How to Do a Digital Competitive Evaluation

Tom Snyder photo by Tom Snyder on Jun 08, 2023

Conducting a digital competitive evaluation is essential in today's market, where understanding your competition can make or break your online success. In this blog, we will explore the reasons for doing competitive research, the pitfalls to avoid, and how to conduct an effective digital competitive audit.

Why Conduct Competitive Research?

Understanding Real vs. Perceived Strategies

  • Avoiding Deceptive Impressions: Competitors might be engaging in strategies that seem successful but aren't. For instance, producing a lot of content (blogs, white papers, etc.) may look effective, but it might not be yielding desired results.
  • Revealing the Ineffectiveness of Common Strategies: Many businesses spend considerable effort on content creation without achieving significant rankings, often due to targeting highly competitive keywords or lacking SEO-optimized content.

Discovering Hidden Competitors

  • Identifying Direct and Indirect Competitors: Beyond known competitors, it's crucial to identify others who might be competing for the same online presence, users, and keywords, including those not immediately apparent.

Evading Marketing by Imitation

  • Creating Unique Strategies: Copying competitors doesn't lead to a successful marketing strategy. Differentiation is key, as customers will choose based on unique features if they can't distinguish between two similar offerings.

How to Conduct a Competitive Audit

Tools and Techniques

  • Using Tools like SEMrush and Moz: These tools provide insights into keywords, domain authority, inbound links, traffic volume, and social media engagement. They can be used to compare your online presence with competitors.
  • DIY Techniques: For those without access to professional tools, simple strategies like searching on Google in Incognito mode or using free tools like Uber Suggest can provide basic insights.

Key Metrics to Analyze

  • Keyword Performance: Understanding which keywords you and your competitors rank for, including overlaps and untapped opportunities.
  • Advertising Insights: Estimating competitors' ad spend and identifying their advertising strategies.
  • Traffic Analysis: Comparing traffic volumes and understanding the source of traffic (branded vs. non-branded).
  • Social Media Engagement: Monitoring competitors' social media for changes in engagement and strategy.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Not Just Copying Competitors: The goal is to find opportunities for differentiation and improvement, not to imitate.
  • Realistic Planning: Align your strategies with available resources. Don't commit to content production or other strategies that are unsustainable for your business.
  • Technical Aspects of SEO: Many overlook the technical aspects of their websites, which are critical for SEO. Regular technical audits are necessary for maintaining an optimized online presence.

The Importance of an Objective Perspective

  • The Value of External Agencies: Agencies bring varied experience and an objective viewpoint, essential for identifying unique strategies and avoiding the common pitfall of internal bias.
  • Questioning Established Norms: Continuously question and reevaluate your business strategies and how your customers find, choose, and buy from you.


Conducting a digital competitive evaluation is not just about understanding your competitors; it's about comprehensively analyzing the digital landscape to carve out your unique space. This process involves looking beyond what's visible, questioning preconceptions, and ensuring your strategies are not only different but also feasible and aligned with your business goals. Remember, the essence of a successful digital strategy lies in differentiating yourself in a crowded market and understanding the nuances of digital marketing, from SEO to social media engagement.

Whether you're doing it yourself or seeking external help, the goal remains the same: to gain a deeper understanding of your competitive landscape and to leverage that knowledge to create a more effective digital presence.

About Tom Snyder

Tom Snyder - TriveraTom Snyder, founder, president and CEO of Trivera, a 28-year-old strategic digital marketing firm, with offices in suburban Milwaukee. Tom has been blogging since 1998, sharing the insight gained from helping businesses and organizations reinforce their brands by taking full advantage of digital and web technology as powerful tactics.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

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