Seven tools for conducting competitor analysis

01 December 2015 Karan Vidal

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the case of competitor analysis, imitation can also be a way to gain the advantage. Taking a leaf out of your competitor’s book means that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel to implement profitable ideas.

The internet has made it easier than ever to keep an eye on your competition. Tracking your competitors is a savvy business choice, as they’ve probably got their eyes on you too. Everyone wants to overtake their competition. What better way to gain the advantage, than to spy on your opponents and beat them at their own game.

The good thing about competitor analysis is that it’s neither illegal nor immoral. In fact, there are plenty of tools that are readily available to help you to find out what your competition is up to. We’ll bring you seven that you should consider adding to your spying box of tricks.

1.Google Alerts

This simple but powerful tool notifies you when your competitors are mentioned online. Google alerts allow you to track as many words as you like. The results will be delivered to your inbox so you’ll be kept up-to-date with your competitors’ goings-ons.

2.SEMRush

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If you’re looking for a tool that focuses on competitor analysis, SEMRush is a good way to go. You can find out information about your competitors from the get-go.

Simply enter your competitor’s website on the home page and hey presto, you’ll be presented with stats about paid and organic traffic, keywords and more. Basic information is free, but you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version (a monthly charge ranging from £46 – £362) to get more in-depth data.

3.Ahrefs

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Similar to SEMRush, this piece of software will display your competitors’ external links. Additionally, you can find out which keywords generate the most traffic, as well as how pay-per-click is used. Ahrefs offer a free trial, thereafter you can choose from one of three monthly price plans starting from $79 (around £65).

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This tool does what it says on the tin. It follows both yours and your competitors’ backlinks and sends the results to your email. To help you make sense of the link quality, you will receive useful information like the authority of the domain. If you decide to use Monitor Backlinks after their 30 day trial, their monthly plans start from $49 (about £32).

5.SpyFu

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Want to find out which keywords your competitors are targeting? If so, SpyFu is for you. This tool will give you the keywords used by your competition for both organic and paid traffic. You’ll be given a list of keywords after you enter your competitor’s URL. SpyFu also gives you new ideas by offering related keywords. Just enter a URL and you’ll get an overview of handy information for free. The paid versions start from around £65 monthly, but less if you pay annually.

6.SocialMention

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If you want to find out when and where your competitors are being mentioned on blogs, social media, images and more, check-out SocialMention
. It also provides useful stats about your competitor’s mentions, like top keywords, hashtags and users. You can set up an RSS for your search term, so you’ll get results as soon as they happen. This tool is free of charge.

7.Topsy

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Are you and your competitors heavily into using Twitter? If so, then Topsy could be the tool for you. You can see tweets dated all the way back to 2006. When you have your list of tweets, you can determine which ones were the most successful and replicate the formula.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the tools that you can use to spy on your competition. With so many different ways to see what your rivals are up to, competitive detective work has never been so much fun.