long tail keywords competition

Use long tail keywords to beat your competition

In the battle for keywords, many businesses end up losing out to bigger companies with larger budgets. But there is a way to beat them at pretty much their own game: long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that are more specific and are often used when an individual is closer to making a purchase. Alternatively, they can also be used in voice search, which is becoming more prominent nowadays thanks to smart home assistants like Amazon Echo.

It can be tricky finding the right combination of words, however, if you get it right, a long tail keyword strategy can really pay off in the long run.

How to use long tail keywords for your competitive advantage

When you use shorter keywords, you enter into a fierce bidding war with many other companies. Winning a shorter keyword can give mixed results and you may not get the ROI you desire. With the right long tail keywords, you might get less web traffic, however, your ROI will proportionally be higher. This is because you’re targeting a very specific niche of customer and they are more likely to be closer to making a purchase.

The cost-per-click for a long tail keyword is lower as well, again positively impacting your ROI. Long tail keywords don’t just work well for paid search marketing, but you can also incorporate them into your organic SEO campaign.

Finding keywords from competitors

This is where the traditional keyword search tools come in useful. Tools like Wordstream and SpyFu can tell you what long tail keywords your competitors are using. You’ll have to identify them amongst the shorter keywords, but you’re basically looking for any phrases that are three words or longer.

So if you own a shoe retail store, some of your competitors’ keywords might be ladies heels, shoes and brogues. However, a long tail keyword like red ladies kitten heel or brown leather brogues might also feature on the list. As you can see, this is super specific to what a customer may be searching for. By the time they search for these items, they’re probably dead set on already buying them.

When you develop a long tail keyword strategy, apart from looking at ones that your competitors are using, it can also be useful to try to discover new ones that they might not.

Firstly, you should begin by taking a look at your business and your unique selling points. Think about your customers, what phrases are they likely to search for when specifically looking for your product? Why should they choose your company over a competitor?

Your long tail keywords should not only describe your products well but also why your business is different. That will help you reach the people who need your services the most, and who are therefore most likely to purchase.

Another way you can discover keywords your competition isn’t using is to use Google’s autocomplete feature. Begin typing a phrase into Google’s search box and see how the search engine finishes it. Returning to our shoe example, you can type in “ladies heeled…” and see what comes up after it. If you add extra letters after each term, you can get different lists of phrases people have previously searched for related to that term.

Another option is to search for a main keyword like “ladies shoes” or one of your identified long tail keywords, and then scroll to the bottom of your search results to see what other phrases Google suggests you search for.

Using long tail keywords on your website

Knowing what long tail keywords to use isn’t very helpful unless you actually incorporate them into your website and other content. The most important thing to bear in mind when you do use long tail keywords is to try to keep the flow of your website copy as natural as possible.

Suddenly putting a random long tail keyword in can be jarring to a reader. You might need to adjust your keyword a little or get creative with your punctuation.

Where you can, make sure you put your long tail keywords in your web page title, headers, and sub-headers. Ideally, you’d want to put your long tail keyword into your first sentence as well.

Remember, it’s better to keep your copy flowing naturally than to force your long tail keyword into sentences where it just doesn’t fit. Don’t sacrifice your content’s quality to try to up your page’s SEO.

Quality over quantity is a good lesson to bear in mind when using long tail keywords. With long tail keywords, it’s not the quantity of people you reach, but the quality – focus on conversions and not the numbers of people the keyword delivers to your website. A mix of your normal keywords and long tail ones should give you the edge you need to get ahead of your competition.

New logo update to help my startup take shape

When I started Competitive.Business from scratch, it helps me to have a visual identity; it makes sure the colors used in the interface are balanced, according to the created brand, it helps insert small visual images that are brand related (like the blue dot or the unique shape that represents the logo).

Now that I am planning to redesign the homepage and prepare for a public launch, I spent more time redesigning the new identity.

new colors competitive business

I know it may not seem vital to focus too much and spend time at this stage on the visual identity, but for me, it helps.

competitive business new logo

I am not a designer, but I have designing skills 😉 (I know Photoshop and Illustrator). I also had some help from two designers.

competitive intelligence for business

Competitive Intelligence for Business

Competitive intelligence (CI) is a term you may have come across before. Like many industry buzzwords, it isn’t immediately apparent what CI is and how it can be useful to your business. But don’t worry, because we’re going to explain the ins, outs, pros, and cons of CI.

