Competitor research and monitoring is a must for any growing business. And it’s not just about copying!
Monitoring competitors gives you so much more than just a marketing to-do list: You discover new tactics, learn to implement trends, discover gaps in the market you could fill, collect leads, learn from other businesses’ mistakes, and so much more.
Here are 7 competitors’ performance metrics and data you should be monitoring. You may be tracking some of these already, but I bet that you’ll find a few things you are not yet doing but should!
1. Monitor Competitors’ Rankings
This one is pretty obvious: You want to know which search queries your competitors rank for, where they’re losing rankings, and when their rankings increase.
There are several great tools I’m using on a constant basis for this, including Topvisor. I think most of my readers are not familiar with this one yet, so I picked it to feature here to give you a new toy to play with. It has a free trial and it works on credits, so you don’t have to buy a whole package you won’t use. You’ll be paying exactly for what you are using.
With the tool you’ll be able to:
- Set your location to personalize tracking to your area
- Identify more competitors that share your (desired) rankings
- Monitor up to 250 competitor websites within one project
- Monitor domains or pages (it’s especially useful if you want to monitor your competitor’s Facebook page rankings for example)
2. Monitor Competitors’ Social Media Mentions
Another obvious one that I think most of you are already doing, given you’re reading this blog. You can easily track comments about your competitors, including what their customers say about them.
The best option to manage social media monitoring is Mention.
Mention offers a robust competitive analysis and monitoring toolset that lets you:
- Monitor competitors’ reputation
- Assign tasks to your team to turn those mentions into YOUR website leads
- Identify influencers mentioning your competitors and start engaging with them to turn them into your brand ambassadors
It’s also smart to monitor not just competitors’ brand names but also your generic niche terms to spot new competitors as they emerge in the market. Be sure to read this indepth guide on setting up your competitor monitoring dashboard using Mention here.
3. Monitor Competitors’ Backlinks
How do your competitors acquire backlinks? Knowing this will help you in two important ways:
- You’ll be able to predict their rankings increase (if you spot a solid link building campaign from their side)
- You’ll be able to learn from their success and mistakes. Knowing where your competitors are acquiring their backlinks from will give you some inspiration for influencer outreach or PR campaign. Additionally, (especially in case their rankings tank) you’ll know what to stay away from.
Majestic offers one of the best backlink monitoring solutions, including their “link alerts” feature which sends you an email with new backlinks on a regular basis. I’ve been using their platform for ages and they’ve never disappointed.
Majestic packages start at $79 per month which is very competitive in this industry.
Tip: Create a separate email inbox for all kinds of monitoring alerts you set up. Not only will this un-clutter your main inbox, but it will also create a searchable archive of those email alerts giving you an opportunity to go back and spot new opportunities.
4. Monitor Competitors’ On-Page Changes
Do you want to know how your competitors tweak their on-page search engine optimization? Or how they change their major landing pages to lure more users down their conversion funnels? This information will offer you a ton of insight into how those changes correlate with their rank changes and what you can do to improve your site performance too.
The aforementioned Topvisor offers a nice option to monitor any page for changes giving you a nice summary of what has changed since you last checked:
Otherwise you can use a Google Chrome extension called Visual Ping that does the job well:
5. Monitor Competitors’ Unhappy Clients
One of my favorite ways to snatch competitors’ clients is to engage with those who are unhappy for some reason. You’ll be amazed to find how few of your competitors actually care to monitor their Twitter mentions and respond to those unhappy individuals. There’s your competitive advantage right there, especially if you are competing with huge brands which are usually not very smart when it comes to Twitter customer support!
Simply use your competitor brand name and add “:(“ when searching Twitter:
Tip: If you’re lucky to have competitors that are being actively discussed on Twitter, you can go all geeky about that and import all those tweets into your company Slack board (into a separate channel) as described here. From that channel, you can rely on your team to discuss every single tweet, take action, and come up with new tactics based on tweets they receive.
Now, if you think one of those Twitter users could become a lead, you can go one step further and use Salesmate to import those Twitter users into your lead nurturing dashboard. Salesmate integrates with Twitter (through Zapier) and to Slack, so you can go with either of these options.
This will help you organize those leads properly and come up with one set of actions that has proved to be most efficient with these Twitter users.
6. Monitor Their Customers’ Questions
Another Twitter search hack I use for competitor research is monitoring customers’ questions on Twitter. To search those, simply add ” ?” (with the space) after your competitor’s brand name:
This gives you lots of useful insight into:
- Your competitors’ products that are being discussed (and how they could improve their offering)
- The gap that your own product may cover to offer a product or a service that would solve problems that existing products and services don’t
- Questions people may be asking about your product as well: You may want to answer those questions on your site by creating a FAQ section or a knowledge database. Here are a few great WordPress themes that will help you with just that.
Tip: These questions will become your most effective content inspiration source. Consider creating an archive of these tweets with a tool like Cyfe. Cyfe lets you add an unlimited amount of widgets to archive an unlimited amount of Twitter search results:
7. Monitor Competitors’ PPC Advertising
Do you want to know which keywords your competitors are investing in? Knowing which ads your competitors are buying helps you understand the market better and plan your budget.
Spyfu has been the most reliable PPC ad monitoring platform for years. Just type in your competitor and you’ll see what types of PPC ads they’re buying.
Spyfu PRO packages start at $39 a month, which is quite enough for a medium or small business tracking just a few competitors.
How much do you know about your competitors? Share your tricks and tools!