Imagine that you’re at an estate auction, and you spy a set of silver spoons you really want. To get the spoons, you need to have the highest bid — but now imagine that you have no idea what anyone else has bid. You don’t have a clue how high you should go. In many ways, bidding at an auction is similar to marketing your business.
You’re vying for potential customers, but without knowing what the competition is doing, you have no clue how to optimize your campaigns. That’s why it’s important to monitor your competitors. In particular, you want to keep a close eye on competitors’ website traffic. If a major competitor is bringing in far more traffic than you, it probably means they’re doing something you aren’t.
To win the customers currently going to them, you have to find out what that something is. Read on to learn more about how to check competitor website traffic. Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly, our email newsletter, for more digital marketing tips from the agency with over 25 years of experience!
7 steps to help you spy on competitors
It’s important for you to spy on competitors in order to see what they’re doing to attract customers. Seeing how competitors are driving their success is critical to outperforming them with your own campaigns. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to check competitor traffic.
You need only to follow a simple process, and you’ll soon have everything you need to reoptimize your marketing. Here’s a seven-step guide to how to check competitor website traffic!
1. Lay out a plan
Before you start breaking out your trench coats and magnifying glasses, take the time to develop a plan for your competitor spying. Without a clear sense of direction, the process could quickly become murky. You need to establish two parameters right from the start:
- Goals: What do you want to know? What specific information do you want to learn about your competitors?
- Competition: Who are your competitors?
Which specific businesses will you be looking into?
You probably already have a clear sense of who your competitors are, but draw up a clear list even so. If you’re having trouble, you can try looking up target keywords (e.g., “lumber services”) in Google to see which businesses occupy the top results.
2. Gather valuable competitor spying tools
You can gather some rudimentary information about your competitors on your own, but you won’t get far without some competitor spying tools to help you along. These tools allow you to access various pieces of information you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. Some of the best competitor spying tools out there include:
- CompetitorSpyFX: CompetitorSpyFX is WebFX’s own competitor tracking software, which enables you to compare yourself directly to five of your competitors at once.
- SpyFu: SpyFu is a tool that lets you see everywhere a competitor has appeared in Google, both in organic and paid search results.
- Semrush: Semrush specializes in keywords, letting you see all the keywords a competitor is ranking for.
Once you’ve lined up the tools you need, you’re finally ready to start the spying process.
3. Look at competitors’ web content
When you check competitor traffic, you’re doing more than simply seeing how many people visit their site. With the right tool, you can find that information in just a few seconds. The real work is focused on learning how they got that traffic.
What led so many people to their site? Very often, the answer can be found in their web content. Whether it be blog posts, videos, or something else altogether, high-traffic websites typically use some form of content marketing to draw in new users. By visiting the pages on your competitors’ sites that receive the most traffic and viewing the content you find there, you can better determine how to optimize your own content.
4. Find out what keywords to target
In addition to looking at the content on your competitors’ sites, you can investigate the keywords they use to rank that content in Google. Which searches are they targeting, and which ones are bringing in the most traffic? You can use tools like SEMrush to see what keywords your competitors rank for. From there, you can see which keywords are driving the best results for them and incorporate those keywords into your own search marketing.
5. Assess competitors’ social media campaigns
Social media might not seem like the place to go if you’re looking to monitor your competitors’ website traffic. But for many businesses, social media is one of the most consistent sources of traffic, particularly if they tend to post links to their latest blog posts or similar content. For that reason, you can benefit from taking a look at your competitors’ social media. Which posts seem to generate the most traffic to the company’s website?
Furthermore, which pages on the site do they lead users to? When you see which social media tactics are driving the most traffic to your competitors’ sites, you can apply the same tactics to your own social media.
6. Buy from your competitors
This tip might seem counterintuitive, and understandably so. Buy your competitors’ products or services? Give them even more revenue?
Why would you do that? The reason you should consider making a purchase from your competitors is that the process will tell you quite a bit about their typical buyer experience. What parts of the purchase process are they doing well? What could they improve on? If their “cart” pages receive a lot of traffic, that tells you that they’re doing a good job of driving conversions.
When you make a purchase yourself, you’ll be able to see exactly how they’re accomplishing that. Then you can apply that knowledge to your own conversion process.
7. Know when to stop
As crucial as it is to keep up with what your competitors are doing, it’s equally important to know where to draw the line. For many marketers, competitor spying can become a major rabbit hole — one where they can’t stop comparing themselves to their competitors. You don’t want to get stuck in a cycle of seeing all your competitors’ successes and feeling demotivated about your own campaigns in response. You want to go in, get the information you need, and then come back to your own campaigns. That’s part of why step one on this list — developing a plan — is so important.
You need to know in advance where you’re going to draw the line and return to your own marketing. Hear from HydroWorx, who saw a 236% increase in organic sessions with WebFX services.
WebFX is a partner businesses trust.
Hear from HydroWorx, who saw a 236% increase in organic sessions with WebFX services.Watch the Video Testimonial
WebFX can help you check competitor traffic and improve your own
Ready to start optimizing your campaigns to outdo your competitors? WebFX would love to give you a hand! With over 1,020 testimonials, we’re the agency businesses trust to check competitor traffic and drive results for their marketing. When you partner with us, you’ll gain access to CompetitorSpyFX, our competitor tracking software built to help you through every step of the process listed above.