Often, people running websites have a unique interpretation of who their online competitors are. Depending where you do your SEO, you will have seen this manifested in a variety of ways:
- In house – Director asking “Why don’t we rank number one for BMW instead of BMW.com? We sell models of BMW cars”
- Agency – Chances are you’ve held back giggles as a new business prospect suggests they are competing with a major site like Amazon/YouTube/eBay. I find brick and mortar clients struggle the most to detach themselves from the material world to look exclusively at online competitors.
- Independent – Joe Snow sells his own e-book “How to Build a Shed” and considers B&Q a competitor.
Here are three free tools to help get a better sense of accurate competitors in the digital space. Assessing online competitors requires a detailed look at a number of SEO factors like backlinks and targeted keywords, so consider these tools as a great way to get the gist of competitor websites instead of a thorough analysis. By working out competitors, instead of biting far more off than can be chewed, a more realistic SEO campaign can be managed from the outset.
In SEMRush break down your competitors by organic search or pay per click advertising. SEMRush will even show you how many keywords you target which are shared with each competitor, along with how much traffic, and the number of keywords driving that traffic.
Spyfu will provide a list of nine competitors in both organic search and pay per click competitors. Even better, Spyfu allows quick access to competitor’s competitors by simply clicking the a link in each list.
Remember back in 2005 when people used Alexa rankings? It actually provides some great insight into competitors even today.
To establish competitors in Alexa search for your chosen site. Then check out the “Related Links” tab which appears just below the site summary. The table defaults onto “Search Analysis”, so be sure to click “Related Links” tab.
It’s not a tool, but I’d be a fool not to throw it in there. Be sure to Google some of your target keywords and see what websites are appearing; that said, be sure you’re not signed into a Google account when doing this in Google; that way your results wont be personalised to your tastes and they will more accurately reflect search results.
What do you think of the competitors suggested by SEMRush, SpyFu and Alexa? What other free competitor analysis tools can you suggest? I’d love to hear your thoughts to improve this brief list!