An A to Z of SEO Terms

An.X’s A to Z Guide

A.

AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages

A coding protocol that renders your pages using optimised HTML code. Making them load faster on mobile devices. It helps mobile pagespeed, which is a priority for Google. Be aware you can lose layout and formatting for the sake of pagespeed using an AMP framework, which often means you’ll have to have two versions of a page – one for desktop and one for mobile.

Anchor text

The anchor text (otherwise known as link text) is clickabletext, in the form of a hyperlink, on a web page. An anchor text is usually highlighted and if you click on it, you will be forwarded to the target URL. The target URL and the anchor text are shown separately and the reader only sees the selected anchor text on the website, and not the URL. General guidance suggests that the anchor text should be relevant to the content it’s linking you to. So, try to avoid generic terms like ‘click here’ or ‘more information here’.

Alt Attribute

This is a snippet of text attached to an image that helps search engines and screen readers understand what that image depicts. 

 

B.

Backlinks

A link pointing to one website from another website. It is usually desirable to obtain backlinks to your site’s content from relevant sites that are well regarded by Google. Doing so, should help your own page’s search visibility.

Black Hat SEO

Marketing techniques and practices that are against the guidelines set out by Google (and other search engine owners). Using them on a site may increase its visibility in the short term but are likely to lead to that site being penalised by Google. Avoid using!

Bookmarks

An option, provided by most web browsers, to ‘save’ your favourite websites or web pages on a personal list for quick access. Many web-based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favourite resources, e.g. Del.icio.us is a popular social bookmarking site.

Broken Link

A hyperlink which is not functioning or does not lead to the desired location. When clicked, they often show errors such as ‘404 page not found’, or ‘bad gateway’ or ‘internal server error’. Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many of a site’s links are broken it may cause search engines to rank a page as being less relevant.

 

C.

Content

The text and images that are posted on a website. This is the lifeblood of your SEO efforts and no amount of technical SEO work will fully compensate for poor quality or outdated content. Quality content is essential for influence and maintaining SEO rankings.

Crawler

You’ll normally see this term described as a search bot or spider. Basically, it automatically browses internet sites in order to analyse them. Search engines, such as Google, use search bots (Googlebot) to maintain their index by listing new sites, deleting non-existing sites, and updating the ones in the index.

CMS

This is an acronym for ‘Content Management System’. It is a tool used to create, update and manage the content on your site. Usually only accessible after you log in to your site, the format and processes used to update content will differ dependant upon the platform you used to create the site.

 

D.

Domain

An internet address or addresses, which usually come in sub-sets and are hierarchical. These addresses share a common suffix or are under the control of a particular organization or individual.

DNS

An acronym for Domain Name System. This is the Internet’s system for converting alphanumeric names into numeric IP addresses. When you type a web address or domain name into a web browser, DNS servers will return the IP address of the Web Server associated with that name.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is the name given to content that is very similar or identical to that found on other websites or pages within a site. Duplicate content has a negative influence on the search engine ranking as search engines don’t know which version to show to users and can result in dropping all versions of this content from display results and / or ranking the wrong version. Google prefers high-quality and unique content. When optimizing for SEO, duplicate content is found and replaced.

 

E.

Evergreen Content

This is content that is always relevant. This definition list is evergreen content for instance. It always stays ‘fresh’ for readers and you should aim to have some of this type of content on your site.

External Link

This is a link which references another domain. It is a hyperlink that points to a destination URL that is somewhere other than its own host domain. There is currently some debate amongst SEO specialists whether having external links is helpful for your own ranking. Here at An.X, we think that linking out to other related resources is a good way to help search engines understand what your site is about. So, we usually recommend linking to relevant content on high quality sites.

 

F.

Fetch as Google

This is a tool within the Google Search Console suite that enables you to test and see how Google searches and renders any URL you input into it. You will be able to see if the URL can be searched and whether any resources on it, such as the text or images, are blocked to Googlebot.

 

G.

Googlebot

The name given to the crawler (spider) used by Google to browser and analyse sites.

Google Search Console

This used to be called ‘Google Webmaster Tools’. It is a free service provided by Google to enable webmasters to check the indexing status of their sites and optimise them for visibility (better indexing).

Google My Business

A free tool provided by Google to allow you to list your business and enable it to be found on Google Search and Google Maps.

 

H.

Hidden Text

This is a Black Hat SEO technique that places text on a site that is visible to crawlers but not to site visitors. It is the dubious practise of adding extra keywords to a site without adding any real content. It will usually result in a penalty (loss of ranking for example) being imposed on the site by search engines.

