Keeping tabs on the competition is not an entirely unheard of strategy. Why governments do it all the time for various reasons. Of course, that’s an extreme example– doing it in an online space for business purposes is a lot safer. It’s also a lot easier to track your competitors. All you need are some software made by other companies.
Now, before we dive into which of these tools should you use, let’s explore the ethics of the practice. Actually, to track your competitors is more of a question of practicality than ethicality; it’s not like they’re hiding stuff. Tracking your competitor gives you a chance to see which ideas work best. Moreover, your competitor isn’t perfect; they’re bound to make mistakes– mistakes you’ll want to avoid upon seeing.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that you get to gauge what people want; since they’re your competitor it’s safe to assume you attract the same kind of audience. Really, tracking your competitor will do more good than harm for your website or blog. Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to see which tools can help you set up a “spy network” in the blogging community.
By now, Google having its own software for all occasions is a standard. Google also has its own website monitoring tool called Google Alerts. It’s every bit as nifty as Google apps go. You simply go to their website and you’ll be presented with topics or subjects you want to be alerted to, take your pick.
You can also ask for alerts for domains in case your competitors or whichever website your tracking gets mentioned somewhere or gains traction. Additionally, you can use it to monitor keywords and see just how many competitors you have and what they’re up to whenever they use a specific keyword. You can do all this for free.
SEM Rush is one of the most powerful tools a blogger can use to keep track of many things not the least of which is their competitor’s performance. It’s actually one of the best-known tools to help you track your competitors. You can input the URL or name of your competitor’s website and SEM Rush will show you extensive details regarding their content and activity which it also analyzes for you.
It has a premium plan but you’re not compelled to go beyond the free version unless you want more information than ranking, keywords and traffic estimate. Even in the free version, SEM Rush presents the data to you in a visual format so you’ll have no problems further analyzing it. The premium plans, however, are a little too expensive at $99.95/month at the cheapest.
If you want something that’s less of a standalone web tool and more like a plugin, SEO Book might just be the thing for you. You can integrate SEO Book and acquire your information easier and with less hassle. SEO Book does specialize on analyzing a particular web page or website.
Data points like site age, related keywords, and quantity of links can aid you in studying your competitor’s domain. You’ll also know where your competitors rank so you can pick their best keywords and utilize those to full effect. Setting it up on your website is also easy; all you have to do is paste a bit of code.
SimilarWeb can be a great tool if you and your competitor are battling it out on an international scale. That’s because SimilarWeb has an international ranking tool in addition to the local and category ranking. Moreover, you can view the weekly number of visitors a website has over the past six months.
This number also shows leads from social, search, referral, and more. What SimilarWeb can win you over is its suggestions on which website you might want to be tracking. It will give you some names based on your search so you can see what those sites are up to.
Sometimes you’ll realize that your competitors have other ventures and resources that they also use to full effect when promoting their website. One way you can check which is theirs is with SpyOnWeb. This one’s similar to Google Alerts where simply enter a search query, in this case, it’s a website URL, analytics code, or IP Address. Afterward, you’ll be presented with any domain connected to the one you entered.
You can use this to find domain information and see how your competitor(s) uses different domains to full effect such as diversifying their audience and covering multiple niches. You can even check their most popular website and take your cues from there if the niche is right.
Ads are one of the best ways to generate your website income and they can also be tracked. There exists an international ad network which you can monitor using What Runs Where. It’s primarily a tool for helping businesses make the right decisions. However, you can also use it to track your competitors or their business website.
Once you’ve set up a list of competitors you want to be tracked, the tool will alert you every time they publish a new ad or even a new content. You can then check if that ad or content does well and get a general idea of what works and what doesn’t. It’s not free though and can be expensive at $299/month for the Basic Plan.