6 Handy Tools to Help You Spy on Your Competitors

Sep 3, 2015 - 4 min read

One of the reasons why I love online marketing is the fact that you are able to track virtually everything. For example, I know exactly what our return on investment is whenever I set up a new campaign. I also know a lot about our competitors. More than you think. I use a bunch of online tools, which not only help me to understand the success of our own marketing campaigns, but they also help me to learn more about our competitors’ marketing efforts and to identify new opportunities. The following 6 tools will help you to get these valuable insights.

1. Google Alerts

With  Google Alerts  you can monitor mentions online. Whenever your company or your competitor is mentioned online, it will be sent to your inbox right away.

How to use it:

  • If your competitor is mentioned somewhere, see if you can get a link to your website there as well.
  • It’s a great way to monitor your own company’s online presence as well.

Price: Free


2. Mention

Mention  is another online mention monitoring tool. It’s kind of like a premium version of Google Alerts. Besides websites, it helps you to track mentions on social media as well.

How to use it:

  • If your competitor is mentioned somewhere, see if you can get a link to your website there as well.
  • Monitor your company’s online presence.
  • Monitor social media to see if you and your competition are part of the conversation.

Price: Free (up to 3 keywords, 3 users and 3000 mentions per month).


3. SEMrush

This tool is relevant whenever you want to focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get better rankings in Google, or when you advertise online using Google AdWords.  SEMrush  shows you which keywords your competitor ranks for, and how much they are bidding for certain keywords in Google AdWords. This will make it easier for you to adjust your SEO and ad strategies accordingly.

How to use it:

  • Get insight in organic keywords and rankings of competitors
  • See which keywords are most successful for them

Price: You’ll get a limited amount of data for free, while the cheapest monthly licence starts at $69,95 per month.


4. SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb  is similar to SEMrush. It gives some insight in a company’s online performance, and gives some estimated traffic to the website you want to check out. It shows the websites that generate the most traffic and which keywords are most important.

How to use it:

  • Get insight in the number of visitors to your competitor’s website
  • See if there are any other similar companies you don’t know about yet

Price: You’ll get access to some basic data for free. For access to everything, pricing starts at $199 per month.


5. Open Site Explorer

If you want to get high rankings in Google, it’s important to get links from other websites to yours. This helps Google to find your website, and (more importantly) it is an indication that you provide quality content. This works according to the same principle as Facebook likes: if you get more likes, you get more attributed value. That’s how links work for Google. An easy way to find new link opportunities is via  Open Site Explorer . When you type a competitor’s URL here, it shows you which websites placed a link to your competitors website. Whenever they write about them, it’s very likely they might be interested in writing about you as well.

How to use it:

  • Easy way to find new link opportunities
  • Insight in page and domain authority (the higher the authority, the better the link)

Price: Free for up to 3 URL’s per day. Full access to the complete SEO software package starts at $99 a month. However, if Search Engine Optimization is not your core business, you can just go for a one time free trial and get all the data you need!

Open Site Explorer

6. Builtwith

If you want to know which technology your competitor is using on their website, you can use  Builtwith . Just enter the URL and see what your competitors, or big companies like  Uber  or  Airbnb , use for analytics, email and advertising. It’s quite technical, but it might help you to find new software to improve your online presence and appearance.

How to use it:

  • Find out what technology your competitor is using
  • See what software is most popular or growing fast in their area of expertise (e.g. the most popular CMS)

Price: Builtwith is free to use for individual site lookups. Premium plans start at $295/month.


There are lots of more tools to spy on your competitors. Most of them are similar to the ones mentioned above. The tools mentioned above are quite easy to use and give some (or all) of the data for free. Of course, you can also just subscribe to the competition’s newsletter and follow them on social media.

Now you know what your competitor does online, it’s time to use this knowledge and make sure all your potential clients will choose your business!

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Tommy Klouwers

My name is Tommy Klouwers and I’m Marketing Manager at Virtuagym. I’m always looking for new ways to grow our business internationally. I’m a huge fan of data. I love soccer and like to beat my co-workers at a game of FIFA after work :)