Website competitive analysis is important, but it’s often done for the wrong reasons.
Why complete a website competitive analysis?
There are a number of reasons why you’ll want to review your site against the competition. You may be planning a new site, looking to improve your performance or maybe you’re looking for additional ways to benchmark.
The main goal should be to inform your own marketing strategy and plans, there’s little point conducting an analysis just so the boss can feel good about your business. Focusing on actionable insights is vital. Ask yourself ‘what am I going to do as a result of this work?’
What should you compare in your website analysis?
This will differ from one business to the next. However, there are a number of common measurements that are relevant for most sites.
Ranking and traffic estimations
- Which keywords are they ranking for?
- What is their estimated traffic?
Search engine friendliness
- What is their website speed?
- Mobile accessibility (mobile site or responsive design?)
Site marketing performance
- Do they have a blog?
- Do they have downloads?
- Do they use video?
- What conversion points do they have (contact, live chat, email, phone etc)?
Social media performance
- Which social networks are they on?
- What reach do they have on the key networks for your industry?
- What are their most shared pages?
- What is the key call-to-action on the homepage?
- What are the calls-to-actions shown across the site?
Who should you compare against?
Most businesses select competitors based on personal knowledge. My recommendation is to make your selection based on three criteria:
- Businesses you consider to be competitors (your personal knowledge).
- Businesses found in the natural/paid search results for the same searches as you, or the keywords you would like to be found for.
- Businesses your customers and prospects consider to be competitors.
Using these three criteria provides a more balanced view of who you’re competing against. It also helps select the businesses that are most likely to be leading in your market.
How to structure your analysis spread sheet
I recommend keeping this fairly simple. I like to list the competitors along the top and then the various measures down the side. Some people will choose to write an accompanying document to give a narrative to the analysis.
I personally favour a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting, with the spreadsheet on a screen.
Website competitive analysis Tools