Businesses have been spying on one another as long as business has existed. Everyone wants to know what the competition is doing, especially if they seem to be doing it better. The internet has revolutionized how businesses find and attract customers. Local business searches have made it necessary for a business to be listed online if they hope to corner their share of the market. Now it’s just not enough for Joe’s Pizza Parlor to know what newspapers Fred’s Pizza Shop is using to attract customers or where Fred gets his ingredients. Joe must also know where on the virtually endless World Wide Web any mention of Fred’s Pizza Shop exists. This is where new age competitive analysis comes in while doing local search marketing.
In its simplest form, competitive analysis simply means finding out exactly what a competitor is doing and how that competitor goes about doing it. Once you are armed with this knowledge, you can then compare their practices with yours to decide who is doing what the best. If the competition has an edge, this knowledge will help you catch up. If your strategy is better it will help you stay ahead.
For local search listings, the most important factor is business name. We’ll cover that in another post. The second most important is citations. As we have discussed before, citations are references to the business’s name, address and phone number. Considering the importance of citations in local rankings, it would stand to reason that a competitor that ranks higher than you will have more citations or better citations. What you now need to do is find out where they are. Once you know, you can go about getting your business listed there as well.
We have some in-house software that will determine that for us, and we use it to benefit our local seo clients. However, there is some less sophisticated but still workable software available for purchase. Competitive analysis software snoops around the net by backtracking from the Local search listing. It can uncover obscure mentions of a business on blogs, online newspaper ads, and in some cases even tweets. There are several versions of such programs, some of which are available as freeware. If you are a small business owner who prefers to take matters into your own hands, such software can help you maximize your local search optimization and help your business stay ahead in the competitive world of internet advertising. We will dig more into this specifically in an upcoming article.