I have always found it profoundly interesting the way the world of digital can change overnight. From Twitter's inability to keep up with Facebook's advertising to Google becoming a secondary player under Alphabet, digital marketers must understand a rapidly changing medium and how to best keep clients relevant in the online world.
With all of this change, it is intriguing how often, businesses neglect to audit their digital performance. Some clients look at high-level competitive numbers like how many followers competitors have on Facebook. But how often do businesses audit their own digital channels and their competitors' to identify low-hanging fruit they could be monopolizing?
1) Find New Keywords
The most useful aspect of a competitive audit is reviewing keywords that are sending organic traffic to your competitor. Once you know what is working for your competitor, and if the keyword is relevant to your business, you want to increase your SEO efforts for that keywords to get that relevant traffic.
Tip: If you find there are high search volumes for your competitors branded keywords, you may want to run text ads against them even if your quality score may be low.
2) Find Content Topics That Resonate with Users
They are your competitors for a reason. It's probably safe to say that you are going after the same audience. So auditing your competitors' content frequently (at least each quarter) can serve as a testing ground. Review competitors' content and determine if the content was successful or unsuccessful. Based on the results, you can make better decisions about your content calendar. If your competitor had a content topic that was successful, take the topic and run it through keyword research tools to see if there is another angle you can take on the topic.
Real Life Insight: Using this auditing approach, I have helped clients pull in new content topics they would never have thought to talk about before the audit. With one client, the topic was something they never imagined their customers would be interested in and so never had anyone on their digital team looked into it....which bring us back to reason #1 - keywords.
3) Find Social Posts With High Engagement
Looking through your competitors' social channels can be quite enlightening. You may be able to get a sense of their strategy (whether they have one or not), their customer service, and an idea of their digital reputation. But most importantly, you will be able to evaluate what posts work best for them. Is it embedded links back to their blogs, images with photos (what type of photos did best), questions, engagement posts, mentions of other companies or people, promotional posts, company culture posts, coupons or savings posts, etc. This insight can help you predict what may work at attracting a similar audience.
Tip: Depending on how far you want to dive into evaluating your competitors' social channels, you may be able to produce a digital comparative baseline to set as a goal for your own digital efforts.
4) Find Backlink Opportunities
No matter how difficult link building is, it is still the best way to increase your rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs). So work smarter by looking at what domains and pages are sending love to your competitors and analyze whether it is a page in which your site could also get a backlink.
Real Life Insight: Link building is tough. Super tough, but it pays off well. Don't get discouraged by constant rejections. When one link comes through and you have provided that site with valuable data and information, they will continue to reach back to you.