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FREE online course: Competitor Analysis with SEMrush 

Competitive Landscape and Market Trends

7 lessons


Competitive landscape analysis

Hello and welcome to the Competitor Analysis with SEMrush course! I'm your host, Navah Hopkins, international PPC speaker and SMB champion. I've used SEMrush on thousands of accounts, and I can't wait to share lessons learned to empower you on the path to profit and victory!

In the second lesson of our course, we'll cover:

  • Assessing the right competitors to target
  • Understanding how to build a plan based on their marketing choices
  • Trends to consider and how to understand your place in the market

While it might be tempting to see every brand who's even slightly related to you as a competitor, there's no way it will be profitable to come up with a custom plan for each. Additionally, some brands might seem like a competitor at first, but in reality they make for an amazing expansion partner.

Competitor Groupings

Understanding who's who requires us to parse out the players into four categories:

The Game Changer is new on the scene, so they won't have as much traffic yet, but they have explosive traffic growth. You'll want to keep an eye on them and their disruptive presence in the market.

The Niche Player may be new to the market, or could be a long-time player - what defines them is their low traffic growth rate and low traffic volume. Don't count them out, though, they know their niche REALLY well and might have intentionally set out to serve a smaller audience.

The Established Player is a veteran, with well-established presence and volume, but doesn't grow their traffic really quickly. These are often the first targets of disruption and will either be shocked into the Leaders quadrant or might fall into obscurity.

The Leaders are dominating in both traffic volume and growth rate, and show no signs of stopping. Rather than outright competing with them, leverage the insights we're about to unpack from SEMrush to create your own path to becoming a Leader.

How to build a competitor marketing plan

Speaking of SEMrush, it's time to log into Market Explorer. Let's type '' into the tool's search bar.

As you can see, we have our quadrants and players, but you'll notice that we can select and deselect players we may not feel are truly relevant to our plan. This may shift around the quadrants.

SEMrush will provide you with their recommended 'hit' list of competitors. From here, we may want to see how we're doing in relation to the overall market, or we may want to unpack how a given competitor is getting their traffic.

By unpacking how a given player gets their traffic, you can give yourself realistic goals for your own marketing plan. For example, if none of the Leaders/Established Players have higher than 10% of their traffic coming from paid media, you might have an opportunity to close the gap on less competitive terms.

The best results will come from competitors you know are the right ones to compete against. We can enter up to 20 of them in the Custom Market.

If any of your quadrants are empty, you may have an outlier in the mix. Experiment by including and deselecting certain players.

You'll be able to see the traffic distribution of each competitor, as well as which social channels they're leveraging to win traffic. This will especially come in handy when taking on an Established Player who might be neglecting a channel, or picking up a channel a Leader has been too busy to focus on.

For example, while the market has Instagram as part of the mix, none of the players are leveraging Instagram. This would be a prime opportunity for a new brand to swoop in and claim that channel.

Vice versa, every brand has Facebook and Twitter as part of their strategy, so including it in the marketing plan only makes sense if there will be a focused effort there.

All of this is great, but at the end of the day we just care about how they are doing in relation to us. Also, has my plan helped and am I beating competitor xyz?

Market Explorer

This is where the Relevant Sites tab comes in. We're able to see clearly how we stack up against the competition and create plans to address our specific shortcomings, rather than trying to tackle (and fail at) everything. This is also a great source for understanding where competitors aren't focusing at all and have left themselves exposed to your brilliant campaigns.

So, to sum up:

  • We reviewed the different quadrants you and your competitors may fall under and how to assess the strengths and vulnerabilities of your top competitors.
  • We talked about the value of assessing your known and unknown competitors and how to build better marketing plans.
  • We also discussed how you can see how you stack up, using that knowledge to fuel future innovations in your campaigns.

That's it for lesson two of the Competitor Analysis with SEMrush course, we hope you learned something new. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet them to me directly at @navahf, or the professionals at the SEMrush Academy at @semrushacademy.

From here, you can check how your brand stacks up in Market Explorer, as well as continue on learning more about Competitive Research.

Also, once you are ready, head over to the SEMrush Academy page and take the test for this course so you can get officially SEMrush certified.

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can see a list of useful links and further reading that will help inform your knowledge on the subject.

See you in the next video!