As Chinese military strategist Sun-tzu said: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” But even Sun-tzu might have been shocked to witness the intensity of the competition in the online business world. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and whoever wants to stay in the game and keep their edge have to check on their competitors daily, analyze their activities and respond with a carefully considered strategy . Today there are many tools to help you keep track of your competition and see what they’re doing online. You shouldn’t use these tools to copy or follow in their footsteps, but they might give you critical clues for planning your next marketing step.
Find your Competitors’ Keywords
Using Alexa Page Rank and Google Ad Planner, you can get a list of popular search terms your competitors are using. In other words, you can find out what keywords your competitors are using to boost their sales. It’s best to cross and compare keywords on both Alexa Page Rank and Google Ad Planner for best results.
Keep up with Updates
Using Google Alerts you can receive timely information about your competitors’ sales, promotions, special offers etc. All you have to do is enter your information and the key words you want to keep track of. You can use the same tool to keep up with new links that are pointing to your site, new mentions of your brand and much more. Another interesting tool to track updates is Change Detection: it works like Google Alerts but only updates you when competitors update or make changes to their website’s content.
Evolution & Strategies
Internet Archive: Using this tool you can see the history and evolution of any particular website. This lets you track your competitor’s marketing evolution and check their growth as compared with yours.
What’s the buzz?
Social networks are a powerful marketing tool and using Social Mention you’ll know exactly which social networks your competitors are using.
Another interesting tool for this purpose is How Sociable. When you enter a brand’s name you can examine how it behaves across 32 social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, MySpace and others – and see a “total visibility score”. Compare your data with your competitors': you might discover new platforms to promote your business.
Are there any other tools you’re using to keep your competitors under check? Drop us a comment and let us know!