The Pittsburgh SEO Group recently held their free September meeting at the Pittsburgh Tech Council offices in the South Side. Chris Hornak, Director of Operations at Eyeflow Internet Marketing, presented the session Five Legit Ways to Spy on Your Competitors.
Chris created the fictional company “Yogamatic,” and walked the SEO group members through ways to conduct research on one of Yogamatic’s top competitors. The following is an overview of the techniques he presented:
Most of us are familiar with the Maps, Videos, News and Images tools on Google. But Google has other vertical search options that allow you to conduct targeted research on your competition.
The Updates tool will allow you to see what social media your competitors are using, and what users of social media are saying about your competitors. The Discussions tool allows users to see threads and forums that mention your competition. This is a great place to look for – and capitalize on – complaints that people are making. And the Blogs tool allows you to see what blogs are saying about your competition.
OpenSiteExplorer.org is a free tool that allows you see which domains are linking to your competitors. You can view by page, domain, anchor text, or a full list of metrics. You can use this information to help determine what direction to take your own website.
Compete.com is another free tool that allows you to spy on competitors by peeking at their traffic levels. You can graph your own traffic against that of your competition to get a direct comparison. You can see from these graphs who is growing and who is shrinking, and by how much.
SEMRush.com and SERPAnalytics.com will allow you to enter the domain name of your competition and see what keywords are organically ranking for that site. You can also see which keywords they are bidding on and how much they spend per month on PPC. SEMRush includes a handy estimated traffic graph with the data.
Setting up a Google Alert for your competitors means you will know when new pages appear in search rankings. Through SocialMention.com, you can set an email alert or an RSS feed that helps you keep tabs on your competition.