Competitor website analysis tools: 17 tools to spy like a pro
With competitor analysis so important to your online marketing activities, keeping up to date with their activities is essential. But how do you monitor them? Is it manual, or can you automate it? What tools are there? Well, here you can see some of our favorite competitor website analysis tools.
This is why you should analyze your competitors’ website
Whenever we discuss SEO, we invariably end up talking about ranking #1 for a specific search query. My response is often:
Be as good as your competitors in all SEO factors but one. In that one beat them and you will rank better.
It can be any ranking factor. More quality backlinks for your page or domain, better on-page optimization levels for the given keyword, more social signals, etc.
Sure, it’s not completely true but as a rule of thumb it works.
If you want to beat the competition, you need to perform better than they do. For this, you need tools to analyze what they’re doing. You can take many steps manually, but why would you do so when there are so many competitor website analysis tools?
Many companies struggle to find their proper competitors. This is why we published a guide about how to find your competitors.
In this post we collected 17 tools that can help you speed your analysis up. As a bonus, they are also useful to monitor your own activity. Many of them even help you draw conclusions based on the data.
In this article, you will discover the tools for
- Website technical analysis
- Search keyword analysis
- Link analysis
While you won’t learn the tools for
- Monitoring competitor mentions on social media
- Social media and general online presence analysis
The site I’ll use as an example in the article is noble.life, one of our high luxury magazines.
Competitor website analysis tools: Website technical analysis
Website performance check and loading time
If you want to make your webpages fast on all devices, you normally start with Google PageSpeed Insights. Here you get a valuation on a scale of 1–100 for mobile and PC. If you perform over 85, great job. If you don’t, you still don’t have to worry about it. They suggest a couple of insights that you should focus on to improve your site.
These values are not only absolute numbers. It worth to compare it to your competitors. If your site performs better here than your competitors’ by 10 points, it won’t be a pain point, whatever the score.
This tool is free.
GTmetrix is my personal favourite. It uses the results of PageSpeed Insights just like another well-known tool, YSlow’s metrics.
This tool shows you how large a page is and how many requests it asks. It’s loading time isn’t the best in the free version as it runs from Vancouver. With the paid version, you can set it to a European server.
Generally it’s recommended to plan your site so it is no larger than 1–2 MBs. Keep the number of requests below 50–60, too. The larger the site and the more requests you ask, the slower your site will be.
As with PageSpeed Insights, iff you perform better than your competitors by 5–10%, you are good to go.
This tool is free.
WebPageTest may be very similar to the two tools mentioned tools above, but at Intellyo, we use this one the most often. Why? Well, you can run the tests from 40 different servers and 25 different browsers. On top of that, it gives you an incredible amount of feedback on the given site’s performance.
One of our favorite feature is the video. You can watch a video of how your website loads in different locations.
This tool is free.
We wrote an article about how we created our own WebPageTest system and how we get more punctual YSlow scores than any of these tools could give us. If you are interested, stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter to be informed first when we post it.
Builtwith is an online tool where you can add any website and discover what tools the developers used when building it. Why is it good for comparison? You will know what CMS your competitors use, what additional plugins they use and so on. It’s well worth a look at their solutions at the beginning. For example, if you don’t know how they have a bigger email list, it may be a special content blocker. Is there any point using retargeting if no-one else is using it in the industry?
This tool is free.
5. Ghostery (browser extension)
Ghostery is similar to Builtwith. It’s a browser extension that lists most of the built in plugins that may affect or follow users. These tools can give you a list of tools that can be interesting for your site.
This browser extension is free.
If you are looking for an on-page SEO tool that helps SEOs correct all the on-page technical issues, you found it. Screaming Frog also gives you an insight to your user journey. My favourite feature is shows you how many clicks it takes to reach the pages in the site structure.
Screaming Frog is free if you want to analyze a maximum of 500 URLs per site. The unlimited version costs £149. SF has to be downloaded and runs on Java.
