How To Find Competitor Strengths and Weaknesses with Analysis

Lauren Oliver


October 13, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Your business competes with other brands for the same customers. You both provide similar goods or services and create related content. So, how do you stand out and gain an edge in this competitive market? The answer is by finding competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. An intensive competitor analysis can provide you with the roadmap to creating better and more compelling content that can help you take a more significant market share by highlighting your competition’s content weakness.

But how do you identify the strength and weaknesses in your competition’s content? This article walks through how to do a competitor content analysis and shares insight into best practices for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Topics we’ll cover:

Types of Content Competitors

Image of a person's hands typing on a laptop with analysis metrics, to depict competitive content analysis.

Image via Unsplash by Merriam Jessier

Competitive content analysis is the backbone of an effective content plan. But are there specific competitors you should be targeting? Not all your competitors are the same. More importantly, you should not actively try to compete with every other company in your industry. Otherwise, you may over-stretch your resources and risk getting frustrated when you don’t get the desired results. Here are the primary types of competitors to look at when doing an analysis:

Direct Competitors

Your direct competitors include companies that promote goods and services similar to yours in your industry or community. Simply put, they have the same target market as you do. For example, if you own a fashion store, all the other stores selling similar products with similar company sizes are your direct competitors. These competitors not only provide a comparable product to you and target the same market but also have a comparable proportion of the market.

If you’re trying to identify your direct competitors, we recommend evaluating your product or service. This is because finding your direct competitors requires a detailed grasp of your product and its value to your audience or consumers. For instance, if you own a shoe company, you are not only competing with other footwear companies. You have to contend with other footwear-related businesses and companies along with big shoe stores.

Read more: Your Guide to Competitive Content Analysis for SEO

Stretch Competitors

Stretch competitors are the large companies that operate in your industry and offer similar goods or services as you do. These are the major players in the industry and have access to a more significant chunk of the market. For instance, as someone in the footwear industry, a company like Nike is a major player and can be considered a stretch competitor. In addition, you might consider top blogs like Footwear News or Footwear Plus Magazine, as they create content similar to yours.

While direct competitors are great for discovering and setting a content benchmark for your industry, stretch competitors are more useful when you need to explore new content ideas, find trending keywords, and plan content topics in your industry. In other words, stretch competitors can teach you how to succeed in your industry. But you don’t want to start chasing them to try and overtake them.

Practice the 80-20 rule when performing competitor content analysis—80% of your resources should target your direct competitors and companies with similarly sized market shares, while 20% focuses on the market giants.

Search Competitors

If you want your brand’s content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), it’s vital to know who your top search competitors are. This way, you know who you’re running against in the race for the best spots on the SERPs. By conducting competitor analysis, you won’t have to waste time producing content in the hope that it will rank.

Instead, you can apply similar strategies to boost your content ranking since you already have insight. With more info on the topics, keywords, and even backlinks your search competitors are using, you’ll learn why they’re in the top spots.

Read more: Know the Enemy: The Purpose of Competitive Analysis

What Can Competitor Strengths and Weaknesses Tell You?

Competitor strengths and weaknesses give us valuable insights as content marketers. Using this data helps strategy teams uncover new opportunities for their companies’ content to hit all the right marks in quality and value for the audience. And when your team understands how to leverage competitors’ content weaknesses, you can plan a strategy that drives traffic to your brand’s site over others. Here’s what your analysis can show you:

New Content Opportunities

By analyzing your competitor’s content, you can learn about the various topics and content formats they use to attract your target audience. More importantly, you can identify the gaps or lapses they left in their content. With this data, you can develop content on these topics that outperform the competition. Let’s say your competitor publishes a blog post on a particular topic. You can expand on it and offer your audience a full-fledged guide in the form of an ebook. This way, you offer more value to the audience.

Also, you can examine the keywords your competitors appear to be targeting. Then analyze its degree of competitiveness, search traffic, and other information if it seems like a subject that might interest your audience. Do they have a good ranking for that keyword? If so, resist pursuing it. If not, make content that is superior to theirs and try to rank for it.

Content Gaps and Areas of Improvement

Even if you’re doing everything right, someone else may do it better. So, by studying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you can discover gaps in your content and where you need to improve. The first step is to assess your competitors’ content from your readers’ perspective. Here are some questions to ask:

      • Why would readers choose your content over the competitor’s content?
      • Is your competitor’s content more relevant and appealing to your target audience?
      • How does your content strategy compare to the differences you see?

In addition, by putting yourself in the audience’s shoes, you may discover weak areas in your competitor’s content—where they left questions unanswered or weren’t very explanatory. Then, you can position yourself to fill these gaps.

Similarly, find the topics and subtopics that your competitors haven’t covered or briefly touched on. What topics are they missing? Are there aspects of each topic they left out? Keywords in these areas can be the perfect opportunities to appeal to your audience. Plus, looking at these competitor metrics helps you discover your brand’s gaps so you can target the opportunities that increase traffic and boost SERP rankings.

