Perfecting your own SEO strategy and website is your first step, but once you have a good rhythm going and your actual site is ready to go, it’s important to spend a little bit of time learning about your competition. Not only can monitoring your competitors help make sure you’re not falling behind, but it can help give you ideas about what you should be doing in the future. A big part of perfecting any SEO strategy is evaluating everything you can, and again, that includes your competitor’s strategy.

Believe it or not, this is actually pretty easy to do if SEO is your main concern. There are plenty of tools out there to help you keep your eyes peeled on the right companies, so it doesn’t take much effort at all once you know the steps you need to take.

Tools to Help You Analyze a Competitor’s SEO

The truth is that there are many, many options when it comes to SEO tools. I recommend checking out this article to see a list of even more options. For the purposes of this article, below are the two major tools (interestingly both from Moz) that I think you should use initially before getting into anything more advanced:

SEO Toolbar

In my opinion this browser extension is a must, and it’s available for both Chrome and Firefox. The extension will allow you not only to see the PageRank of every webpage you visit, but you can click the extension to see more information such as traffic stats, SEO stats, update history, and more. It’s quick and easy to use which makes it such an important staple for anyone looking to learn from the competition. Below is a screenshot showing how it works.


Open Site Explorer

This tool is all about backlinks and it allows you to type in the domain name of any company. You will then get a full list of the backlinks earned by that company or any mentions that were made. This can help give you a good view of where you should be trying to establish relationships. Below is a screenshot example:


Evaluating Your Content vs. a Competitor’s Content

After you have a sense of some different metrics and backlinks your competitors are using, you can start to get into what really matters—content. The type and popularity of content is one of the major places your competition can pass you up and leave you behind at a moments notice, so this is an important place for some monitoring. A few tips for watching content:

Setup an alert to see where your competitors are mentioned online.

This is a little bit like the Open Site Explorer tool above, but alerts work a little bit differently. All you have to do is visit Google Alerts, type in the name of a competitor with the URL, and you will get email updates each time that competitor is mentioned online. This will help you keep tabs on them and see if anything they’ve done is getting a lot of attention. It’s easy and you only have to setup an alert once, so this is a definite must.

Run a competitor content comparison report.

I wrote about this here on HigherVisibility and I still think it’s one of the best options if you’re really serious about content comparison. Different tools will give you different data including average shares by content type, by network, length, date published, etc. You simply run a report and you’re done. Below is a screenshot from that article that uses the tool BuzzSumo.


Connect with competitors on social media.

This seems easy enough, but the more connections you can make the better. This is where you’ll get the inside scoop when it comes to creative content types and where people are commenting. You should never copy your competition, but use their success as a way to grow your own initiatives and start something new.

Also keep in mind that while keeping a close watch on your competition is great, one of the major reasons this is so important is because you can learn something. In other words, you can use many of these tactics to monitor companies that are related to your company or in your industry—they don’t have to be a competitor.

How to keep a watchful eye on your competitor’s SEO? Let us know your tricks in the comment section below.