step 5 – Look At Competitor’s SEO Tactics

Finally, you want to know how people are driving traffic through direct searches. That means taking a look at the keywords they are properly exploiting, and those they aren’t.

Tool: Website Crawler and XML Sitemap Generator

You may be able to find some keywords they aren’t targeting, and take advantage of those ones yourself. Or find some keywords that you should be pushing for, as pushing past their SEO rank is an easy way to start getting more traffic.

What To Do With The Data

Essentially, this is just a way to seeing what is working for others, and what isn’t. How you choose to use it is entirely up to you. You could either start to focus on the same topics and media types that they are, or you could go the alternative route and start to focus on the areas that they are lacking. Both have a chance of improving your content strategy, and so boosting the popularity of your site.

Personally, I prefer to use it more loosely. I will see what topics or content get the most mileage, but will try and find a way to incorporate that into my own interests and work. Never forget that while you are auditing your competitors to see how they are improving their own success, you don’t want to copy them. You have your own strengths, your own readers, and your own style. You want to be easy to distinguish from the rest of the crowd.

Conclusion

You should be conducting a competitor audit at least once every few months. It just lets you keep an eye on rival sites, as well as find opportunities to connect with others, or get warning when something on your own site needs to change. As you can see, the positives are endless.

Do you have any tips for conducting competitor blog audits? We would love to hear about them, so let us know in the comments!