Homepage

The main page of a website.

HTML

An acronym for ‘HyperText Markup Language’. It is the coding language that all sites use to allow them to appear on the internet.

HTTP(s)

An acronym for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’.

Hyperlink

A dynamic link on a webpage that, when clicked, take you to another page. This link can be to another page on the same site or to another site altogether.

 

I.

Inbound Link

A hyperlink that directs a user to another website. It is an inbound link in relation to the destination site. Inbound links generally help with the authority and search visibility of the destination site so long as the site making the link is relevant and has good authority itself. 

Information Architecture

This is the structural design of shared information environments; in this case a website. 

Internal Links

Internal links are Hyperlinks that refer visitors to different subpages of the same website. Internal linking is one of the most important instruments of search engine optimisation as it helps search engines understand the information architecture or relevancy of the linked pages. Useful links also add value to the reader as they help them find further information faster.

Invisible Text

See ‘Hidden Text’. In this case it usually involves using a font colour that is the same as the background on which it is placed. It makes is hard or impossible to read by the user but not by crawlers. It is considered to be spam.

 

J.

Javascript

A programming language that can add dynamic interactivity to your website and is commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers.

 

K.

Keyword

A word used to find pages when conducting a search or a term used for searching about a particular topic. Keywords are certain words or phrases that describe a page’s content. A website should be optimised for certain keywords so that the search engine sees how relevant the site is for search queries.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the ratio of a keyword or key phrases to the total number of words on that page. Keyword density is one of the most critical aspects of successful search engine optimization. There isn’t a set rule on the ideal keyword density to achieve a better ranking. It is generally accepted though that good keyword density helps search engines define what your page is talking about and can influence that page’s rankings. 

Keyword Phrase

A phrase used to find pages when conducting a search. See ‘Keyword’.

Keyword Frequency

Keyword frequency is the number of times keywords occur in the text on any given page.  The theory is that the more times a keyword or keyword phrase appears within a web page, the more relevance a search engine is likely to give the page for a search with those keywords. But don’t overdo it – see ‘Keyword Stuffing’.

Keyword Research

The process of discovering what keywords your intended audience are using and using that information to better optimise your pages for both users and search engines. More simply, researching the most relative and popular keywords for a given site.

Keyword Spamming

A technique of placing multiple copies of keywords in a page to increase the keyword density by using hidden, invisible or tiny text.

Keyword Stuffing

Repeatedly using the same keyword(s) in page content or Meta tags with the aim of improving search ranking. It is ablack hat SEO technique and may result in the site incurring a penalty from search companies.

Knowledge Graph

An enhancement to Google’s search engine which delivers new information quickly and easily by deeply understanding the meaning of the search query. It is a knowledge base used by Google and its services to add value to its search results with information gathered from a variety of sources.

 

L.

Landing Page

The page on which a visitor arrives after clicking on a link or advertisement. Landing pages serve as entry points of a website and are important for marketing and advertising purposes. They are keyword-optimized for the search engine so that they appear higher in the search results when certain keywords are searched for.

Link Analysis

The process of researching and recording the quantity, quality and status of links, both internal and external, a website has.

Link Building

A process of increasing the quantity and quality of backlinks to a site. This is often achieved through outreach, submission, and PR.Since backlinks are external links, the optimisation takes place on third party sites. This is a very important element of SEO as Google and other search engines classify backlinks as recommendations. 

Link Farms

These are sites created and maintained for the sole purpose of building links between member sites. They are not necessarily the same as Directory Sites, such as Yelp, as they mostly contain unrelated content and are of low quality. They are usually a violation of search engines policies and will often harm your site’s ranking rather than help it.

Link Juice

This is a term used to define the value or equity passed from one website or web page to another usually through hyperlinks. Search engines see links as recommendations and link juice is passed / increased when that recommendation comes from a relevant, high value source.

 

M.

Meta Description

The meta description is a short passage of text (up to 156 characters) that describes the content of an HTML document. It is a summary of the contents of a webpage and  is commonly used by search engines to display as the preview snippet of the search engine results pages. If you do not provide one then Google will create its own using the first few sentences displayed on the page or from sentences that contain the keyword being searched for.

Meta Tag

This is HTML content in the header section of a webpage that attempts to provide search engines with information about the contents of that page. For example, the keyword tags, meta description and title tags are all Meta Tags.

Mobile First Indexing

This is a policy adopted by Google that means that it will predominantly use the mobile version of the content of a website for indexing and ranking.

