Business may not be like war, but it can be fierce.
Armies get destroyed when generals lead them into battle without a thorough consideration of the enemy. In the same way, your financial marketing strategy needs to include a solid competitor analysis in order to thrive and overcome potential obstacles.
This is particularly true in the realm of SEO. All too often, IFAs and other financial firms skip over this vital step in their financial marketing strategy. Instead they rush to link building, content optimisation and keyword mapping.
Taking a careful look into what your rivals are doing in the search engines can actually give you greater insight into what your marketing goals should be. It can also illuminate potential blind spots, or traps.
Why Competitor Analysis Is Crucial To Your Financial Marketing Strategy
Analysing your competitors gives you a great insight into which SEO tactics are working within the IFA industry, and which are not. It also gives you an idea of the work you will need to do in order to start increasing your search engine ranking positions (SERPs).
From these insights, you gain a greater understanding of how you should assign priority to your SEO tasks, and how you should organise your financial marketing campaign.
By ascertaining where your competitors and strong and weak in their SEO, you can more accurately judge the time, effort and investment it will take to supplant them in the search engines.
Of course, you need to start by first identifying who your competitors are. A good number to start with is four, and there are different ways you can start building your competitor list.
The first way is to include direct business competitors (perhaps known through business networking events and so on). The second way is to identify online search competitors. These can be found by entering keywords into Google you would like your business to rank for, and taking note of which other businesses come up.
Using our online Portal as a MarketingAdviser client, you can easily track your rankings and find your search competitors by scrolling to “SEO” and then “Competition”. This brings up a table, showing an overview of your search engine ranking positions, backlinks and other SEO metrics versus your competitors. Here is an example screenshot here:
A Template For Your SEO Competitor Analysis
Having a clear process to ascertain your search competitors will make things much easier when devising your financial marketing strategy. Here, we’ve created a template for you to use in order to make this endeavour simpler and easier for you.
We’ll get to it in a minute, but for now, here are the essential components to the template which you need to understand before you use it:
#1 Backlink Gap Analysis
Websites are linking to your competitors’ websites, and this can be a huge factor in driving search engine rankings up or down (depending on the quality and quantity of these links).
By ascertaining which strong, healthy websites are linking to your competitors, you can start building your website’s own backlink profile and domain authority by trying to get the same links (e.g. through guest posting).
To generate a report containing the backlink information you need, you will need to use a tool like Moz or Ahrefs. Once you have the information however, go to the Google Sheets Template and add each linking domain to the C column, particularly those with a domain authority over 50 (record this information in the D column).
#2 Keyword Gap Analysis
Again, you’ll need a tool like Ahrefs or Moz for this part of your financial marketing strategy. Most of the tools we’re talking about here offer free trials and monthly rolling contracts.
A keyword analysis enables you to identify the keywords your competitors are currently ranking highly for, as well as the ones your website is ranking poorly for.
With this information at hand, you can ascertain why these competitors are ranking higher than you in Google, and identify the tactics required to catch up and beat them.
Using one or both of the tools mentioned above, run a report on each competitor to find their best-performing keywords. Then, add each keyword to the Template in column E in the Google Sheet, as well as the ranking position the competitor presently has for each keyword.
Ahrefs will also give you information into how competitive each keyword is to rank for, so make sure you include that information in column F.
#3 Competitor Site Audit Analysis
Using Hubspot’s Website Grader tool (it’s free), you can quickly gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors websites.
The information you gain here is crucial to your financial marketing strategy, and should be recorded in the H and I columns of the Google Sheet.
It may be, for instance, that one competitor is strong on content creation, but has a poor mobile version of their website. Another competitor may have a slow website, but lots of high domain authority websites linking to their own.
By finding their weak spots, you can identify how you should prioritise your SEO tasks in order to get ahead of them.
Start Using The Template
It is critical to not overlook an SEO competitor analysis in your financial marketing strategy. Even many SEO agencies do it, and it’s a big mistake. You want to make quick wins where you can, especially when it comes to a longer term investment like SEO. By surveying the competitive landscape from the beginning, you’ll be able to do this a lot more effectively.