4 Tips for Researching Your Business Competition Online - Page 2

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Read Posts on Social Media and Content Sites

Another place you want to audit your competitors online is on social media platforms. Look for their Facebook page, Twitter profile and Google Plus pages. Content sites, such as a company blog, YouTube channel or photo site, are also key ways businesses can boost SEO and engagement online. And, since these types of content can rank well in search engines and provide backlinks to your website, seeing which sites work for your competitors can help you decide the types of sites you want a presence on as well.

It’s important to determine whether your competition is optimizing these sites for search engines. What types of content – articles, images, infographics and images – are they sharing; how many followers do they have on each site; and how frequently do they post? 

It’s also important to see what kinds of messages they share with customers. You can also use this information to create unique messages for your social fans that sets you apart from your business competition.

Check Reviews and Local Listings

Evaluate your competitors’ online reputation by looking at the reviews customers write about them online. You can look them up on review sites like Google + Local, Yelp, Citysearch, and industry-specific sites to see how your competitors are ranking compared to you and if those sites are optimized for search.

In addition, search for your competitor’s reputation terms, like "Business Name Reviews" on a search engine and see what turns up. Do your biggest competitors have more reviews than you? Is their reputation overall positive or negative?

Either way, you may want to ask some of your happy customers to leave you reviews on some of these sites, so that when a consumer researches both you and a competitor, your glowing reputation can speak for you online.

Now that you have a better sense of your competitors’ Web presence, you can use the information you’ve gathered to help improve your own online strategy. What tactics work well for them that you can try in your own marketing? What are you doing more efficiently than your competitors that you can focus on to give your online presence a boost?

Have you ever scoped out the competition online? What did you learn, and what did you do with the information? Share your thoughts in a comments section below.

Tamara Weintraub is a Content Marketing Manager at ReachLocal (NASDAQ:RLOC) and a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on August 15, 2012
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