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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Earlier this year, I conducted a survey of around 120 digital marketing consultants to understand the kind of leads they were seeking for their business. Not surprisingly, nearly 70% of the respondents had more than 25% of their leads coming from online search. Beyond these organic leads, Adwords, word of mouth referrals and content marketing were all extremely popular marketing channels to secure inbound leads for business.
Inbound lead generation is often regarded a better alternative to cold calling and cold-emailing. This is because the leads that you receive are from targeted prospects who are looking to hire a marketing agency. On the other hand, cold calling requires experience with sales and is often a numbers’ game.
However, such inbound leads are not as easy to convert as they appear to be. For one, prospects looking to hire a consultant seldom send out feelers to just one company. They often fill out enquiry forms on multiple websites that they come across on Google. This way, it is not only easy to evaluate the various bidders, but thanks to competitive bidding, they can often extract a sweet deal. As a marketing agency, you have to hence compete with other providers for the client, although it is technically an inbound query.
So how do you convert these leads better? Here are a few tips to remember.
Always capture phone numbers
Your customers are spoiled for choice today thanks to the internet. But even today, a number of marketing agencies do not bother displaying a lead generation form on their website and simply wait for the prospect to call them for appointment. Prospects do not call up agencies as much as they used to. The onus is on the agency to call the prospect and fix an appointment. So the first thing to do is display an enquiry form and gathering the prospect’s phone number.
Call back immediately
Think of this from the perspective of the prospect. They have just realized that their website needs work and they are spending a lot of time evaluating various providers to identify good agencies to work with. If you call them back the instant you received an enquiry, you are likely to catch them at the very moment they are seeking an agency. Waiting for it to be business hours or getting back “within 24-48 hours” is not really something that a prospect wants.
Set up appointments to discuss audit reports
One reason why agencies take the cliched ‘2-4 working days’ to respond to enquiries is in order to thoroughly study the prospect’s website and provide them with useful inputs while talking to them. While this is noble by intent, it does not help converting clients. Instead, the strategy that works is to call the prospect immediately after receiving an enquiry and asking for an appointment date. This way, you can demonstrate to the lead that you can be trusted and is “always available”. Also, setting up an appointment ensures that the prospect does not go ahead and finalize another agency before they talk to you.
Discuss face-to-face whenever possible
The points mentioned above are not “strategies’ in the sense that they are the bare-minimum that an agency must do in order to be seen at least as qualifiable as the rest of the agencies that the prospect is talking to. For higher conversions, you must however walk the extra mile and see if you can set up a face-to-face meeting. Nothing establishes credibility and trust like a physical meeting does. In doing so, you shall be able to establish a personal rapport with the prospect; something that other agencies may not have. This typically helps with raising your conversion rates. However, do realize that this is only helpful if the expenses in meeting prospects justifies the project costs.
Do you rely on inbound leads for your SEO business? What tips do you have for fellow marketers looking to increase their lead conversion rates?
Thanks to mobile apps it’s now easier than ever to to run your SEO, PPC, AdWords and Social Media campaigns directly from your phone. That’s definitely a big deal when you’re traveling or if in an industry that requires a lot of time out of the office.
While that makes your professional life a whole lot easier, it can be a challenge to narrow down the most useful apps. According to Statista, there were 1.3 million mobile apps in the Apple App Store alone in September, 2014. To help save you an endless amount of time scouring through Google Play or the App Store, here are seven incredible apps that you need to use for SEO, PPC, AdWords and Social Media campaigns.
Note, before using 3rd party apps, make sure things are approved with your employer (if you are in-house) or your client (if you list tools that you utilize in your agreements). 86% of apps used for business were not sanctioned in 2014, and the last thing you’ll want to do is add to that number and the amount of Shadow IT issues occurring with third party apps.
This free app is absolutely essentially if you own a website. It runs tests that check your social media presence, Google ranking and the amount of backlinks. It also provides suggestions on how to optimize your website, such as the proper length of titles and description. It also notifies you of any broken links and even comes equipped with keyword suggestions so that you can optimize blog posts and ad campaigns.
SERPs provides a powerful app for Android and iOS users that delivers daily SEO data, like ranking, link metrics and monitoring of organic traffic. It even integrates with Google Analytics so that you can discover which keywords are most effective. Other features include being able to spy on your competitor’s backlinks, local rank tracking and having the power to run test which techniques are working for your business.
You can install the SERPs.com app for free, but you’ll need a login to continue. This means that you’ll have to purchase a plan. The Starter plan begins at $999/month.
Google Analytics remains a necessity for SEO. With the Google Analytics app you’ll have real-time reports that highlight your page’s traffic, visitor information, how long people stayed on your site, which content is performing best and your AdWords campaign is performing. That’s a lot of information at your fingertips for free – there is a premium version if you need something more robust.
Speaking of Google, there’s also the AdWords Express Apps that you should also download if you want to reach more customers. Through this app you’ll be able to create an ad in under 15 minutes, which will appear in Google search results, Google Maps and select partner sites. Once your ad is up and running you can then view how many calls or clicks it is generating. You can also adjust your budget accordingly. It’s a great solution for both online and offline businesses.
Why is HubSpot such a popular tool for marketers? Because it pretty does everything you want and need when it comes to your marketing campaign. Whether it’s scheduling social media posts/emails, monitoring what others are saying about you online, review effectiveness of marketing campaigns and connect with leads with through Contact Records. Now you have access to all of this information through the HubSpot App – available for both Android and iPhone. After your 30-day free trial, you’ll have to select a plan which starts at $200/month.
Hootsuite is another tool that is often discussed among online marketers because it’s one of the best social media tools available. Not only can you plan Facebook posts or Tweets, you can assign tasks to team members and review analytics reports. You can also target audience by location, listen to the online conversations involving your business, locate better leads, create a social media marketing campaign and provide customer service. Hootsuite has a Free plan, but the Pro Plan starts at only $10/month.
If you’re looking to curate potential content ideas, stay up-to-date with the latest industry news or see what your competitors are sharing, then look no further than Feedly. If you haven’t heard of Feedly, then just know that it’s a news aggregator application which allows you to select the feeds that interest you the most. It’s a free service that can run on Android and iOS devices, which means that you can keep check your feed whenever and wherever you want.
What are some of your favorite SEO / SEM mobile apps?