The moral or ethical issues on the subject of spying are a bit dodgy. On the extreme end, conducting industrial espionage may be illegal. Hiring someone from inside the enemy camp and transforming him or her into an industrial spy may violate all sorts of commercial and legal laws. It can be a constitutional violation, criminal, federal or whatnot. But those days of finding a willing insider and turning them against an organisation, they’re long gone. Today, you can spy on your competitor—by yourself—without leaving your desk. Or your home, for that matter. You don’t have to hire someone from the enemy camp and offer him or her heaps of rewards to reveal the enemy secrets. The Internet has changed all that. In this era of digital revolution, a lot of online tools exist and are free for you to use. Here are six tips to spying on your competitors, with the corresponding tools, of course.
A lot will depend on keywords. Knowing the keywords your competitors use will give you a clue to what is driving their traffic and leads to their website. Most websites include the keywords in the coding of their pages. Go to your competitor’s website and look at their pages’ source codes. To those who don’t know how to do this:
- For Chrome, click the browser’s menu, then go to ‘More Tools’ and click ‘View Source’. A new window will open showing your competitor’s website code.
- Find the word ‘keyword’. You should find the keywords with the tag, meta name=”keywords”.
- Analyse and compare it with your own site’s source code and see what you’re missing.
2. Load Time
Examine the load time of your competitor’s website. There are plenty of tools that will give you this information. Here’s one that’s really reliable. Useful tool: Google Pagespeed Insights http://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ With this tool, you can analyse the loading speed of any website, including your competitors, on both platforms: desktop and mobile. Aside from analysing the loading time, this wonderful Web developer tool suggests how to improve site performance in terms of loading time. It would not hurt to try inputting the URL of your own site. You might even learn how to improve the loading speed of your own website.
3. Indexed Pages
The more indexed pages, the better performance in Search Engine Results Page (SERP). To find out how many indexed pages your competitor has is to determine how many you should have to level out the playing field. Useful tool: Google Query site:[competitor URL]
4. Code Accuracy
To access your competitor’s technical skills is to see how solid their codes are. You can use a free Web service to do this. Input the URL of your competitor and see how many errors their page shows. You can also use this on your page to improve your page’s code accuracy.
5. Twitter Presence
Of course, you have to assess how strong are your competitors’ social media presence. Find out who’s tweeting about them.
One way of checking out your competitors’ ads is by using a free online service called Moat dot com. See what your competitors’ ads look like.
Knowing the enemy is half the battle. The knowledge you obtain about them will be your ticket to stay on top of your game, and conquer all competitors.