 

N.

Nofollow

An attribute attached to content which is used to prevent a link from passing link authority or link juice to the URL that content is hyperlinked to. Commonly used on sites with user generated content, for example the comments section of Blog posts. It tells the Googlebot not to track that link.

 

O.

Off Page SEO

Off Page SEO or Off Page Optimisation describes all the SEO activities that are outside of your own website. It is all of the external factors, such as backlinks and content marketing, that influence the ranking or search visibility of your site. 

On Page SEO

On page SEO or On Page Optimisation are all of the SEO activities that take place on your own website. This is the only part of SEO that you have direct and real control over. It is normally a combination of content activities, around writing good clear copy containing relevant keywords and technical aspects, such as meta tags, relevant URLs and so on.

Orphan Pages

Any webpage that is not linked to any other pages on that website. These are pages on a website that have no incoming links and a lack of navigation elements or guides that would enable visitors to find and visit other pages. They are usually dead-end pages and stand apart from the website’s normal link structure.

Outbound Link

A link to a site outside of your own or a link that point from your website to webpages of different domains.

 

P.

Pagespeed

The time (speed) it takes to load a webpage on a bowser. Mobile pagespeed – the time it takes to load a page on a mobile device – is a ranking factor for Google search now. In general, Google recommends that it takes 4 seconds or less to load a page.

Page Rank

A ranking algorithm created by Google to calculate the importance, authority, and reliability of a web page using a scale of 0 – 10, with 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Google calculate the page rank of a webpage by taking its entire inbound links and on-page factors into account.

 

Q.

 

R.

Re-index

How often a search engine updates its index. Google updates its index once a month. You can manually ask Google to re-index your site using Google Search Console.

Robot

A program that operates automatically without user input. A webcrawler or spider is a type of robot, which crawls websites and processes the information it obtains for data storage and retrieval purposes.

Robots.txt

A text file placed in the root directory of a website that provides instructions to search engine spiders about which files and directories to ignore when crawling a website.

 

S.

Schema Markup

This is also known as structured data and is a set of coding values that can mark out content according to type, properties and enumeration values. When used on a website, it can create rich snippets (enhanced description) of that site’s content at the top of search engine results pages.

Search Engine

A search engine is a database system designed to index and categorise internet addresses.

Search Engine Marketing

The process of promoting products and services on the internet through managing the information presented by search engines and directories. This encompasses the purchase and placement of advertising as well as website optimisation.

Search Engine Optimisation

The techniques used to maintain and improve the position that a website or webpage appears in search results.

SERP

An acronym for ‘Search Engine Results Page’ – the page of listings shown after you enter a search term or query into a search engine. These listings or results are known as snippets and contain the title, link, and meta description. The aim of all SEO activity is to obtain a higher position in the SERPs. SERPs will display both paid search results (ads) as well as organic results (web pages shown by rank for that term).

Spam

Although differently defined for email, in relation to search engine marketing this means any attempt to submit or place deceptive information with the aim of ‘tricking’ the search engine to place a web page higher in the SERP.

Spider

An automatic web program used to crawl the web, read the information on websites and process it for storage. See also ‘Robot’ and ‘Crawler’.

Stop Word

Commonly used words that are considered by search engines to be irrelevant and which are therefore omitted from search algorithms. Examples include ‘the’, ‘and’ etc.

 

T.

Title Tag

The title tag is the title of a website and is used by browsers to display at the top of a browsing tab and is also often used by search engines to display on the SERPs. It is accepted that title tags should be short, precise and relevant to the content of the site as well as containing the page’s keyword at or near the beginning of it.

Traffic

The actual visitors to a web page or website.

 

U.

Unique Visitor

A real visitor to a website tracked by their IP address. Unique visitor numbers are lower than traffic numbers as each visitor is only counted once even if they visit multiple pages in the site.

URL

An acronym meaning ‘Uniform Resource Locator’. Each website, web page and other content (e.g. PDFs, videos, images, etc) has a unique URL. It is commonly referred to as the web address. Generally, it is good practice to include the target keyword for that piece of content in the URL itself.

User Search History

The storing of an individual’s web search activity in order to better personalise their experience. Earlier search history will often influence the SERP for later searches.

 

V.

 

W.

White Hat SEO

This is the opposite of Black Hat SEO and is the process of following best practice guidelines and avoiding spam tactics when carrying out optimisation techniques and strategies. Naturally, here at An.X, this is our standard process.

