Are you looking for ways to get an edge over your competitors and ethically steal their traffic?
The digital space is becoming more and more competitive with time. To stay ahead of the game, you need to know what others are doing in your industry.
Using the strategies of your competition, you can grow your website traffic, create amazing content, and build a brand.
In this article, we’ll share a few of our favorite tools to spy on your competitor’s content strategy, and then we’ll show you how to spy on your competitors and ethically steal their traffic using SEMrush. (You can click here to skip to the SEMrush tutorial.)
Ready? Let’s get started…
3 Tools to Spy on Your Competitors
There are many tools that you can use to see what your competitors are doing. They give you an edge by helping you in your search engine optimization and content strategy.
Here are the 3 tools that’ll help you spy on your competitors:
SEMrush is one of the best SEO and marketing tools out there. It offers powerful features that will give you mind-blowing insights about your competitors.
Using SEMrush, you can find the top-performing pages of your competitors and create better content. You can boost your search engine rankings by identifying their top keywords, conducting your keyword research, and optimizing your pages.
SEMrush not only helps you improve your SEO, but it also provides details about the paid traffic of your competition. Using its reports, you can target top paid keywords and optimize your ads.
Ahrefs is another popular tool among SEO professionals and provides detailed information about your website and your competitors.
You’ll notice that the features offered by Ahrefs are similar to SEMrush. Using Ahrefs, you can get reports about your competitor’s backlink profiles.
It also helps you track your page rankings with your competitors. And its site audit feature helps you conduct an analysis of your website.
Google Keyword Planner is a useful tool to get insights about your competitors, and the best part is that it’s free. Many people think of it as a tool to run paid advertisements, but it can help you discover what your competitors are doing to drive traffic.
To use Google Keyword Planner, enter the URL of your competitor. The tool will give you information about their top keywords and new keyword ideas. It will give you a monthly search volume for each keyword, so you’ll know what topics to cover so you can beat your competitors.
That said, it will also show you the bidding values for each keyword. Although bids are useful for advertisers, you can use them to understand the competition and difficulty in ranking for that keyword.
Now, are you ready to learn how to spy on your competitors? Let’s start…
How to Spy on Your Competitors Using SEMrush
For our tutorial, we’ll be using SEMrush. It’s a simple, user-friendly, and powerful tool to figure out your competitors’ strategy.
Step 1: Create a SEMrush Account
Before starting your competition analysis, the first thing you’ll need to do is create a SEMrush account.
All you need is an email address for a new account. Enter your email, select a password, and then click Create your account to get started.
After creating your account, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Click on the link in the email to confirm your email address.
Once you’ve created an account, SEMrush will ask if you want to try its premium features in it’s 30-day free trial. You can select any plan that you like or skip this step if you want and move ahead.
Next, you’ll have to select your area of interest. Because you’re here to see what your competitors are up to, let’s go ahead and select Competitive Research.
Under Competitive Research, SEMrush will give you different reports to spy on your competitors. We’ll guide you through the most important reports for analyzing your competition and explain to you how they work.
Step 2: Go to Traffic Analytics Report
The first report you can use is Traffic Analytics by SEMrush. This feature gives you a complete report about your competitor’s top traffic sources.
To view the report, click on Traffic Analytics from the options on your left-hand side.
Using the report, you can figure out where do they get their traffic from, which geographic locations send the most traffic, and more.
To start, enter your competitor’s domain in the Traffic Analytics search bar and click Search. For our guide, we’ll use Amazon.com as an example.
Now, if you scroll down, there are reports to help you steal your competitor’s traffic. For instance, you can find out the traffic share per device. It shows whether your visitors come to your website through mobile or desktop.
In this case, Amazon gets more traffic from mobile devices than desktops. It means that mobile is important when it comes to generating traffic.
So, using the report, you could focus on improving your site’s mobile performance, making its interface light and clean for smartphones, and focusing your marketing efforts on mobile users.
