In this chapter Carla Thomas delves deeper understanding the performance of sites using examples from the finance and insurance industries. Of course, these principles can be applied to many industries.
Within the insurance and financial services, the user journey is considerably more complex than – for example – a low-cost retailer. Why? Financial and insurance decisions are often a larger monetary commitment or investment that may span a considerable amount of time and impact an individual’s quality of life. This makes viewing, understanding and analysing competitor content essential. Not only to see what is working within the sector, but to establish how to go a step further in your strategy.
The first and most crucial step is not only identifying competitors and benchmarks, but how you chose them.
Your direct and indirect competitors may be different from your SERP competitors, but both carry equal weight in importance. Your business competitors are those that offer the same or similar products to you. For example, within home insurance in the UK, Aviva and GoCompare may be considered direct and indirect competitors of another provider. Your SERP competitors are those who compete with you on the premise of ranking, meaning they are higher up in the SERPs than you or dominate more of the SERPs. For example, in finance this would be a publication such as the Financial Times.
Identifying a small selection of your core business and SERP competitors will reveal best-practice tactics for both the content itself and for appearing in the SERPs.
In addition to your competitors, you should monitor two industry benchmarks. The first should be the best of the best. They should be doing a great job in positioning their online presence and act as your inspiration. The other is a business that isn’t doing such a great job. The purpose of these benchmarks is to always have what good and bad looks like at the forefront of your mind.