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Competitive Analysis: An Essential Step in Online Marketing

Now is a great time to jump into the online marketing business; with people looking up more information than ever through major search engines like Google, it's almost a complete disservice to your business to not do some form of online marketing.  But like all marketing plans and proposals, there are esential first steps that can either make or break an entire marketing campaign. Today we're going to address one of these essential steps: Competitive Analysis.

First of all, let's talk about what competitive analysis is in regards to online marketing.  We're familiar with traditional marketing related to competitive analysis which revolves around the close study of a small number of competitors aiming for the same market share or target audience you are.  While this remains true in online competitive analysis, there are a few slight, but key differences.  On the internet, you are not only competing with your regular competitors, but you are also competing with search engines themselves who rank a myriad of website across the internet for keywords that are important to people finding your business online.  So where do you start? You start with a list.
1.  Create a list of keywords relevant to your business.
What is your business?  What do you offer your audience?  Who is your audience?  What does your audience want from you?  These are all important questions that you need to address in order to come up with a list of words that relate to your business.  It's best to start off broad, list anything that comes to mind in relation to your business and don't leave anything out.The next step in the keyword process is to find out from people outside of your business what they are actually typing into search engines that relate to your product, service, or business.   Once this large list of keywords has been compiled it is your job to narrow these down into 'human searches', also known as keywords that are searched for by users and yield high conversion rates.  There are free tools such as Keyword tracker that tell you how many times a day keywords are looked up.

2.  Analyze competitors ranking for keywords

So now you that you have a list of keywords related to your business, what do you do?  Before you even decide to implement these keywords into your websites Meta Description, it is essential that you look up these keywords in detail and see not only which of your competitors ranks for keywords you're targeting, but to analyze any and all websites that rank well for those keywords.  An easy way to test this process is by example.  Let's say we're targeting "Dog Biscuits" as our keyword.  Type it into google and we get these results:

results_screen

What you now have is a list of all of our mock competitors for the term "Dog Biscuits".  It is important to take note of the types of websites come up for your keywords.  If we are a store selling dog biscuits we might not be in competition with Gourmet Slueth, however you might be able to get in contact with them to have them list our dog biscuit recipes on their site effectively using their high ranking for the keyword "dog biscuit" to our own benefit.

Though these are two simple tips it is important to never forget that competitive research is one of the most important founding blocks of any online marketing campaign.

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