Crush your competition by doing an online competitive analysis: Find out where they get traffic, what SEO tactics they’re using, how they spend money on digital ads, and much more!
Online competition can be downright brutal these days.
The digital frontier is evolving. You’re not just competing for the top spot on Google; you’re also competing on social media, ads, and in general for your audience’s attention.
The only accurate way to determine how to outrank your competition online is to have a comprehensive understanding of where they stand.
The companies that perform best online have an extensive understanding of what their competition is doing, along with their marketplace, and are agile enough to make modifications to their marketing strategy.
The good news is that there are plenty of tools available at your fingertips to help you get the big picture of what your competition is doing online.
Let’s look at 29 you should consider (listed in no particular order) …
1. Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free and easy-to-use tool that will send reports directly to your inbox. You can have notifications set up for every time your competitor is mentioned online.
SimilarWeb is a competitor research and analysis tool that compares website traffic and offers in-depth data insights into both own and competitor’s website traffic volume, such as monthly visits, page views, visit duration, and bounce rates.
We like this one because it’s easy and give loads of great intel. Type a website into the search and learn all about its ranking (global, country, category) in an easy-to-read graph. Check out where leads are coming from and compare yours to your competitors’.
This tool will also provide info regarding those businesses you should be keeping your eye on.
Ahrefs is a robust marketing analysis and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) metrics tool used for URL rankings, backlink analysis, keyword research, competitive analysis, and more.
This tool is more commonly known for its backlink checker that will show you top pages, IPs, and external links regarding your competitors. All of which help you understand your site better for search engine optimization.
SEMrush specializes in comprehensive competitor data, which offers features needed for SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) strategies, covering the basics from SEO, to social media, to paid traffic, and more.
SEMrush evaluates your top competitors’ traffic sources, overall traffic sources, bounce rate, and other key visitor engagement metrics.
WooRank is an easy-to-use website review and SEO analysis tool that helps you monitor your website performance and stay ahead of the competition by providing a competitive analysis of targeted keywords.
Keep track of everything that affects the SEO performance of your website and discover problems that need improvements, such as title tag and meta description.
BuiltWith is a competitor analysis tool that provides website technology trends analysis and competitor intelligence to the user.
The BuiltWith Chrome Extension lets you find out what a website is built with by a simple click on the BuiltWith icon!
iSpionage searches through competitors’ data to find out their keywords and ad copy, which allows you to analyze competitor performance and profitable keywords that will help with guidance in paid and organic campaigns.
Use this tool to identify new competitors and keep you informed of their PPC strategies while also providing a detailed competitor analysis for the last seven years of PPC and SEO data.
Crayon provides you with an entire digital footprint of your competitors.
This tool’s insights provide much more than SEO and PPC campaigns, including insights on online reputation, content, marketing campaigns, news and announcements, and product and pricing changes.
9. SE Ranking
SE Ranking allows you to compare your website against competitors on SEO and PPC and is one of the best rank tracking tools to monitor search engine position regarding your target keywords.
It includes standard tools such as keyword tracking, site audits, competitor research, and backlinks monitoring.
If you’re struggling with content ideas and don’t know what to share, use BuzzSumo.
You can find the content most shared on social media channels, influencers related to particular topics, and get alerts based on keywords, brand name, links, author name, or domain. You can also track competitors and do an analysis based on their content.
11. Google Trends
Google Trends uses real-time data to gauge customer search interest in your brand, your competitor’s brand, industry topics, and more.
Get started by typing in the name of the brand, product, or category you’re interested in.
Once your initial results page loads, click on “Compare” to enter another search term. You can add up to four more search terms.
Browse and track competitors’ keywords, ad copy combinations, and PPC facts and figures with SpyFu. Simply search for a competitor and download their keywords.
This is a valuable tool for monitoring keywords commonly used by competitors targeting in both Google Ads and organic search.
This tool is awesome because it keeps you in the loop with your competition’s blog content. All you do is add the blog name to the tool and you’ll be updated whenever they publish new pieces.
Pro tip: follow all the blogs you love with this so you don’t miss out on new content!
14. Raven Tools
Raven Tools lets users research, track, analyze and optimize their SEO campaigns.
This tool provides you with a backlink analysis of competitors that will guide you in identifying good backlink sources for your website.
SISTRIX monitors the SEO, SEM, and link-building progress of your domain as well as your competitors.
