Video: How Digital Learning Companies Can Conduct Competitive Analysis

Competition is all around us. This video news column is about where education technology companies can conduct online analysis and evaluate your competitor’s online marketing presence.

Every education technology company new business plan and marketing plan should include an analysis of the competition. In addition, at least once every year you should investigate what your competitors are doing online. It will make you sharper, and more competitive. So the Digital Learning Alliance marketing team shows you ten tools you can use to compare how you stack up compared to your competitors.

Some of these online sources are free up to a point, but if you want more robust analysis, there is often a cost for the upgrades.

Another thing: numbers between analysis services that offer similar analytics are often somewhat different. You’ll need to keep in mind that the numbers are usually estimated, but they do give you some indication of a competitor’s performance.

Before you begin to conduct your research, we recommend that you create a matrix with columns naming your competitors in the top row across a spreadsheet. In the column down the left side, list key data points. That way you can see how your site performs on a side-by-side comparison with your competition, and you can sort the findings to rank various attributes.

1.      Broad Evaluation. Our favorite online tool that gives education technology companies a broad evaluation of your website, and your competitors, is Grader.com from Hubspot. It’s free. Just enter any URL and in a few moments you’ll have a grade on a scale of 1 to 100 about the site’s overall effectiveness, along with suggestions on how it can be improved. It will grade your blog, SEO, inbound links, how the site performs on mobile devices, social media and more.

2.      Keyword Research. Keywords have always been, and will be into the foreseeable future, an important part of your online discoverability. Search engines look for keywords, and people look for keywords. If you’ve been marketing for any length of time, you have keywords under control and you probably use the free tools at Adwords.Google.com. An additional tool you might consider for keyword traffic numbers is Wordtracker.com. 

3.      Traffic Data. For detailed traffic data to competitors’ websites, along with many other useful data points, look into Compete.com. With Compete.com you get detailed traffic data so you can compare your site to other sites, you can get keyword data, demographics, and more.

4.      More Traffic Data. Another resource for traffic, SEO audits, engagement, reputation metrics, demographics, and more is Alexa.com. The very basic service is free, but for a monthly fee you can get additional information about your competitors.

5.      Demographic Data. When you want to compare the demographics of who comes to your site versus your competitors, go to Quantcast.com. You’ll be shown an index of how a website performs compared to the internet average. You’ll get statistics on attributes such as age, presence of children, income, education, and ethnicity.

6.      Inbound Link Comparisons. If you’d like to compare the number of inbound links to your site versus a competitor’s, use OpenSiteExplorer.org. You’ll discover the domain authority and page authority of your inbound links. For a fee, you can also discover social media metrics.

7.      Keyword Performance. To see how the keywords important to you compare in organic search ranking to your competitors, get that data from SEMRush.com. Not only will you see how your site ranks for organic keywords that are searched, you’ll see competition levels, pay-per-click ad keywords, estimated search traffic and more.

8.      Pay-Per-Click Performance. For pay-per-click comparisons, go to SpyFu.com. There you can get estimates of your competitor’s daily Adwords budget, average paid position, daily organic traffic and its value, and paid versus organic clicks per day.

9.      Alerts. Do you want to know when your competitor has new information posted on the web? Subscribe to Google alerts at Google.com/alerts. Monitor the web for your competitor’s company name, brand, or other keywords.

10.  Go Back in Time. When you want to go back in time to see what was on your website, or a competitor’s website from the past, you can do it on the web. Access the WayBack Machine at web.archive.org.

There are many other online analysis tools available and we encourage you to search for them and check them out.