“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
— Don Corleone (The Godfather)
When Mario Puzo wrote down this iconic line in his famous novel, he surely didn’t imagine that years later, the quote will be so incredibly relevant for site owners competing in the same space.
But what does it mean to keep your enemies closer? It means to study your competition to expose their best-kept secrets. And that includes their content.
Knowing and understanding how your competitors think in terms of content strategy – and the type of content they publish – gives you a tremendous strategic advantage.
If you study the right things (meaning: what really matters about your competitor’s content), you’re likely to know what are your competitors’ top weaknesses long before they do.
Plus, you can steal some of their secrets for success.
Here’s an approach that I found to be most effective when looking into your competitors’ content.
Analyze the Titles
Yes, the titles.
Study them to see what things get repeated across different titles.
Does the repetition in the title make the whole title look like an unoriginal, duplicate title? If so, then you’ve just spotted one of your competitor’s weaknesses.
Examine the Backlinks Profile
Generally speaking, the more backlinks you get, the better rankings you get. But now you may be wondering: Ok, but how does analyzing my competition’s backlink profile help me?
1. You can see what kind of content gets the most backlinks.
Is it a How-to Blog post, one of those Definitive Guides on a topic relevant to your industry, an original study, or maybe a list-type article?
Knowing the answer will help you draw some conclusions and learn from the experiments and the research that your competitors invested time and energy in.
You’ll get a better sense of the kind of content you should consider creating if one of your goals is to get more backlinks.
They do the trial and error part. You take only what already worked for them.
You’re basically getting your competitors to work for you.
2. You’ll know the domains which are sending the most links to a brand competing in the same space.
That means you get access to new link building opportunities without snapping a finger.
Look at their Social Media Integration
If a competitor is not focusing on promoting their articles on social media, guess who can step in and stand out? That’s right!
You can take advantage of this opening to share valuable articles on social media, gain traffic, and raise brand awareness.
If a competitor does share their articles, see what type of information they post.
This Almost Seems Unfair
I’m sure you are starting to see just how much insight you can dig up by spying on your competition.
It’s like having the blueprint to a bank you’re planning to rob.
Well, the legal version of that. Me and my metaphors, I know.
It’s almost unfair how much of an advantage you can get by evaluating your competition in terms of the content they publish, the keywords they target, and their ranking strategy.
But no marketer in his right mind would pass this up, right? So it’s a good thing that Squirrly SPY helps you dig deep into your competitors’ content, understand their current strategies so that you can outperform them in search results.