Researching Your Online Competition
Preparing to compete on the Internet involves serious competition research and analysis, which can be interesting, especially if you're feeling the heat from competitors. This is business research, but it's also a fascinating game, and the stakes are real.
Well-thought-out strategies, carefully selected "weapons," and detailed, up-to-date information about your online competitors can work together to support your planning and make your small-business website a winner.
We recommend making a Word document — call it competition.doc or whatever. Take notes on each competitor's specific strengths and weaknesses, as well as notes on whatever you want to remember when you work on your own site.
Keep the Word document with your competition research notes handy, because you will want to update your research every couple of months.
How to Research Your Online Competition
1. Use Google and Bing to investigate each of the search terms you think you may want to target.
2. Who exactly are your major online competitors? Visually scan the listings on the search engine results pages, ignoring directories and other sites that aren't actually your competitors.
List your most serious online competitors in your competition Word document. Many small businesses are surprised to find out who their real online competitors actually are.
3. Using tools like those listed in the right column, begin by noting the Google PageRank of each of your competitors' sites, and the date when each competitor's domain name was registered.
Now go to Analyzing Your Online Competition for detailed suggestions about analyzing your competition research results.
Email us your phone number — contact [at] aicolorado [dot] com — and we'll call you to discuss Internet strategy and your competition research needs and options.
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