10 Steps to Researching Your Competition Online - Compile a list...
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2. Compile a list of keywords your customer would use to find a business like yours online. How would your target market find you online? Create a list of all keywords that they might use. If you have a business that serves a particular geographic region, you'll want to create a geographic keyword listing as well, like "cleaning business" + "Beaumont, Texas" or "cleaning business" + "Southeast Texas".
3. Conduct a keyword search on the major search engines. The major players in the search engine game today seem to be Google, Yahoo, and MSN. It is the results from these search engine queries that will be the ones most commonly found by your target market. You should try your search with and without quotation marks, like "cleaning business" and cleaning business and conduct a search by location, as well, if that applies to your business. Make a note of the top 10 listings from each search engine query and those will comprise your top competition, along with other local competitors that you know about.
4 Visit your competitors' websites and analyze their offerings. Create a summary of each competitor's services and/or products. Determine the strength and weaknesses of your competition from the perspective of your target market. Assess how your offerings are better/worse/different from that of the competition. Are your prices higher or lower than theirs? Why? What makes you unique? How can you capitalize on that uniqueness and set yourself apart from the competition? By following these steps, you'll discover your competitive advantage, or the reason(s) your target market does business with you instead of your competition.
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