Effective Strategies

The strengths and weaknesses of your competitors can also help you understand the strategies that are driving results for them. This information can tell you how you can apply those tactics when planning your content strategy. For example, study comments and reviews to gain insights into how your competitors provide content that satisfies customers’ needs. From there, you can get answers to questions such as:

      • What attracts readers to their content?
      • What do they frequently receive praise for?
      • What do they appear to struggle with the most?
      • How well does their content address client questions?
      • Are there any things that customers wish they did better?

In addition, you can study elements like their SEO structure, content formats, and promotional tactics to discover what drives the most engagement and how you can leverage the same.

Read more: How To Use Competitor Content Analysis to Create Your Strategy

How To Identify Your Competitor’s Strengths and  Weaknesses

Content analysis is advantageous for building an SEO strategy that improves content rankings and boosts organic traffic. But where should you start? Use the following approaches to dig into your competitors’ strengths and to see where you can leverage their weaknesses:

1. Look at Content Authority

A business in your industry isn’t much of a competitor if it’s not adding to its content resources consistently to build authoritative expertise on niche topics. And one of the quickest ways to identify a competitor’s weakness is to check for content authority and online presence. For instance, a competitor that hasn’t blogged for a long time poses considerably less threat than those with a robust resource of in-depth and valuable articles.

This is because a business that doesn’t consistently build presence, trust, and authority within its industry isn’t likely to gain the same following and customer base as the business that does. Likewise, businesses that have a minor online presence are missing out on valuable promotional opportunities. Here are more factors to consider when digging into your competitors’ content authority:

      • Do they publish content consistently?
      • How extensive is their content resource?
      • Do they work with subject matter experts?
      • Do they update and optimize older content?
      • Are they active on social platforms?
      • How large is their target audience?

Regular, relevant, and high-quality postings indicate that a marketer carefully organizes and carries out initiatives in the background. Therefore, if your competition has a vast and up-to-date content resource and a high content authority, you’ll need to do more digging to uncover the chinks in their armor.

2. Examine Content Formats

Once you discover the competitors with rich content resources, check which of their content formats get the most and least engagements. Study the kind of content their audience responds to the most and the elements that drive this engagement. This way, you can identify their areas of strength and weakness.

Of course, the goal is to capitalize on areas they don’t get a lot of engagement as this may be an opportunity to attract some of their audience to your business. Think about it this way. Many brands now integrate video as a critical component of their content marketing strategy.  So, you want to check their most popular videos. Examine how your competitors utilize video and look for engagement levels, like comments, views, and shares.

In addition, check other content in-depth for competitor metrics such as the number of social shares, article length, and other factors. You also get an approximate idea of the top keywords and how much traffic a competitor receives for those keywords. In addition, you want to consider what sets popular content apart and what makes it so captivating. For instance, which search terms and queries does the content address?

Through in-depth content analysis on top-performing content formats, you can discover new content topics and ideas and learn what draws readers to them. Similarly, you want to study the content formats with the lowest engagement rate. By studying what makes these content types perform poorly, you can learn what your competitors are doing wrong and how you can leverage and create better content.

3. Review Content Quality

Quality content should be relevant, helpful, and accurate. So, when conducting competitor analysis, you want to review the quality of your competitors content to identify their strengths. As a rule of thumb, subpar and low-quality content in your competition’s marketing materials are weaknesses you can explore. Here’s a quick checklist of additional competitor criteria to look for:

      • Is the writing on-topic and relevant to the audience?
      • Is their content well-formatted?
      • Do they provide expert insight and valuable information?
      • Are there typos or grammatical errors in their work?
      • Do they follow content marketing best practices?
      • Did they use a formal or friendly tone?

Generally, great content should instantly match the searcher’s intent and answer their questions. In addition, the content should pass quality requirements. That said, if your analysis shows some gaps in your competition’s content, you can capitalize on this weakness by creating content that surpasses theirs.

Read more: How To Find Your Competitor’s Weakness

How Often Should You Run a Competitor Analysis?

Businesses are continually merging, evolving, and emerging. Therefore, being successful in this dynamic market requires a thorough analysis of your competitors. However, it is not enough to perform content analysis on your competition once and then let it be — no matter how much valuable information you gain from the exercise. Instead, it should be a regular activity. That said, how often should you conduct an analysis?

There’s no hard and fast rule for the frequency at which you should perform competitor contently analysis. Instead, the key is consistency. Nevertheless, here’s what we recommend. You can perform a more extensive content analysis once every year and then carry out less intensive, small-scale ones more frequently, say, every quarter.

Either way, regularly conducting content analysis and discovering your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses can help you identify chances to improve your content and better serve your target market.

Read more: When Is the Right Time To Run a Competitive Analysis?

Get Started with the CopyPress Content Analysis Tool

Identifying your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses is crucial for creating a successful content strategy that gives you an edge over the competition in your industry. Remember, conducting regular analysis helps you assess where you are in relation to your competitors. Then, you can use this data to adjust your content strategy and position your business for long-term success.

Are you looking to start analyzing the competition right away? CopyPress’s in-depth content analysis tool compares your site to your top three competitors—and uncovers others you may not know about. Your report also gives you data on the content gaps—topics and keywords—your content plan isn’t covering. Then, you can use this information to improve your strategy.

Author Image - Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver

Content Manager at CopyPress

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