Read this short article and you will know how to do a basic quick competitive web research.
It’s for internet based businesses only, even though some of the things can be used for the market research needs of traditional companies.
There are tons of reasons why you would want to identify and see what your business competitors are doing, what works for them, what doesn’t and how are they positioned.
Disclaimer: There is no quick market research that will give you all the answers, especially if you are not experienced enough to evaluate the scarce information properly.
So here are my basic tools for a competition research on the web:
Good old Google
Just do a google search on as many terms as you think are relevant and check who comes in the results. Don’t forget to include the sponsored results.
Side note: Use the Google Keyword Tool (from Adwords) to check on the approximate search volumes for the keywords
In many cases your competitors might run video channels so it’s worth checking the popular videos in your category. You can find links to their websites in the channels and the descriptions, plus you will get to know whether people watch, like or dislike what they have.
Not everything shows in Google and unless you plan to rely only on SEO (which I do not recommend) you need to check other places as well. Facebook is the logical next step. There you look for groups and pages.
Your competitors are likely to have a Facebook page.
Tip – look at the activity not the number of likes.
Other discussion groups
Industry forums are similar to facebook groups, people ask about, discuss and share stuff. You can also check sites like Quora.com and Yahoo Answers.
There are good similar site search tools like similarsites.com, similarsitesearch.com, the Google Chrome similar pages tool, etc. that can reveal additional competitors
If you retail online, it’s kinda smart to check those two at least.
Clickbank, JVzoo marketplaces
These are marketplaces for info products, if you are in that area you start there.
You can see rankings of the most popular sites by different categories.
Crunchbase.com, Angel.co, f6s.com, producthunt.com
Those must be checked if you plan tech startup projects, web based services, innovations, etc.
It’s a fantastic tool that you can use for all kind of research, especially if you are content publisher. You can see who is engaging more people and what is trending.
Once you identify competitors you can get a closer look at what they are doing.
Great competition spying tool. It can give you tons of information.
Another great all around tool that will save you hours of manual work on competitors research.
StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit
I don’t use those for competitors research, but some people do and they find them useful.
Of course there are more ways to do a research on your competition online. It depends on your niche as well. I think that the tools listed above are more than enough to begin with.
And I’m not affiliated with any of the sites and services.