6 Awesome Tools for competitor research | Local SEO Checklist Blog


A business owner in any niche is eternally faced with a single challenge – customer acquisition. Whether you have just started a business, or own an established business, the hardest task is to bring new customers. Small business owners who operate locally, face stiff competition from global players, as well as regional competition. For all these obstacles, there are plenty of advantages, especially on the marketing front.

The growing importance of local SEO has numerous advantages. Google displays a lot of individualized results. Its predictive features, enable it to factor in your location and history, to display results that are truly local. Mobile searches are on the rise, as a result location accuracy will also increase. Businesses that improved the reach of their location by just 20% saw their traffic increase by about 450%. Apps development will also follow suit.

As people demand more location based services, smaller businesses can thrive. If you are to beat your competition, there are several tools you need to take advantage of.

When beginning your business, it’s often best to focus on yourself. With the help of the tools we have listed below, you can shape your own practices, by studying your competitors. If you are to beat your competition, then you need to be able to analyze and understand exactly what they are doing. These tools help you do just that.

1. SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a great tool that gives you an amazing overview of competitor data. There are two versions, a free and a Pro. You can get data on

  • Traffic Sources (Geographic, Paid vs Organic, etc.)
  • Keyword Insights
  • Social Media Insights
  • Audience Interests

And more.

Let’s take business.com as an example. From the screenshot below you get an idea of the SimilarWeb interface.

Traffic Sources report SimilarWeb
Traffic Sources report
SimilarWeb Interface Audience Interests report
Audience Interests report

You can see that about 60% of the visitors come from organic searches. Another interesting point is that 27% of the traffic comes directly. This indicates that the power of the brand is very strong. As your brand or company grows, you will see a rise in this section.

There are plenty of pricing options available. The basic plan costs about $199/m which displays 50 results per metric and the data range stems back to 6 months. The Pro version is highly recommended, if you are analysing app data as well. Audience interests as well as referring sites for competitors can be monitored, so that you can try to get featured on the same or similar sites in your niche. The data pulled includes keywords and PPC campaigns from any site too. Laura Cruz in her post in the SearchEngineJournal says that “SimilarWeb Pro is not just an SEO tool; it’s really a sales tool, a recruitment tool, media buying tool, and much more

2. Ahrefs

An awesome tool for SEOs that has almost become a necessity. Ahrefs has come a long way from being a simple backlink checker tool. It now boasts a powerful content explorer, and keyword explorer tool as well.

The backlink checker basically analyses all the links flowing to any particular website. If you are a small businesses owner, you can input your competitor’s URL, to see exactly where they are getting links from. Data on display include:

  • No-Follow and Do-Follow links
  • Link Status
  • Referring domains
  • Anchor text distribution
  • Keyword data

Are your competitors doing massive guest post outreach? Or getting links from directories, Citations and comments? Well, Ahrefs gives you all the info to formulate a link building strategy. If you want to increase your contextual backlinks, then Ahrefs is amazing.

Let’s take a look at Chicago SEO Services which are doing using local SEO a lot to rank in Chicago, IL.

Ahrefs Dashboard

The above data gives us a good indication that a guest posting strategy from high quality sites is being used.

You can monitor the rate with which the links are arriving, any paid campaigns for specific keywords, and the anchor cloud. The anchor cloud simply displays all the words that are hyperlinked to the website in question. The anchor cloud and text ratio, need to be monitored for any successful SEO strategy. The screenshot below uses entrepreneur.com as an example.

Ahrefs anchor text ratio

3. SEMRush

SEMrush is an extremely powerful keyword research tool. If you are running a small or local business, there are many ways in which you can use this tool. The tool allows you to see what keywords your competitors rank for, and how popular they are. Another great way is to use it for the opposite purpose like looking for opportunities.

If you are trying to determine if a site is worth being present on, then this tool helps you with the answer. Before you guest post on a site, you can check out how much traffic the site gets, and if the traffic is from a keyword that relates to your audience.

We can use SEO guru Brian Dean’s website as an example. This screenshot below displays all the keywords his famous blog Backlinko ranks for

Backlinko organic search postions

The image shows us that Brian ranks very high for some popular keywords like “seo tools”. He will be getting a significant amount of traffic for ranking in the top 3 for a term that has a search volume of 6600 per month.

