Competitive SEO Tools
In this post I will show you the free tools, and thought process I use to dissect quickly and analyze my competitors giving me a curiosity satisfying idea of their search engine strategy and traffic, and new ideas for my strategy.
I focus on two aspects of interest.
- Backlinks: Analyzing the backlinks can give you great insight as to where you can get links if they are actively doing SEO, and the quality and sustainability of their SEO efforts thus far.
Spying on competitors Keywords & Traffic Details :
We all want to know how much traffic our competitors are getting. More than us, less than us – it’s a curiosity we can’t get rid of. Before I show the simple fast way to see this data it is important to note that these tools ESTIMATE traffic based on certain factors and should only be used to gauge trends and industry comparisons. In my experiences, I have found these estimates to be about four times lower than the actual numbers but the trends to be in line
To view a site search traffic and keywords I use SEMRush (semrush.com). This tool shows you great data about sites’ search engine traffic based on estimates of keyword traffic and rankings. In its free form a user is allotted a few (I believe 5) uses per day, and limited information. However, the data provided in its limited form is quite powerful.
Across the top of the page is a selector that gives you the ability to show data relevant to specific countries. This is a feature is often overlooked but provides some great insight, especially for those doing business internationally. This data could provide something as valuable as identifying a ‘goldy keyword’ in another language you may not have been aware of.
Underneath that SEMRush shows the top 5 traffic driving organic and paid keywords. It identifies such information as their average position as well as the exact match local search volume for the country chosen and a percentage estimate of traffic that keyword contributes relative to the site as a whole. Perhaps the most interest part of this free tool is the graph in the left column. This graph accounts for all estimated search engine traffic and can show you whether the site is increasing or decreasing in popularity, or whether it was hit by a Google algorithm update. Algorithm updates are usually indicated by a sharp rise or decline in traffic that coincides with published Google updates.
In a recent article here at ShoutMeLoud, Harsh mentioned about this tool and it looks very promising. Not truly a free tool but with the backlink report you can generate with this tool, I’m sure you will not like to miss it. Like SEMRush, they also offer few reports every day, which may be sufficient for many, but you can always opt for any basic paid plan and get extensive data report.
You can check what all anchor text is being used by your competitor to get links to their site. How they are working on their link building process and how many backlinks they are adding every day. These are some of the features, which make this Backlink checker tool stand out of others.
Paid Search Budget:
One other tool I like to use is KeywordSpy. While most of the data overlaps with SEMRush it has one feature that is quite nice for getting an idea of what your competitors ad budget is and the ads they are making. Keyword Spy is also one of our recommended Keyword research tools.
Competitors Backlink status & are they organic:
Links are still the basis for SERP dominance. Even as social signals gain increased popularity the SEO community, links are still the predominant ranking factor as indicated by Matt Cutts at SMX Advanced in July 2012. That said, knowing who is linking to your competitors, how your competitors are building links, and if and when they are actively engaging in link building is something of value to you. The free tools mentioned here will have some overlapping data, but they each present it to you in a unique form.
OpenSiteExplorer (OSE) digs up a site’s backlink profile and even in the free view displays enough information to satisfy our spying efforts on competitor site. Most notable in my opinion is the anchor text tab, which displays the most prominently used anchor text.