Espionage: Five hacks for monitoring your competition

Whatever sector you work in, you will want your website and brand to attract potential customers and clients away from your competitors and towards your own business. Looking at their web presence is a great way to ensure that they are not leaving you behind and can help you identify areas where you are doing well, and where you’re possibly behind.

Here are five great tools for spying on your competition:

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is one of the most widely used tools in a marketer’s arsenal and one whose functionality in monitoring competition means it cannot be left form this list.

Google Keyword Planner will allow you to check how many people are searching for various terms related to your business. Think: A fruit snack brand looking into how many people are searching for ‘Healthy snacks UK’.

This will give you valuable insight into popular searched terms that your competition is not using which you could use. It will also allow you to identify the key words which you are willing to compete with your rival businesses for.


Majestic is a powerful tool for monitoring the number of backlinks which lead to a website. In general, the more backlinks you have leading to your page, the higher you will appear on search engine results (but, as always, there are other factors at play!)

Majestic offers a free search, but a paid subscription is available if you want to examine more data. The free option gives you a very good overview though. Simply copy your competitor’s website’s URL into the search bar, and you will be given the number of backlinks currently leading to their site.

Having an idea of your competitor’s link profile will allow you to identify whether you need to work on link building to attract more traffic to your page. It also gives you a list of links you should try and copy, does it get any easier?


If you want to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, SEMrush may be for you. As well as supplying backlink data, SEMrush will give you an insight into the traffic going to your competitors site and the organic keywords which lead visitors there.

All you will need to do is paste their URL into the search bar and SEMrush will return the results. It will allow you ten free searches before requiring you to pay so, if you are not interested in using it long-term, use your free searches wisely!

SEMrush is an immensely powerful tool. By identifying the keywords that produce traffic on your competitor’s site, you can optimise your site to appear on searches of these keywords to try and steal their traffic. Alternatively, you can decide to stay clear of keywords/traffic sources you’re happy to concede. Up to you!


Instead of searching for individual URLs, BuzzSumo allows you to enter the domain of your competitor. It lists the top posts on that site and will show their engagement.

There is a free option but the information it will give you is limited. You can sign up for a free trial which will give you access to additional data such as social media users who have shared your competitor’s content.

The real value of BuzzSumo is that, if you create valuable content, it allows you to identify people to reach out to who may share that content with their followers. If they have a history of sharing similar pieces from your competitor, it is likely that they will have no problem in sharing yours too, increasing the number of people your content reaches. Win.


BuzzSumo allows you to trace some social media interaction with your competitor’s site but not to the same extent as Hootsuite which is able to track over 35 social networks.

Simply identify your competitor and bring up their social media streams on the Hootsuite dashboard and it will collect the data for you. Although it’s not free to use, there is a 30-day free trial available. No rest for the wicked in the world of squashing competitors.

The true power of this is that it prevents you having to monitor the individual social media streams of your competitors by uniting them into one dashboard, saving you time and allowing you to easily follow their activity. You can even track keywords and hashtags to keep an eye on all their social media engagement.

We’ll stop there, you’ve got some snooping to do. Good luck!

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