If you want to be successful, you need to focus not only on what you are doing for your customers, but also what your competitors are doing for them. Your competitors could be meeting a need that you aren’t, or they could be using marketing strategies that help them reach more customers faster. You need to know these things so that you can adjust your strategy quickly to remain a competitor yourself. Otherwise, you’ll see yourself bested and your brand will soon be a thing of memory.
Many online tools are available that can make your work a little easier. Here are our picks for the 10 best online tools to spy on your competition:
1. SEO Book Competitive Research and Keyword Research Gadget
SEO Book is a leader in search engine marketing, and it provides several tools to make the work a little easier. The Competitive Research and Keyword Research Gadget does just what its name suggests — gives you insights into what keywords your competitors are using, see what kind of links they are getting and more. The tool is free!
2. Monitor Backlinks
Looking at a competitor’s links doesn’t just tell you how well your rival is doing; it also gives you ideas for link-building opportunities for your own brand. Monitor Backlinks shows you the links your competitors are getting, and it sorts the information by domain ranking and whether the links are do follow or not. You can get reports sent to your inbox when new links are discovered.
3. SEM Rush
SEM Rush is another popular tool among online marketers. After you enter a competitor’s URL, you get information like organic keywords, search rankings, and ad keywords. You’ll learn both traffic and cost, and you’ll get it all in an easily readable graph format.
Don’t waste time by manually entering a URL every week or more to get updates about a competitor. Use SpyFu to get updates about organic and paid search. The service starts at $79 per month, which some may find a little steep, but you’ll get comprehensive keyword data about all your competitors, including how much they are paying for their PPC campaigns.
5. What Runs Where
Paid search is an important part of SEO that many overlook. What Runs Where gives you information about your competitors’ ad campaigns so you can get more information about what keywords to target and what kind of budget you need to be effective. The service monitors over 40 ad networks, so you’ll get comprehensive information about your competitors’ ad campaigns.
6. Open Site Explorer
Moz is another leader in search marketing, and its Open Site Explorer is a valuable tool for brands of all types and sizes. Open Site Explorer shows you the links that your competitors are getting, including the page and domain authority of those who are linking and the anchor text for the links. You’ll learn about new sites and keywords to target based on the success or failure of your competitors.
Google may have stopped publishing its page rank, but you can still get insights into the overall page health of your own site and those of your competitors with Alexa. Alexa gives you a global rank and a rank in the United States, and it shows you stats like bounce rate, the daily page views per visitor, average time spent on the site, and some demographics.
8. Simply Measured
Despite its “simple” name, Simply Measured gives you an extensive array of data about competitors. The tool provides 35 different reports about a site, including traffic, conversion rates, social media stats, trends, and more. This is one of the most expensive tools around — starting at $500 per month — but it will give you everything you want to know about a site.
9. Link Prospector
Link Prospector is different from many other link-spying tools in that it gives you options to sort by link types, including blog posts, reviews, contests, guest posts and more. Once you look over a few of your competitors, the tool will generate a report that provides suggestions for link-building opportunities for your own site.
Google may get all the attention in search, but it’s not the only player in the game. iSpionage allows you to get keyword information about your competitors for both Google and Bing performance. You’ll learn not only what your competitors are spending on paid search, but also find out their most effective ad copy. Graphs make it easy for you to find the best performing keywords for your competitors and more.
Your competitors won’t try to make it easy for you to get the information about how they are successful, but the search data will. Use these tools to find the information you need to drive your own success and stand out from your competitors.