How to Spy on Your Competitor’s Dental Practice
Ever wonder how other dental practices manage to improve their page rankings, run effective digital ad campaigns, and consistently reach new patients on social media? You don’t have to wonder anymore, because there are dozens of different tools online that will give you an inside look at your competitors’ digital marketing tactics. Competitor analysis is not only legal and ethical, but it’s a relatively simple way to help you find new ways to cut through the search engine clutter and improve your visibility. Below are a list of tools that we recommend you look into when you are trying to figure out what your competitors are doing to market their dental practice.
Google Keyword Planner
“Keyword research” is just another way of saying “spying on the competition,” and it’s the most fundamental part of monitoring other practices’ digital performance – especially when it comes to pay-per-click advertisements. Keyword research can take you in many directions, but the best place to start is by using Google’s Keyword Planner tool. To begin, when you come to the section that reads “Your landing page” simply enter a competitor’s URL instead of your own. Then you can view data such as average traffic for specific keywords, and see how competitive the keyword is.
One of the most valuable parts of Google Keyword Planner is the “Ad group ideas,” where you can see both short and long-tail keywords that will give you an idea of where you can compete. Short-tail keywords are keywords that contain 2-3 words that make up the search term. It might be something like “downtown seattle dentist”. These types of keywords are more broad and often get higher traffic, especially someone is searching from a desktop. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer, more descriptive search terms. An example of a long-tail keyword would be “downtown seattle dentist that accepts Aetna insurance”. These type of long-tail keywords often have lower search volume, since they are more specific. Once you have recorded some ideas for new keywords for your practice, you can then delve deeper into keyword research on other tools to see how they perform.
SpyFU is a great tool to use after you’ve performed some basic keyword research with Google Keyword Planner. In just a few seconds you can see your competitor’s top ranking organic keywords and top paid keywords, including the cost-per-click for each. If you take the time to create a profile, you can gather even more vital info about a practice’s ad campaigns by browsing their AdWords History. This lets you view the evolution of a specific ad campaign over time, and displays how modifications in the campaign affected performance. With this tool, you can see the title, subtitle, and body of text that your competitors use and have used in the past on the ads they pay for on Google. This will give you some ideas for how you can market your practice if you decide to work with paid ads.
SimilarWeb may not be the most detailed and extensive traffic analysis tool in existence, but it is incredibly easy to use and gives you a good baseline view of your competitor’s overall web traffic performance. All you have to do is enter the URL of their website, and the SimilarWeb engine provides you with a number of broad critical metrics including total visits, the average length of a visit, pages viewed per visit, and more.
Additionally, you can view the contributions from each of the traffic sources individually, and get a more detailed analysis of each of those sources. This is a fast and easy way to see how your performance across various traffic sources compares with any of your competitors.
Monitoring social media activity
The practices you are competing against are likely shifting a greater proportion of their digital marketing resources over to social media, so it’s no surprise that there are now myriad tools to help you track social performance across numerous platforms and categories. Social Mention tracks brand mentions on social channels and displays top-line metrics that indicate the business’ level of social penetration. Hootsuite is connected to over 35 social media platforms, and it offers a dashboard feature that allows you to easily monitor many different social media streams at once.
While “social media” is a pretty big buzzword in digital marketing, it’s actually not something Connect the Doc recommends investing in heavily unless it’s part of a much larger digital marketing strategy. If your budget is a bit smaller (under $2,000/month), we’d typically recommend focusing on reviews, referrals, website, and paid advertising.
Rank Signals is a free, intuitive tool that gives you an inside look at your competition’s linking strategy. All you need to do is enter a URL, and Rank Signals gives you a detailed list of backlinks with additional information such as anchor text and referral pages. Once you see how other practices in your area are getting backlinks, you can pursue similar sites to get high-quality links for your business.
Integrating spying into your overall digital marketing strategy
Remember: spying on your competition isn’t a comprehensive digital marketing strategy on its own. It’s only a way for you to gather more sophisticated data that you can use to inform your broader strategy. You have to take all of the information you record from monitoring your competitors—keywords, marketing messaging, social interactions, reviews, etc.—and tailor them to fit your unique value proposition.
All of this information is fair game, and it’s out there waiting for you to discover it. Your competitors won’t hesitate to use every tool available to them to see how you are building connections with your patients, so don’t get left behind!