Running a business online can be tough. Especially when your competitors keep on getting the better of you.

Just how do they get to the top of the search rankings? How are they getting more social shares, more visitors through paid traffic, more sales?

The best way to find out is to delve into their tactics and discover what they are doing right and wrong. Competitors can be a fantastic source of information, and when you have the right tools, you can find out an awful lot about them including data on their backlinks, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social marketing, and more.

Here are some of the best tools you can use to get the upper hand over your competitors.


  1. Ahrefs


Ahrefs is a competitor research tool that primarily focuses on SEO. You can use it to discover what your competitors are doing to get high rankings as well as how you can get above them.

One of the primary uses of this tool is to analyze competitor keywords for both PPC and organic search to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for and how they are doing it.

You can get access to traffic stats and backlinks information to discover where they are generating their links from, and this can give you ideas for your own backlinks as well as what sorts of links you need to be building to compete.

You can also find out which content is getting shared the most and generating the most buzz, and you can then use this to get ideas for your own content.


  1. Rank Signals


Another SEO tool, Rank Signals helps you to get your hands on relevant data to direct your SEO campaigns.

The main way you will use it here is by finding out what is working on your competitors’ websites, and you can use the tool to quickly get insights on what they are doing well and what they are not doing so well.

You will primarily use this tool for checking backlinks. Simply plug in your competitor’s site and you can quickly find out where they are getting their backlinks and traffic. Then use this to search for backlinks in similar places and understand how many you will need to get ahead of your competition.


  1. SimilarWeb


For general competitor research in a range of areas, SimilarWeb is an excellent place to start. This is a good general tool with a huge range of features that you can use to look at your competitors and find out what they are doing to uncover their strategies.

It’s free to use the basic version, although more comprehensive tools are available in the paid version, and you can use it to find out where your competitors get their traffic from, their top keywords, both organic and paid, which ad networks they are using, information on their social media activity, how many unique visitors they receive, and more.

It’s a highly versatile tool and incredibly accurate, and it is a great all-rounder that you can use to give your business a competitive edge.


  1. SEMrush


SEMrush is another big multi-purpose tool that you can use for effective competitor analysis. This is one of our favorite SEO tools, as we discussed in this blog post, and it allows you to carry out detailed competitor research by simply typing in the domain of a competing website.

You can also use it for keyword research, site audits, backlink analysis, and more, and this can all help you to find out more about what you need to be doing to get the kind of traction you need.

You can also get info on paid search and organic rankings to find out what your competitors are ranking for and how much traffic they are getting. And while the free plan is great, you should really sign up for a pro plan to get the full experience.


  1. Quick Sprout


If you understand the need to publish a regular blog in order to generate organic traffic, you will need to create the right kind of content to attract the right traffic and social media followers.

You know your competitors are attracting the right visitors—so how are they doing it?

Quick Sprout can help. It includes a competitor analysis tool that you can use by typing in the URLs of your competitors. Once you’ve done this, you can find out exactly what they are doing with their content so you can start working on outranking them.

You can find out different scores like your Estimated Traffic Score, Social Networks Share Score, and more, and you can use these in your efforts to create the type of content you need to get more traction than the competition.


  1. Owletter


While most competitor research revolves around SEO and social activity, another area for competitor analysis involves emails.

Most of your competitors probably have newsletters, and it is good practice to keep an eye on what they are doing. Email remains one of the most effective forms of online marketing, driving engagement and sales when you do it well, so it’s worth finding out which competitors have got it worked out.

But signing up to all of your competitors’ newsletters and following them is not easy. Owletter takes the hassle out of the process by keeping track of their emails for you.

It collates all the newsletters and presents them in an easy dashboard as well as a searchable database, which is much easier than collecting them all yourself.

You can then find out how often your competitors are emailing, the content they are sending, the types of offers they send, and more, giving you ample data to use in your own campaigns.


  1. Fanpage Karma


Another area to focus on is Facebook. It’s always the case that some companies seem to enjoy massive success on Facebook while others hardly get any traction.

So what are they doing right?

Fanpage Karma helps you to find out what your competitors are doing on Facebook, including data like which posts are performing the best and worst, the most used hashtags, the reactions from users, and more.

You can use it to find out which type of content to post for the best results, as well as the best time to post, based on your competitors’ activity. This is a great way to get inspiration and discover new trends that you can use in your own social marketing.

  1. Brandwatch Analytics


This is another great tool for spying on your competitors’ social media activity. Use it to monitor the social channels of your competitors, create searches to track their mentions anywhere, and find out what people are saying about them.

You can get information on what they are publishing including their latest blog posts and news, and you can even track your whole industry to find out what is trending right now.

It is also a great little tool for discovering new conversations you can get involved in and getting alerts on the latest news and trends.


Learn from Your Competition

If you don’t know how your competitors are getting better results than you, it’s going to be hard to level the playing field. Thankfully, with the use of just a few of the above tools, you can get access to a huge amount of data that you can use in your own marketing efforts.

Use what you discover to focus on specific areas where your competitors are weakest, improve upon their tactics, and get inspiration for where you could be doing better.

With just a little bit of research, the information you gather can help you get the upper hand and ensure you can take on your competition effectively.