How to Use Competitive Intelligence to Master Your Search Marketing Campaigns

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

Knowing the moves of your competition is vital if you want to succeed with your search marketing campaigns. We look at the most effective way to run competitive analysis to stay ahead of the pack.

Too often, companies are left wondering why competitors are always outranking them, but fail to understand why. This is where competitive intelligence for search comes in.

Competitive analysis enables online marketers and advertisers to find out who their competitors are, what they are ranking for and how they are achieving those rankings. Done in the right way, this analysis can be used to shape companies’ own organic and paid search campaigns and ensure they stay ahead of the game.

How to Run an Effective Competitive Analysis

There are three steps to a competitive intelligence analysis. Marketers need to identify the competition, determine its authority and then compare the competition’s digital efforts to their own.

Identifying Competitors

Companies often erroneously think that they have a good idea of who their competition is. This is a mistake often made by those that operate both high street and online stores, says Nathan Safran, Director of Research for Conductor. Inc. The error lies in the assumption that their competitors will be the same, but, as realised by the SEO manager of clothing brand Acme Co, this isn’t always the case. It is also very likely that companies will have direct competitors they know nothing about, perhaps because they operate in very niche markets.

Manually using a system like Google to discover your competition is time consuming and because of the dynamic nature of SEM, almost impossible to do.

Therefore, competitive intelligence solutions like Adthena do the hard work for you delivering reliable and unbiased reports.

Jason DeMers, writing for Forbes magazine, recommends focusing on competitors who rank in the first or second page of Google for top keywords.

The Authority of the Competition


Image Source: Flickr/Forest Runner

To determine how authoritative competitors are in terms of organic web presence, online marketers should first visit their websites and also consider the following points, says

  • Has the website been professionally designed?
  • What is its content and the quality?
  • Does the site use static or dynamic URLs?
  • Is this competitor relevant to my business?

The age of the domain should also be considered as well as the number of backlinks to the site. Often this can uncover backlinks that an advertiser is currently unaware of and that they too could use.

Analyse Keywords

Keywords are the most important factor for SEO success. If competitors are using keywords properly than their site will rank well in search engines, says

Adthena’s competitive intelligence for search platform allows you to perform a full competitor analysis for keywords you are either already ranking for, or should rank for in order to maximise your spending efficiency. Adthena allows you to perform a full head-to-head analysis too, meaning you can dig down even further into up to two of your competitor’s keywords and spending activity and compare that against yours.

Comparing your Site to Your Competitors

Once you’re aware of your competition and how they operate their organic search campaigns, you will start to see where the competition’s strengths and weaknesses lie, providing you with the opportunity to fill the gaps with your organic search campaigns.

Tools to use

As monitoring the competition is a never-ending task and can prove very time consuming, there are a number of tools available to companies. While free tools exist, including Google’s Keyword Research and Insights, their scope is very limited. Paid-for solutions, such as those offered by Adthena, are much more comprehensive and offer automated reports, taking the pain out of running manual research processes.

Adthena’s competitive intelligence for search provides companies with complete market awareness, and unlike other keyword analysis tools, it doesn’t just monitor a pre-defined static list of keywords or charge for each additional keyword that companies want to monitor. It can also uncover keywords that advertisers are missing or are not aware of because we dynamically monitor the whole market relevant to your domain.

Adthena’s tool also does much more than just compare search terms. It can closely track the strategy of competitors, measure their share of voice (clicks), spend and cost per click (CPC), identify top traffic ads and competitor ad testing patterns.

How to Beat the Competition

Matt Carter of advises that companies revisit their SEO competitive analysis once every couple of months or so to gain a solid view of what the competition is doing and to maintain knowledge of Google’s rankings.

However, the best way to get ahead of competitors is to implement a comprehensive ongoing analysis, such as the tools provided by Adthena. You won’t need to manually run intelligence reports, but will get ongoing insight into what is working and what isn’t and take action quickly and our Competitive Insights Analysts will help you get the most out of Adthena.

About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.