In my role as a consultant, one of the first steps I take when working with clients is to assess how effective their competitors are online. Understanding how you compare to your competition and evaluating how well they use digital tools is crucial. From a student perspective these tools also provide valuable information for those studying CIM courses and working on their digital marketing assignments. To help with this analysis, let’s explore some tools and techniques that can be used to analyze your competitors.
Google Search for Competitor Analysis
Using Google can provide valuable insights. For example, you can find out how many pages of your competitors are being indexed by Google by using the “site:” command. For instance, searching for [site:www.innocentdrinks.co.uk] will show you the number of pages indexed for Innocent Drinks. You can also search for a particular site to see if it mentions certain keywords on their pages using the query [site:moz.com hummingbird]. This same “site:” query can also help you evaluate the effectiveness of your competitors’ page titles.
You can also use the “related:” query to find related or similar sites to your competitors. This query casts a wide net and is very useful. The “allintitle:” command is another helpful search query. It allows you to find sites that reference your competitor(s) in their page titles. Similarly, the “allintext:” search command can be used to search the articles themselves (body text).
The “allinanchor:” query allows you to explore whether your competitor or their keywords appear in “anchor text” from other sites. You can use this query to find out which sites are linking to your competitors. (6 tools)
Google Trends for Competitor Analysis
Google Trends is another tool that can be used to analyze how your competitor compares against yourself or other organizations in terms of search terms. You can compare search term traffic for your competitor against other organisations, and even discover top locations for each query. (1 tool)
Google Keyword Planner for Competitor Analysis
Google Keyword Planner is an excellent tool for identifying the types of keywords that you can be using to optimize your website. It’s also useful for analyzing the keywords that your competitors are using on their website. By typing in the name of your competitor into the specified field, Google can provide you with this information. (1 tool)
SEMRush is a valuable tool for analyzing the organic and PPC effectiveness of your competitors. The free version provides valuable information such as search volume, organic and PPC keywords, and even competitors of your competitors.
Checking out page source can also be useful. Although meta keywords are not important from a Google perspective, they still offer insights into how your competitors see themselves and the keywords they prioritize. (1 tool)
Open Site Explorer is another tool that SEO companies often use to identify links pointing to competitors’ websites. This can help you identify opportunities or prompt ideas for link building for your own website. (1 tool)
Facebook Ads Library
Facebook ads reach just over 2 bilion people which represents around 33% of thr global population. But did you know that you can use Facebook Ads Library to take a look at the ads that your competitors have created to learn what format they using for advertising, the style of writing and course of action and even when they advertise on Facebook, Instagram or both. (1 tool)
Lastly, Social Bearing is an excellent resource for analyzing how competitors or other companies are using Twitter in terms of engagement, sentiment, hashtags, and much more. It’s a great way to identify best practices from other organizations and to assess how you can apply them to your own organization. (1 tool)
[Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]