Give Your Business an Online Edge

Article by:

Chris McGovern
EO Columbus
Chris McGovern - EO Columbus

Competitive intelligence is an important component for any company, but it is an absolute necessity for business-to-business (B2B) marketing firms. B2B companies face many unique challenges in obtaining customers, not the least of which is having their customers research, scrutinize and comparison shop every purchase. In fact, 80% of a customer’s research is done online before they ever contact a vendor, so it is critical they find your website when they’re searching.

I’ve been in sales and marketing for more than 30 years, where I specialize in companies that have complex products and services. I subscribe to a variety of helpful online tools that allow me to audit a company’s online presence, or that of their competition. Through these tools, I can determine where a company has an industry edge, where they may be lacking and what to do to improve their online presence. Try these free services to see how you rank against your top competitors:

iSpionage.com

Use this tool to view your competitors’ top paid and organic keywords. Benefits include:

• Covers Google, Yahoo! and Bing search engines

• Searches 45 million domains for 88 million keywords

• Identifies PPC (pay-per-click) versus SEO (search engine optimization) competitors

• Its KEI (knowledge economy indicator) score shows how effective your keywords are in advertising

Tip: Potential customers may be looking for your product, but they may not be searching for you. It’s always better to position yourself with search terms your customers are using, rather than your company name.

Alexa.com

This tool shows you how popular a site is based on global traffic rankings, basic engagement statistics and top keywords. Benefits include:

• Identifies a company’s audience geography and demographics

• Shows engagement percentages through bounce rates, daily page views and customers’ average time on site

• Lists related sites, up-streaming sites and linking sites

• Incorporates your company’s data into visual tools that are easy to use

Tip: You can install the browser extension for Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer to instantly view the Alexa rankings of any site you visit. Also, check out the “Wayback Machine” feature to see how your competitors’ sites have changed over the years.

SEMrush.com

This tool provides a fairly technical look at organic and paid search terms, in addition to offering an online audit tool that gives an overview of your site’s health. Benefits include:

• Differentiates statistics of desktop and mobile browsing

• Well-designed, interactive interface

• Offers educational webinars by industry professionals

• Its video-advertising research tool helps you create effective ad campaigns

Tip: The site audit dashboard gives you a good idea of what’s going on behind the scenes of your website, allowing you to identify issues that are hurting your search rankings.

Chris McGovern is an EO Columbus member and the president of Emerging Marketing, a consultancy that specializes in helping B2B companies worldwide grow through strategic, targeted marketing. Contact Chris at chris@emergingmarketing.com.

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