In order to compete in the marketplace, there are 2 critical elements you need to have covered. The first is a clear understanding of the market, and the second is knowing what your competitors are doing and what makes them profitable.
In this article we will cover the second part of the equation by looking at 11 competitive intelligence tools, that can help you to get a clear understanding of not only who your competitors are, but how they operate, their most profitable campaigns and most importantly how you can beat them.
The first and out go-to tool has to be SEMRush. They were one of the first tools to offer a “reverse search” feature that allows you to enter any competitors website and instantly see what kind of keywords and phrases they show up for in Google.
Since then they have grown rapidly and developed a number of great tools business owners can use to their advantage. One of my favorites is the Advertising Research tool, which provides analysis on advertising campaigns undertaken by your closest rivals.
You get to see what ads are being run, their ad copy and how long each campaign has been running. Which is a great way to tell what's working and what isn't in your niche?
You also have the ‘position tracking' feature which means SEMrush doubles as a SERP Tracking tool. It will automatically find each keyword you are ranking for in Google and return the position you appear in the SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position).
This helps to easily see which keywords/pages are performing well and which could do with some TLC.
Which is where the Site Audit feature comes into its own. With error checking and proven SEO suggestions, you can take your website from zero to hero by aiming for a 100% score across the board. You can bet your competitors are doing it…so you need to be on top of this too.
Pricing: $99.95 – $399.95 /mo
With 3 plan options, along with a 4th tailored option, SEMRush is one of the most impressive pieces of competitive intelligence software on the market for the price.
There is also the option of a free trial and coupon code available here.
Ahrefs (pronounced “A Refs”) is quickly becoming the lead tool of choice when it comes to Organic SEO research. Let's face it, Free traffic from search engines is good, and there really only one search engine worth talking about…Google.
The Ahrefs tool has a multitude of features, however, it's secret sauce for me is their keyword difficulty algorithm and even more so, their backlink analysis tool.
Ahrefs have one of the most sophisticated backlink crawlers on the market and frequently return more data than alternative tools. So if you're into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and are looking to stay ahead of the curve and your competition, take a look at Ahrefs.
One of my other favorite thing to use Ahrefs for is their Keywords Explorer tool. This feature allows you to enter a seed keyword, a topic or a competitor and discover topic ideas, view social shares and engagement, SEO and backlink analysis and a ream of other useful pieces of information you can use to help define your content plan and choose your target keywords.
Pricing: $99 – $999 /mo
With 4 packages covering a wide range of business needed and uses, Ahrefs plans are not only affordable (starting at just $99 /mo for their Lite plan), they also cater to single entrepreneurs, small, medium and large site businesses and digital marketing agencies.
Want to know what content works in your industry? BuzzSumo is the market leader when it comes to finding proven content topics that get shared and engaged with.
You can also discover who are the key influencers that drive social engagement and interaction, making it easier than ever to produce content that will drive a positive ROI for your business.
Users of BuzzSumo are able to develop smarter content plans and set realistic objectives based on proven historical evidence and data.
Just entering a topic into BuzzSumo will reveal a wealth of information that reveals so much more about the market than you thought possible.
Pricing: $79 – $499+ /mo
With 4 packages to suit all manner of needs, the pricing for BuzzSumo is within reach for everyone from freelancers to small, medium and even large businesses.
You can set up alerts for new content, analyze Facebook engagement or just deep-dive into key industry topics, there are few tools who do this better than BuzzSumo.
BuiltWith initially began as a simple lookup tool to find out what technology was running under the hood of a website. Today, they've expanded their repertoire of tools to include Lead Generation and Sales Intelligence software.
The technology profile that BuiltWith provides covers a multitude of areas, from Frameworks and Platforms to Analytics and Tracking, Advertising channels and Hosting/Name Servers.
There really is no hiding from this tool when it comes to revealing what makes a competitor site run.
Pricing: $295 – $995 /mo
With 3-Plans, Basic, Pro & Team, BuiltWith also offers a “Forever Free” plan for individual site lookups. So if you require just a single site lookup feature there is no cost.
If you have requirements which need additional features and access to their technology tools etc, then you will need to choose one of their plans.
Not to be confused with the Amazon Alexa product (although Amazon owns Alexa.com), Alexa is a keyword research and competitive analysis tool that is known for it's infamous “Alexa Ranking”, which shows the most popular 500 websites on the web.
There have been many developments in recent years, which have given users the ability to compare their business websites with competitors and find opportunities for growth.
The suite of tools now on offer includes keyword research, competitor analysis, and tracking and also the content and website audit tool, which helps you to find and fix errors on your website that can impact SEO and/or user experience.
Pricing: $149 – $299 /mo
Alexa has two pricing options, Advanced which is $149/mon and is suited to the single user and the Agency package at $249/mon, which offers up to 20 users and 35 projects to be added and tracked.
With the rise of mobile/smartphone usage of the web, having multi-device market intelligence at your fingertips is crucial to success in your field. SimilarWeb prides itself on delivering just that, on a platform that is both easy to use and understand.
