Some people say “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”,
But personally, I prefer this version: “keep your friends close and your competition closer”.
If you want to be a successful marketer you have to know…
- Who is your competition,
- What business model they have,
- What is their marketing strategy, their strengthens, their weaknesses.
Watch their every marketing move with these awesome tools for SEO competitor analysis.
Everyone knows to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you should keep track of your main competitors.
- To beat the competition, spy on their every marketing move.
- To beat the competition, you should spy on your competitors’ every marketing move.
Tracking competitors’ search rankings, content, social mentions, emails, and anything else they do to boost business.
What’s helpful to them can be helpful to you.
Here’s how: Good Reasons.
How to Spy on Competitors?
- Get Inspiration for new ways to connect with customers and improve customer retention.
- Find out whether competitors are doing anything better than you and How you can beat it?.
- Look under the hood of their search and marketing optimization strategy and see what you can legally steal?. Improve your own plans to beat the competition based on data rather than assumptions.
There are tons of SEO tools that monitor not only your website performance but also that of your competitors.
The good news?
You probably already use them for other stuff.
For awesome competitive intelligence, add these SEO tools to your marketing stack:
Try these tools for better SEO competitive research or SEO competitor analysis:
Alexa – monitor traffic
Alexa allows tracking global web traffic of your own and competitor websites.
“Information is power,” and Alexa is one of those must-have tools that you can use to transform data into competitive value for your business.
If you have the Moz toolbar, it will show you any website’s Alexa ranking.
It lets you spy on your competitors’ backlinks, traffic, keywords, etc.
How to best use this tool: It is interesting to compare similar websites in your niche:
Get data on international competitors and website rankings for an overall picture.
SE Ranking – track rankings
SE Ranking helps you monitor competitors’ search rankings on any engines and target regions, up to five projects per website.
You can get detailed reports on main competitors, including data on their average positions, traffic forecasts, and website visibility.
You can also gather data for the first page of any tracked query and ordered them by visibility.
How to best use SE Ranking: The tool gives brief information on the top 10 websites for each of your queries.
If you want to track anything in more detail, add it to the ‘Main Competitors’ tab and track for getting more details.
InfiniGraph tracks trends in social media circles.
It combines consumer-to-brand interactions in real time and uses targeting to find out what brands and content are popular right now.
With Social Intelligence,
You can easily pay attention to the most powerful influencers and content for a successful campaign.
How to best use the tool: InfiniGraph allows tracking social media trends of your competitors in your niche and gets insight into your target audience.
InfiniGraph is not social listening (it’s keyword-based Social Intelligence and ranked social activities by the ‘relevance’ factor).
Monitor Backlinks is new to the market but has already earned a great reputation.
You can track various competitors’ backlinks, disclose a bunch of negative backlinks, and find quality ones.
It can help to analyze the backlinks of bloggers and webmasters in your field to build up your own link building strategy, build quality links from your competitors, and write link bait content.
You can also estimate the traffic increase based on keyword positioning and efforts to boost good backlinks to a certain website.
How to best use Monitor Backlinks: You can easily check out new links from your competitors, analyze good and bad links, get an overall SEO snapshot, compare the results, and build up a new marketing strategy.
SpyFu is a powerful tool that lets you view all data on competitors’ keywords in both organic search and AdWords – and get even more related keywords.
You just need to add competitors’ keywords and get an overall view of their strategy.
How to best use SpyFu: You can easily get a list of keywords that your competitors are targeting in the organic search and AdWords.
This is a good tool to research niches, new keywords, and plan tests.
Pro tip: View the destination URL for each ad in order to see how the competition is utilizing landing pages.
Open Site Explorer is a well-known and easy-to-use tool from Moz that helps to monitor backlinks.
Not only can you follow all competitors’ backlinks, but use that date to improve your link building strategies.
What’s great here is how much you get – data on page and domain authority, anchor text, linking domains, and compare links up to 5 websites.
How to best use this tool: You can easily check out what links your competitors have, compare their link profiles with your links, and boost link building strategies.