What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is a way of collecting actionable information on your business’ competitive environment. In other words, it’s all of the market research and competitor research that you do to determine how lucrative a particular market is, your sales and marketing strategy, and what other businesses you are competing against. It’s a way for you to predict and prepare for particular business challenges and for you to understand what’s happening in your industry.

How is competitive intelligence useful?

Doing a bit of CI is helpful for your business in a great many ways. Your business does not exist in a bubble. There are a whole host of external factors that can affect your business on a daily basis. Competitive intelligence is one way to anticipate those factors. Of course, once you know about something that could impact your business, you can monitor it and develop plans to alleviate its effects if needed.

Competitive Intelligence Software

The ways in which you go about doing CI can vary depending on your resources and business size. Some companies can dedicate an entire team to undertaking CI whilst some smaller businesses and start-ups might just have one person or even the founder going it alone. In any case, there are a whole host of competitive intelligence software now available which can help speed up the process.

Competitive intelligence works by gathering publicly available information on other companies in the industry. That means you won’t need to go rifling through a competitor’s filing cabinet in the dead of night. Everything you need for your CI is out there, in the world, waiting for you to find it. It can include legal information, marketing materials, and company documentation.

Finding it can be the hard part. Of course, you can have a quick Google as a start to your CI activity. However, if you wish to delve deeper then you’re going to have to use some other technology to help you out.

Firstly, you’ll need to identify your competitors. We’ve compiled a handy guide (How to identify who your competitors are) to help you with this. Once you know your competition, then you can begin researching their operations, sales, and marketing.

Depending on how many resources you can dedicate to your CI, you might wish to rank your competitors so you can dedicate your time to finding out the most about the companies which pose the greatest threat. How you do this is largely up to you and your business objectives. However, one way in which you can do it is by looking at their search engine rankings and SEO. This is especially important if you’re a largely online company. Moz offers a free 30-day trial that offers you information on the search metrics of any company that you visit via the MozBar Chrome plugin.

Apart from determining search rankings and SEO, competitive intelligence can also involve you looking at a competitor’s stock marketing performance, marketing materials, patent requests and research papers. What you look at and prioritize again depends on your own business’ needs and objectives.

How to use CI for your business?

All the information you gather shouldn’t then be left to gather dust on an office bookshelf somewhere. It should be reviewed and used often in your own strategic planning. Looking at how your competitors do stuff can be great inspiration for your own efforts – or at least a starting point. Researching a competitor’s keywords, for example, can help you compile a diverse and effective keyword strategy.

CI is a powerful tool when used correctly. It doesn’t take much time to undertake, but by knowing the competitive environment around you, you can better prepare for the future. Even if you just do a little bit of CI, the understanding you’ll obtain from it will serve you for many years to come.G

How to find your competitors SEO keywords

Keywords, they’re the crux of any good search marketing campaign. There is almost an art and a science to picking the right keywords.

Google keywords research

The most basic keyword research starts with Google homepage, where you enter the keywords that you focus on (or sometimes start with just one word). You will get suggested keywords at the bottom of Google Search Results page.

google suggested keyword crm

Sometimes, you will also get a box with most common questions asked on Google related to your keyword:

google people also ask

You can also get Google prediction in the search box:

google prediction keyword crm software

One way to really supercharge your keyword strategy, apart from scrolling through recommendations via Google’s Keyword Planner, is to check out your competition. Using your competitors’ keywords for some, ahem, inspiration, is a great way to discover ones that you’ve never used or been recommended before.

Google Keyword Planner

But where do you start?

If you’re a time-poor marketer or business leader, you might not want to spend hours trawling the Internet for good keywords. But don’t panic, as we’ve come up with a list of some handy tools you can use to discover your competitors’ keywords.

Rank your competitors

First things first, if you’re going to be researching your competitors’ keywords you’re going to have to find yourself some competitors! Check out our handy blog here, on how to identify your competition.

After you know who they are, you’re going to have to find the highest ranking competitors who are worth researching.

Similarweb is a great tool to determine how much traffic your competitor’s website receives. Likewise, if you have MozBar installed in your Chrome browser you can do this kind of research as your scroll through the Internet.

Once you have a list of competitors you’d like to research, take a look at SEMRush. This tool allows you to identify competitors’ keywords efficiently and you can also search by a specific keyword. If you’ve got your competitor’s URL, you can also just enter this into SEMRush to get a handy list of keyword suggestions. This can also be filtered down by countries if you’d like to get super specific.