SEOquake is SEMrush’s awesome browser extension. You can get a lot of valuable data like Alexa Rank, URL comparisons, etc. On-page SEO can be done quickly using this tool as well. For smaller businesses on-page SEO goes a long way in making a difference.

 4. BuzzSumo

Social Listening and Trend Monitoring are probably the two best ways to describe what Buzzsumo does. For small and medium sized businesses which like to analyze the performance of their posts on Facebook, Twitter and other socials, this tool is fabulous.

You can simply plonk your competitor’s URL, and check out which of their posts are trending and generating traffic so that you can get a sense of what your audience wants.

Rob Marvin of PCmag says “No matter its size, every business needs the ability to monitor and interact with social media data, not only to find out about its customers but to intelligently reach out to new ones.”

Buzzsumo’s unique backlink tracking is amazing. The share tracker is probably the most comprehensive tool out on the market too. It is the only tool that monitors retweets since Twitter closed that stat to the public.

The only con we see with this tool is that it doesn’t (as of now) measure Instagram and Snap Chat statistics. With those two platforms growing in popularity rapidly, it would be cool to know stats other than those on traditional social media platforms alone. 

To show you how this platform works, let’s take a look at Search Engine Journal, and see which articles performed well there.


buzzsumo dashboard


5. BuzzStream

Buzzstream is more of a relationship building/campaign management tool. A lot of linkbuilding and collaboration with influencers is involved for small business owners. Hence, you need a toolthat will help you manage the communication aspect. It’s not humanly possible for most people to monitor hundreds of relationships, simultaneously. Hence we make use of Buzzstream. Influencer marketing is thriving currently, and Buzzstream helps you build a database of websites to reach out to.

There is also a Chrome extension called Buzzmarker. It pulls contact info, emails and contact pages with one click. A lot of the time you might have to search for contact info on LinkedIn, or find that a site doesn’t have standard mail servers that match the domain name. Buzz stream will also pull previous interactions, you have had with a person even on social platforms so that you can remember past conversations. You can access collaborative features too. These are available for $29 or more for two users and beyond.

When emailing new sites and people, it’s very important to personalize your emails, and track them. This tool allows you to create email templates, and monitor responses easily. They also have an awesome Discovery tool which can help you to find top bloggers and sites in your niche, to identify influencers and reach out to them.

Let’s use the Content Marketing Institute as an example to show you what the interface looks like.

COntentMarketing Instute Buzzstream Example
Buzzmarker Chrome Extension


Buzzstream Discovery Tool
Buzzstream Discovery Tool

6. NinjaOutreach

NinjaOutreach is pretty much all you need to create a successful outreach campaign. With so many thriving small businesses, managing an outreach campaign from start to finish can be tedious and difficult to manage. Hence, you need to use an all-in-one influencer outreach tool to help you with all your prospecting, link building, finding guest post opportunities, and more.

NinjaOutreach also has a Chrome extension called NinjaOutreach Lite. You can use it to easily import links to crawl for contact information and email addresses. With the thousands of emails you are sending in a day, there’s no way you can keep track of them all. Thankfully, NinjaOutreach also has a built-in CRM tool you can use to manage, track, and analyse your email performances. It also has customisable email templates for every outreach situation so you can personalise your emails accordingly.

Another important outreach aspect that can grow your site’s organic traffic is link building. This tool also has a comprehensive content research feature you can use for quality linkbuilding. Simply type in a keyword and the tool searches top shared, tagged, or followed influencers including relevant content they previously shared.

Here you can check out how the interface looks like using the content research tool as an example:

7. Linkio

Linkio is designed to give SEOs the right anchor text to build next, by using insightful data to help you make better-informed decisions. It’s flexible, automated and remarkably easy to use. It shows you the right percentage of anchor text types to use to quickly get over all your competition. Linkio checks the existing backlinks of your page to categorise the anchor text and to suggest which links should matter.


To Conclude

As a small business owner or marketing team member, you need to be on top of your game to outsmart the competition at all times. Organization is key when dealing with vast amounts of data, so let the tools do the heavy lifting for you. Using a combination of these tools allows you to create successful SEO campaigns.

Analyze, Create, Compete and Succeed!



About the author

Christopher Flores

Chris is a marketing specialist and a blogger from California. He loves exploring the Digital World and helping others to embark on their own digital adventures. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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