04 Jul 13 competitor analysis tools you need to be using
No matter what industry you specialise in, there’s always someone else gunning for your customers at the same time. The best way to get ahead of them? Know what they’re up to at all times. That’s where competitor analysis comes in.
So get yourself a brew and get ready, it’s a big one. Here we explore 13 of our favourite competitor analysis tools that you can use to overtake and outrank your competition.
If you’re working in the realms of SEO, then you’ll undoubtedly have heard of a site called SEMRush. It has a number of useful tools in its arsenal including keyword researcher and traffic analytics, but one of its best features is their competitor analysis.
Just by inputting a competitor’s URL you can see backlinks and which keywords they are appearing for, but it can also pull together complex reports that compare your business and theirs side-by-side. Also by showing you which keywords your competitors are focusing on it can help spark new content strategy direction and ideas.
We highly recommend their Competitive Positioning Map – it instantly shows you what your competitors are up to based on their organic keywords and natural traffic. Their Organic Competitors Report will also show you metrics such as common keywords and competition level to help you identify gaps to plug.
Another great choice in the SEO department is Ahrefs. Not only does it show what your competitors are ranking for, it also gives you a (pretty good) estimate of how much organic traffic each of those keywords are receiving, and also which pieces of content on their website are performing best. You can also pull out domains side-by-side to see content gaps and track keywords over time to see real-time performance.
One advantage over competitors themselves is that they are constantly working to add new tools. Most recently they’ve added keyword research features for YouTube and Amazon, which we can’t wait to get our teeth stuck into.
Some of Ahrefs’ other features include…
- Backlink audit
- Link opportunities
- Keyword research
- Keyword tracking
- Organic visibility tracking
- Brand management
Another plus? It’s gentle on the bank account, too.
If there’s one area you’re going to want to have top-notch competitor analysis, it’s social media. Every company needs a presence, and it’s a place where businesses are always trying to one up each other. In today’s marketplace, where even the most obscure niches have tough competition, it’s important for you to shout loudest.
So we’ll kick off with Sprout Social. Sprout is a fantastic tool for helping to plan and automate your future social media posts, but that’s not all it can do.
Sprout’s competitor tools pulls data from the social media accounts of any competitors that you choose. No one wants to check Facebook or Instagram everyday and input the changing numbers into a spreadsheet, and now you don’t have to. Sprout Social lets you compare these changes side-by-side and over time. It allows you to have your fingers constantly on the pulse of social media.
Content may be King, but there’s very little point in producing a piece that nobody is going to read. The content team here at The Audit Lab are constantly looking for fresh ideas backed up by evidence showing that people are interested in this content, but how do they find this out?
One of our favourite content tools is Buzzsumo. Simply type in a keyword and it’ll show you the top performing pieces of content for that keyword and where they live on the Internet. It’ll also reveal how many times it has been shared on social media and on what platforms.
From this you’ll discover exactly who your biggest competitors are in terms of content production, so you know who you’re up against, but you’ll also start to see if there are any gaps. Or is there something already out there but you know you can do better? Whether you’re spying on the competition or looking to spark some ideas, we’d highly recommend Buzzsumo.
First of all, this bad boy is completely free. Second of all we love it because all you have to do is input a URL into the search bar and you will immediately be presented with a breakdown of backlinks that are pointing to that website.
But that’s not all. Down the left hand side you’ll also see a number of different tools that allow you to dig deeper. There’s a whole host of ways to examine your links, including but not limited to…
- Pages on site being linked to
- Countries linking from
- What industry the linking sites work in
- Specific domains
- Link contexts
- Link age
Not bad for a free tool, eh?
When it’s done right and has exciting content, email marketing can be fantastic. But even we’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t exactly the most interesting when it comes to competitor analysis. Thankfully, Mailcharts gets this and has designed its tool to make the task as pain-free as possible.
Mailcharts works by collecting emails from competing campaigns which you can then examine and get ideas for your future ones. Not only does it pull in subject lines, but it also grabs pieces of data such as send frequency and compares it directly with your own. Could you be sending out mail more often? Should you? Mailcharts will help you decide.
