How to stand out from your competition: Part I

06/06/2017 - Jordi Ordoñez

The electronic commerce sector is becoming more competitive, it’s not enough to have a great product, the store with the best design, or brilliant customer service; you need more. In this guide we tell you step by step how to stand out from your competition. Today, part one!

How do you stand out from your competition?

The million dollar question. There are many strategies and channels to streamline if we want users to opt for our offer. The easiest would be to tell you that you have an exclusive product in a high conversion, low competition niche, that you have a fantastic blog, or that your social media followers are brand ambassadors.

Our idea for this guide is to give you practical advice that you can apply from the start; so, without further ado, let’s get started.

How to stand out using SEO

As much as search engines try to minimize the effect of natural positioning, the truth is that it still carries a lot of weight. Despite the instability that makes it so unpredictable and how complicated it is to make estimates, the fact that it’s a source of solid traffic for a lower investment over other options makes many competitors choose SEO and you should too.

First of all: analyze keywords

This is the basis of everything; before you do anything you have to consider the largest possible collection of keywords related to your product. Don’t limit yourself, look for all possible terms, whether they are informational (why is my computer slow), transactional (buy a laptop), branded (buy an Apple MacBook), core (laptop) or long-tail (powerful computers for online gaming)

The more words the better. After, use Google Keyword Planner or tools with their own index like Semrush to find out what your monthly search volume and level of competition is. If you’re wondering how a keyword search will help you stand out from your competition, I’ll tell you in just a second.

1 – Explore niches

Keyword searches have the ability to always surprise you. Maybe your preconceived idea is to go for keywords like “laptop” and “laptop accessories” and you find that there are many business opportunities in the field of personalization using stickers, skins or vinyl. This can mean new lines of business that separate you from your competitors and a way to capture alternative traffic.

2 – Identify competitors

Knowing the most interesting keywords at the traffic-competition level you’ll be able to find out who you’ll see at the organic level using those terms. Keep in mind that when you broaden the range of words you are also fighting new competitors that appear with their own idiosyncrasies. These, added to others that you might have missed, will provide you with a good list to work in two main areas:

  • SEO offsite: let’s see where they’re connecting from. Knowing their link profile gives you the strategic advantage of being able to go to the same sites to request links or, taking a step further, see what links transfer authority down from a higher level
  • Architecture and business model: by analyzing competitors’ sites we will be able to see how they’ve organized the information, what they’re optimizing each landing for, what categories they’ve selected, and where we can be more competitive (or where to get new business ideas)

 

Implement a content strategy

Content marketing is a tool you can’t overlook. Strategically, it adds something extra to everything you do online. SEO is one of the greatest content benefits as it will help you to have exclusive pages, which will differentiate you from the competition and distance you from possible repetitive content problems (one of the most common problems for all e-commerce shops).

Users are also extremely grateful to find information: the more comprehensive it is, the less likely they are to look for or buy a product on other sites (your competition, in the worst case scenario). Even if the sale is not the main priority, a visitor that entered for a related topic, a tutorial, a post, etc will have a more than positive first impression.

Remember: a content strategy is not a blog; I mean, it’s not just a blog. Work on the content of your entire website to give it consistency both in tone and editorial line. Some examples of initiatives to develop, that your competitors may not have taken into account, are: product guides, tutorials, video demos, glossaries of terms, FAQs, and knowledge bases.

By enriching the user experience, you reinforce the bond you have with them and establish a relationship where you’re contributing something seemingly without asking for anything in return.

Start a blog

As part of the content strategy you need a blog. Of course, give it the strategic value it needs, but don’t have one just to add another item to the list. Thanks to a blog, you can:

  • Capture long-tail traffic: all the words that can potentially bring traffic from your segment, but for whatever reason are not liable to generate a landing of their own.
  • Streamline the page: many of your competitors will have 100% stagnant pages where nothing ever changes. This bores search engines like Google and gives users no reason to return if they’re not going to buy something. An updated blog is a plus for both machines and people.
  • Take advantage of seasonality: throughout the year there are important times for your audience. If instead of just launching a Black Friday sale, you are generating content on the blog in advance, you will be creating anticipation and picking up traffic that starts to sprout up a few days before. The blog is also useful in the opposite sense: it can help you break the general seasonality of the site by providing another type of parallel content for the valleys between the peaks.

 

Optimize the community to stand out from the competition

Keeping a direct relationship with your public through social media is healthy for any e-commerce or brand. Networks can be as valuable a traffic channel as others, but I won’t take too much time for that aspect.

Obviously, if we create content and streamlines using our accounts, we’ll generate visits but the visits won’t be as interesting (except when sales are involved). When I talk about optimizing the community, I mean turning it into a brand asset by having:

  • A database of subscribers: encourage them to sign up for your email accounts; email marketing is still a form of advertising.
  • Brand ambassadors: If you give a certain amount of support from the brand, you can create a group of consumers that can look out for your brand. Furthermore, if among themselves, they can reach a certain range, apart from being your eyes on social networks, they will provide a boost to subscription.
  • Content generators: Peer recommendation still makes a difference. Stand out from your competition by including voice of the customer (VOC) and your own money site. The reviews on product sheets are beyond interesting.

 

SEO and social networks are a couple of the best ways to make a difference when talking about commercial rivals. Apply these tips and you’ll have the upper hand.

Read the part two!

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