There are differences of opinion as to whether competitor analysis for SEO is a good or a bad activity to spend time on. The pros and cons exist and it is debatable when we analyze competitors for just their link profile.
How about competitor analysis that goes beyond SEO and Link Building?
A thorough analysis of competitors’ websites going beyond just link building or SEO analysis is definitely a useful activity. Proper analysis can lead to extremely valuable information which can be used to achieve your client’s goals via their website.
SEO observations and backlink data are obvious pieces of information available. But there is much more one can learn which will help you extract value from your competitor’s website. Ask yourself the following questions.
1. What content creation opportunities are you missing?
Are your competitors providing more information or better information of both? This can include offering whitepapers, specifications, flowcharts, articles, blog posts and presentations which support the core product or service offered. This can help with providing client with a content strategy as well as redesign suggestions.
2. How is the conversion funnel set up? Is that information useful?
One can look at the steps required, the forms and fields to be fields, the presentation of the call to actions both primary and secondary. There is definitely some work for your website design team there.
3. What memberships or offers competitors are using?
Is the competitor flaunting some membership or an offer your website does not show? Will it work for you and improve visits or sales? You should be getting this out to the person responsible for the website along with suggestions from the design people on where it should be best placed if approved.
4. What user generated content strategy are the competitors using?
Does the website provide users opportunities to add their own content? This can be via reviews for products, by building a community, running a forum or accepting guest blogs. Polls, best article competitions are also valid strategies using your visitors to generate content.
5. What sharing tools are competitors providing visitors to their site?
What sharing tools are being used? Is it the usual Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin triumvirate or are there more? You can get focussed on the big three and ignore the simple ones like email as well as smaller sharing sites more suited to your niche while your competitor gets all that intelligence. There could be free link acquisition and promotional opportunities you are missing here.
By collecting information and getting answers to all of the above questions, one can create a more all-round strategy for the client which not only covers SEO and Linkbuilding, but also content generation, design improvements and better business promotion.