You can also find out which subdomains drive the most traffic. Subdomains are an additional part of your website, like store.example.com.
Using SEMrush, you can identify which subdomains work the best, and then you can create similar subdomains for your website.
The next report to use is of top traffic sources. There are five sources used by SEMrush to categorize your competitor’s traffic: direct traffic, referral, search, social, and paid. With the help of this report, you can find traffic sources you need to focus on to beat your competitor.
For example, if your competitor gets most of its traffic from search, it means it’s ranking high on certain keywords on search engines. You can then use this information and look at the keywords of your competitor (we’ll show you how to do that in the next step).
And the last report you’ll see is of traffic by countries. This is a highly useful report because you can see which countries bring in traffic for your competitor. You can then create content or offer products specifically for these regions to drive traffic to your website.
For example, if you have an eCommerce store like Amazon, you can see that India brings in a lot of traffic. So, you can offer products like jewelry, footwear, and apparel on your store, specifically for the Indian market.
Step 3: Select Organic Research
After finding the top traffic sources, now go to the Organic Research report from the panel on your left-hand side.
Here you can dig deep into your competitor’s organic strategy, find keywords, and learn how they’re optimizing their website for SEO.
There are different tabs in this report that you can use to spy on your competitors. Let’s look at each…
To start, click on the Positions tab in the Organic Research report. It will give you the full list of keywords your competitor is ranking for on Google.
Using this report, you can find out keywords that you can target on your website. You can either create new content around these keywords or insert them on existing pages.
By ranking higher for the same search terms than your competitor, you can drive traffic to your website.
For each keyword, the report shows their position on the search engine, changes in rankings, traffic percentage that the keyword drives, volume, keyword difficulty, cost-per-click (CPC), URL, SERP, and last updated.
These metrics will help you find the right keyword for your website. For instance, high volume keywords have high difficulty, which means they’re difficult to rank on the top spot.
You should look for keywords that have a volume of at least 101 – 1000 per month and have low keyword difficulty. It will increase your chances of outranking your competitor. To do this, set the volume filter to 101 – 1000, and add a KD (keyword difficulty) filter under Advanced Filters.
And to get an advantage over your competitor, you can explore the search intent of each keyword, identify the content type, and come up with a better, more useful content.
To check the search intent, click on the icon under the SERP column. It will show you the top search results on Google.
Now, go through the top results to understand the nature of the search term or in simple words, see what people are looking for when they type in the keyword.
For instance, the search intent for the keyword AOL mail shows a lot of how-to guides. This means you should also create a how-to post for the topic if you want to rank in the top 10 results.
SEMrush also gives you the organic position distribution of your competitors, which shows the number of keywords in the top 100 on Google. Click on the Position Changes tab in the Organic Research to view the report.
Then, look at your competitor’s keyword in the 11 – 20 range. You can set a position filter to view keywords between this range.
Now pick the relevant terms for your website and create content around it. You can also optimize existing pages for these search terms.
Since your competitor isn’t on the first page on Google, you have an opportunity to drive traffic to your site. And if you can beat your competitor and rank in the top 10 before them, then you’ll have the edge over them.
You can also check out other websites that are your competition by going to the Competitors tab from the Organic Research report. It helps to identify which other sites you’re competing against.
To use the information from the Competitors tab, sort the list by competition and then click on Common Keywords for any one of the competing websites.
SEMrush will then take you to its Keyword Gap report, where you can find common keywords between the two domains. You can then select keywords based on volume and keyword difficulty to use on your website.
It’s another way if finding new keyword opportunities for your website and stealing your competitors’ traffic.
Do you want to know which pages of your competitors get the most traffic? Then go to the Pages tab from SEMrush Organic Research.
It will give you a list of top-performing pages based on the traffic they drive to the website. This report is highly useful for finding content topics and top-performing products of your competitors.
Using the information, you can create better posts on your website. And if you have an eCommerce store, you can find product pages that can get you the most traffic.
