Competitor research tools are great for helping you gain insight into how much traffic your competitors are getting, and analyzing which keywords and websites they are getting it from. This will help you identify new keyword opportunities for your own business. Although there are several different types of competitive research, the software covered here primarily pertains to identifying the which terms are sending the most profitable traffic to your competitors via organic search and pay-per-click advertising.
|Search Analytics||PPC Insight||Referral Data||Demographics||Starting Price|
One important thing to remember is that not all subscription levels or versions support all features. It is recommended that your review each tool individually and sign-up for the free trials whenever possible to ensure each is capable of fulfilling your specific needs.
|Tool||Pros / Strengths||Cons / Weaknesses|
|SEMrush is niche industry research tool that allows you to quickly identify top Bing and Google keywords from both the organic and Adwords search results, that are sending traffic to your competitors. Key features include ‘searching by a keyword’ to quickly see who’s ranking for it and receiving related suggestions. You can also search by URL or domain name to get a list of top phrases, trends, competitor data, potential ad buyers and sellers, and plenty more. SEMrush provides a good overall combination of natural search and pay-per-click data that’s easy to understand and use. Read the full SEMRush review, or try SEMRush free.|
|SpyFu is a tool very similar to SEMrush. You can use it to see how your competitors’ are ranking for specific keywords in Google’s natural and paid search results. However, where this tool really shines is its Adwords ad history reports. Using these reports you can see which terms your competitors are bidding on, and how their ad copy has changed over time. This can be helpful in spotting common trends such as their most valuable key words, and poor ad copy. SpyFu also provides a number of advanced reports that are simple to read and make finding opportunities easy. You can go to their website and try SpyFu for free.|
|Compete.com is a bit different than some of the previously mentioned programs. Mostly in the way that it gathers its data and the information it provides. Instead of scraping the major search engines, then extrapolating the data by some internal metrics, Compete’s data is collected by sampling the daily browsing activity of over 2,000,000 U.S. Internet users from over 2,000,000 member panels. In addition to paid and organic search analytics, it offers detailed referral analytics, traffic estimates, user engagement and demographic information. This tool may be a bit on the expensive side for many individuals and small-businesses, but can be an essential instrument for larger corporations in really competitive markets. You can go to their website and try Compete for free.|
Whichever competitive intelligence program you choose for your keyword research and other investigative analysis, just make sure you fully understand how it gathers its data and extrapolates its information. For instance, many people don’t understand Compete.com is limited to United States Internet traffic only, and improperly reference it when stating a website’s unique visitor count. If your visitors primarily come from another country, then Compete’s data won’t align well with your self-installed analytics program.
Other resources you might want to consider are Ispionage, AdGooroo, MixRank, Trellian, comScore, KeywordCompetitor, ReverseInternet and HitWise.
If you know of any other products you think should make it on this list, please don’t hesitate to tell us about it.