Moat – find where ads are running
Moat is a multifunctional tool for the advertising industry.
With it, find out what ads are running for different websites and top brands.
You can view the places and size of recently displayed ads and Moat provides a step-by-step guide on where to place your own ads.
How to best use Moat: You can enter the brand names of the competitors you want to spy on and get an overall report of the display ads they’re running.
iSpionage – track keywords
iSpionage is one of the spying tools that makes it easy to see what your competitors are doing the organic search.
It has a set of tools that includes SEO competitive research, social monitoring, and keyword tracking.
How to best use iSpionage: This tool allows you to enter competitors and check out the best keywords for organic and PPC, how much they spend on both, and see the most effective ad copy.
Then it provides comparison graphs for you – no number crunching necessary.
Followerwonk – analyze Twitter followers
Followerwonk analyzes any Twitter profile for free to boost your Twitter marketing strategies.
It provides a wide range of details, like recent tweets, bios, locations, and the authority of followers, to get the overall picture of your competitors’ Twitter presence.
How to best use Followerwonk: You can optimize your Twitter presence through the analysis of competitors’ followers, location, tweets, and content.
The best feature is finding users by keyword and comparing them by metrics like age, the language of the followers, and how active and authoritative they are.
You can also view the progress of your growing, authoritative followers.
Simply Measured is one of the best aggregators of raw data for social metrics.
It helps you to find out how your competitors are doing on trends, branding, traffic, conversions, and more.
You can get to access 35 different reports on competitors.
How to best use Simply Measured: The tool gives you a detailed competitive analysis for each network.
You can also figure out which competitor strategies work, thus, and which you can beat them at.
You will also see a detailed comparison of all the most important stats like as engagement, follower change over time and average response rates.
Compete PRO – get demographic info
Compete PRO is considered a “digital intelligence” tool, used to track passive online consumer behavior, seasonal trends between competitors, and demographic information (you should register your site to check this info).
How to better use Complete: Complete is best used for data visualization – it makes comparing and presenting data easy.
Quantcast – view audience insights
Quantcast helps get you to get to know potential clients via detailed reports on demographics, lifestyle and interest affinities, website, audience insights, and conversion level.
The reports give you a clear understanding of your audience, help to improve your marketing plans and make your media campaigns effective.
How to best use Quantcast: It’s most useful for providing traffic figures based on demographic data to better target your audience in your campaign.
Make sure to compare your data against that of your competitors.
SpyOnWeb – see behind the curtain
SpyOnWeb is a well-known tool that’s easy to use.
It allows you to figure out which websites belong to the same website owner.
It provides all information related to the entry on one page, collected from publicly available resources.
How to better use SpyOnWeb: You can gather all information about IP addresses, Google AdSense IDs, Google Analytics IDs, and Yahoo Publisher Network ID.
Just n enter the domain URL and you will get results of all IP addresses and a list of domains with the same IP address.
Ontolo – for content marketing
Ontolo is a good tool for backlink monitoring and content marketing.
It assists with determining good content topics, finding authors to reach out to, and improving your link building strategies.
How to best use Ontolo: I really like the idea of filtering out links that can be a waste of time, and finding authors who link to your content.
Thanks to Ontolo, I learned how to find the right keyword for a given page.
Using media monitoring for competitive analysis lets you track all websites talking about any keyword.
By setting up alerts in Mention, you can find get real-time alerts when other websites link to your competitor.
But you can also monitor the websites just talking about your competitor or their products, yet not linking to them.
This tells you they’re interested in your niche so you may be able to beat your competitor to the backlink.
How to use Mention better: Head over to the influencers dashboard to quickly sort the websites in your results by influence and Alexa ranking to see which backlinks are probably providing the most value.
Buzzsumo is the most important tool for content marketing and SEO campaigns.
It analyzes what content performs best for you or for your competitors, offers a much deeper understanding of the social footprint and helps develops smarter content strategies.
