Yes, we’ve all Googled ourselves. And if you own a business, you have most definitely Googled your business. In fact, you probably Google it all the time. And the same 2 guys always show up ahead of you, right? Well, now it’s time to spy on your competitors and use SEO (search engine optimization) to get there!
What You Will Gain From Reading On…
- How to look at articles and mentions of your competitors
- Find out what keywords they are ranking for online
- Figure out how to rank ahead of a competitor on Google
- Use free and paid tools to measure competitors’ data points
- Act on data points by making meaningful changes to your site
Why Is It Important To Figure Out Competitors’ Keywords?
Ranking is all about doing better than your competitors. Find out what they’re ranking for and you can start ranking for it too! When you get to the top, you have to constantly monitor competitors and refine your pages and look for content or product gaps and opportunities for improvement. If you need help along the way, contact AwesomeDynamic.com for free SEO and "spy on your competitors' websites" advice.
10 Tools to Spy On Your Competitors' Websites
Google Alerts (FREE)
Simple to use. Type in your e-mail, competitor’s URL, and a few more pieces of basic information and you’re well on your way to becoming a spy. You then get any mentions, articles, news, and snippets about your competitor’s every move right to your inbox. You can even set it up for specific keywords or on your own website to track any online mentions.
SEM Rush (PAID)
Great for checking:
- Organic keywords
- Ad keywords
- Anchor text
- Where competitors land in search pages
- Competition traffic
- CPC (cost-per-click) research
- Much more info than you’ll ever need
Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool (FREE with account sign up)
Just add the domain of your competitor or a specific product or service page. And ouila! You see their strongest words. Check extracted from webpage box under columns for excellent results.
GT Metrix measures website speed. Here’s how to check if speed is the reason you lag behind your competitors in the search results.
Step 1: Enter in your domain.
Step 2: Enter your competitors’ domains.
Step 3: Compare the average site load time to see if you’re lagging behind.
Step 4: Fix it! Make customers happy with fast pages.
TIP: The standard is a 3 second load time for each page. Make sure especially your home and product/service pages are under 3 seconds. However, slim down those pages even further and skim off any code or plugins you absolutely do not need, especially above the fold of the website. Even a 1 second decrease can lead to better stats which translates to higher rankings.
Open Site Explorer by Moz Tools (PAID & FREE)
Easily view what words your competition is currently doing well for online. Also good for generating backlink ideas. Excellent tool to spy on competitors' websites.
Step 1: Enter in competitor URL
Step 2: Go to anchor text and distribution tab
Step 3: Rank for the same words but do better aka more pictures, more media, more content, higher quality content, answer customer’s real questions, provide valuable data on your site, etc.
Keyword Spy (FREE & PAID)
All of the power is in your fingertips. Just type in the keywords/keyword phrases that you want to rank for into the magic machine and out pops your competitors’ URLs. It’s called the “organic competitors report”.
Data Geek Method (FREE Tool with Download & PAID version)
A new way to use Excel to spy on your competitors' websites?! Yes! Awesome! Okay, now that we’ve found your inner spreadsheet geek, let’s get down to business.
Step 1: Google your competition/the keyword you want to rank for (just like you do every morning)
Step 2: Download and install the “SEO Tools for Excel” add on.
Step 3: Add in the top 10 competitors and your own website.
Step 4: Take a look at both the on page and off page data points.
Step 5: Compare and look for patterns
Step 6: Apply to your site and make changes based on real data
Video preface: Webmaster Tools has since been updated to Google Search Console. This video is from 2012 but stresses the importance of auditing, updating, and monitoring both content and links to stay on top of Google.
Screaming Frog Seo Spider (FREE)
Crawl competitor websites and spy on your competitors' websites for keywords. Find out their keywords and much more.
Now you’re armed with so many ways to get spying on those competitors. C’mon 007, you can do it!
9. SerpStat (Limited FREE Stats & PAID)
Identify gaps in keywords and generates question SEO content. Great for answering FAQ for the knowledge graph. Many in-depth features. Specifically, try the tree view, top pages by topic, missing keywords in URL/domain analysis, search suggestions, and cluster search.
Answer The Public (FREE)
Easy way to identify questions that actual REAL people are actually REALLY typing into Google. Great way to get to the top of Google’s knowledge graph above the first organic result and above ads. Forewarning: There will be a strange old guy in an itchy sweater looking at you when you visit the site.
Step 1: Enter in a keyword
Step 2: Choose from the generated list of questions (can be modified for humans)
Step 3: Write an original but straight to the point answer (bullets are good too)
Step 4: Mark up with Schema