Why (senior) management should monitor SEO results (and competitors’ SEO results)
Competitive intelligence in SEO
The benefits of competitive and/or competitor intelligence in business has been extensively argued,
researched and proven. In a previous blog we took a closer look at competitive intelligence in online marketing and discuss its current status, possibilities, pitfalls and solutions. The essence of this blog is that the practice of competitive intelligence is not yet widely adopted throughout the digital world, however there are several major (possible) advantages and there are solutions in place for companies to get started. This blog takes a closer look into a channel that has been using competitive intelligence for a long time, SEO. Because this practice has been around a long time, little time will be spent in this blog discussing the possibilities for SEO consultants. However, it is argued that (senior) management should start monitoring the SEO results of their own company and their competitors. Here’s why.
SEO – The bigger picture
A former co-worker of mine, and an excellent SEO consultant, spends a great deal of her day
convincing her co-workers of the importance of SEO. Whereas a lot of people view SEO as ‘just
another channel’ and therefore allocate equal resources to for example display, SEA and video
advertising, she saw SEO as the holy grail of online marketing. And she might have been on to
First of all, SEO is the one channel where it all comes together. The most obvious aspect of SEO is
search engine marketing, considering that the end-result of SEO is a ranking in a search engine this
one is quite obvious. Almost as obvious is the website aspect of SEO, where it used to be more about
the technical aspects of your website (nonetheless website related) nowadays the usability (or
overall experience) of your website also plays a major role in determining your rank. Then there’s
brand awareness which also plays a role in SEO. If your company sells shoes but nobody is aware of
this, nobody will search for ‘company shoes’. If you’re Nike and everyone knows you sell shoes, a lot
of consumers will search for ‘Nike shoes’. Google recognizes this as an association that consumers
have between a product (shoes) and a brand (Nike) and rewards with an improved ranking for being in the minds of consumers when it comes to shoes. The last one to throw in the mix is social. Since the introduction of RankBrain the importance of social engagement has become increasingly
important for the determination of SEO rankings. RankBrain has established that high performing
domains have in common that their social presence and engagement was also good. Therefore, this
has become a more important ranking factor. A combination of search engine marketing, website
optimization, brand awareness and social! SEO is more than just another channel.
Additionally, SEO has to do with the presence of a company in the moments that matter. Before the
internet, the only presence of companies was physical by means of their offices, products, personnel
or printed ads. However, with the introduction of the internet and specifically search engines the
opportunities for companies to be present on relevant moments in the so-called journeys of
consumers have significantly increased. Not only has there been a movement from offline to online
when it comes to the presence of companies, there has also been a switch from offline to online
when it comes to the purchasing behavior of consumers. Even though the numbers vary strongly per industry and company, the increasing importance of online presence is something which few people would argue against.
Lastly, SEO results (specifically increasing SEO results) are a strong sign of priority for a specific
company on a specific product, service or question. With priority, I do not mean stating the obvious. If you do SEO for a car manufacturer and after careful competitive analysis figure out that Mercedes has a strong focus on producing and selling cars, you are not doing it right. If, however, the same employee figures out that Mercedes is consistently increasing their ranking for hydrogen cars by adding content on a daily basis and constantly improving their experience related to this subject, this might mean that Mercedes is making a strategic move to become the hydrogen car authority in the eyes of consumers. Now this is intelligence that actually could make a difference for Mercedes’ competitors.
Now that the importance of SEO has been explained, let’s take a look at the insights that
management could derive from monitoring their SEO results.
- Comprehensive yet segmented online performance indicator: A good ranking on a certain
subject is a great indicator that your online performance in this segment is good. Online
performance in this context means the combination of several factors as explained above.
- Peaking at strategic directions of competitors’: The example concerning Mercedes and
hydrogen cars illustrates how SEO results could reflect a competitors’ focus.
- Learning from the best in class: Imagine you are ranking as 13 th for a service which is a
priority for your business. It could be very valuable to look at the results of the top 3 for the
most relevant search query and see what they do better than you.
- Are you building or buying your share in the market: Your company might be generating a
lot of sales online through paid ads in Google, Facebook or other frequently visited
platforms. Which is great as long as it is profitable. However, if you are not building an
organic presence at the same time you have to keep on spending your hard-earned money
instead of generating ‘free’ traffic as well
SEO consultants have been utilizing competitor intelligence for a long time and therefore there are a lot of solutions readily available in the market. However, these solutions often are by SEO specialists, for SEO specialists.
At LinkBundle, we have created a competitive intelligence platform that is aimed at and thus
designed for management. This entails that there is more to the tool than just SEO, we calculate our
own high-level SEO metrics for a top-level view at results relative to competition and provide
strategic consultancy to aid in making the right decisions based upon the provided intelligence.
Interested in figuring out what LinkBundle can do for your online presence?