Studying your market
Market study is a funny word in order to say, analyze first what is going on before starting taking decisions. Note though that some companies/organizations are doing well without doing any market studies because they are acting on "gut feelings" (sometimes good sometimes not) but in any cases having more information than less is always a good thing, so market studies are a thing you should take into consideration very seriously.
Market studies apply to all fields of digital marketing and no exception to Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Advertising, Social Media Optimization...
In SEO it consists of several things:
- Analyzing what people are searching for.
- Analyzing what competitors are doing.
- Analyzing what you are doing.
- Analyzing what your field of activity is doing.
Analyzing what people are searching for
Here it really depends of the location where you would like to perform SEO for. Amazon has an interesting database showing per country what are the most used websites, it helped you identify the big players: https://www.alexa.com/topsites/. Imagine that you would like to improve your visibility within the search engine of a marketplace, then you will need to understand how the search engine of this marketplace is working and what is the demand on this marketplace. Most of the time the data is controlled by the service itself, for example Google, Amazon, Facebook... and they are disclosing those data thanks to advertisement programs they are running aside. So most of the time you need to create an advertiser account on those platforms to get access to those database or use a third party player to get an access to those. That's the case for example of https://neilpatel.com/.
Knowing what people are looking for is really important in terms of SEO as it helps you going in the right direction. Most of companies/organizations are designing their websites without doing this market study, as a result they are getting a website with the wrong keywords and then need to break/tweak it in order to fit their SEO strategy.
There are many databases out there:
- the one of Google Ads is probably the most well known, it gives you the volume of search for a specific keyword according to a location.
- the one of Google regarding what people typed recently, formerly named Google suggest. It is a really good one to identify close to real time trend.
- the Google trends one, it gives you an overview of how popular a term is/was compared to another.
Keep in mind also that it really depends of where you would like to be visible at the end of the day. For example being visible on YouTube according to what people are typing in YouTube can also be a very good strategy as there is sometimes less competition
there than in Google. It is all about being smart.
Analyzing what competitors are doing
Analyzing competitors is sometimes a double-edge sword strategy as some of them can do really good, some very bad. Here it is really interesting to see that physical competitors can be totally different from the online ones. Analyzing what competitors are doing is a really good strategy to know how mature your market is. For example if you see that for a given keyword you have already more than a dozen of competitors placed before you who have more than a thousand of backlinks each, you already know that you cannot bypass them with a general keyword strategy and that you will have to play long tail keyword.
There are nice competitor analyzing tools out there. One of them is named SEMRush: https://www.semrush.com/ which will help you gather good starting information with a free account. For a more in depth strategy, you can of course pay or apply the same analysis strategy we will see later on in this course.
The analysis of your competitors is the same as yours:
- Content: you will use here your own crawler which will act as solutions such as Screaming Frog. Here you are trying to analyze if your competitors know SEO or not.
- Popularity: here you will use solutions such as Majestic.com, SEMRush, Yooda or any index you built on your own to identify how many backlinks your competitors have. You can even cross those data in order to identify how hard it will be for you to get the same links as theirs.
- Technology: this part refer to the techonology that your competitors are using in order to build their digital infrastructure. Are they using some technologies for mobile? Are their website accessible?
- Advertisement: here it is interesting to identify if they have a serious budget in digital marketing. For example are they sending newsletters and how often, are they doing Search Engine Advertising (are there ads respecting good practices),
how active they are on social networks. It will give you a good idea of how serious they are in their digital marketing strategy so as probably the amount of time they spend to take care about SEO.
Analyzing what you are doing
It is important here to analyze what you are currently using as keywords. It is always good here to have an external eye. Here the best thing is to apply a crawler to parse all your pages, extract your keywords and see if those keywords are the one which are searched by internet users.
Analyzing what your field of activity is doing
The activity in which you are evolving has probably trade unions or events or things related to it who do not really use the keywords of your products/services but who are closed to it. This is why you should take care seriously of the vocabulary they
are using and testing them within your content.