Whether you have an established business online or are looking to start a new venture, the best way to determine a solid Online Marketing plan is to look at those companies and websites that are already established online. There are several factors that you should look at.
1. Organic SEO Reach – Most healthy websites receive the majority of their traffic from natural organic search via search engines like Google. There are two areas that you want to research. The first is how many keywords your competitors currently rank for in Google in the top 3 pages. This will help you determine how many keywords exist in your businesses “keyword universe”. Comparing several sites will give you a mean number of keywords you should try to achieve for your own site. For example if you are an online retailer of soaps and you compare three soap e-commerce sites and they each have 310, 305, and 295 keywords between them, you can determine that your site should eventually rank for around 300 keywords in Google. The second factor to look for is “high ranking keywords”. These are the keywords that will help you drive in the most traffic. Look to see what keywords your established competitors rank highly for and determine if those keywords would help your business as well. Usually the most successful companies have spent thousands of dollars to research the best keywords and target those aggressively.
2. Paid Traffic Reach – Although a more direct way of advertising, Paid Search can tell you a lot about what products or services your competitors are profiting the most from. In most cases companies won’t spend highly on a keyword unless it is producing results. Create a list of your competitors keywords and cross reference them to see what they might all be targeting. This is a good way of choosing your own target keywords for Paid Search. In most established industries the same keywords pay off for your competitors month after month. The only down side is the high cost to break into the top positions on these keywords. You will want to monitor them closely so that you do not break the bank.
3. Back End Referral and SEO Linking – There is almost nothing hidden on the Internet and all of the links that your competitors are utilizing either for referral traffic or to improve their Domain Authority are visible through many online programs. Researching their links can help you find valuable referral sites or places where you might be able to put your own websites links. Be careful when researching to make sure that the sites they have links on are valuable and not spam.
4. Online Ads – If you go onto websites and see your competitor ads floating around the webpage, make sure to note the website they are on and look to see if you can also advertise on that website. If it is not apparent on the page look inside the code of the website to see what Ad Network they are utilizing. Ad Networks help spread ads across many different platforms and can help increase your businesses exposure.
Your competitors can provide a wealth of information on your market and help you find new areas that you might not have explored to gain new clients or customers.