 

X.

XML Sitemap

The XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, which is a markup language designed to improve data delivery over the web. An XML Sitemap is a document attached to the code of a website that aims to help search engines better understand the structure and content of that site.

 

Y.

YouTube

A video hosting and streaming service owned by Google that allows users to freely upload videos to a webserver and users to watch and comment on them. YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google itself. At least 55% of all search results in Google contain at least one video.

 

Z.

The Ansoff Matrix explained

Marketing Models Explained

In our second article in this series of explainers for marketing and business models we turn our attention to the Ansoff Matrix.

 

The Ansoff Matrix

This model was developed in the late 1950s by a US-based Russian Professor, H. Igor Ansoff. He was a mathematician, researcher and expert in strategic business management. This particular model is still used widely today and is a staple of management and MBA courses.

The model helps businesses focus on the four key options for growth going from the safest (top left quadrant in the illustration used here) to most riskiest (bottom right quadrant). It tells a business to look at four strategies and use some combination of some or all of them to help them grow over whatever timeframe they’re considering.

The first dimension to set out on the horizontal axis are your products or services moving from things you currently do to new ones. The second dimension on the vertical axis is your customers / markets or audience again going from your current ones to new ones. So, that gives us four potential strategies to investigate in order to grow the business – a Market Penetration strategy (the safest), a Product Development strategy, a Market Development strategy and a Diversification strategy (the riskiest one).

 

Market Penetration Strategy

In essence, how to sell more of what you do to your current customer base, the audience that you know the best. This is the easiest strategy to adopt as it involves an audience you already know well and a product or service you already produce. When exploring this look at things such as:

• Reducing the time between re-orders

• Increasing the average order value

• Increase or change your opening hours

• Increasing consumption rates of your product

Many online businesses, for example, offer up additional related products to shoppers in order to increase cart values.

 

Product Development Strategy

How to develop your existing products or services to offer new ones or vacations on existing ones, often to your current customer base. First of all, think through your product or strategy line carefully by asking yourself these four questions in this order:

• How can I improve or augment the current product / service offer?

• What do market conditions suggest I do?

• Do I have customer feedback to help me?

• What opportunities exist for research and development?

Even though this is a riskier strategy than market penetration there are still scales of risk within it. So, before thinking about offering something totally new first consider if your product can be made cheaper or locally (reducing shipping costs), can you improve its quality or change the packaging? There are a lot of things that you can do to improve your current offer before you add to it with totally new products.

 

Market Development Strategy

How to move into new markets with existing products or services. So, even though your keeping your current product or service offer you’re now considering moving into new markets. As these are outside of your direct control, this is for me somewhat riskier than a product development strategy.

A new market doesn’t necessarily mean a new geographic location, it could be a new audience as defined by some combination of age, gender, income, education, household size, business type and so on. Or you could consider life stages – new parents, retirees, new businesses under 3 years old, etc. A different business sector perhaps – manufacturing, retail, services or business size. Finally, there may be new audiences that seek a different mix of benefits from your offer from those your current audience wants.

 

Diversification Strategy

How to move into new markets with new products or services. This is the riskiest as your necessarily dealing with new markets and new products or services, both of which you have poor or very limited direct experience with. This strategy isn’t solely about buying or starting another business or a multi-site operation, you could diversify by investing up or down your current value or supply chain. For example, look at your warehouse or shipping suppliers or the retailers that sell what you do, if you’re a step or two removed from the final consumer.

One thing to remember about these strategies is that they’re not necessarily meant to be taken as an either or approach. Younger businesses may want to focus on only adopting one or two strategies, most probably market penetration followed by product development. More mature businesses could consider some mix of all four. We’ve worked with a number of businesses in the Salisbury and wider Wiltshire and Hampshire areas using this very model. So if you’d like help in developing some growth strategies give us a call, we’re here to help.

For further info on how we use SOSTAC click on the link or, for more detailed explanations on models and for training, please check out Smart Insights who are responsible for the illustration accompanying this article.

Find out more about the people behind An.X.

The 7Ps marketing model

Marketing Models Explained

In the first of a series of short explanatories of the various models we use to analyse a business or a marketing plan, we’re going to look at the most commonly known one…

The 7Ps of the Marketing Mix

The marketing mix, defined by these 7Ps, are the variables in a business that a marketer can manipulate to ensure the optimum balance of supply and demand. It’s really just a series of business decisions that need to be evaluated and made periodically.

