Traffic from your competitors; good or bad for business?

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Competitor analysis seems to be one of the hot topics at the moment in the world of marketing.

People are obsessed with what others are doing; so obsessed at times that they forget to focus on their own actions.

Being too engaged in what competitors are doing often leads to business owners and marketers becoming sheep; simply following trends and reproducing content that’s already out there.

This can be a dangerous game as it means always being behind the leading pack, never setting the trend and therefore struggling to reach the summit of the search rankings.

Despite the above, ensuring you’re up to date with what your competitors are doing is important.

It’s especially crucial to keep tabs on what the local competition is doing as these people are your real threats.

But what do you do if you’re the one who your competitors are looking at? If you’re the one who’s everybody’s eyes are on? Is it a good or bad thing that you’re generating a lot of search traffic from your competitors?

Before deciding, here are a few things you need to consider…

Are you a trusted source?

Having a lot of competitors looking at your site may well show that you’re a trusted resource. When looking to put together content or promote a new product, often the first thing people will do is Google it. Your competitors will be no different.

The fact that they’re finding your site when they do is a good sign. It shows that you’re well placed within the SERPs; although your competitors aren’t looking to buy, others who are will likely use similar phrases when searching for the product.

It’s also worth considering what pages your competitors are looking at. If they’re constantly searching for your products and offers pages then you know that they’re looking at you as a benchmark.

Although their reactive behavior may be slightly annoying and playground style, ‘Miss he’s copying me’; it does actually show that you’re a source that people within the industry trust.

If you’re generating a lot of traffic to some of your informational pages, then you need to start looking at your conversion rate from them pages.

As previously mentioned, not all people visiting will be competitors, so it’s key to have a strong call to actions on your best-performing pages.

How to know who’s on your site?

Google Analytics is a great tool when it comes to looking at website traffic trends. You can assess the demographics of your visitor’s location, gender, age etc; but you can’t actually see exactly who it is.

There are a number of paid platforms such as WhoIsVisiting that are reasonably priced and can report who is on your website in real-time.

Another way to be able to view more details about who is on your site is via a Live Chat application.

The aptly named LiveChat is a great example of this as you can often see names of the businesses that are browsing your site; failing that, it shows the IP address of the connection so that you can easily find out if you’d like.

Where are your competitors positioned in the market?

This question can only really be answered once you’ve defined who your competitors are.

To know who your competitors are, first, you’ll have to delve into some detailed competitor research.

Once you’ve established who they are, it’s time to analyze whereabouts the ones that are regularly perusing your site are positioned in the market; and perhaps more importantly, the search rankings.

If you’re seeing a lot of traffic coming in from competitors who don’t have any real stature within your industry, then you may not want to read too much into this.

These companies will be looking around for information and tips on how they can improve and grow. Although this may be flattering that they’re looking to you for inspiration, these companies are largely irrelevant to you at this time.

What you want to look out for are the market leaders.

When you’re generating a lot of search traffic from the companies who dominate your industry, then you know they see you as a threat.

They’re keeping an eye on you, just to make sure that you stay in the box that they’re trying to confine you to. After all, if they’re the elite, then they won’t want anybody else breaking into that bracket alongside them.

Is it good or bad to be generating a large amount of competitor traffic?

There are two ways to look at it really. Firstly you can see it as a major positive. Your competitors want to keep tabs on you; they either trust you or see you as a threat (either of them is a good thing).

The way you can view it as a negative is if your competitors are contributing a high percentage of your search traffic.

If this is the case then you may not be appealing to the right audience.

As a business, essentially your job is to sell. You’ve not set up your business to be an information hub for your competitors; so don’t be that.

Overall as long as you’re generating some quality traffic and have a strong conversion rate, there no issue with your competitors regularly visiting your site.

About the Author

Aaron Watts is an Outreach Executive who works for Sheffield based Digital Marketing Agency Ignition Search. He is extremely focused and passionate about boosting SERP rankings and driving good quality traffic to and websites. “Good traffic is traffic that interacts and subsequently converts”.


Aaron Watts

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