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Things You Should Be Tracking But Your Not...

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Posted 8th February 2013 at 11:53 AM by butters

A lot of people assume that once you have done your research before entering a niche that it is all over and done with. This isn’t the case and I am sure some of you are aware of this, unfortunately, it is a never-ending process if you want to remain on top of any niche. Of course if it is a busy market then you will need to keep tabs on the competition more then a niche site about a specific toaster. No matter what the size is though, these are some of the things you should be doing on a regular basis to remain on top. If you want to contribute to things that you should be monitoring, please do so ☺.

Social media

This is a biggy, we all know social media can push a ton of traffic to your website and good for building a brand so keeping track on your competitors is somewhat of a must. Now, to keep track of what they are doing on Facebook, Twitter etc., it is simple. Create a new account on each platform and sign up to their feeds/pages/tweets etc… You want to know everything about them, here is a little list of things you may want to look out for.

- The type of tweets/posts they are doing
- The length of posts
- Are they selling anything
- If they are not selling anything, what are they pointing their fans to
- How many posts they make a day
- How much has their fan base grew over the past months

There are many more things you can monitor when looking at social media and you want to be on top of it all. A little trick on how to pull a Twitter account and Facebook account into one feed is by using a website like hootsuite.

SEO


Monitoring someone’s SEO efforts can be very important if you are trying to out rank them. I generally find here you need to monitor two things, the amount of back linking they are doing over a consistent period of time and their social efforts. Social monitoring is covered above but to monitor their back linking you will need a tool like SEO Moz (It is expensive so obviously not useful for driven down niches). This way you can monitor the amount of links a site is getting and more importantly, the quality of the links they are getting. There are free tools out there which show you x number of links like back link watch which may be sufficient for niche websites.

By monitoring their backlinks you will be able to see if they are guest blogging anywhere and the type of sites they are using to generate some links from. This is good for you because you can then have a list of sites where you should be promoting (along with the ones your already promoting on).

Forums

Are they a member of a forum anywhere and if they are, are they considered an authority on the forum? If they are considered an authority it is time to jump in and start contributing to catch them up, this is all about establishing yourself as an authority to. If they are not an authority on the forum, perfect! Get involved straight away and start establishing yourself as the hub people need to turn to for information.

Things you may want to consider if they are already an authority

- What type of posts are they making
- How often do they post
- How long have they been a member there
- What pages are they pointing to in their sigs

These are just a few of the things you should be looking for when analysis your competitor.

Their Website!

This is important that you keep track of the content they are posting on their site. If they are using a wordpress blog then it is stupid simple, take their RSS feed and put it into Google reader, every time they upload new content, you get notified. If it isn’t a wordpress site then they may still have an RSS feed so look for that, if they don’t, your have to do it the old fashion way and actually look at their site each month.

Here you are looking for…

- The type of content they post
- Out bound links
- Comments and the number they are getting
- How is the article written and the demographic it is targeted at
- How often they post content
- Are they allowing people to guest post

Not only are you looking for articles they are posting but also the products they are producing and affiliating with. If they offer a product then buy it, see why it is so good and see what you can do better then them. Join their list and make sure you are getting all their emails into a folder so you can monitor how they are mailing their customers. Check the ads on the website, see the sorts of products they offer and the format they are delivering them.

There is a ton of things that you can monitor on a competitors websites and some will be niche specific. The idea here is to be all over them and know exactly what they are doing so you can incorporate it into your own site!

Also look at their past, there is a great little site called web archive, this site grabs information of sites each year and stores them into a database. Paste your compeitors URL into their search bar and if it’s an old site then there will be pictures of what their site used to look like. Here you will be looking at the content, ads, products etc… and seeing how it has changed from then to now.

PPC


Are they running any PPC campaign, if they are, where are they pointing the campaign to, what’s the purpose of the landing page. What type of ad are they running, is it banner or text, what does it look/read like, can you swipe it so you can see how their campaign develops over time. Remember this, if they are running a PPC campaign and you can keep track of it, they are doing the optimizing for you and will give you a good place to start and test from.

Are they running ads on a social network? What demographic are they aiming at? What country are they aiming for and so on. There are tools out their which can do this for you, just search for them, try terms like competitors PPC monitoring.

Shows and events

Are your competitors at exhibitions or events? If they are, what are they doing there? What sort of content are they offering the people who walk past? Here is a little hint, just go up to them and start talking to them, this is a good way to find out exactly what they are doing there. When you go to places like this, take a notepad or a tablet with you and just write down everything you see so you know the types of things people are doing etc… I know not all niches this will be possible but it is still another thing you could be monitoring.

Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong this is a very small list of the things you could be monitoring but it is a pretty basic one to start off with. The main idea of this post was to inform people there are more to market research then simple the initial stages. If you want to succeed and more importantly, carry on being successful, make sure you know what everyone is doing so you can do it better! Hope you enjoyed the read.
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