SpyFu is another popular tool for finding competitors’ keywords. It’s solely dedicated to competitive intelligence research, unlike some of the other tools. When you enter a competitor’s URL you’ll get a list of their organic and paid-for keywords (if relevant). Handily, SpyFu offers a free version of its service, so if you’re just dipping your toes in the water of competitive research, the free version should suffice for you.

We couldn’t talk about keywords without AdWords cropping up somewhere. You might be used to using AdWords Auction Insights for planning a Google ad campaign. However, it has an often overlooked function that can tell you who the top-performing companies in your industry are, and what they are ranking for.

To do this, simply navigate to any active AdWords campaign and select ‘All’ under the ‘Auction Insights’ tab. Hey, presto! A whole bunch of keywords and competitors should pop up!

Keyword in the (HTML) source

Here’s a freebie for you. If you go to your competitor’s website and click on View – Page Source (or Show Page Source in some browsers), or right-click and select Page Source, you’ll see the HTML source code of the website.

Some (or all of it) might look like jibberish to you, but that’s okay. All you need to look for is any words listed after the title tag, meta description tag and (if applicable) the keywords tag. These are the keywords your competitor is using on their website.

Usually, the description tag is the richest source of keywords, but you should also pay particular attention to the title tag as Google gives this priority.

As you can see, there are many free and efficient ways to discover your competitors’ keywords. They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and when it comes to your keyword strategy you should definitely follow the leading websites in your field. Do your keyword research right and it’ll open the door to a whole bunch of new business.

Man looking at an analytics board

How to identify who your competitors are

Competitors, you know they’re out there, but all too often, you don’t really know who they are or what they’re doing. Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you don’t have the time to carry out formal competitor research, or maybe you don’t know where to begin. However, with a few tricks and useful bits of technology, researching your competitors doesn’t have to be a difficult task.

Google your competitors

There are many ways to identify your competitors. However, one of the quickest and easiest ways to discover who is out there is to Google them. There are several ways to do this effectively. Firstly, find out what keywords match your business. If for example, you’re an online florist, your keywords might be “online florist” or “flowers for delivery”. Simply typing these into Google will show a list of related businesses. Alternatively, you can Google your own business and then look at the “People also search for” function that appears on the right-hand side of the Google search results. If you wanted to get super in-depth, you can also Google whatever competitors you find and then use the “People also search for” function to find businesses related to them.
Find more keywords

To uncover even more competitors, once you’ve identified one or two related businesses, you can use sites like SEMRush and SpyFu to find out more keywords. You can then use those keywords to search for more businesses.

There’s also the more traditional route of simply asking colleagues, suppliers, partner organizations and clients about potential competitors. If you have a particularly good relationship with a client, asking them about other companies that they considered or approached before using your business can be a good way to find out about serious competitors. Otherwise, some colleagues may have joined your business with a competitor company. They can also be a great source of information about your competitor’s inner workings and potential pitfalls.

Find similar websites

SimilarWeb is a fantastic free tool that you can use to find websites that are similar to yours (hence the name!). Simply enter your website’s URL and it will display up to ten similar websites. You can then use these websites to find other related websites and so on until you’ve built up a solid list of potential competitors.

Look up review sites

If relevant for your industry, take a look at review websites like Yelp which can help you discover new competitors. Likewise, reading through your competitor’s reviews will help you work out how well they are performing and how satisfied their customers are.

Keep your research going to find more competitors

Competitor research isn’t something that you simply do once and then never bother to undertake again. Competitors pop up all the time, especially if you operate in a fast-growing industry. You should always monitor new arrivals into your industry.
It is also important that you don’t just do your competitor research and then leave it in a folder to gather dust. You need to use the information that you have uncovered. Constantly monitor the companies that you have identified. Setting up a Google Alert can be a quick and efficient way to keep up-to-date with your competitors. Likewise, regularly visit their websites and social media sites to discover their latest marketing efforts. There may be a blog post, keyword or social media campaign that you can repurpose for your own uses!
Knowing who your competitors are is simply good business. By identifying competitors, you can supercharge your marketing efforts, discover new strategies to use and monitor what they are doing. Competitor research isn’t time-consuming when using the right tools, and it certainly pays dividends in the long term. So, begin researching your competitors today. You may find it gives you the edge you need to become a leader in your industry.

competitive business pitch deck

Pitch feedback for Competitive.Business

I almost always try to go to events that I think can help Competitive Business. I invest some time, but the focus, the feedback and sometimes the buzz around my startup always helps.