SimilarWeb is a well-known and easy-to-use tool that tracks your competitors’ website traffic and offers relevant statistics about their global rank, traffic sources, referrals, organic search vs. paid search, and much more.
SEOmonitor daily monitors your competitors offers insights about your competition and gives you automatic suggestions on the top competitors for your keyword list.
Track rankings, visibility score, and traffic from your competition with the Competition Insights module.
Plus, it’s very useful for discovering keywords that convert well for you.
Majestic explores in detail your competitors’ website.
It shows the Referring Domains, External Backlinks, Indexed URLs, Class C subnets, Referring IP Addresses, Educational Referring Domains, Educational External Backlinks, Governmental Referring Domains and Governmental External Backlinks for the competitors which you enter.
Oscilloskope is a new player on the market that monitors your competitors across the web’s universe.
Oscilloskope is the ultimate online media monitoring app that tracks multiple platforms, including social media, forums, websites, news, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
Knowing what competitors are doing online can help you craft your content strategy.
Find their backlinks and SEO strategy with Oscilloskope.
Open SEO Stats
If you eat SEO, dream SEO, sleep, repeat, Open SEO Stats is the perfect tool for you.
It’s a Chrome extension that gives you helpful info with the push of a button.
You can see a site’s Alexa ranking, indexed pages, page speed, whois, on page SEO…the list goes on and on.
Open SEO Stats is free to use for everyone.
SEO & Website Analysis (WooRank)
It’s my favorite one because this is a free Chrome extension that gives you important SEO info about your competitors within your browser.
If you’re looking for a free tool that shows you relevant info about the traffic rank, locations, social media listening, social impact, SEO basics: description, headings, inside page analytics, add to your browser this tool.
It’s a free and easy-to-use tool
To view a site search traffic and keywords I use SEMRush.
This tool shows you great data about sites’ search engine traffic based on estimates of keyword traffic and rankings.
In its free form a user is allotted a few (I believe 5) uses per day, and limited information.
However, the data provided in its limited form is quite powerful.
Across the top of the page is a selector that gives you the ability to show data relevant to specific countries.
This is a feature is often overlooked but provides some great insight, especially for those doing business internationally.
This data could provide something as valuable as identifying a ‘goldy keyword’ in another language you may not have been aware of.
Underneath that SEMRush shows the top 5 traffic driving organic and paid keywords.
It identifies such information as to their average position as well as the exact match local search volume for the country chosen and a percentage estimate of traffic that keyword contributes relative to the site as a whole.
Perhaps the most interest part of this free tool is the graph in the left column.
This graph accounts for all estimated search engine traffic and can show you whether the site is increasing or decreasing in popularity, or whether it was hit by a Google algorithm update.
Algorithm updates are usually indicated by a sharp rise or decline in traffic that coincides with published Google updates.
Ahrefs is the closest you can get to an ‘essential’ tool if you are a serious content marketer or SEO.
It will give you tons of insight into your competitors and you will make much better marketing decisions.
Paid Search Budget
One other tool I like to use is KeywordSpy.
While most of the data overlap with SEMRush it has one feature that is quite nice for getting an idea of what your competitors’ ad budget is and the ads they are making.
Keyword Spy is also one of our recommended Keyword research tools.
Links are still the basis for SERP dominance.
Even as social signals gain increased popularity the SEO community, links are still the predominant ranking factor as indicated by Matt Cutts at SMX Advanced in July 2012.
That said, knowing who is linking to your competitors, how your competitors are building links, and if and when they are actively engaging in link building is something of value to you.
The free tools mentioned here will have some overlapping data, but they each present it to you in a unique form.
Get started with SEO competitor analysis
I should mention that there are a lot of tools worth using.
Make sure that any tool you consider has a free trial.
It’s important to make sure it works for your team’s specific goals.
If you can’t find one, contact the company and ask for a test period.
You’d be surprised how many companies can give you a free trial, and even offer to extend it in case you need more time to evaluate the service.
- What tools do you use to spy on your competitors?
- Have you ever used the tools mentioned above?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.