Capitalising on the competition: the tools to strengthen your search strategy
As a digital marketer, you’ll know your own digital strategy inside out — yet crucial to your success is understanding how your competitors are operating. What keywords do they want to rank for? Where are they securing online coverage from?
While competitors will often keep their cards close to their chest, there are a few handy tools out there that can help you gain an insight into how other brands within your market are operating online. Here, we outline three of them:
Wayback Machine is a useful tool for discovering how a competitor’s website has changed over time. By looking at previous iterations of their site, you can establish how their SEO strategy has evolved.
For example, you can see how keyword optimisation of a particular page has changed — if at all — over time. Frequent changes in keyword focus or long-term targeting of a phrase could indicate which keywords could be most fruitful for your brand’s strategy.
Of course, SEO performance is determined by a range of factors, so this tool should be primarily used for insight purposes — what your competitors are doing may not necessarily be the best option for your brand’s goals.
Google Alerts is a popular free tool that can benefit your search strategy in multiple ways. Essentially, it allows you to track keyword mentions online — simply input your keyword and create an alert to receive timely, daily or weekly notifications of online mentions.
There are a few ways you can use Google Alerts to your advantage:
- To track mentions of your brand — insert your brand name in the keyword box to be notified of any conversation around your brand as it happens. This could allow you to identify additional linking opportunities that you could have otherwise missed.
- To monitor competitor performance — see which sites are talking about your competitors and why. This could be useful for determining future outreach targets and content campaigns.
- To monitor keyword mentions — has a keyword you’re targeting hit the headlines? Understanding the conversation around your keywords is essential to tapping into what people are really interested in through your content campaigns.
Moz Fresh Alerts
While Google Alerts can be used by digital marketers, it does have a general appeal. Moz Fresh Alerts offers a more SEO-specific alerts tool, returning your competitor’s mentions and links, along with the site’s authority. This is useful in establishing the types of sites they’re gaining online coverage from, while also highlighting potential targets to include in your own outreach strategy.
With this tool, you can either receive notifications daily or as and when a new result is discovered. Therefore, the frequency of the notifications you receive could be an indicator of the intensity and scale of an outreach campaign, which could influence your time and budget allocations.