Knowing how your competitors are operating their businesses is very important. In the early stage, this knowledge can help founders make the right decisions and find the best product/market fit. In the later stage, it can help them improve their business, increase their market share, and hopefully be among the top market players. Throughout this article, we will discuss tools for analyzing rivals’ websites to understand their technology, how they attract traffic, and how they do their content marketing. These tools can save you a lot of time, money, and effort!
Ever wondered how your rivals built their awesome website? Fortunately, you can find all the technologies used in building the website with a single push of a button. WhatRuns is a browser addon that can tell you all this information in a few seconds. In addition, this addon is completely free to use. To analyze any website, open it through a browser (that has the WhatRuns addon installed), then click on the addon icon. In a few seconds, the addon will tell you all the frameworks and technologies used in building the site. Beyond the frameworks, it will tell you the fonts used, UI libraries, sales and marketing libraries, ad providers, and all other analytics tools. If you don’t like to install any addon, then give BuiltWith a try. It has the same functionalities of WhatRuns and can be used online.
Although these tools can tell you about most of the technologies that the website uses, when it comes to WordPress, WPTD is even better. Around 75 million sites are built through WordPress. This accounts for 18.9% of all sites available on the internet. In addition to blogging, WordPress is used in many areas, like ecommerce, support, news, reservations, and much more. Therefore, the chances that your rivals have used it in one way or another are very high. This tool can tell you the themes used, the plugins installed, the WordPress version, the history of all changes, and any special configurations your competitors have done so far. If your they have built one theme over another, WPTD will tell you so. In addition, it will show you the link, version, and popularity of each theme and plugin used. This tool can be used online, and is completely free.
Now, here’s the most important part: how are your competitors getting traffic? Getting traffic is the lifeblood of any website. If you don’t know how to attract traffic to your site, you won’t be able to survive for long. Fortunately, a few free tools can help you learn how your competitors are getting traffic.
The first tool to discuss here is SimilarWeb. This tool can show a lot about your rivals’ traffic, like how much they are getting, their sources, their regional and global ranking per category, and all their referrals. In addition, it can show you the keywords that your competitors’ users typed when searching for their websites. It can also tell you how much traffic your competitors got from searches organically and through paid ads. Moreover, it can inform you about where they are displaying their ads. For social network traffic, it will show you the top social networks your rivals are using to get traffic. Finally, it can tell you information about their users’ interests and the topics for which they are looking.
You can use this tool as a starting point to better understand your market. Its free version is usually enough for you to get some information about your market, its biggest players, and how they are getting their traffic.
After learning all this information, you can move to a more advanced tool, which is SemRush. This tool can analyze the traffic of any site. It shows very detailed information about how websites get their users through organic searches, paid searches, backlinks, and advertising networks. It will also show you the keywords websites utilized to attract users organically. The following screenshot shows the organic traffic analysis for Airbnb.
As you can see, SemRush will tell you how much traffic websites got from each keyword. In addition to the organic traffic, it will tell how many keywords they are using. It will also draw you a map that shows all competitors based on traffic and keywords. SemRush will analyze how much traffic websites are getting from branded searches (using keywords for brands) and non-branded searches.
Besides the organic search analysis, This tool is the best one for analyzing paid traffic. It can show you how much traffic your competitors are getting from paid search advertisements, the cost per click (CPC), and the position on the search page. In addition, it can show you how much your rivals spent on paid traffic and the top keywords they used to get that traffic. Moreover, it can show you many samples from their ads. You can use all this information to steal traffic from your rivals by utilizing organic and paid keywords. For example, if someone decided to compete with Airbnb, he/she would have to utilize the keyword “Airbnb” to get traffic organically by posting articles optimized around this keyword. In addition to organic traffic, a well-known strategy for getting easy traffic is to show ads when users search for competitors.
Finally, SemRush can inform you about the top referring domains and how much traffic your competitors are getting. You can use this information to better understand how to market your product. For example, if you notice that they are relying on blogs to draw traffic, you must build a similar blogging site. You can also contact publishers that have many backlinks to your rivals, asking them to write about your product or service.
In the early stage, most startups have a limited marketing budget. To get traffic, most small and medium businesses rely primarily on content marketing. For example, in its early stage, Buffer couldn’t afford ads for traffic. To make things worse, most publishers didn’t accept its writeups about the app. To get organic traffic, buffer decided to create its own blog. The useful information in Buffer’s blogs led people to start using the app organically. In simple terms, content marketing can be an affordable alternative to displaying ads.
To analyze how your competitors are utilizing content marketing, you can use BuzzSumo. This will show you all the backlinks referring to their content. In addition, it will show you how much engagement each piece of content attracted from social networks (e.g., “like” counts, sharing counts, etc.). Beside posts, it can help create knowledge of people’s interests within specific topics. Unfortunately, this tool isn’t free, and it may be somewhat expensive. Its free tier might be enough to gain some information about your rivals. However, to get the most out of this service, most businesses must buy one of its pro plans. We tried to locate a free alternative, but we couldn’t find one as powerful as BuzzSumo.
Did I miss any tools? Feel free to post a comment below!