When this model was first developed in 1964 it consisted of only 4Ps – namely Product, Price, Place, Promotion. This remained the basic approach until 1981 when it was extended to cover the intangible elements in service businesses – Participants, Physical Evidence and Processes. Sometime later, Participants became People.

The goal here is to ensure you are marketing the right product to the right person at the right price in the right place at the right time.

Today, as competitive advantage is harder to deliver on product alone, the focus has shifted for all sectors on to the other elements. Differentiation can rarely be achieved on the features of your product or service. Always review each of these to see where adjustments can or need to be made to ensure you remain competitive. The more mature a company is the more of these 7Ps that your marketing people should be involved in setting.

Product

This covers things like quality, image, brand, features, support, customer service, availability and warranties.

Promotion

Marketing promotions, word of mouth, sale promotion, PR, branding, direct marketing.

Price

Includes positioning, discounts, credit, payment options, value added.

Place

Trade channels, sales support, distribution.

People

Anyone involved in your marketing activities or with customer contact. Your recruitment and company culture policies, training and staff remuneration.

Process

Research and development, customer focus, IT support. Your order and delivery systems and your customers’ experience of them.

Physical Evidence

Your staff’s experience of your brand, packaging, online experience, social validation (reviews). It also covers the image your business portrays through its premises, vehicles and staff appearance.

We’ve applied this process to many companies in the Salisbury and wider Wiltshire areas; so if you’d like help in understanding how to differentiate your business from your competitors give us a call, we’re here to help.

For further info on how we use SOSTAC check out Smart Insights.

Find out more about the people at An.X.

7 step guide to a strategic growth plan

Seven steps to a solid strategic growth plan

Statistics show that roughly 50% of new businesses don’t make it past their third year. This is often down to a number of factors, but if you’ve survived past the tricky first year when around 80% fail, then you do need a plan to carry you through the next period. One key way to help your business stay afloat is to plan, specifically plan for growth. Here is a quick summary of the things you need to look at in a strategic growth plan.

1. Establish a value proposition

What makes you different? Ask your customers why they buy from you. You should be able to produce a list of no more than 5 reasons why. AND… be able to weight them. Reason 1 may be 60% of the decision to buy from you. Reason 2 only 10% and so on. Give yourself a score out of 10 for each reason and use that to multiply the percentage weight. So, if reason 1 is 60% why they buy and you score yourself an 8 in this your total for that would be 60 x 8 = 480. Add them all up and you have a total. You can do the same for your competitors to see where you sit amongst them. That, in turn, can give you insight into what you do best and worst and start writing up you value proposition around that. There’s no point telling people your the best at X if X is only 10% of why they buy from you. If you have a large enough and complex business then you’re going to need to think about segmenting your audience. Each segment might the same five reasons to buy but the weighting may be different per segment or they may even have one or two reasons that differ. In general, try not to position yourself on price as once you start talking about being the cheapest or lowest cost there’s only one way you can go and that’s down. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb but it’s better to avoid a price-based position.

2. Identify your ideal customer

Speaking of your customer base, you’re here to solve problems they have. So, identify the common defining characteristics of the ideal customer. Build a profile of who they are. There are loads of tools online to help you write down a customer persona. Again, if you have a diverse audience base you will need to segment it and create a persona for each segment. You may find this article helpful, with thanks to Hubspot

3. Define your key growth indicators.

In order to determine if your business is growing or shrinking you need to measure. But what? Pick the five key things that you can accurately track over time and don’t just think in terms of sales and turnover. There’s market share, customer acquisition or retention, life time value per customer, and more.

4. Identify your revenue streams

What are your current revenue streams? Can you add any more and, if so, are they sustainable in the long run? Before adding new products or services or seeking a new audience, ensure that you’ve done your utmost to penetrate the markets and audiences you currently sell to with the products or services you currently offer. This is the least risky strategy to explore before you move on to other potential revenue streams.

5. Know your competitors

Even if you’re the runaway market leader (unlikely) there will be something you can learn from your competitors. Again, pick the 5 key ones that sell the most similar products or services to the most similar markets. These are your direct competitors. Are they growing? If so, how and why? Is their positioning (their value proposition) different? Are their processes tighter so they can produce at a lower cost? They will certainly have made some choices you chose not to or weren’t aware of. Don’t assume you made the right ones. Ask around – at industry events or grill any suppliers or customers you share.

