We all know that we shouldn’t copy our competitors in business and marketing. If you do everything the same as your competitors, you’re in some serious trouble!
Outright copying is usually pretty obvious, but what about for some of the behind the scenes stuff? Like search engine marketing, for example? If you copy your competitors, no one will really notice.
You can save a lot of time and money by copying competitors’ search marketing tactics. They have already done the leg work for you. And if you don’t copy them, you’ll get left behind. Right?
In search engine marketing, competitive research is a huge part of success. You DO have to know what your competitors are doing, but don’t take the route of blatant copying. It can be a huge mistake. Here’s why…
Your competitors might not know what they are doing
Sure, you can just copy your competitors’ keywords, get links on the same directories and tick search engine marketing off your list.
For one, it’s not as easy as that. There are so many factors involved in search ranking. Copying does not mean that you will soon enjoy the same position in the search results.
But most importantly, how do you know that your competitors actually know what they are doing? How do you know that they hired a professional search marketer, or that they properly trained themselves? You don’t, and you could just be copying their mistakes.
- You could copy their keywords. Only to find out that they are way too broad and don’t drive the kind of qualified traffic you want.
- You could copy their linking technique, and since they are buying links, you decide to too. Only to find out that Google is not a fan of this technique, especially when it’s spammy and super irrelevant.
I was doing some search engine marketing work for a client a while back, and I saw first hand just how easy it would be to make a huge mistake simply by following the crowd.
Do any of you have listings on Google Places? Well, Google really doesn’t make it easy on small business owners. Getting blacklisted is super common (even if you’ve made an innocent mistake). And they have all kinds of rules and regulations that they only arbitrarily enforce.
One such rule is that you are only allowed to have your official business name in your title. NOT business name + keywords. When I was setting up the listing for my client, tons of the competitors had the keyword rich title. They just hadn’t gotten caught out. Had I just been copying tactics, I could have easily gotten the business’ Google profile deleted.
You can miss out on opportunities
In search engine marketing, the greatest opportunities lie where your competitors are not active. If you just straight up copy, you won’t take advantage of what they are not doing.
If there is a particular type of activity that they don’t engage in, such as blogging or social media, this is a golden opportunity.
If they have a content poor website, and you get yours fully pumped up, that’s a huge competitive advantage.
If they haven’t done proper keyword research, there could be all kinds of great keywords that they missed out on. Maybe keywords that are a better indicator that someone is actually interested in buying your product or service. Or a keyword that has less competition and will be easier to rank higher for.
So remember, as in all things marketing, don’t copy your competitors when you’re doing search stuff for your business. Do your research on them, and then figure out how your strategy can be even better.
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