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Business Intelligence Building Through Competitor Analysis

Posted on the 27 June 2013 by Zafar @seompdotcom

One of the ways in which marketers can build an understanding of how their competitors are working to secure traffic to their sites and grow their audience is through analysis of competitors’ link profile. Finding out how competitors use links to generate visits and market their products can give you a powerful insight into what’s working for them and how you might be able to learn from their example.

There is a whole host of tools on the market that enable marketers to examine and analyze a competitor’s link profile to understand what their competitors’ strategies are to grow their business.

With a little time and effort, marketers can develop a picture of how their competitors are targeting links, find out what benefits they’re getting from the process and decide where to target their own activities as a result.

Business Intelligence Building Through Competitor Analysis

Business Intelligence Building through Competitor Analysis

Gathering data The first step in analysing a competitor’s link profile is to gather the data from which you can gain the insights. Once you’ve chosen your target competitor – you’re likely to have a list of likely suspects but we all have to start somewhere – you need to get a full extract of the links they’re using to drive their traffic. A number of tools exist for gathering the link data from a target website. Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO are both powerful tools that enable the scraping of link data from a website for analysis. The output can be manipulated in a simple Excel spreadsheet to enable insights to be gained into the link strategy of a web marketing plan.

Gathering Data - Business Intelligence Building Through Competitor Analysis
Before planning action, make sure the links aren’t rusty Once the data has been gathered, it’s important to make sure that it’s valid and useful. As with any large data set, it’s vital that the data is clean and free from common errors such as duplication before moving forward. In the case of link data, you can use a web crawler to go through the links and remove any that return error messages and are therefore invalid. The final stage in refining a data-set is to remove any links that go to another part of the competitor’s website or any that direct traffic towards the site of the organisation carrying out the search.Once these have been removed using a simple find function to delete them, the data is ready to provide insights.

Targeting insights Once the data set is clean, it’s important to focus attention on the areas that are likely to be of use to the marketer carrying out the analysis. Carrying out an analysis of the Page Authority scores of each of the sites left in the data set will help a marketer to exclude those pages that are likely to have little impact on link building. Websites with low Page Authority are of little use to marketers and can be excluded to save time and effort in identifying pages that can have a positive impact.

Human viewpoint Once the wheat has been sorted from the chaff, the remaining links are best reviewed by a person who can make a judgment call on the usefulness of the links. This can be done relatively quickly and sites categorised into sets such as blogs, paid links, service directories and curated lists to gain an understanding of the balance of links in a competitor’s arsenal.

viewpoint - Business Intelligence Building Through Competitor Analysis
It’s time to take a long-distance view,

An SEO-savvy marketer can quickly get a picture from hitting websites on the condensed list which sites are likely to be of value to the company for which they work. With a clear picture of which sites are likely to be contributing to the success of competitors, marketers can develop a linking strategy that emulates that of competitors and focuses on those that are most likely to be rewarding with a view to beating them at their own game.

About the author: Tom Shurville, managing director of SEO agency, Distinctly Digital, offering specialised SEO services in the St Albans area including product review management and social SEO. While it may seem laborious and resource-intensive, getting insights from competitor link analysis can be a valuable way to improve an online marketing strategy. By understanding the most likely sources of value from a close competitor’s link profile, marketers can develop a plan to build the value of their own online marketing approaches. Find Tom on Google+.

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