8 Best Marketing Tools to Spy on Your Competitors’ Website
If you want your website to be a success you need to spy on your competitors’ websites to know what they’re doing right, here are the best marketing tools for the job.
Image Source: Spyfu
Getting the right intelligence is a crucial pillar of success in many things. Even website owners may have heard people saying that you need to know what your competition is doing. If you have no idea why or how to spy on your competitors’ website – you’ve come to the right place.
Why You Need to Gain Information
Before we go deeper into more specific details for peeking at competing websites, let’s start with an illustration. When companies ask for funding, investors want to know who the competitors are – not that the product or service is unique.
Uniqueness is rarely so, and website owners who understand this are a step closer to reality than most. 99.99% of websites aren’t unique, and getting the correct information will contribute to your website’s success.
What You Need to Learn
The things you’ll need to learn from competitor websites are often similar to areas on which your site needs to focus. These are the elements that contribute to getting more web traffic and higher conversion rates, including:
- User Experience
- Site performance
However, in the context of marketing, not all of this information applies. Marketing information is pretty specific, and you need to pay attention to what data you’re gathering to improve your marketing campaigns effectively.
Tools that Can Help Gain the Right Marketing Information
Before looking at the tools you can use, it never hurts to take a glance at the sites you’ve identified as your competitors. Doing this doesn’t mean giving them a quick visual inspection but peeking behind the scenes to see what they might be running on-site.
Once you’ve done that, here are some other tools you can consider:
The first tool that comes to mind when it comes to spying (of sorts) and marketing is Ahrefs. Launched in 2012, Ahrefs was primarily used for backlink analysis. Now, the tool has evolved into a full-fledged Search Engine Optimization (SEO) software by including advanced keyword research and content marketing features.
They offer comprehensive features that can provide a staggering amount of information. If you sign up for a paid subscription, Ahrefs can strip any site naked. Imagine getting your hands on competing sites’ top keywords, links, search volumes, and more.
That said, backlink analysis and selecting link targets continue to be Ahrefs’ biggest strengths. You can leverage this to uncover tons of competitive intelligence data, including what kind of content attracts the highest number of backlinks in your industry. Then, you can aim towards creating similar or better content on your site and ‘steal’ your competitor’s best backlinks too.
This is a premium tool, and you’ll have four paid plans to choose from. The two lower-priced plans (Lite and Standard) allow you to sign up for a 7-day trial for $7. This is frustrating as there aren’t any full-fledged free trials at all. Ahrefs justifies this by wanting to prevent trial abuse.
To me, this is ridiculous, especially when most of their competitors are offering free trials; I don’t see why Ahrefs cannot follow suit.
Like Ahrefs, Semrush is comprehensive yet versatile at the same time. Established in 2008, it is one of the most revered SEO tools in the market. While Semrush has a plethora of useful SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) features, it excels for its outstanding keyword research and competitor research capabilities.
The Semrush Competitive Research toolkit enables you to identify your main organic competitors, their best performing organic keywords, top pages, top paid keywords, traffic stats, and more. With this information in hand, you’ll know the keywords and pages that are driving the highest search traffic to your competitor’s site. You can then benchmark on this.
Semrush reveals your competitors’ advertising strategies in Google Ads. The Social Media Tracker makes it possible for you to monitor your competitors’ social media presence and gain insights on what content is trending in your industry. Their Advertising suite is what makes Semrush sparkle as you can strip tons of advertising data that’s not feasible with most other analysis tools.
Being another premium tool, Semrush is slightly on the expensive side. However, the unique insights you can gain from your competitors make this worth it. There are three paid plans offered. If you’ve never tried Semrush before, you can sign up for the 30-days free trial, which is available for both the Pro and Guru plans.
Everyone wants to create and have content that attracts engagement. You want to do better than your competitor, right? Well, BuzzSumo is one of the best tools available for content marketing when it comes to analyzing your competitors’ content. Launched in 2014, you can use BuzzSumo to discover content ideas in your niche, identify top influencers, and analyze your competitor’s content.
Just input the domain of your competition and see what content is performing best for them. You can also track the key metrics around these posts and find which social networks perform the best. Bear in mind that BuzzSumo shows the domain’s top-performing posts in the last 12 months by default. So, you may need to adjust the filters to get the most relevant data for your research.
As for analyzing your competitors’ backlinks, BuzzSumo goes beyond and feeds you with the backlinks a specific URL has generated. This is helpful, especially when you have similar content on your site; you can then target these sites and get high-quality backlinks.
BuzzSumo has several plans designed to suit all businesses. You can choose to pay monthly or yearly, and they allow you to cancel your subscription at any time. However, you won’t be getting any refunds back for the time left on your subscription. You can try for free for 30 days, though.
SimilarWeb has been around since 2007. It is one of the most widely used competitor analysis tools in the market. This is not surprising as it shows you an accurate picture of your competitors’ traffic, traffic sources, top organic keywords, top paid keywords, and other crucial data points.
