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19 Oct 2015

14 Tools for Gaining Insights on your Competitors

By Ronda Weaver, MarCom Sponsorship Chair

One of the first things I do with new clients is a competitive audit to analyze what their competition is doing, especially as it applies to inbound and online marketing. This can help you discover new markets, provide insights into content that needs to be developed, and clarify your unique value proposition.

Obviously this always starts with a few good google searches and a thorough review of known competitors’ websites. Not sure who your competitors are? Here are a couple tools & tricks to help you discover them or to make sure you’re aware of any new entrants.

  1. In Google’s search bar type in “related:www.YourCompanysAddress.com” without the quotations (and with your own company’s web address).

  2. Similar Sites shows you blogs and sites that frequently write the same content as your website. Depending on how deep you want to go you can also check SimilarWeb and SimilarPages. Smaller sites frequently do not bring back any data so, if you’re just starting out, you might try to put in a larger competitors website.

  3. My newest favorite is SEMrush, which provides insight into your own website (keywords, backlinks & such) but also includes a list of competing webpages allowing you to see what your competitors’ best keywords are and discovering organic competitors as well.

Once I have a good list of competitors (and have thoroughly reviewed their websites), I add their websites into:

  1. HubSpots free marketing grader tool: provides information on blogging, social media, SEO, lead generation, and mobile. It’s handy to do both your own website as well as your competitors.

  2. Compete: to get an estimate of their website traffic (by product or website) and traffic sources, growth trends, and demographic information when available. Note that the free version is very limited in information.

  3. Alexa: where I especially like to look under “who visits your website” for demographic data.

  4. Spyfu: will give you another list of competitors as well as their paid & organic keywords. This is very similar to SEMrush that I mentioned above. I really like SpyFu’s section on competitors AdWords history.

  5. Moz has a free tool called Open Site Explorer that tells you the page authority (PA) & domain authority (DA) of your competing web pages while also providing information regarding their inbound links.

  6. Quick Sprout will allow you to check whose site loads faster and gives each website an “SEO Score” (although I’m not sold on the numbers they provide). It also provides a quick views of the social media status (shares & likes), a back links counter, the number of indexed pages, and keyword information. And they provide suggestions.

  7. Ahrefs: to check back links to the site. Take particular interest in the type of links they’re obtaining, the type of keywords (brand anchor or exact match), and is their trend upwards?

  8. Lastly, I use Google Keyword Planner to get ideas from my competitors, specifically looking for long-tail keywords.

A social media review is also necessary and starts with a quick review of competitors social media sites to see which platforms they’re using and track the number of fans/followers. I also note how active they are on that platform as a benchmark (e.g. are they tweeting 3 times a day and are they consistently at the same time?). Note that the suggestions below also provide SEO content but also have a social component to them I’ve listed them separately.

  1. SiteAlerts will also provide information on how often you (and your competitors, should you choose to check them too) are getting social mentions and what keywords are associated with those mentions.

  2. Buzzsumo will tell you which content on any topic or competitor gets the most buzz.

  3. Majestic is also well known for its SEO tools however I felt I had already added enough above so wanted to highlight their tools for analysts which enable you to see a twitter user’s most influential tweets or see what pages on a competitor’s site have the most links.

I hope you’re able to find at least a couple new tools to try out. Please let us know in the comments below if you have one that should be on this list!