how to do competition research

4 Competition Research Hacks and Tools

One of the best ways to have successful campaigns is to get an idea of what is working, then model it.

This will save you tons of time re-inventing the wheel, because you’ll be following a proven system for attracting visitors to your site instead of just shooting blank into the wind.

Fortunately, over the last few years, tons of great tools have come out about how to spy on your competitors.

In today’s article, I’ll go through the top software and show you exactly how to use it!

Let’s get into it…

1) Swipe your competitor’s keyword research with SemRush

SemRush is amazing and you can generate lists of hundreds of keywords in just a few minutes.

Here’s how it works:

1. Get a list of your competitors.

You can do this by just searching Google for your top keywords and find who’s ranking, copy their urls into a list.

Search Google for competition
Get a list of all your competitors

2. Get their keywords from SEMRush.

Go to SemRush and plop one of your competition’s URLs at the top. Then on the left hand side go to “positions” under organic research.

SEMRush keyword research
Use SEMRush to find keywords in 2 seconds

3. Export that list

Export keywords
SEMRush Export

4. Repeat this for all the competitors.

Then, combine the lists into one big spreadsheet. Now you have all our competition’s keywords!

Keyword Research Spreadsheet
Keyword Research Spreadsheet


2) Swipe your competitor’s backlinks with Ahrefs

Ahrefs will give you the ability to spy on your competition’s backlinks, see what kinds of tactics they are using, and give you ideas for link targets you can use as well.

Here’s how it works:

1. Take that same list of your competitors, plop it into

Research competitor in
Research competitor in

2. Go to backlinks, export the list

Export backlinks from
Export backlinks from

3. Comb through and find out why they got a link and try to get a link there too.

Get A Link From The Same Directory
Get A Link From The Same Directory

4. You can use a tool like VoilaNorbert to try to find the site contact if you don’t know what it is.

Find anyone's email address
Voila Nobert – Find anyone’s email address

5. Send an email request!


3) Swipe your competitor’s best content with Buzzsumo

With this method, we’ll be figuring out what kinds of content are prone to go viral and get a lot of shares.  We’ll then use that content for new ideas.

1. Go to buzzsumo and type in your competitors domains, or a main keyword.

Buzzsumo research
Buzzsumo research

2. Take note of the top shared posts – Title, what it is, why you think it got shared

Buzzsumo research
Buzzsumo research

3. Recreate content that is similar to that post and improve it or change the media (create an infographic, or a video, or something to differentiate)


4) Swipe your competitor’s local citation sources with Whitespark

Whitespark citation finder will research all your competitors, find their citations, and organize them all for you by DA. This is great for local SEO and is pretty much the standard tool.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to and start an account.
  2. Type in your country, location, keyphrase.
  3. Whitespark will give you a list of your competition’s top citations.
  4. Compare those with the ones you already have, and get the ones you don’t!



These tools have made competition research 10x faster than it used to be.

If you have any other tools you love and would like added to the list, leave them in the comments!

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Sean Corbett

I'm the co-found of Fresh Metrix SEO Rank Tracking Software.

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