Take Your Competition Down!

admin | Thursday July 9, 2015

How To Read Your Enemy's Mind: 21 Competitor Research Tools To Take Them Down

Do you want to know exactly what your competitors are thinking? Exactly what they are doing?

Do you want to be steps ahead of the game?

Are you dying to know your opponents’ strategies?

If so, then we’re here to tell you: YOU CAN!

Sick competitor research tools exist for you to gather intel on your competitors, ultimately allowing you to become the frontrunner of your industry. With these tools you can:

  • Improve customer retention by getting inspiration for new ways to connect with customers.
  • Establish a benchmark for you to reach by finding out what your competitors are doing better than you.
  • Look under the hood of their search and marketing optimization strategy to see what you can legally steal.
  • Plan how to beat the competition based on data rather than assumptions.

There are dozens of marketing tools to monitor your competitors. Below, we have outlined a few of the big ones in 4 different categories of competitor research. Once you know who the competition is, use these to track different areas.

Keyword Monitoring Tools

1. iSpionage looks at how your competitors are advertising with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo search marketing tools. You can view ads and track spending. It also includes SEO competitive research and a social monitoring tool for Twitter and Facebook.

2. KeywordSpy helps with competitive keyword discovery. You can find out how much your competitors are spending on AdWords and discover which combinations of keywords and advertising copy are working for them.

3. KeywordCompetitor helps you spy on organic and paid keywords, ads, and landing pages for your competitors, with daily updates in rankings. The site also has tools for monitoring competitors and working with affiliate marketing.

4. SEMrush lets you monitor competitors’ organic keyword positions, find relevant long tail keywords, see your competitors’ PPC ads, and more. It also includes SEO tools. There’s a wealth of data available from the free search bar on the homepage, though you will have to upgrade ($69.95 per month) for more queries and results.

5. SpyFu lets you see up to six years of data on your competitors’ keywords, ranking, and ads helping you with SEO and PPC advertising. There’s a limited free tool, though you have to subscribe for access to advanced competitive intelligence.

6. The Search Monitor looks at paid and organic search and even how you look against your competition in comparison-shopping engines. This multifunctional tool also monitors affiliates and trademarks as well as who’s discussing your brand. It starts at $299 per month.

Web Ranking Tools

How are people interacting with your competitors’ sites? The next set of tools provides website competitive analysis on consumer data to help companies improve their targeting in different segments. A free search gets you data on unique visitors, rank, and competitive rank, but you’ll need to sign up for more in-depth tools.

7. Alexa has been tracking global web traffic for a couple of decades and using it to provide website ranking on a global and country basis. The traffic sources and other data can help with benchmarking your site against your competitors.

8. Compete describes itself as a “digital intelligence” tool which uses online consumer behavior.

9. SimilarWeb is a competitive analytics-monitoring tool that provides data on traffic sources, top content, social mentions, and more. There’s a lot of data available for free, including referral sites, search traffic, key topics and more. Pro packages start at $99 per month.

Link Popularity and Backlink Tools

All of the tools you use to check who’s linking to your site can be used to research your competitors’ backlinks. All you have to do is plug in their URL. There are dozens of backlink checkers out there, but here are three excellent ones:

10. Ahrefs provides a wealth of information on external links, referring domains and IPs, top pages, main anchor text, linked domains, and more. There’s a limited free account covering 3 reports and 10 results, but for fuller data you’ll need to upgrade to the $79 per month package.

11. Majestic Site Explorer provides a detailed link profile for any site. In addition to working with current data, you also can check its historical index to see results over time. There is a limited free version.

12. Open Site Explorer describes itself as a search engine for links. It provides information on page and domain authority, linking domains, anchor text used, and more; you also can compare link profiles for up to five sites. It is free, though signing up for Moz Analytics gives you access to (much) more data.

Monitoring and Mentions

Often recommended for monitoring mentions of your own brand, social media monitoring tools work equally well to see what people are saying about your competitors.

13. Google Alerts saves you the trouble of visiting the site to repeatedly perform the same search. Set up an alert and have the latest news about your competitors delivered to your inbox. It monitors news, blogs, video, discussions, and books, and it is free.

14. Mention combines media and social monitoring. It tracks content published on web pages, news sites, blogs, and forums in 42 languages. It provides real time social alerts and has an excellent mobile app. There’s a free plan, with the upgrade starting at $6.99 per month.

15. Social Mention provides real time search of brand mentions on blogs, microblogs, images, videos, questions, and bookmarking sites. This free web search tool also provides a broad brush sentiment analysis.

16. Talkwalker offers a service similar to Google Alerts, giving you the choice of monitoring news, blogs, discussions, or everything. You also can monitor content in different languages. It is free.

17. Topsy allows you to search tweets from 2006 forward, looking at links, photos, videos, influencers, and more. The free online search can provide a snapshot of a competitor’s Twitter presence, but you will need the pro version for real time results and alerts, reports, and identification of key influencers.

18. You also can use Twitter’s own search tool and save your searches, though the basic search doesn’t provide the depth that Topsy has.

Other ways to read your competitors’ minds:

Don’t forget that there are three more ways you can find out what your competitors are doing, and they are all free.

19. Follow them on social media, add them to a list or interest group, and track what they are talking about.

20. Subscribe to their blogs so you can see what kind of content they are covering and check out announcements of upcoming launches.

21. Sign up for their newsletter, the best way to see how they are targeting your ideal customers.

What tools have worked the best for you? What is it that you are most interested in learning more about? Let us know!