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How to do competitor analysis, and how to get it right?
Researching your competitors is an essential part of ranking a website or a blog. By carrying out rigorous analysis of your competitors, you can see what they do right – and seek to emulate it – and also what they do wrong, which you can improve upon. In the fullness of time, these are the competitors you’re hoping to match and then surpass. So their efforts offer a road map to your success.
One vital element of this analysis, though, is evaluating the relevance of the competitor to your efforts. They may share a niche with you, but do they have the same end goals and the same audience? If you run a site that deals with casino slots reviews, a site that talks about sports betting shares your niche, but not your specific aims, so you need to take that into account. The more points of relevance you share with a competitor site, the more valuable the information you can gain from researching them.
If you are trying to rank a site or a blog, then emulating and surpassing your competitors is always going to be a goal. However, one caveat to this is the question of reach. Reach represents the difference between the question of whether you should do what a competitor is doing and whether you can do what they do.
This is important because it is going to help you prioritise what you do with your site. You may look at the leading site in your niche and see that they have a daily vlog or a podcast that gets thousands of hits. They may only be able to do this because they have been in the game for a decade or longer, and have built a worldwide reach with the income and passive traffic that brings.
Having a smaller reach than a competitor can be a drag on your numbers, but it does allow you initially to define yourself in a more individual way. As you build your base, your reach will increase and you can look at larger sites as your direct competition.
When you are aiming to emulate and eventually surpass a competitor, one area in which it is essential to focus your research is the breadth of their coverage. No matter your niche, there are always different levels to how “niche” you can go – or want to go.
If you’re running a casino blog, for example, you can be as narrow as simply reviewing new sites and games. You can go wider than that, including news about gaming laws both in your base country and further afield. You can be strictly news-based, or you can branch out into opinion, nostalgia and more. What matters, from a competitor research point of view, is that you compare yourself with other sites that have the same purview as you do.
A site that deals purely with reviews of slot games, for example, is not going to benefit much from analysing a competitor that posts five times a day with news from Las Vegas, analysis of new laws in Peru, and op-eds about crypto casinos, so tailor your research to fit sites that are similar to yours.
Matching and beating a competitor is always going to involve confronting them on their own patch, and this is something you’ll need to bear in mind when researching what makes them successful. As often as not, you’ll find that the biggest hitters in your niche are as successful as they are because they have managed to build a multi-layer approach to promotion.
Depending on your area of expertise, your competitors might have the ability to advertise on TV, on billboards or in print. They may work solely online, or have a brick-and-mortar presence. Knowing what has gone into making them successful is essential, whether you want to learn from them or surpass them.
If you can’t match them on advertising outlay and breadth of media penetration, then you need to think about where you can catch up. Free or cheap publicity sources, like social media, become all the more important – and you can learn from your competitors here, too, but remember to find something special that makes you stand out, or you’ll get lost in the mix.
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