Sometimes the best way to improve your own business is by taking a hard look at your competitors. By understanding their most and least effective strategies, you can fine-tune your own marketing efforts.
Here is a list of competitive research tools. There are tools to research your competition’s keywords, linking strategies, traffic metrics, and more. There are both free and paid tools. If you have any other favorite resources to research your competitors, be sure to add them in the comments below.
Alexa. Search Alexa by keyword or category for traffic trends on competing sites. Get rank, related keywords, and site analytics for free.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Plug in a URL and get the keyword ideas Google thinks the page should be advertising for, as well as the monthly keyword volume estimates.
Google Trends for Websites. This Google tool gives you traffic estimates, related websites, and related keywords. Compare trends between multiple sites. Data is only available for higher traffic sites.
Archive.org. This site provides free access on how old a website is and what it looked like in the past.
Google Traffic Estimator. Enter a website and get estimates on the number of AdWords ad clicks and bid prices for the top ad position.
SearchStatus. SearchStatus lets you view a site’s Google PageRank, Google Category, Alexa popularity ranking, Compete.com ranking, SEOmoz Linkscape mozRank, Alexa related links and backward links.
DomainTools. Search “Whois” domain ownership data. Or get reverse Whois information, if you know domain owners and want to know which sites they own.
Webpage Similarity Comparison Tool. Enter URLs and compare different pages, including meta information and common phrases.
Marketing Grader. This is a free site grader that measures a site against one or two other sites.
SEO Link Analysis. This Firefox extension enhances link data from Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo! Site Explorer and MS Webmaster Portal. It gathers PageRank for the linking page, the anchor text used on the link, and checks whether the link is no-followed or not.
Yahoo Term Extraction. This tool allows you to extract key terms from a piece of content. Enter your competitor’s site text to analyze keywords. It utilizes Yahoo!’s Search API.
Quantcast. Quantcast shows a site’s visitor demographics, visits, views, audience “also likes,” traffic frequency, and traffic sources.
SEO Toolbar. Get useful market research data from a variety of sources, such as Google PageRank, links to domain, and estimated traffic value. Look at a side-by-side comparison of up to five sites.
SEMRush. Get a list of competitors in organic search and paid Google Search results. Get keywords for any site, with volume and costs information. Price: $69.95 per month.
Compete. Compete.com gives you free visitor and rank information on competitors. Paid version gives you traffic, engagement, and demographic analytics on millions of sites. Learn about websites that your competitors are using to drive traffic. Price: Pro version starts at $199 per month.
SEO SpyGlass. SEO SpyGlass is an easy-to-use backlink checker that enables you to check on your Google and Yahoo! competitors and reveal their entire link-building strategies. Find out your competitors’ total number of backlinks, PageRank of every backlink, and more. Price: $99.75.
SearchMetrics. Start analyzing not only your own sites but also those of your competitors straightaway, no matter if you want to analyze SEO, search engine marketing, keywords or universal search. Price: Plans start at $99 per month.
SpyFu. SpyFu gives you compelling keywords, and helps you find out what other advertisers ran into when they tried those keywords. Or take the top advertisers on a keyword and discover the rest of their shared terms. Price: Plans start at $79 per month.
Trellian Competitive Intelligence. Identify the search terms and keywords that your competitors rank on. Find out what keywords drive the most traffic to competing sites and which sites send the most traffic to your competitors. Compare your business with other competitors. Price: $995 per year, per domain.
SEMRush. Get the list of your competitors in organic and AdWords search results. Get the estimated search engine and AdWords traffic for any domain. Price: $69.95 per month.
Majestic SEO. Majestic SEO is a giant link database. Enter a competing site address and get its link profile, going as deep as you want. Price: Free on sites you own; for reports on other sites, plans start at $49.99 per month.
URLTrends. Allows you to view vital search engine information about any URL. See the URL’s link popularity, PageRank, Alexa Rank, keywords that you can find the site by, and more. An unlimited number of trend reports can be generated at no cost. Price: Paid plans to track URLs start at $8 per month.
Open Site Explorer. This is another link engine with a simple design. Compare up to five pages at once for in-bound links, linking domains, link metrics, and more. Pro membership gets social media links and advanced filter reports with lists of up to 100,000 links. Price: Pro membership is $99 per month.