For those captivated by digital marketing but maybe not ever knowing where to begin the process, the following article will be a fun learning experience! We’ll dive into competitor assessment tactics on search engines in efforts to teach and deepen your understanding of competitor research. Cash Colligan (me) of Building Brands Marketing has created this blog to address questions that you 100% should be asking yourself when creating a digital marketing or search engine optimization strategy for a new local business.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Competitor Research
- Understanding Your Competition
- Why Invest in Competitor Research?
- How Frequently Should I Conduct Competitor Research?
- 10 Questions to Ask Before Diving into Competitor Research
- Concluding Thoughts
For us to take an even deeper dive into, we’ll create a fake business called Cash Tacos and use various real-life examples to walk you through some competitive analysis thought processes.
The Importance of Competitor Research
Competitor research plays a crucial role in refining and enhancing your digital marketing & business strategies. By understanding your competitors’ online behaviors and market positions, you can adjust your strategy to leverage unique strengths and mitigate potential weaknesses.
In addition, this gives your business the ability to uncover opportunities to outperform your competition online and maintain customer engagement. This means not only identifying areas where your business can excel, but also determining how to keep local visitors engaged.
To better understand what we mean by the above, let’s create a competitor analysis for our made-up business that will not be opening up in the coming months called Cash Tacos. This fake business will not be opening up in Katy Texas in the Fall of 2030, so let’s find out what the competition looks like in the area! When creating a competitor analysis, it’s recommended to look into at least the “Top 3” highest performing businesses in your demographic for gauging.
Below is an image of the “Top 3” local map listing results on Google when searching “mexican food in katy tx,” a search term that averages 200 unique search inquiries per month.
Upon further research: We’ve identified when researching “Katy Texas” relative keywords, that there can also be other affective keywords implemented into our strategy. Some of those include katy texas restaurants (2500 avg. searches per month), restaurants in katy texas (900 avg. searches per month), food katy texas (700 avg. searches per month), food in katy texas (400 avg. searches per month), and food delivery service katy texas (10 avg. searches per month).
** Data via Ahrefs **
Below is an image of the “Top 3” local website results on Google when searching “mexican food in katy tx,” a search term that averages 200 unique search inquiries per month. These results begin at Position #6, with the Top 5 Positions in search results occupied by local bloggers, etc.
Based on the above screenshots, we’ll identify 1 of our competitors as Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant (Katy) to show examples of what to look for when diving into local competition!
In this section, we’ve cemented that competitor research directly correlates to developing a competitive edge in any industry. By having data from research, you can always identify digital gaps in the market to stay ahead of the competitive curve.
In the case of Cash Tacos, we found that most future competitors didn’t provide a proper use of H Tags, Title Tags were too long and that pages didn’t have enough text to support the webpage’s intent. This data from an array of Available SEO Tools can be used by Cash Tacos to gain an advantage over competitors searching for Mexican food and restaurants in the Katy Texas area. Understanding data points such as these (and this can be just the tip of the iceberg) helps emphasize the value that competitor research has in today’s digital landscape.
In the Loom Video that you’ll see below, we will examine key competitors of Cash Tacos in the Katy area. We will browse through their websites, metadata, Google search engine rankings, and also identify what keywords they are ranking for online locally using the Ahrefs platform.
Understanding Your Competition
Are you familiar with your competitor’s operations? Have you had a meal there? What’s their online rankings look like? If they rank high, are you investigating methods to implement into your strategy? If you’re not, it’s time to play a game called “fill-in-the-blank knowledge gap.”
When conducting research for Cash Tacos, we found that another competitor “Ray’s Mexican Restaurant” had a high Google ranking simply because they mention “Katy” on their website. The SEO structure and information available do not follow any sort of website “guideline” set by Google, etc. This tells us that with proper keyword research applied to our new website’s content, plus experienced SEO tactics implemented, Cash Tacos isn’t going to have a tough time organically ranking once launching based on research that’s been conducted.
ABOVE IMAGE – Side Note: During our discovery, we even noticed on this page one ranking website that information wasn’t appropriately filled in (from template that was used). Details, they matter.
How Frequently Should I Conduct Competitor Research?
The frequency of competitor research depends on the industry, but we recommend conducting it at least once per business quarter. This frequency strikes a balance between action and observation. Not over-monitoring your competition allows you to dedicate more resources to executing your own strategy. However, checking in at least quarterly or annually ensures you aren’t blindsided by any significant strategic shifts or new entries in your market.
For instance, if Cash Tacos reviewed their main competitor and discovered that they’re planning to introduce a vegetarian menu by Fall of 2029, this information could be considered helpful. By knowing this, Cash Tacos could plan their 2030 product innovations, consider vegetarian options if they see their competition become successful with it or even double down on meat-based options to create themselves a marketplace niche. Asking these questions, and finding the answers along the way, when diving into competitor research can help ensure a business doesn’t get left behind when planning to establish themselves digitally in a new market.
But how do you always know what questions to ask?
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Questions to Ask Before Diving into Competitor Research to help you get this process started!
10 Questions to Ask Before Diving into Competitor Research
- What type of content resonates with their customers?
- Who makes up their target customer base?
- Do they have active customer engagement?
- Is their website user-friendly?
- Do their products closely mimic yours?
- What platforms do they use for engagement?
- What is their website’s loading speed?
- Do their products have unique selling points (USPs) that overshadow yours?
- Which websites link back to your competitor’s but not yours?
- What keywords do they use in their product descriptions?
Armed with the information throughout this blog, and questions to ask in your competitor research, you can identify competitive edge, improvement areas, and how to leverage your data.
The value of competitor research cannot be overstated. The value of competitor research cannot be overstated. The value of competitor research cannot be overstated. The value of competitor research cannot be overstated. The value of competitor research cannot be overstated. The value of competitor research cannot be overstated. Okay, well maybe it can be… But in a constantly evolving industry, the need for innovative ways to fine-tune your strategy, staying one step ahead of competitors, and retaining your customers’ attention is paramount. Comprehensive studies of your competition is a crucial marketing tool, ensuring that you align yourself with industry standards when creating the traditional & digital footprint of your brand.
In the same way we saw Cash Tacos leverage competitor research to shape a strategic thought process and carve out a space in the Katy Texas taco market, your business could also gain considerable advantages by analyzing and understanding your competition online.