Spying on the competition: An essential for businesses

Written on 24 September, 2015 by James Baylis
Categories: Small Business | Tags: analytics, online business, small business

To stay ahead of your competitors, you need to know exactly what you’re up against. By keeping track of how they operate, you can give yourself an edge and help your business get ahead of the pack.

There are plenty of tools available to help you extract insights into what your peers are doing. Try a few of the following to keep up to date on important industry news.

Google Alerts

One of the simplest and most effective ways to see what your competitors are up to is to set up Google Alerts for their brand names and keywords. Every time they are mentioned online, you’ll get a notification through your Gmail account, allowing you to see exactly how they’re grabbing headlines and giving you a chance to respond in a timely fashion. You can adjust the frequency of notifications to avoid flooding your inbox.

Majestic SEO

It’s one thing to have a poke around your competitors’ websites – which you should certainly do regularly – but it’s even more advantageous to get a peek at what’s going on behind the scenes. Majestic is a backlink checker and site explorer that will provide you with a look at the backlink history of any particular page. This allows you to see whether there are any flurries of links (giving you a potential clue to their SEO strategy), and you can also use term-extractor tools to uncover the keywords they optimise on their website.

Google Trends

The king of search offers another useful way to stay informed about your competitors’ movements. Google Trends gathers information about the topics and searches that are popular, and can also give you a snapshot of what is happening on their websites during a specific period of time. You can uncover handy information such as the number of viewers during a particular day, which country had the highest traffic, where the users went next and which search words and terms your target market used to find your competitor.

SpyOnWeb

Give yourself the chance to get ahead when it comes to building your affiliate strategy by using SpyOnWeb to discover which niches your competitors are in and all the websites they currently own. All you need is their URL, Google AdSense code or IP address and the tool can fill you in about all their other sites – perfect for finding out if that ‘top 10 review site’ or ‘developer tips’ site is also operated by your competitor.

It’s impossible to become a leader in any industry without knowing how your competitors work. By using a few of these handy tools to gauge their speed and analysing how your own website is operating, you can adjust your strategy and pace accordingly.