I’ve been selected to pitch at Rockstart Answers organized by Rubik Hub in my town.

Pitch preparation

The team at Rubik Hub did a great job preparing all of the selected startups for the pitch event. We had a few training sessions with a lot of feedback on how to present.

It’s not my first pitch experience, not at all. I’ve pitched at several startup events with my last project; I know how valuable pitching events are: you are in the spotlight, it’s all about your startup.

At 4:00 am I had to prepare the video training pitch (in my pajamas).

Final pitch video of Competitive Business

Sadly, they have filmed only the end and the Q&A.

… and the pitch deck.

The actual pitch text

Image you are the CEO of a startup.

Your job, as the CEO, is to make strategic decisions. You are more likely to make the right decision if you are well informed, correct?

———

So, for 6 years, on my previous startup, I’ve been manually watching over competitors to check out their strategy on social media or ads, their pricing, their copywriting changes, lead nurturing and it paid off: I had the right product, the right price, the right strategy so I made a profitable startup.

Let me tell you why knowing your competitors can be good for your business:
It will help you position yourself and differentiate from the competitors in the user mind (most of the users will ask why should I choose you and not your competitor).
price changes of your competitors can affect your revenue (think of some seasonal offers or maybe a discount if the user did not convert after the trial ending)
investors ask in a pitch deck to have competitors slide and say why are you better? How easy it would be for your competitor to do what you do.
know where your competitors promote themselves, find out influencers, affiliates, webinars and so on

Keep in mind while you develop your business, the competitors are doing this as well. Don’t fall behind.

—-

Competitive.Business will deliver by email on a weekly basis your competitors’ online activity. It will only take a few minutes of your time to review any key insights and help you make strategic decisions with your team.

This is how it currently looks, simple interface with powerful filters so you can immediately see only what you are interested in.

Now think that if you would manually visit competitors from time to time, you would have to remember what you have seen last time and if they changed anything. You may visit them for nothing or even miss some of their moves.

Competitive.Business alerts you only when something new happens. All the key information will be delivered to your email and you may visit the website for more information.

 

We are currently in private beta.

2 weeks ago I invited 50 startup founders. We’ve done a lot of bug fixing and received good feedback.

I plan to launch publicly in December.

—-

My question to validate and improve the product is: What public information about your competitors would you pay for? or would you be interested in?

 

Feedback on my pitch

At the end of the event, I’ve received 43 written feedback from the audience.

While in 3 minutes there isn’t really enough time for anyone to fully understand the business, when a lot of people write the same thing, it’s something you should focus on and see if you can do something with it.

To address some feedback that kept repeating:

  • You should monitor price changes on e-commerce websites.
    I don’t want to monitor price changes, there are a lot of startups and well-established businesses that do that very well (not that there isn’t enough space to make another one), but I targeted people with a different need, those who want to have an idea of their competitors strategy, what works well for them and what doesn’t.
  • Budget spent on ads; keywords that help my competitors convert
    Very happy to see interested people on ads & keywords. The feature should be available on Competitive Business in a month or two.
  • I am interested in user acquisition/sales strategy
    We are already monitoring competitors account emails/newsletters, social media and soon ads

Do you have a pitch prepared for your startup? Have you ever pitched at a startup event? How was it?

Displaying “Alternative to” competitors is good for business

Many people are afraid to say to their users who their competitors are, but if you do it and do it right, you can convert users that would choose your competition if they are undecided.

You don’t need to send the users a message telling them who your competitors are, but you can create pages on your website where you show the advantages of using your business vs. your competitors (remember that you control your website content, so you can write whatever you want that will gain the visitor trust).

Keep in mind that you, as the business owner, know very well your competitors, their strengths, and weaknesses, but the average user is not focused as much as you to know all of this. They will believe what they read.

Visitors arriving at those pages want exactly that, to see the differences, the advantages of using your software.

Be sure to include what features you have that your competitors do not, write in your own words what do you do better, compare the price and if it’s higher, explain why. Make a list of Pros and Cons to be easier to read, add a few screenshots and maybe 3rd party review sites if your score is higher.