And you know what the best part is? You can access this data for free. All you need to do is input your competitor’s domain in the search box, and SimilarWeb generates an in-depth analytics report on your competitor’s site. However, the free package limits you to 5 results per metric.
If you need to know your competitors, you can enter your domain in the search box. The results will show you ten of your top competitors based on similarity and rank.
To spice things up, SimilarWeb offers you insights on Apps too. You can track your App’s average monthly downloads, ratings and monitor its category rankings, from which you can benchmark your App’s performance with that of your competitors.
There’s a free plan and a paid Enterprise plan. As mentioned, there are some limitations to the free plan. However, the competitive intelligence data gathered from the free version is comprehensive enough for most. That said, you’ll surely gain more actionable insights with the Enterprise plan.
Founded in 2005, SpyFu has been in the industry for a considerable amount of time. At first glance, you may feel that the interface looks somewhat dated, but SpyFu is one of the best competitive analysis tools available in the market.
Enter the domain in SpyFu, and you’ll get a solid overall overview of the domain’s top organic keywords, estimated SEO and Pay per Click (PPC) clicks, top keywords, top pages, organic ranking history, backlinks, and more. This information can help you identify your organic and paid competitors, assess their SEO performance, identify their top-ranking pages, monitor their backlinks, and their benefits are limitless.
Overall, SpyFu is a better PPC analysis tool than an SEO tool. This means that you’re more likely to gather actionable insights into your competitors’ PPC strategies than their SEO practices. With SpyFu, you can find out the keyword recommendations, and you can then bid for the same keywords for your campaign to replicate their success.
SpyFu is one of the few tools that offers a free plan that’s worth looking into. That said, like any free plan, there are restrictions to your usage. So, to have unlimited access to all data, you’ll need to subscribe to their paid plans. SpyFu has a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. You can easily cancel anytime you want in the first 30 days via email, live chat, or phone.
SocialMention is relatively new; they started in 2015. It is a free and simple to use social media search tool that aggregates user-generated content from across the internet to help you understand your competitors better. Additionally, it’s a social media monitoring tool that enables you to track and measure what people say about your brand in real-time.
Knowing your competitors’ social media activity is crucial as this allows you to know who’s talking and what they’re talking about your brand or competitors. SocialMention searches across more than 100 social media platforms to get you such results.
All you need to do is input your competitor’s name, product, or any keyword. You’ll then obtain a snapshot of real-time data upon which you can target these sources to drive traffic to your website and generate quality backlinks.
Sentiment analysis is where SocialMention shines. This is where you can find the overall feel of something positive, negative, or neutral and the number of individuals who are mentioning the brand.
Although SocialMention’s interface looks simple, it does help you have a better understanding of your customers’ interaction with your brand, your social media strategy performance, thus allowing you to create better products that have more value.
BuiltWith was established in 2007. It is a website profiler, lead generation, competitive analysis, and business intelligence tool providing technology adoption, eCommerce data, and usage analytics of your competitor.
It is a fact that your competitors can get ahead because they use better tools. This is because better tools translate to better automation and scalable, more robust systems, ultimately creating a leaner and more efficient business.
BuiltWith gives you a free, behind-the-scenes peek at the technologies that empower any website you wish to investigate. All you need to do is input the domain, technology name, or keyword into its search box, and you’ll instantly get a high-level technical overview of your competitor.
From here, you can speedily identify the hidden tools that your competitors are using or uncover massive blind spots for technologies you can use that they may have neglected. Whatever it is, this helps you get ahead.
Being in the marketing industry, one thing’s for sure; you have to know who is linking to your competitors. This is one of the main data points many tools dwell in. After all, having quality backlinks is one of the most important criteria for a higher ranking of a webpage.
Many tools can help provide you with backlink analysis, but they are more on the pricey end. OpenLinkProfiler is a free and excellent quick backlink analysis tool. With OpenLinkProfiler, you can identify the good domains to get links from and the low quality and bad links pointing to your site.
Remember, it is always good to audit all the links shown, as some links may not be all that bad. Also, you’ll be able to track the backlinks to your competitor’s site, view the pages with unique links, identify the types of links, view the top anchor text used by the inbound links as well. All in all, this is a pretty handy tool, and to top things off, it is free.
You need to know what your competitors are doing and where they are in marketing their businesses. This is so that you can do better by benchmarking them and improving your digital marketing strategy.
Remember, learning what works and what doesn’t is a repetitive cycle. This is needed to improve your strategy with proven, data-backed tactics and maximize your business potential.
There are tons of marketing tools that can assist you in gaining the needed competitive insight that every business wants. A good start would be with some of them, as listed above. Of course, you’ll need to know what type of competitive data is suitable for your business now to narrow it down to the tool that suits you best.