no image

Website Competitive Intelligence: How to make your website stand out by monitoring the competition

October 26, 2019 Digital Marketing

Competitive Intelligence is the process of regularly monitoring what your competition is doing. Monitoring what the competition is doing on the web is extremely important as the internet is one the most important marketing and sales channels for business today. Develop a standard set of criteria to evaluate and rank your competitors and do it on a regular basis. Use this information to build or improve your own web presence.

Define Your List of Competitors

If you have a lot of time, review as many as possible. Perform a search on the key words and phrases you have selected for your web site and note what other companies show up in the results. Determine if they are a competitor and add them to your list. Find companies through offline avenues. Try to evaluate at least 4-5 competitors.

Types of Information to Record

  • Website evaluation: What’s on the site, how is it organized, do they have a newsletter(s), do you have to create a login to access whitepapers and other information, what’s their mission and objectives, review their products and services, do they link to other sites. Create a log in profile and review the information they provide, subscribe to their newsletter. See if you can view the source of their pages to see what keywords and other Meta tags they may be using.
  • Search: Run the key words and search terms you have defined for your web site and see if the competitors show up. What is their rank in the search results? See what companies link to your competitors (enter the following in the Google search field: “link: website”)
  • Other sites: Do they have a blog, an account on YouTube, MySpace, Facebook? Review these carefully as well.

How to Record the Information

Use a simple matrix to record and rank the criteria you find on your competitors. This matrix lists the criteria down the first column, then each competitor across the top row. For each competitor, have two columns: one for the rank and one for important notes and comments. Don’t forget to include your own company in the ranking process to see how you rank against your competitors. Try a ranking of 1-5.

Where to Find Competitor information

You’ll find information out about competitors on more than their own web sites. Try looking in the following locations:

  • Websites (the competitor’s, its partners, other sites that have links to the competitor, etc…)
  • Blogs (people who blog about the competitor or the products and services you sell)
  • MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn (do other people talk about them?)
  • Bookmarking sites like Technorati, Del.icio.us, Reddit, Digg, etc…have tags for the competition. Note what tags are used.
  • Press release web sites
  • Consumer reporting sites and discussion groups

What do you do with the information?

This information helps you identify where your web presence is strong or needs work. It should help you understand your target market(s) better as your competitors have also done market research. Reviewing this information may help you think of new avenues and approaches to market and sell using the internet.

What if your competitor doesn’t have a website?

Some businesses serve consumers directly (b-to-c). Very few don’t have a web site at a minimum – even the very small businesses. Other businesses serve other businesses (b-to-b) and many of these also have a public web presence. They also use the internet for partner type sites that are secure only to their partners (called extra-nets). These are harder to find out about as they aren’t visible to the ordinary internet users. But it’s important to understand how a competitor uses the web to help market and sell their products and services.

If you really can’t find any of your competitors on the internet, you may have an advantage and a unique marketing/selling opportunity.