Your page should always end with a call to action so the visitor can register to your website or subscribe to a newsletter so they can enter yours on boarding funnel.

Benefits for displaying your competitors

A lot of people are searching on Google for alternatives: “alternative to or “vs.” or “compare“. They are either unhappy with their current solution or want to see if there is a cheaper solution or just undecided.

Those users are either unhappy with their current solution or want to see if there is a cheaper solution or just undecided.

alternative to google trends

Websites like Alternative To and G2 Crowd rely on people searching for this keywords.

Make sure you create a page on your business website so you may rank in front in Google so visitors arrive on your website.

Examples of websites that display their competitors

Chargebee comparing to Chargify and others

  1. Address the pain point of the visitor in the first paragraph: “Looking for a Chargify alternative?looking-for-chargify-alternative
  2. 3rd party reviews from G2 Crowdg2crowd 3rd party review
  3. Feature comparisonfeature comparation
  4. Clients testimonials that say why did they switch to Chargebee (very smart).clients testimonials
  5. Other clients highlightclients highlight
  6. Links in the footer with the competition (benefiting a lot for search engine traffic).footer link competition

Other good examples of businesses showcasing their competitors on their website (in a smart way).

Drift as Intercom alternative – they rank #4 on Google on keyword “intercom alternative”, in front of AlternativeTo.net

drift intercom alternative

Chatra as Drift alternative – ranking #2 on Google for “drift alternative” (probably until Intercom decides to create a page to showcase the alternative of Drift). They have a nice image in the header.

chatra vs drift

Intercom as alternative to Zendesk for Customer Support – intercom is also targeting the market, adding “customer support” (Zendesk Alternative for Customer Support | Intercom) or “live chat” (Olark Alternative for Live Chat | Intercom)

 

Startup Strategies Track Competitors

Startup strategies to keep track of your competitors

I remember when I started my last startup, Monitor Backlinks, that almost every day I was tracking my competitors’ websites, blogs, social media and try to figure out what they are up to, why did they do the things they were doing.

You have to be honest with yourself; competitors know a lot more than you do about your niche; they have been working for years trying to optimize their business, increase leads and conversion rates, while you are just starting. You don’t need to copy their every move, but at least stay up to date with what they do so you don’t waste time making the same mistakes or optimize your website and startup faster.

Strategies that will help you decide what can you learn from your competitors

Tracking your competitor site changes

You only need to review once most of the pages of your competitor, to get an idea on how they organize the information they publicly display to their visitors. Some pages will require you to come back and figure out if they have changed anything.

From my research, I saw that the homepage and pricing page could change every month (usually small stuff, like adding a testimonial, a certificate or an award badge, the copy of the text …). As an entrepreneur, you will most likely try to remember everything in your head, but you can also try Competitive.Business tool to track the website changes and have a clear history (visually and text) on what changes; also you will get alerted via email when something changes.

Monitor the blog and social media accounts

The blog and social media are where your competition marketing employees will write articles about their niche (so your niche).

Do not think that this is random text, just to have some content on their website; the topic of the articles are usually well planned, targeting specific keywords that are well researched to get high keyword rankings on Google and drive free inbound leads that their sales team can work.

You do not need to read all the articles from beginning to end carefully. It’s enough just to scan their headlines and try to figure out if that article was written to target specific keywords to rank in Google or if it’s a very long article, to be very well documented and their audience will find it excellent and link to them, boosting their startup website.

Also, your competitors’ will announce new or improved features on their blog and social media. That means that you are already a step behind when you read that article, but it’s better to know and think if it’s worth implementing for your startup or not. And don’t worry, you are working on something else that your competitors are not working on while they improved their app.

Trial emails and their newsletter

Create an account on your competitor website and keep track of what emails they are sending. You will learn their free trial conversion funnel and apply some of the strategies to your startup. It’s common that they might offer a discount after the trial ended, or invite the user to a 1-on-1 demo call.

Also, their newsletter may contain invitations to webinars. If they are doing this, it is a confirmation that that marketing channel works for them.

 

Takeaway for your startup

All of the above strategies are free to do manually, and they provide a ton of knowledge, you have no excuses if you don’t do it!

There is a lot more to talk about when tracking your competitors, but just remember, knowledge is power, but also, knowledge is time-consuming. Find a balance, focus on building your startup while keeping an eye on your competitors.