Use these eight competitive intelligence tools to learn about and get ahead of your competitors.
Gaining a competitive advantage in today’s fast-moving business world is harder than ever before. Maintaining that advantage in digital marketing is even more difficult. For starters, you need to know what your competitors are doing. You also need to know how to stay one step ahead of them.
Competitive intelligence tools give you a snapshot into your competitors’ digital marketing strategy, including how they execute SEO, social media strategy, advertising, and content marketing. These solutions, ranging from free and basic to enterprise appropriate, will help you take your business to the top of the heap — and stay there.
1. Open SEO Stats
The Open SEO Stats Chrome browser extension gives you a free and fast snapshot of a competitor’s domain. You’ll see their Alexa, Quantcast, and Compete rankings in addition to getting a quick overview of their backlink profile and the number of pages on their site. It’s great for those times when you see a potential competitor website in passing and wonder how it stacks up next to yours and whether you should keep an eye on it for the future.
Have you ever looked at a competitor’s website and felt hopeless, like yours could never compare? Paste the domain URL into BuiltWith and get a rundown of every program that goes into running that site. From its content management framework to its email integration to its advertising partners, you’ll get a glimpse of what goes into making a better website. Then, you can incorporate those alternatives into your own domain.
iSpionage helps you start to understand your competitors’ search marketing strategies by identifying the keywords for which their sites most effectively rank. You can discover the best keywords for your industry using the iSpionage Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI). iSpionage also analyzes ads to show you which perform the best, so you can imitate the strategies that are working for the competition. You can use the free version of iSpionage or get more features for prices ranging from $29 to $299 per month.
You may have used BuzzSumo’s free services to discover the top-performing content related to your topic areas, but you can also use BuzzSumo’s paid tools to gain competitor intelligence. Discover which pieces of content have performed best for your competitors and which social networks are giving them the highest engagement.
For example, you can analyze a competitor’s domain to find out what types of content they publish, filtering by elements like topic and publication time period, and you can create alerts so you’re notified when they publish new content. In addition to competitive intelligence, BuzzSumo is a great tool for content marketing. Prices range from $99 to $699 per month.
SEMrush provides a dashboard snapshot of a particular URL, including its top-performing keywords and information about which sites link to the URL. Pay per click is where SEMrush really shines; it provides estimates of what competitors pay for certain AdWords keywords, and its Keyword Difficulty rankings help you decide which keywords can deliver the best ROI for your advertising dollar. In addition to its free service, SEMrush offers monthly plans ranging from $99 to $399.
Alexa has more to offer than just domain rankings based on engagement and traffic. Its Audience Overlap tool helps you identify up-and-coming competitors who may not yet be on your radar. Audience Overlap can also help you identify guest blogging opportunities, select sites for media buys, and develop partnerships. With its built-in SEO audit tools and keyword-tracking capabilities, Alexa is a good bargain for small to mid-sized businesses, with monthly prices ranging from $9.99 to $149 per month following a free seven-day trial.
Using SimilarWeb is almost like having a Google Analytics dashboard for your competitors’ domains. You can see traffic numbers, referral sources, geographic traffic origins, and engagement metrics, like time on page. Additionally, you can go deeper than just their domain to learn about their audience, what interests their audiences, and which websites have similar audiences to theirs. This research can help you uncover partnership opportunities or develop relevant content ideas. You can even investigate data from your competitors’ mobile apps. Contact for pricing.
TrackMaven delivers personalized metrics and reports for tracking competitors based on metrics that matter most to you. You can set up a feed of your competitors’ activities, including alerts when they publish new content. Over time, you can track their performance on multiple channels and compare it to your performance. You can also test multiple messaging strategies your content and analyze which performs better. Contact TrackMaven for pricing.
Competitive intelligence, like all of digital marketing, isn’t a one-and-done process. With the right tools, and with a commitment to ongoing monitoring and adjusting, you’ll have what it takes to stay ahead of the competition.