3 Ways To Reverse Engineer Your eCommerce Competitors Success
There are few things more frustrating than seeing one of your eCommerce competitors crushing it and not being able to figure out how they’re succeeding.
From what you can tell, they don’t have better prices or products than you. And yet for some reason, they’re massively succeeding and you’re struggling.
Or maybe you’re the one who’s succeeding…
...but you have a competitor creeping up on you.
You need to figure out how they’re gaining on you so that you can pull ahead once again.
Thankfully, there are some relatively simple ways you can reverse engineer your eCommerce competitors’ success.
You can figure out EXACTLY what they’re doing, and then do it better.
Here are 3 ways to reverse engineer their success...and then beat them to the punch.
Method #1: Steal Their Organic Traffic
There’s a good chance your competitor is succeeding because they’re getting a high amount of organic search traffic for keywords that signal buyer intent.
In other words, people are searching for products, and your competitors are ranking higher than you are in those searches.
The good news is, once you know what competitor pages are ranking high in searches, you can figure out how to steal their organic traffic.
Using a tool like SEMRush, you can determine which of their pages are ranking high in organic searches.
For example, let’s say you’re in the supplement market. You know that DrAxe.com is a leader in that market and you want to figure out how him and his team are so successful.
Using SEMRush, you can see that he’s ranking fourth overall for the massively popular search term “keto diet”. This is driving a huge amount traffic to the site and is probably contributing significantly to sales of supplements related to the keto diet.
When you look at the page that’s ranking, it’s an in-depth, authoritative blog post about foods that are good for the keto diet.
It’s going to be tough to steal the organic traffic going to that page for two reasons:
- The blog post is really well done and very authoritative, both of which are important to Google.
- It’s an incredibly difficult keyword to rank for. In SEMRush, “KD” stands for “Keyword Difficulty”, and anything over 70 can be really tough.
It’s not impossible to rank higher than the page on Dr. Axe, but it will take a ton of effort.
But don’t despair. There are easier ways.
The trick is to find pages that are either lower quality and yet still ranking high, or are ranking high for low difficulty keywords.
In other words, you’re going to try to poach the easier organic traffic.
Let’s say you also sell supplements to help fight inflammation. A quick SEMRush search shows that the search terms “supplements for inflammation” has around 1,900 searches per month.
Certainly nowhere near the amount for “keto diet”, but your goal isn’t to hit a walk-off homerun. Your goal is to stack up small wins - singles and doubles - that eventually lead to a lot of organic search traffic.
The article ranking third for this search term is very thin, without much substance. It also has ZERO backlinks (other sites linking to it), which is another important indicator for Google.
Despite this, you can bet that it’s driving sales of anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric.
This is an easy target for you. If you can create a post that offers significantly more value AND you can get some other sites linking back to it, it shouldn’t be that difficult to surpass it in the rankings.
But how does this help you generate more sales of supplements? Two ways:
- Within the post itself, you can include the option to purchase supplements. There’s obviously buyer intent behind the search term, and you meet that intent by offering supplements on that page.
- You can link to your store page that has the supplements. When the post itself begins to rank, the links to the store page will also raise the domain authority of your store page. This, in turn, will cause it to show up higher in searches also.
- Determine which competitor pages are ranking high in organic search.
- Identify the ones that are low quality, have few backlinks, or are ranking for low difficulty keywords.
- Create better content and get backlinks to it.
- Repeat this process with other competitor pages.
Your goal isn’t to steal giant swaths of traffic at once, although if you can figure out a way to do that, go for it.
Rather, your goal is to slowly, yet surely, create content that is going to outrank the content of your competitors.
Method #2: Steal Their Amazon Traffic
Assuming that both you and your competitors are selling on Amazon, you can steal their Amazon traffic in a similar way to their Google search traffic.
Now granted, there’s more to ranking on page 1 of Amazon than optimizing your listings, but that’s the place to start.
Let’s say that you and your competitor sell green tea, and he’s ranking on page 1 of Amazon but you’re not.
Using a tool like Scope, you can see what keywords his product is ranking for and then more effectively optimize your own listing.
For example, when you search “green tea”, Yogi Green Tea is listed on the front page. And yet when you look at the various keywords the product is ranking for, it appears that the product hasn’t been optimized particularly well.
By better optimizing your listings, you can make the Amazon search algorithm take notice.
But how do you better optimize?
It’s all about long tail keywords. These are search phrases, as opposed to single search terms.
When you include these long tail keywords throughout your listing, it significantly increases the chances of your showing up in the Amazon search algorithm.
Google Keyword Planner makes it easy to find long tail keywords associated with your product.
For example, when I type “green tea” into the Google Keywords planner, it gives me hundreds of keywords also associated with that search.
Granted, many of these keywords are high competition keywords, which means you’ll have a tough time ranking for those. But if you can find relevant keywords that are low to medium competition AND have a decent search volume, you’ve hit gold.
It’s these keywords that you’re going to include in your Amazon listing.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Title your product naturally, including your primary keyword.
- Include some of the long tail keywords in your product description. This description should be written well and be to the point. Include your keywords naturally, without stuffing them.
- Jam pack all the long tail keywords you can in the backend description of your product. This part is only seen by the Amazon algorithm and gives you 1,000 characters to describe your product. This is where you’re going to utilize as many of those long term keywords as possible.
While it’s true that your ranking also depends on your sales volume, reviews, click through rates, and more, the starting place for stealing Amazon traffic is to ensure that your products are optimized as well, if not better than your competitors.
Method #3: Steal Your Competitors Facebook Traffic
The third and final method for reverse engineering your competitors success is to spy on their Facebook ads. Once you know what ads they’re running, you can target the same audience with better ads.
How do you do that?
Tools like AdEspresso make it dead simple.
Their free search tool lets you see exactly what Facebook ads your competitors are running.
For example, let’s say you’ve been working to develop a productivity planner. You know that Best Self Co and Michael Hyatt are already working in this space. But what Facebook ads are they running?
A quick AdEspresso search on Best Self Co shows these ads:
A search on Michael Hyatt brings up these ads:
Now it’s time to figure out what they’re doing well. Clearly, seeing the inside of the planner matters a lot. That’s the strategy Best Self Co is using.
Michael Hyatt is using flash sales to generate interest in his planner.
Now you’re cooking with gas. You could combine the two options. You could create a video that highlighted the interior while also promoting the sale.
Now that you see what your competitors are up to, you can figure out how to steal their best material and add your own flair to it.
And if you sign up for a paid account with AdEspresso, they can help you duplicate these ads, and then find the ones that work the best.
You don’t need to be dismayed by the success of your eCommerce competitors. If you know the right tools and strategies, you can figure out exactly what they’re doing, and then do it even better yourself.
They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
These three strategies allow you to do just that.