Note: This article contains references to Advanced Web Ranking Desktop, a version that is no longer under active development. 

What’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you discover a new rising competitor?

Is it : How good is he?  Or: Is he successful?  Does he drive massive traffic to his website? What about his monthly revenue? Is he going to get awesomely popular and put me out of business?

Probably countless questions are flooding your mind, speeding up your heart rate and inducing panic.

With a little patience and a few updates on your AWR projects, you will know everything there is to know about this new competitor, you’ll discover the best ways to defeat him and you’ll never allow yourself to be surprised by such arrival again.

Who is this new competitor?

Domain wide metrics are perfect for understanding the overall strength of your new competitor. These should give you a sense of how likely it is for this website to rank for any terms it might be targeting and of how tough the competition between you two will  be.

In Advanced Web Ranking, through the Links -> Overview -> Date Comparison interactive report, you can set side by side the metrics for both your website and that of your new competitor and getting’ an overview.

The information displayed, except for the anchor text related metrics,  is independent from any keyword or search engine selection you have made, so it is accurate even at this early stage of the competitive research.

Which keywords is your competitor targeting?

Powerful or not, you are still concerned if the new competitor is targeting the same keywords as you do.

If so, you might need to improve your optimization for some commonly targeted keywords or discover that there are other new and relevant terms that you have successfully missed.

Either way, there are only two simple things to do in this case:

  • Scan your competitor’s website and discover his most important and authoritative pages.

The Website Auditor tool crawls the website and gives you an overview of its pages that enables you to understand which of your competitor’s webpages bring him the most benefits.

  • Disclose the keywords targeted on your competitor’s most performing landing pages.

With Advanced Web Ranking’s Keyword Analysis tool you are able to analyze text usage on a webpage. By using it on your competitor’s most important pages, you will be able to also discover his most valued keywords.

Usually the targeted keywords are quickly found in a website’s page Titles, meta Descriptions and meta Keywords tag.  If passing through these lists you spot terms you don’t have in your project, just add them and run another update.

Is your competitor ranking better than you?

Once you have determined the keywords you and your rival are competing for, you should start monitoring and comparing your evolution for all these terms.

A great option for this is The Website Ranking – Evolution in Time report that allows you to draw a chart that displays simultaneously the evolution of multiple websites for the same keyword.

Although at first you will only see a point on the chart for the newly added competitor, it will be the beginning of the evaluation and you will be able to understand the danger you are in, due to this new competitor.

Why do you rank the way you do?

Once you have identified the problem, you should quickly come up with a solution.  So, since you have no time to waste, run for each of the keywords, you are underperforming for, a check with the Keyword Difficulty tool.

This will help you find out why your competitors rank the way they do.  What do they do better than you? What is it that convinces Google they are a better choice?

The colored grid highlights your website’s strengths and weaknesses, indicating weather you need to adjust your on-page or off-page optimization.

Be wary!

It’s quite annoying to worry that for any of your hundreds of targeted keywords, a new  competitor might jump into the picture unexpected. But you can release yourself from this stress using AWR’s simple “Suggest competitors” tool.

What it does is to take all your project’s keywords and give you the list of websites that have visibility in your niche.

You will thus be able to stay in control over your competitive environment at all times.

With all this being said, I have just one more question for you: what else would you do to research your newly found competitors? Feel free to express yourselves and abuse the comments section! 🙂

Photo credit: Kenski1970

  1. I generally use the suggest competitors export with my clients. They love the overview. The auditor is new for me, haven’t tried it yet. Nice article!

      1. Hey Joseph! Just go to Project->Websites->Add->Suggest competitors and the dialog will appear. Here you can select websites to add to the project or export them to a .csv file for reporting.

        Let me know how it goes!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Michel. Let us know what you think about the Auditor, although it’s in for major changes for the next release so you will still have new things to test 🙂

  2. Great info! Is it possible to set specifically certain pages from the competitor website (those I find with the auditor) in my project? I’d like to see how my competitor ranks for those pages.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Yes Adam, you can do that. From Project -> Websites if you select a website in the list, the [Pages] button will be enabled and you must use it to add specific pages for each website.

      To further see the rankings for the exact url, you should also disable the “Display only the best position in the interactive rank reports” from Settings->Printable and Interactive reports->Common Report Settings. This option is enabled by default.

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