6. Play to your strengths

If you followed Steps 1 and 5, you should be able to produce a simple grid for yourselves and your competition where you rate yours and their performance out of 10 for each the 5 reasons customers buy and then multiply that rating by the weighting percentage. E.g. Customer service was given a 35% weighting. You score 8 out of 10 and competitor A scores a 6. So, your weighted score would be 8 x 35 = 280 and competitor A would be 210. Conversely, you scored 2 out of 10 on Authority but competitor A scored a 9 BUT this reason was only 5% of the reason customers buy. Your weighted score would be 10 and competitor A would be 45. So, it pays to focus on your strengths first before spending time working on your weaknesses. In the example above, you have the most potential for improvement in the area of establishing Authority but, as it’s such given such a low prominence in the decision making process for your customer it’s a lot of effort for a low reward. You wouldn’t have stayed in business this long if there aren’t at least two of the five reasons that you score well in and are given a high priority by your customers. Focus on improving these to a point where you can’t get any better before trying to change your weaknesses.

7. Invest in people

Your staff are the ones with the most frequent contact with your customers so make sure they’re happy. They need to be inspired and motivated by your company’s value proposition. Cut back on the premises, the furniture, and the other fixed overheads before you consider being frugal with people. The best ones, that you’ve treated well, will even stick with you if you need to cut back on their remuneration package in a tough period.

Once you have all this in place, don’t park it on a shelf and forget about it. Ensure you’re continually reviewing all its parts as businesses and markets change over time. Make sure you’re following the right growth strategy and measuring the impact of any changes you make to your plan.

Take a look at some of our Case Studies for more information about the businesses in Salisbury or Wiltshire or Hampshire that we’ve helped or Contact Us for help with your own planning.

Find out more about the people behind An.X.

5 tools to use for competitor research

Competitive analysis

Do you know your competition? Here at An.X Ltd. we want to help you understand what your competitors are doing and how they market themselves as this is a key part of developing a marketing strategy. We work with a lot of Salisbury businesses to develop a new or refine an existing marketing plan. The framework we use for client planning is based on SOSTAC, a system created by PR Smith. The very first thing you do when applying this framework is to establish where you are right now with a situation analysis, which involves a competitor review. Here are some helpful tips on how to research your competitors and some helpful Marketing tips.

So, how do you find out what they’re doing? Thankfully, it’s never been easier to check out the market.

First: The Basics

You should always start with their website(s). What information do they provide there? Do they describe customers, partners, channels, organisation structure, office locations? How about how they talk about themselves and their advantages, as they see them?

Once you’ve picked clean the site, blogs, and any other marketing material produced by them directly its time to move on to broader web-based services. There’s a great utility called the Wayback Machine (or Internet Archive) that snapshots sites – they have over 284 billion web pages archived. You can use it to see how a competitor’s site has changed over time. Enabling you to see how their positioning, product offers and so on have developed in that timeframe.

Second: Using Free Online Resources

  1. LinkedIn
    This should be your go-to site for corporate info. With a little digging you can create a decent picture of the organisation of a business, who do what and how many reports they have. It’s even easier to simply follow a business to see when they post to their company pages and what their other followers are saying in the comments section. The free version seems to be adequate for most business users.
  2. Their social media channels
    What do they say about themselves? How many followers and retweets do they have? Who follows them and what do they say about the company? How interactive are they with their followers, and how quickly do they respond to conversations or enquiries? Are they posting the same content across all social media platforms, if so they are not targeting the relevant audiences?
  3. SEM Rush
    How about finding all the important keywords they’re targeting? This is the tool for that. It’ll even show you which ones perform better or worse for them, allowing you to shape your own copy.
  4. Similar Web
    This is a good place to see what overall strategies your competition are using. You can see referring sites, search traffic, display ads and so on. Although often only estimates, you can see monthly traffic too. Comparing that to your own site’s stats can give you a point of reference for scale, even from estimates. It’s a Freemium site, so you can access limited data before you pay for a subscription, even then, its pretty good – 5 results per metric, 3 month’s history of web traffic, etc.
  5.  Spyfu
    Another Freemium site which will help know your competition, this is where you can track competitor’s most profitable ads and keywords. Their AdHistory tool even shows you what those ads look or looked like and how successful they were at generating traffic.

There are more that I hear mentioned but I haven’t used personally. From those, you might want to check out Social Mention, Quick Sprout, Monitor Backlinks and Import.io too.

I hope that these helpful tips can benefit your business, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start to research your competitors.

 

We would love your feedback on whether you have tried these out and how they have worked for your business, we’re always open for other suggestions that we may not be utilising ourselves. Please feel free to contact us or read more of about our marketing services.