Getting found online is one of the major challenges every marketer faces, and it’s a problem that can have any number of solutions. One channel that digital marketers rely on to serve this need is search. Whether it’s bidding on the right keywords in your paid search efforts or creating keyword-rich content to attract the right customers, doing a bit of competitive research before you dive into search can pay dividends for you.
By knowing which keywords work (or don’t work) for your competitors, you can more thoroughly inform your own bidding strategy. Competitive intelligence tools like Compete PRO can show you which keywords are driving traffic to the sites of your competitors and even provide a breakdown of paid versus organic traffic.
By first focusing on the organic keywords, you can see which keywords are driving your potential customers to your competitors and develop a content strategy to improve your site’s natural search ranking for those terms. Taking organic traffic away from your competitors, especially your larger competitors, with customer-focused content is no easy feat. If your competitors are well established industry leaders for a particular keyword set, it may be worth investing your time and efforts in creating content for longer tail keywords instead.
With your paid search, choosing your keyword battles carefully becomes even more important. Checking the average time index, the measure of which keyword resulted in the most average time per visit being spent on the site, for your competitors’ top keywords is an excellent way to discern the most effective keywords in terms of engagement. For keywords with a high average time index, you’ll need to decide whether or not it is worth it to compete for those keywords or to focus your efforts on owning more unleveraged, long tail keywords.
You might also consider using those highly competitive keywords, but advertising on a different search engine. If your competitors are focusing most of their efforts on Google, try advertising on Bing or Yahoo!. By experimenting with multiple search engines, you’ll be able to figure out how to minimize your ad spend and maximize your ROI. Understanding your market and what your competitors are doing with search is almost as important as thinking carefully about your own strategies.
The above advice is just one small component of optimizing your search marketing, and search is just one (large) piece of your marketing mix. For even more actionable tips on ways you can improve all of your most important online marketing channels, download out our free ebook, 4 Proven Strategies for Digital Marketing Optimization.
Jared is currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Millward Brown Digital. He is a graduate of Northeastern University, having achieved his B.A. in Communication Studies. If you like what you read, you can connect with him on Google+, Twitter, or on LinkedIn.