Competitor analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating businesses in a market that offer similar products or services to yours. Depending on a predefined set of factors, this comprehensive report will help you see your business and your competitors through the eyes of your customers.
When analyzing competitors, you can learn from their strengths and weaknesses to improve your services and capitalize on your niche. Especially for e-Commerce businesses, competitor analysis is a must-do step when building a website.
In this article, let’s dig deeper into how to finish this roadmap with us!
1. Why Competitor Analysis is Important When Building an e-Commerce Website?
A competitor is any individual, organization, or business that competes with your company. Competitors are often in the same industry or offer similar products and services as your business.
Competitor analysis is the process of selecting competitors, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, similarities, and differences in their products and services, as well as their sales and marketing strategies. From there, you can plan a suitable strategy that brings advantages to your business in e-Commerce.
When building a website, competitor analysis will help you understand the market better.
If your competitor is a forerunner, having certain successes in the market, competitor analysis will show you the behavior of the target customer group. Also, learning about competitors can help you get an accurate idea of the trends that are going to rise in the market. The ability to identify, predict or create trends is the ultimate competitive advantage for every business, especially those in e-Commerce.
Moreover, analyzing competitors helps businesses know the goals, strategies, and practices of competitors over time. From there, draw lessons for your business, learn good methods, and avoid possible risks.
And once you have a good understanding of your competitors, you can customize different plans to the characteristics of each competitor to gain a competitive advantage.
2. How to Do Competitor Analysis?
2.1. Identify Competitors
You have to do competitor analysis for every phase of your business, and in this article, we are mentioning how to analyze competitors when building an e-Commerce website.
Pro tip here: In this phase, your competitors are defined as the websites that are in the top rankings of your main keywords.
It is clear that you might have hundreds of main keywords, but just focus on the most important ones. Choose the most popular websites in these terms, and they also offer the same products or services as yours.
To save more time for this step, you can require help from powerful tools like Ahref. After entering your website URL, go to Organic Search => Competing domains, it will show several competitors that you should pay attention to.
As you drill down into the list of competitors above, you may discover sites that are targeting a specific niche within the overall market area.
Even those sites aren’t necessarily seen as major competitors, but they still have an impact on specific segments of the market. So whenever performing a competitor analysis, it is important to consider all of them.
Besides, let’s take noted of this tip.
Sometimes it’s not worth the time investment when the only site that ranks above you is Wikipedia or Pinterest for certain keywords. Instead, look at other keywords that your actual competitors are ranking higher than you.
2.2. Take an Overview of Their Websites
The overview picture not only shows the number of visits to your competitors’ websites, but also includes other relevant metrics such as the number of pages viewed per visit, time average time on the website, bounce rate, and so on.
Based on this data, you will get an overall look at the traffic growth rate of the competitor’s website, from which it is easy to evaluate the competitive level from high to low. From there, you can come up with the most appropriate competitive strategies.
Also, for this step, there are many different analytic tools for you to take advantage of, such as SEMrush.
In addition to showing the indicators in the form of specific figures, SEMrush also presents the data in the form of a line chart to make it easier to compare the growth rate of websites over a specific time period. At the same time, you can see the strategies of the competitors through the traffic growth path of each website.
Besides looking at keywords, visits and analytical metrics, you can take this one extra step and investigate how they built their website. We are all used to assuming an eCommerce website is built with either WordPress or Shopify. However many times the websites we are investigating are built using some other popular platform such as Wix or Squarespace, and you can know that by using a Squarespace template detector for example. Having this kind of information can help you and give you an advantage going forward.
2.3. Find Keyword Gaps
It’s vital to pay more attention to keywords for which you already rank, but you are in lower positions when comparing with your competitors.
Let’s answer these questions.
- Why do they rank in the first results but not you?
- Do they have better content with high value for those specific keywords?
- Do they have a particularly higher number of backlinks to specific pages that are helping them rank higher?
Once you can identify these Keyword gaps, you can work to close that gap.
Pro Tip: SEMrush will be a useful tool to help you find out these keywords.
SEMrush will offer you the opportunity to develop a keyword strategy that includes keywords that your website has not ranked for or is in low rankings. What you need to do is to see whether these keywords are suitable for optimization.
Besides, the overall chart of keyword overlap between websites (yours and competitors) gives you the best overview of your competitor’s keyword strategy and yourself. Based on this, you can plan for long-term strategies to develop your website.
2.4. Research Backlinks
Building a high-quality backlink is one of the most essential tasks when building an e-Commerce website. Although they are not the only factor to evaluate website ranking, they are an integral part of increasing search engine ranking.
The Backlink Gap report in SEMrush is an effective tool to gain access to resources that are linking to your competitors. Through this, you will deeply understand the competitor’s backlink strategy. It is the basis to plan the right backlink building for your website.
The report will consist of two parts:
Part 1: Overview chart of competitor’s backlink situation
- Authority Score: is evaluated based on the factors of backlinks, keywords, etc. of each website, the higher the score is, the better the website quality is. This chart gives you a general assessment of the quality of a particular website.
- Referring Domains: All domains that contain backlinks pointing to your website. This is an indicator that shows the number of backlinks on the website. The higher the number of quality backlinks is, the higher the quality and ranking of the website on search engines are.
Part 2: Detailed analysis of backlinks of websites
Here you will see all domains containing your and your competitors’ backlinks (Referring Domain), the quality score of each backlink (AS), the relevance of the website with the referring domain (Matches).
After that, it will be easy for you to compare and evaluate which domains should put backlinks for the best effect, these are just important to get a more detailed view of backlink building strategy:
- Best: domains that contain backlinks of all competitors
- Weak: domains where you have fewer backlinks than your competitors.
- Strong: domains that contain only your backlink.
- Shared: the domain name that contains both your and your competitors’ backlinks.
- Unique: Domains that only contain backlinks of a website.
Based on this website analysis, you can find out more optimal options for building backlinks:
The domains in the Best and Weak categories are weak points in your backlink-building strategy. Based on the data in these two items, you can choose Referring Domains with high-quality scores to build backlinks for your website.
The domains in the Strong and Unique sections are your backlink advantage over your competitors, so you should continue to maintain the backlink strategy in these two categories.
2.5. Find Competitors’ most Popular Content
Just as you want to know the most vital keywords your competitors are ranking for, it is also essential to determine which pages are their most popular ones.
Don’t forget these questions:
- Which pages rank for the most keywords?
- Which pages get the most traffic?
- Which pages have the highest percentage of overall traffic?
Sometimes a competitor may have a large amount of traffic to a certain page or set of pages. Is there anything you can learn from your competitors?
Nah, it will be a good question, guys!
3. Useful Tips when Analyzing Competitors
Depending on the size of your site and the number of active competitors, you’ll need to reconsider your competitor analysis every 6 months to a year. In some cases, a monthly report is also a great choice.
When tracking changes of your competitors, you can react to their strategies quickly. Remember that your competitor analysis is never enough.
The process of analyzing competitor websites can include many other factors such as domain quality, page load speed, mobile friendliness, etc. However, the factors we discussed above are the fundamental and important ones.
When doing competitors’ website analysis, you will need support from power tools, like Ahrefs, SEO Booster, SEMrush, etc. They will help you get the most detailed view of each of your competitors, thereby orienting and giving the most optimal strategy for your e-Commerce website.
We hope that you gain some helpful information to analyzing your competitors when building a website through this article. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions. Thank you for reading!