Using competitive tools for client prospecting

By Rasmus Sørensen April 4, 2014

As an agency we are always on the lookout for new clients and industries where we believe we can make an impact. In order to analyse and get the whole picture for a given industry, niche or existing client business, we use a range of tools to help us gather, analyse and drive informed decisions; as to if and how we should approach the task.

We do this type of research and analysis both when prospecting new clients but also for existing clients in the start of the process to get a firm grasp of the task at hand.

First we look at the market and do quite a bit of search on Google to get an overall idea of the competition and the nature of a given niche. We look at the number of results of a wide range of different keywords and phrases. We look at results, we try to spot brands, and we note the number of ads, images, videos and use common sense as to decide how the particular keyword set should be approached.

Initially you could then use a competitive intelligence tool to get a clear and precise look into the current search results, see how they are made up and who is running the show, who is on a losing streak and how is starting to move up from the trenches.

Being based in Denmark, I have looked into a competitive niche; hotels.

Looking at the search for “hoteller” (hotels), we can – no surprise – notice that this is a competitive niche; lots of ads and 5.6 million results. We also know from experience that the search patterns from travel related searches often are done with a variety of keywords and long tail phrases.

With this in mind we will analyse who is actually dominating this niche in the results and how they are actually achieving the results. So…

1) Enter Hoosh Competitive Intelligence and the Hotels & Motels Category. This category consists of 20 keywords containing the primary generic hotel and motel keywords.
2) Looking at the organic visibility for a 12 week period in the top 5 organic results, we get this picture:

The current situation is showing the Danish language version da.hotels.com taking the top spot with a local niche player smalldanishhotels.dk running right behind – however the trend in March seems to be downwards for them.

So now we have a very good idea of who is dominating the top slots in Google. The most obvious thing that we notice; (knowing the local market), is the smalldanishhotels.dk website. They seem to be able to fight the big guys; (hotels.com, booking.com and trivago). Note: Trivago seems to be doing exceptionally poor being a huge brand spending fortunes on TV advertising etc.

So let us look at how the smaller player can compete with the big brands?

Enter Majestic SEO!

 

Using the Site Comparator Tool in Majestic SEO on the top 5 results, we see that booking.com is dominating in raw link numbers – in fact they have +200 million links from 160.000 domains! That is impressive! However being a 900lbs gorilla does not put you in the top of the visibility chart locally. Even with a Trust and Citation Flow twice as high as another competitor in the sample research.

Taking a look at our focus – smalldanishhotels.dk, we are actually seeing a rather strong site. Trust and citation flow is on par; or even better in some instances. The number of incoming links is pretty high and they manage to get links from a wide range of unique domains. They also have quite a lot of pages indexed in Google. Yet they are only coming as #4 on this metric.

Let us look at little closer and see if we can educate ourselves a little more:

Using Majestic SEO Clique Hunter, (where we look at how many sites actually link to more than two of our analysed sites), we see that smalldanishhotels.com have links from almost all the sites in the top 20. e.g. They have been able to get links from almost all the “best” sites that all their competitors have links from:

Ok so smalldanishhotels.com could be actively working on building and maintaining their links. But, we don’t know for sure – they might just be lucky and gain links naturally? So let us look a little closer at the type of links they are getting. Here we are using the Backlink Breakdown chart;

We notice something interesting here: a HUGE part of the links are redirects. In fact 205.208 of them! Hmm, wonder what that is? Did they have another site redirecting to their main site which got removed? We don’t know for now..

Another thing is that they have almost no nofollow links which seems a little strange. Also, a chunk of the links seems to have been deleted recently. This is could be a little strange; compared to some of the other competitors. For example Trivago.dk which has almost no redirects, a higher portion of nofollow links, and almost no recently deleted links:

Majestic SEO don’t offer SEO consultancy specifically but I wonder what is going on with Smalldanishhotels.dk? There are definitely some issues to look into to ensure an on-going high ranking state.

This is just one of the types of research and analysis we do with Majestic SEO and that’s why Majestic SEO is the major part of my tool suite!

2 Responses to “Using competitive tools for client prospecting”

  1. Ayudar a Wordpress said:

    April 08, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    It has helped me a lot, thanks for the article

  2. Roman B said:

    April 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Not all SEO factors are off-page. There is a wide variety of on-page factors to contend with as well as the newer roles that social media is taking.