It also uses the huge library of data that it has at its disposal such as timing, frequency and subject line length, to help you tweak and improve your own practices.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest benefits of competitor analysis tools is that they do all of the legwork for you. While you can easily find out how many unique visitors your own content generates each month, it’s a little trickier to do that for your competitors.
Similarweb is a more unique competitor analysis tool as it allows you to dig into the data behind not just a website, but also an app or a specific platform. It also lets you benchmark yourself against specific competing businesses, standard, but you can also keep an eye on your wider industry and take a look at your competition’s analytics.
It can also help reveal potential opportunities that you may be missing out on, whether that’s leads or partners. You can also pick up on new and emerging trends, and even put consumer intent and customer journeys under the microscope. It does all this by collecting tonnes of raw data, collating and organising, processing using algorithms and presenting it back to you in a readable format.
If you haven’t heard of Moz then you’ve definitely been living under a very large rock. It’s one of our go-to tools on an almost daily basis, and some of our team would definitely say the MozBar is a must-have for their arsenal.
The MozBar is a browser extension that gives a quick-glance view of how authoritative sites are in Google’s eyes. It automatically updates depending on what website you are currently viewing. The main focus of the MozBar is Domain Authority (DA), a metric of Moz’s own design, which is a score that shows how likely a website is to rank in Google by taking things such as number of backlinks and the quality of those backlinks into account. The higher your DA, the better your site.
You don’t need to do anything to use it, just install and go. Of course you can use Moz to dig a little deeper, but the MozBar allows you to visit a competitor’s site and see their DA, amongst other things, quickly and easily.
Majestic is a competitor analysis tool that our team often uses hand-in-hand with Moz and their DA. It gives you a detailed look at external links and anchor text that is pointing to specific websites, either yours or your competitors. Take a peek at what your competitors are up to by analysing who is linking to their website and where those links are pointing to – is there something similar your content and PR team could do to get your own site linked there?
By understanding link profiles, both your own and your competitors’, it allows you to tailor future strategies to fill these gaps and gain better coverage.
10. Quick Search
Quick Search is a tool that does exactly what it says on the tin; it quickly gives you an overview of the coverage you and your competitors are receiving online from all sorts of sources including news sites, blogs and social networks, but also otherwise overlooked areas, such as forums. You can find out who is talking about you, what they’re saying about you, what people are saying in the wider industry, and what’s currently trending in your sector.
You can compare multiple brands at once and see results back in real-time, with Quick Search boasting a 90% accuracy rate. See audience demographics such as location, gender and mentions at the click of a mouse, and dig into trends and topics to see the stories that are gaining the most attention.
11. Social Blade
If you’re in a heated industry with bigger fish to fry, then one social competitor analysis tool we’d recommend is Social Blade. It looks at the biggest social platforms out there – like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, amongst others – and keeps track of follower counts on a day-to-day basis. It can also be used to track celebrities and influencers, and can give you interesting insights into emerging trends.
Social Blade works by applying a “grade” to each brand’s social media platform depending on the engagement their posts get. You can also compare social presences side-by-side to see where competitors stack up against each other, giving you an idea of where you can slip in and take the lead.
In order for Owletter to work, you need to sign up to your competitors’ email lists. Once you’ve done that, it does the hard work for you. It takes a screenshot of the emails that you receive, stores and analyses them and lets you know if they find any important insights they think you should take a look at.
There’s a number of different insights that Owletter can give you, including but certainly not limited to…
- If your competitors follow a sending schedule
- Do they have a spam reputation?
- Does their send schedule change depending on the season?
- What topics are trending
- Are there any opportunities you haven’t taken advantage of yet?
From there they’ll help you optimise your future email campaigns by helping you decide which days and times are going to get you the most engagement.
And last but certainly not least, we take a look at a competitor analysis tool for paid ads. This tool takes a deep dive look and analyses loads of different aspects of your PPC campaigns, such as which keywords a particular brand is targeting on AdWords. You can also see who else is competing for PPC ads on certain topics along with an estimation on their projected monthly budget.