For instance, one of the high traffic pages on Amazon is about hoverboards. So, if you have an eCommerce store that sells such gadgets, you can add hoverboards to your list and steal traffic from Amazon.
The last tab you’ll find is of Subdomain in Organic Research. It shows similar information as in Traffic Analytics report about subdomains.
You can use it to find high traffic subdomains of your competitors and create similar subdomains for your website.
Let’s say one of the top subdomains for your competitor is music.example.com. Using the data about traffics and keywords, you can create a similar subdomain for music lovers.
It also provides a benchmark on the type of subdomains you can create and steal traffic from your competitors.
Step 4: Click on Backlink Analytics
Once you’ve found keyword opportunities and new content ideas from your competitors, another way to boost your search engine rankings is spying on your competitor’s backlinks.
Backlinks play an important role in ranking your website on Google. And another benefit of backlinks is that they can bring in referral traffic to your webpages.
Using the SEMrush Backlinks Analytics report, you can find backlinks of your competitor. To view your competitor’s backlinks, go to Backlink Analytics and then click on the Backlinks tab.
The report will show you the backlink profile of your competitor. You can use the report to find gaps in your website’s backlinks and try to secure a link from the same source. It also helps to see if the backlinks are from guest posts, forums, or any other source.
For example, if your competitor has a backlink from a guest posting site, you could get also get a backlink from the same source by publishing a guest post.
Another way of identifying your competitor’s backlinks is by going to the Referring Domains tab. It will show you the websites from where your competitor gets the most backlinks. Then using the same approach, you can also try to get as many backlinks as possible from these websites.
Now let’s look at how you can spy on your competitor’s advertising campaigns.
Step 5: Select Advertising Research
If you’re running paid advertisements or pay-per-click (PPC) on your website, then you should know about your competitor’s campaigns and paid keywords.
This is where SEMrush’s Advertising Research report comes in handy. Simply go to Advertising Research from the panel on your left. The report will show you all the paid keywords used by your competitor under the Position tab.
It gives you an idea of which keywords to use when running PPC on your website. You can sort the keywords based on cost per click (CPC) and volume. Then target them in your Google Adwords campaign.
Another way of stealing traffic from your competitor’s paid ads is by writing better ad copies. Go to the Ad Copies tab from the Advertising Research report and see the different ad copies of your competition.
Then try to come up with more attention-grabbing headlines for your ads. A pro tip to increase clicks and traffic on your ads is by adding power words.
These are words that add emotion to your ad copies. So, instead of flat headlines with no emotion, you can add curiosity words like astonishing or fear words like beware to your ad copies.
Step 6: Set Up Social Media Tracker
After you’re done identifying your competitor’s paid keywords and improving your ad copies, you can set up social media tracking of your website and your competitors in SEMrush.
The tool helps you track your competitor’s social content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
To set up tracking, go to Social Media Tracker from the menu on your left and then click Get Started. In the dropdown menu, add a project, and then select Set up.
In the next step, connect the different social media networks you want to track. But first, you’ll have to sign-in to each network using your account. For our demonstration, we used YouTube as the tracking channel.
Now, add your competitor’s URL you want to track and click Find profiles.
Once you’ve added your competitor, click Start tracking companies.
You can now view your competitor’s social content in SEMrush and spy on their activities to get content ideas and steal their traffic.
For example, in the YouTube tab, you can see the videos that get the most views, likes, dislikes, and comments. Using the report, you can create similar videos for your YouTube channel to get engagement and traffic.
That said, you can also view the content that gets the least engagement. So, you can avoid creating such videos for your channels.
Competitive analysis is made simple by tools like SEMrush. With just a click of a button, you can find out what others are doing in your industry.
Using SEMrush, you can find your competitor’s keywords, high traffic pages, backlinks, insights about their paid ads, and track their social media performance.
And that’s it.
We hope you liked our guide on how to spy on your competitors and ethically steal their traffic. If you want, you can also check out our tutorial on how to set up Google Analytics in WordPress.