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June 6, 2014

Five Online Strategies to Beat Your Competition

Image Credit: Toa55 via freedigitalphotos.net

If you have an online presence, chances are you are always looking for the next best strategy to gain an upper hand over the competition. Online marketing is a tough beast to tame, but it offers limitless potential to businesses that go about their inbound and outbound marketing smartly. Here’s a look at five online strategies that can add more value to your current campaigns and drive better outcomes. 

Keep an eye on competitors’ SEO activity

You can learn from your competitors’ SEO activity and tweak your SEO campaign to optimize results. The starting point to do this is almost always the competitor’s website, but this can be an exhaustive process. Manually reviewing the competition’s website content, links and keyword profile is time-consuming, but you can go right ahead if you have the time for it.

A shortcut to competitor site analysis is ‘CTRL+U’, which will open up the webpage’s source code where, along with the meta title and description, the keywords may also be included by the webmaster. Some also indicate the keywords by marking them bold in the page content. You can also use a competitor keyword research tool like SEMRush, SpyFu or Compete.com. SEMRush, for instance, provides the important ranking factors for a website, including the number of links pointing to your competitor’s page and those using the target keyword, your competitor’s DIGG and Delicious listings, and on-page features. You can then compare your competitor’s SEO activities and strength against yours, and make suitable modifications.

Improve your social influence AZ

Some brands have used social media to create an enviable sphere of influence while others have failed to engage target audiences to the degree they were hoping. While it is good to look at the most social brands online for inspiration, blindly following their strategies is not so smart. The reason for this is simple — you have your own unique identity and unique selling points. Your content should reflect this uniqueness and make your brand memorable. So, go ahead and use the creative solutions used by the competition, but keep your content uniquely you to create an impact.

Social media consumers have demonstrated their preference for micro-videos and image-based content. A good way of capturing attention, sustaining interest and even going viral on social media is by including image- and video-centric networks into your mix. This means Pinterest, Tumblr, SlideShare, Mobli and Vine, among others. Determine which of these is frequented by your target audience, and focus on creating interesting bite-sized pieces of content on Vine, reposition wordy blogs into easily-digestible and useful SlideShare presentations, and invite your customers/clients to contribute to your Pinterest boards.

If you aren’t already using ego-baiting, it’s a good strategy to consider. Solicit the opinions of influencers and experts in your industry on the topic you’re writing about, and use them in your branded content. There are two advantages to this strategy. One, there is a strong likelihood that the experts/influencers will share your content because they have an incentive (reputation enhancing, another example of knowledge authority) to do so. Second, your content will be viewed as being rich, which will increase its chances of getting shared on social media.

Make your blog more dynamic

There are many factors that distinguish a good blog from a ho-hum one. Some of the best blogs are those that actively engage you and keep you coming back for more. If your blog posts aren’t getting the kind of shares or comments you want, consider these simple tips:

  • 90 percent of the information transmitted to your brain is visual. Always use images in your posts to grab attention and motivate visitors to read.
  • Writing posts around news and trending topics is a good way to get double digit inbound links. To do this, you need to stay on the pulse of the latest industry developments, and invest time into creating content that answers the possible questions readers may have about those developments.
  • Drive traffic to your blog by sharing your posts on networks with an active and focused audience. Vine, Tumblr and Quora are some examples.

Leverage useful linking strategies

Request reciprocal links from smaller sites with linking pages and traffic as much as your own or a little more. It is often the case that the webmasters of high-traffic sites don’t have the time to answer your requests for links. When submitting your site to directories, make sure you choose those focused firmly on your niche. If you are ready to pay for a link, go ahead as it can give your PageRank a boost.

Learn from viral video stars

The impact of a viral video on brand awareness needs no explanation. Assess a few viral videos to see what makes them tick, and use this understanding to inform your video creation and marketing method. Some tips you can try are : making your video look impromptu and as real as possible (even if it’s staged), keeping videos short to hold viewers’ attention (under 30 seconds to less than a minute), and putting on your creative thinking cap to showcase something different, unique and buzz-worthy.


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Jessica Davis has a keen interest in social media and content marketing, and writes extensively about it. She represents Godot Media, a leading content marketing firm.

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