There are over 1 billion websites in the world today. One billion websites, competing for the attention of approximately 3.2 billion internet users across the globe. When you put it into this perspective, it makes the task of digital marketing seem a bit daunting.
The good news is, you and your one billion competitors aren’t trying to attract the same consumers. But you can use many of the same methods as other top websites to gain the traffic you want. While websites of different industries may have very different styles and content, the methods they use to rank highly within their industries are quite similar.
To compete against others in your marketing niche, you can use many of the same SEO tactics and strategies to develop a strong digital marketing campaign. This is the process of reverse engineering. Reverse engineering the strategies of industry leaders is one of the best ways to gain traction and increase your income online.
What is reverse engineering?
Reverse engineering is the process of using readily-available tools and information to create your own products, services, tools or strategies. The terms is broadly used to describe the learning and innovation process of many industries. Reverse engineering is used to develop marketing campaigns, create products, and improve new technologies.
In the tech world, it’s a term used to describe taking a product or system apart and recreating it without infringing on the originator’s copyrights. Of course, you can’t copy another company’s product, but you can use their developments as a learning tool to create and improve upon their design. Reverse engineering helps industries improve upon existing products. It also gives consumers a greater variety of options, when reverse engineering sparks competition.
Reverse engineering is one of the best strategies for digital marketing, because everyone is competing with the same tool: a search engine. The rules don’t change for each individual niche or market. You can use techniques and campaign tactics that almost any other industry uses. Look at websites from the largest companies in all industries to see what commonalities they may have.
You can use reverse engineering to discover what practices the leaders in your industry use with online reputation management (ORM) and search engine optimization (SEO). You can reverse engineer these processes by analyzing competitor websites and seeing what works best. Many tools are available to track high-performing sites and learn from their activity and SEO campaigns.
How marketers have adopted the term
Reverse engineering in marketing means to use the same tactics as your competitors to attract customers’ attention. It doesn’t mean you copy their campaigns. Rather, you can use the strategies and concepts that work best across many different companies’ campaigns. Take the best from multiple campaigns, and formulate your own marketing methods.
In SEO, you analyze competitors’ sites and try to understand how the top-ranked sites got their current PageRank. You can then imitate them for similar results. SEO is surprisingly one of the few marketing specialities where experts often share their techniques. Most of the technical strategies are covered in online journals. However, to figure out what sort of content marketing and newer SEO strategies are effective, you need to do some in-depth research.
There are many different methods to reverse engineering in SEO. You need to analyze top-ranking sites for their campaign strategies, what types of content they publish, how they distribute that content, and what other sites are linking back to them. Through these clues you can learn a lot about another website’s campaign. Analyze the strongest parts of their campaign, whether it’s the number of backlinks they have or number of social media shares, and figure out how they attained these results.
How you can use it to your advantage
Reverse engineering is a step-by step process. You don’t have to use every element of other websites’ campaigns, but you can combine elements from the best and add your own creative content ideas. You may even discover a particularly effective strategy that few others are using. These are the steps you should use to reverse engineer a digital marketing campaign:
First, you want to research multiple campaigns. You can choose websites in or outside your industry. When you find which campaigns work best, you can then monitor their progress and watch for consistencies across multiple campaigns.
When you choose which websites you want to use for reverse engineering marketing, you’ll want to research where their traffic is coming from. Traffic may come from pay-per-click campaigns, organic traffic, social media, or backlinks from other sites. Whichever methods work best in your industry, you should use in your own campaigns.
Reverse engineer social campaigns that have made impressions. You can use social signals (such as number of page likes, shares, or comments on social media profiles) to determine whose social campaigns are working. Compare different social media pages to see what types of posts they use most often. You should also compare the popularity of different types of posts, such as video or article links, to plan your content creation strategy.
Analyze direct and indirect competitors. You can get ideas from websites and digital campaigns in all different market niches. Consumers have endless options on how to spend their money, and therefore you are competing with almost every product within the same price range. You can use ideas from any marketing campaign to try to direct consumers away from one niche and towards your business.
Track your competitors with tools like Google Trends and SEMRush. You can analyze different URLs to see which perform best on different sites and for different search terms. These tools allow you to directly compare your site to your competitors, which can help you gauge the effectiveness of your campaign. Not only can you compare the strengths of other websites, but you can track your progress using their methods in your own campaign.
Look for correlations between the number of of backlinks and new content campaigns. Popular campaigns receive a lot of social shares and backlinks from other popular sites. Tracking the backlinks of popular sites shows which content is most popular. You also want to research who is linking back to your competitors most, and see if you can develop a relationship with that site as well.
Compare technical SEO and content strategies separately. Technical SEO includes site speed, site structure, image optimization. Most of these strategies are covered online and easy to implement in your site design. Content strategies depend on your target audience, keywords, and what social media platforms are most prevalent for your customers. You can learn both of these aspects from reverse engineering SEO.
Remember to reverse engineer mobile versions of sites as well. Mobile optimization is more important now than ever before. However, mobile development can be tricky, and requires specific site design changes. You can learn from the leaders in your industry how to create great mobile sites that your users will love.
Compare multiple sites to see which element you like best from each. You can then develop a site that combines all of the competition’s strengths and minimizes the weaknesses you see in each. You can use any and all of these reverse engineering methods to create your next digital marketing success.
Isn’t that cheating?
Reverse engineering is used in every industry and for every type of innovation. It’s how companies change and improve upon each other’s insights. Royal Reputation uses a combination of reverse-engineered techniques that are proven to work, as well as our own unique strategies that we’ve developed over years of hard work.
But the internet is always changing, so your techniques and strategies must always change. Just like the search engines update their algorithms, the strategies to benefit from those updates must change. Search engines are always looking out for the consumer, which is why SEO has actually improved many consumers’ experience with marketing campaigns. But even if the strategy works now, it’s possible that Google could publish one update that renders that strategy completely useless.
That’s why a “set it and forget it,” or “one-size-fits-all” service is not a good investment. Many companies use the same tactics for all of their clients, rather than researching for them to create optimized campaigns. Many website SEO plugins are often outdated and the signals they check for search engine compatibility are incorrect. If you put your trust in these generic SEO campaigns, you could be wasting your marketing dollars and your company’s time.
Have more questions about reverse engineering and its role in digital media? Learn more about our digital marketing services at Royal Reputation’s Resource Center. Or contact us to learn about our SEO and ORM services.