Competitive drive is a key component to remain successful in the ecommerce industry. Knowing your biggest competitors and what they’re up to provides business owners with opportunities to take a competitive advantage. Including competitive analysis in your arsenal of ecommerce strategy tools has a positive impact on everything from on-site content to ROI. Evaluating your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses offers a window into areas of your own business that might need improvement. When doing a competitive analysis, the eCommerce industry has more areas to consider than a basic brick-and-mortar operation. Social media marketing, SEO, product page content, mobile compatibility, and speed are just a few of the areas to include in the analysis. Comparing your own eCommerce business to competitors using unbiased analysis gives you a fresh perspective on site-wide SEO strategy. Use analysis tools like SEMRush™ or Google Search™ to identify your direct competitors, then select the top two or three to analyze. Direct competitors are brands that provide products or services that are basically the same as yours, and operate in the same geographic region. Some eCommerce businesses add indirect competitors to the analysis. These are competitors who don’t sell similar products, but can fill the need or solve the problem your product does. Since the analysis process can be lengthy, it’s vital to focus most of your analysis on direct competitors. Take a look at the top five ways to use competitive analysis to improve your eCommerce SEO strategy.
1. Overhaul ContenteCommerce competitive analysis narrows in on the content that attracts the most views and UGC for your direct competitors. Use this information to evaluate where your content is lacking, and then update it accordingly. Keep the following areas in mind when performing a competitor analysis for content:
- Buying guides
- Product descriptions
FocusFocus on how you can incorporate some of their topical content into your ecommerce business, and include fresh information and perspectives. What is their primary content focus? Are they constantly updating their blogs or creating buying guides? If you have similar content that is unsuccessful, rework it or start over using insight from the competitor analysis. Creating insightful content that enriches your consumer’s experience increases conversions. You only need to find out what your competitor is doing and do it better.
LengthUsing competitor analysis can help you see where you may need to adjust content length based on competitor ranking in SERPs. Research done in 2017 showed that longer blogs ranked higher with search engines, but new information has determined that the length of content should be comparison based. In 2018, a study showed that ecommerce business blogs perform better if they use a similar word count, as compared to blogs on the same topic that ranked first in SERP.
KeywordsUse competitive SEO analysis to find out how your competitor is adding fresh keywords into evergreen short and long-term keywords to improve SERP ranking. How your competitors use keywords impacts their SEO success: evaluate what types of keywords they are using and adjust yours. Are they using LSI keywords? Are their keywords evergreen, or fresh (trending)? Fresh keywords are an excellent short-term source of conversions, but evergreen keywords are more relevant for consistent conversions. Pay attention to all forms of content including image meta-tags and titles. To get a complete view of your SEO content versus your competitors, don’t forget titles, metadata, tags, and content relevance.
2. Increase ConversionsEcommerce SEO competitor analysis can increase your conversions because innovation is a large part of maintaining customer satisfaction. Gaining an increase in customer satisfaction provides you with a competitive advantage. Analyze growth patterns and current ROI to find opportunities to convert consumers to your brand by using innovative strategies that increase ratings and positive UGC. Evaluate your competitors’ marketing goals and predictions, as well as their past and present strategies that have been successful. Your closest competitors can give you insight into different SEO strategies that can increase your ranking in SERP, and lead to more conversions. Chances are, if they are optimizing for voice or image search and getting good results, your ecommerce business would be safe optimizing for those areas, too.
3. Strengthen Marketing StrategyEcommerce SEO strategy needs to include social media marketing: 25.6 percent of referral traffic came from social media advertising (SMA) in 2017. While Google Search is still king, social media continues to keep pace, and with voice and image search not far behind, text search will have stiff competition. Use competitive analysis to determine the type, frequency, and cost of your competitors’ SMA campaigns. Figure out what types of SMA worked for your direct competitors, and which ones fell short. Brainstorm how your ecommerce business can expand on competitor methods and find opportunities to surpass their successes. Competitive analysis allows your ecommerce business to locate opportunities for the right social media strategy, based on real-time marketing data. It can also determine where current SMA strategy fell-short. Pay special attention to competitor social media data like:
- Fans, followers, and subscriptions
- Sharing patterns
- Frequency and consistency of posts
- Customer engagement
- Photos and videos
- Advertisements and videos
4. Maximize Overall Site SpeedAnother key benefit of using competitor analysis is the ability to compare your current load speed with your competitors. Run all URLs through analysis to help you zero in on areas that can be improved to increase load speed. Include the following in your ecommerce SEO competitor analysis:
- Images: What format are they using? How did they optimize images for search engines and mobile devices? What size are their image files compared to yours? Are their image titles more effective?
- Links: How do they use internal and external links? Do they allow social media linking? How are their links displayed (buttons, images, direct links)? Are their external links more trustworthy or relevant than yours?
- URLs: Does your competitor include keywords in product URLs? Have they optimized URLs for SEO? What type of formatting do they use?
5. Rank Higher in SERPEcommerce SEO competitor analysis used effectively leads to higher SERP rankings. When you analyze your competitor’s content, speed, and marketing strategy you break down their SEO structure. Find out how your competitor uses keywords to drive search engine results, and decide what you can do to improve on their existing methods. Competitive analysis allows you to see how they are redirecting broken or missing links, improving loading times, and using cross browser compatibility. Consider researching the following in your ecommerce SERP competitive analysis:
- Ease of use: Sites that are user-friendly rank higher because they provide a positive customer experience
- Layout: Site layout is important to SERP rankings – the easier a sight is for the search engine algorithm to navigate matters
- Platform: Technology used to create a site is just as important as SEO content to search engines
- XML Sitemap: Sitemaps provide efficient and quick indexing for search engines
- Snippets: They appear at the top of SERP, usually with an image, link, and description