Using this tool helps you spot SEO and SEM actions, analyze them against your competitors and make the right decisions. You are provided insights into current trends and able to trace the development of past projects.
DataForSEO is another competitor analysis tool that allows users to compare SEO metrics of their website with competitors.
It provides comprehensive SEO data, in-depth traffic analysis, along with six months of traffic metrics history.
Serpstat is an online platform that provides its users with competitor analysis, advertising campaign solutions, market intelligence, and content market creation.
Their URL analysis feature lets you find competitors for each category page of your website and allows you to compare up to 200 domains for various metrics such as keywords.
18. LXR Marketplace
LXR Marketplace provides free SEO tools for small businesses that generate website sitemaps and competitor analysis.
This tool also allows you to compare your SEO performance and keyword analysis with that of your competitors.
19. SEO PowerSuite
SEO PowerSuite is a comprehensive package of four SEO tools that can be installed on your computer, each with a specific aspect of SEO that provides everything you need to get top search engine rankings and boost traffic.
The four unique applications offered with the software package include Website Auditor, SEO Spyglass, Rank Tracker, and Link Assistant.
20. Cognitive SEO
Cognitive SEO provides insights into your competitors’ keywords, backlinks, and content strategy, which will help guide you in your own strategy development.
It offers an extensive competitor research tool, including ranking analysis, keyword research, and content optimization features.
This tool is great for knowing where and when you and your competition are popping up on social media. If you see your competitors somewhere you’re not, do yourself a favor, and get there, too.
This free extension tool packs a punch with keen insight into a keyword’s monthly search volume, CPC, and competition data. You’ll find competitor strategies that work and then be able to adapt and improve on them to maximize your results.
This organizational tool will make life easier for you when it comes to researching your competition. You can save webpages to review and research later, easily save information that you want to use at a later date, and keep track of competitor data in one safe, easy-to-navigate space.
24. Monitor Backlinks
This tool is perfect for finding out where your competitor’s backlinks are and that info is sent directly to your inbox for super-easy and convenient data. You’ll also learn all about the link: high and low domains and if the link is a follow or no-follow.
You can also view the dashboard to compare your results with your competitor’s.
25. Link Explorer
This is a well-used tool because it generates great data on who is linking to your competition. Learn about PageRank, authority, and anchor text, then compare the link data for a simple way to learn who you should be connecting with.
26. What Runs Where
Interested in buying ads and not sure where to start? Start here. This tool will alert you whenever your competition buys a new ad or puts new content out. Track their ads and content, and use that information to beat their performance.
27. Sprout Social
You gotta use this tool to learn all about who your ideal audience is and where they are. You’ll be able to compare social metrics, engagement patterns, content publishing, and more. Check out what hashtags you should use (and the hashtags your competition is using), too. Then go find all those people who love your brand and want to hear from you!
28. The Search Monitor
This tool is all about competitor research and allows you to look at affiliates and trademarks, and it gives you competitor results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, and Baidu. That’s a lot of valuable insight. You can also find out about their blogs, websites, shopping, and more.
Make the most out of your research
Analyze your actual competition
If you’re a local pizza parlor that just opened, don’t beat yourself up because you’re not dominating the internet like Papa John’s or Domino’s.
Of course, you can look at what the big players in your industry are doing (how could you not), but when you assess your competition, first focus on those of a similar size and target audience as yours.
Use more than one tool
Don’t just use one tool. Get multiple sets of data from different sources to help you get the whole picture.
Go directly to the source
Visit their website and social media accounts.
- What types of images are they using?
- Are they using verbiage and terms that you haven’t thought of including?
- How’s their online reputation? Reviews?
- What are they doing for lead generation on their website? Any lead magnets?
- Are they blogging? If so, how often? How long are their blog posts?
- Do they have a chat feature on their website?
- Do they have push notifications?
- Is their site optimized for mobile?
- Does their site load quickly?
- Do they have an SSL certificate installed?
- What are their overall marketing position strategies?
When you visit their social media accounts, determine what types of content perform best for their brand by looking at the number of likes, comments, etc.
SWOT it out
Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis with each of your competitors. You can grab your copy here. Or, download the Online Competitive Analysis Toolkit.
When you take the time to do a SWOT analysis, you’ll be armed with a stable strategy for prioritizing the work you need to do to grow your business.
Create a plan of action
While these tools can be beneficial, to see improvement fruit, you must take action. Commit to implementing a plan of action that matches your findings!