You can learn a lot from your competitors – and their websites and search rankings may be a good place to start.
You can begin by searching for the terms you’d like to rank on in search engines and see who ranks higher than you do, according to Tamara Weintraub of online marketing firm ReachLocal. What kinds of content and pages rank high, and how do they compare to your site? Study how well competitors’ websites get their marketing message across and look at what products and services they offer.
While you’re at it, check paid search results and see who’s paying to rank high. Study their offerings and website, and maybe even consider paid search advertising for your own business if the price and keywords are promising enough.
Study your competitors’ presence on social media sites too for other ideas on how to present your message.
And look for online reviews of you and your competitors through searches and sites like Yelp and Google+ Local – and maybe even find potential customers if someone’s unhappy with your competitor. Ask your happy customers to post reviews too.
The internet and social media have changed the way customers find businesses, so you need to be actively working to improve your online reputation and search ranking. And studying your competitors is a critical part of that.
Adapted from 4 Tips for Researching Your Business Competition Online at Small Business Computing.