Their tool reveals the marketing strategies of your competitors, along with in-depth market research tools and funnel enhancements to increase your conversions, drive more sales and improve retention rates.
SimilarWeb is more than just a research tool, it's a complete game changer when it comes to dominating your market.
Pricing: Free – Tailored Package
Pricing for SimilarWeb is simple, you can try out their free account and receive 5 results per search, or you can contact them to discuss your requirements for an Enterprise account where they will tailor the package for your needs.
At TalkWalker, they understand the importance of Social Media. Being visible is just part of the challenge, and with the growing ‘noise' of the interest getting greater and greater each year, having a plan in place to deliver the most bang for your buck is crucial.
TalkWalker is considered the “search engine for social media” and can provide you with insights on what's working and what isn't when it comes to promotional campaigns, messages and growing your social media platforms.
It can help you to identify key players in the industry, along with key influencers, follower and fans and market sentiment towards a particular brand or topic.
Since your online reputation is so important to your brand, how you perform and are perceived on social media can literally make or break a business. TalkWalker can help you gain more of the right kind of exposure and attention that can skyrocket your brand.
Pricing: $9,600 /yr
With 3-packages to choose from, Basic, Corporate & Enterprise, TalkWalker isn't cheap – but then again nothing worth having is.
For Medium-Large businesses, this tool provides unlimited users and search queries, along with a full team training package to bring your staff up-to-speed.
The message from iSpionage is simple…
Steal Your Competitors' Traffic & Uncover Their Conversion Strategy
Whether your running Ad campaigns or SEO for organic traffic, by entering a competitor URL into this tool you can uncover a great deal of information that can help you to whip their traffic and customers from underneath them.
If you're looking to find which profitable PPC keywords a competitor uses this is the tool for you. You can download their entire campaigns, which show Ad Groups and Ad Copy, along with the length of time each ad has been running and all other pertinent information to a successful paid traffic campaign.
You can also study landing pages and find ideas for your next campaign. They have a complete suite of industry-specific landing pages for you to browse.
Pricing: $59 – $299 /mo
The pricing for iSpionage is very reasonable, starting at just $59 for the Starter package, and $299 Advanced package suitable for agencies and growing businesses.
SpyOnWeb is a free tool that allows you to find related websites to known competitors. They take publically available information such as IP Addresses, emails, URL's, name Servers etc and return websites that have very similar properties.
This is a great way to find other websites owned and operated by your competition, and if you have an established website or starting a blog, this tool can find information on target websites using various different search methods.
Simply input the URL or IP Address of a website, or the Google AdSense publish ID or even the Google Analytics UA number.
A great free tool to use in your research phase.
10. Rival IQ
RivalIQ offers a digital marketing analytics platform that gathers social media data from the masses and brings it to your fingertips. You can use this data to increase your engagement, grow your follower base, track the competition and discover new content ideas that can be used to get ahead of the competition.
The ability to see how each published piece performs on social is a sure-fire way to make sure you only publish content that will be both well received and gets active engagement. RivalIQ gives you the number of likes, shares, retweets and total audience engagement of each social post, making it one of the best social media analytics tools on the market.
Pricing: $199 – $499 /mo
Their pricing structure is based around how many competitors you need to track, for example, the Drive package offers the ability to track 10 companies social media channels.
The Engage and Pro packages offer 15 and 20 respectively. So your package can be adjusted to suit the level of spying you need.
SpyFu offers the ability to find the most profitable keywords and Ad campaigns for any competitor you choose. This intelligence tool is not only very affordable ($39 /mo) but also offers a robust set of tools that can literally create your SEO and Ad campaigns for you.
By finding out what is already working in your industry, you can cut out hours of manual work and not to mention save a tremendous amount of time and money in the process.
With SpyFu you can download all of the organic and paid keywords that a competing website is using to drive traffic and conversions.
The PPC data alone is well worth the monthly subscription fee, with data broken down into Campaigns, AdGroups, Ads and low-level keyword data.
You can monitor a website's Ad spend over time and quickly see which ads have stuck around the longest, highlighting those money-making topics and keywords in an instant.
Pricing: $39 – 299 /mo
Starting at a very affordable $39 or $33 /mo when you choose the annual plan, the Basic package offers unlimited search reports, domain overviews and data exports.
The higher priced Professional and Team plans, priced at $58 & $299 /mon respectively, offers you the same kind of package with yet more data and download capabilities.
Wrapping Up Our Top Competitive Intelligence Tools List
So there you have it, 11 of the best tools you can use to spy on your competitor's most profitable keywords, pages, campaigns and strategies all with the goal of taking your market share and crushing the competition.
These tools are 100% legal, there is nothing shady about using them and you should absolutely be using them today in order to gain your own competitive advantage.
You can bet that the top websites and businesses in your industry are using them to get ahead…and so should you.
Do you have a tool you feel should be added to this list? If so, drop us a comment below and we will be sure to look into it.