Link-Assistant’s SEO spider, Website Auditor is pretty similar to Screaming Frog. A bit less technical. A bit more user-friendly. You can immediately compare your site with competitors’ from this tool. The use case is a bit different. If you want to optimize your content on a really high level later, I suggest Website Auditor. Many other activities can be done from one place, like robots.txt and sitemap.xml generation.
The free version you can do everything the paid one does, but you can not save it. Website Auditor costs $124.75 for a year. Then you only have to buy the algorithm changes. For more pricing, please visit their website. Also, WA has to be downloaded and runs on Java.
Search keyword analysis
For checking competitors’ ranking keywords, I usually open SEMrush first. It shows what keywords the site ranks for organically, keywords’ ranking position in Google, and the estimated traffic for a given keyword. It also helps with keyword difficulty and CPC.
If you are only interested in the top performing keywords of your competitors for a comparison, the free version of SEMrush will do. Otherwise it costs $99.95 for a month.
Google Keyword Planner is the most common tool to check what your competitors organically rank for. It gives you the most punctual data on monthly keyword volume and CPC if you would like to run ads later.
This tool is free. Although since Google is hiding the exact search volumes, you’ll have to use Google Adwords to get all the search volumes.
Alexa is a bit old school, but still can be really useful. For example for keyword comparison in between competitors.
Alexa’s highlighted features cost $149/ month, but for the first comparison the 7-day trial will do.
For paid search reengineering, not only organic, Spyfu or SimilarWeb are the best choices. Here we highlight Spyfu simply because I prefer it to SimilarWeb.
In the free version, you can get your competitors’ top 5 paid keywords in Google. Additionally, you get an estimation of how much traffic they have from paid search and how much money they spent on it. You can even see the ads they have previously run in your competitors’ ad history.
If the information in the free version doesn’t turn to be enough, Spyfu costs $39 on a monthly basis.
In SEO, Ahrefs is one of the most popular tools. And it’s not a coincidence. Especially when you are about to analyze backlink profiles. They operate with the biggest backlink database, helping you to have the best picture of your competitors. The tool is much more than a simple backlink analyzer, but for link monitoring it is the best.
There is a 14 day trial, after which you can buy it for $99/month.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Ahrefs, you should consider Majestic. You still get a decent link profile that can be exported easily and are then free to use it for your given purpose. For comparison, I really like their special metrics, trust flow and citation flow. They also have a comparison feature for two domains.
Majestic’s free version should be fine in the beginning, otherwise it costs $79.99/month.
MOZ is the most well known tool for link monitoring based comparison. Open Site explorer is a good free option. It also tells you how healthy your competitor’s backlinks are. Domain Authority and Page Authority are the most well-known metrics for this purpose.
This tool is free. If you want to use MOZ pro version, it starts at $99/month.
Visual Site Mapper is a free service that can quickly show a map of your site. It will show you the linking structure of the given site with 200 links. If 200 connections are not enough for you, Alentum, the owner of the tool gave access to it on Github.
This tool is free.
Sitebulb seems to be a really great alternative, or even a better option than Visual Site Mapper, but it’s not out yet. When I heard about it, I immediately subscribed to the early access list. This tool will give you many more insights about pages then Visual Site Mapper. The reporting part can also help with comparison.
No information about pricing yet.
17. Google Alerts
Google Alerts is my favourite tool to monitor mentions online. It’s really easy-to-use and sends emails about mentions for free. For ongoing monitoring of yourself and your competitors, it’s probably the best option. Except for social mentions.
With this solution, you simply can track keywords or your name. It will show you both those mentions that include a link and those that did not. So you can reach out in real time and ask the author to add a link to your mention. Your rankings in Google will be thankful for it.
This tool is free.
So that’s it, 17 competitor website analysis tools. With their help, you can find many ideas that will boost your presence online. If you have any question about how to use them, let me know in the comments. Also, would you like to see any other useful tool on this list? Add them in the comments!