was successfully added to your cart.

My sales approach as Lead Developer at Reverent Media is very simple. I call clients, provide as many useful tips, insights, & suggestions as I can, then they benefit from this information and get excited about working with us!

One of the first things I do a few minutes before each conversation is spy on the website traffic of the client’s competitors. I think most of the time they are surprised by how easy this is to do and by how valuable this type of information can be. I’m writing this post as a resource to anyone who is interested in quickly and easily gaining digital marketing insights from their competition.

When & Why To Spy

“Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.” – Sam Walton

From the quote above, it may seem like Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, might think little of following what his competitors were doing. However, he is in fact famous for constantly visiting competitor stores and interview any employee he could find! In his book Sam Walton: Made In America, Sam explains how he shamelessly and consistently borrowed best practices from all of his competition. If their competition gained any advantage, Walmart would immediately either replicate or improve it on that advantage. Now that’s a tough strategy to beat!

Whenever you are about to invest in digital marketing services, a new website, a new app, or anything else related to your online presence, you should never feel like you are making guesses. At Reverent Media, we focus on protecting the ROI of our clients, and the best way to do that is by understanding exactly how there competition is capturing market share. Using this as the foundation, we are able act on a strategy based on data, rather than “gut feeling”.

The data you need is out there. If you don't use it your competition will. Click To Tweet

SpyFu Overview

There are many different ways to spy on your competition and tools for making it easy, but for the sake of simplicity I will focus on my favorite tool: SpyFu.com

This tool will instantly let you preview a traffic and SEO report for any website, and if you pay a monthly fee you can get full access to their reports. Reverent Media is a SpyFu subscriber, and I share reports with clients and potential clients all the time. Reach out at [email protected] if you would like one!

Insights From Organic VS. Paid Traffic

When you pull a Spyfu report, the first thing you will see will be a “Monthly Domain Overview”. At first it may seem intimidating with all those numbers, but it’s actually very easy to understand once you know what the most important numbers are. Here is an example of what this screen looks like:

Here are the most important numbers on this screen:

Est Monthly SEO Clicks

This tells you how much organic traffic this website gets, which simply means how many people found them by looking for them. You will notice that this number is usually smaller than what you might see in a Google Analytics report, but it actually tends to be a fairly accurate estimation. Google Analytics and similar tools often include website visits from things like spamming bots, so much of the reported traffic isn’t from real people surfing the web. SpyFu however seems to do a fairly good job providing more conservative numbers that closer represent the real traffic.

Est Monthly SEO Click Value

The best part of organic traffic is that it’s free! However, not all traffic has equal value. When people search the web, they sometimes expect to pay a lot for a product they want to find, but often they just want information and don’t want to buy anything. Companies pay more money for valuable keywords, so the value of online traffic can be estimated by how much companies are willing to pay for the keywords involved. This number tells you how much the owner of the website would have had to pay in ads to get the same clicks that they got organically. Basically, it’s a measure of how much value they are getting from their SEO investments!

Est Monthly PPC Clicks

This is a measure of how many visitors the website gets from paid advertisements.

Est Monthly Adwords Budget

This is an estimation of roughly how much they spend on online ads each month.

What You Can Learn

When spying on your competition, you can really learn the most by comparing these numbers between several different competitors. Ask yourself these types of questions:

Who has the strongest traffic?

How are they getting it?

Why are they paying that much for ads?

Who has the least traffic & Why?

For instance, if all of your competition pays for their traffic, it could mean that it’s very difficult to get organic traffic and you should be investing in online ads as well. If you notice by looking at the graph that they all pay for ads longterm, then it’s a good sign that ads will be profitable for your business. If a competitor seems to pay for ads in spurts, it could mean that they use Adwords to adjust for seasonal demand, their online ads weren’t profitable, or perhaps they are struggling financially.

If all of your competition relies on organic traffic and rarely pays for traffic, it often means that they aren’t very tech savvy and you have a great opportunity to steal their organic traffic! However, online ads aren’t profitable for some industries, so you should still get expert help before diving in with a big digital marketing investment.

Insights From Keywords

I’m going to keep this section very minimal, since there is already so much information out there on keywords.

This is a snapshot of some of the information SpyFu provides on keywords:

What You Can Learn

Keywords are the words people use when trying to find you. Therefore, it’s always important to know what keywords apply to your type of business! These keywords should be used in your website, blog posts, social media, and all of your other online content.

By looking into what keywords are working well for your competition, you make sure that you aren’t leaving money on the table by forgetting to use a common search term in your content. You can also determine how strong the marketing skills of your competitor are by the quality of their keywords.

For instance, if you find that all of your competitors seem to focus on the same handful of keywords, make sure you do too, and see if there are any more they are missing which can help you stand out!

If all your competitors seem to be targeting very different keywords, that’s a good sign that they don’t really know which are working and which aren’t. Simply pick the best ones for yourself and steal their traffic out from under them!

Insights From Adwords History

SpyFu shows you the exact ads your competitors are paying for!

This is were you can really get inside the heads of both your market and your competition.

What You Can Learn

The two big things you want to get from this information is an understanding of what a successful ad in your niche looks like, and how strong your competition is.

Look at what ads get the most clicks, and how much each click costs, do those numbers look attractive for you? Which seem to be keywords with the highest volume and lowest costs?

If a competitor seems happy to consistently pay more for keywords than you do, it’s a good sign that they can convert a higher percentage of those clicks into paying customers than you can, which means you’ve fallen behind and need to optimize your website for sales!

Look at the top ads. What makes people click on them? How could you make them better?

These are some ways I judge the quality of an Ad:

  • Is the first letter of each word capitalized? This is a proven technique Google promotes. If they aren’t capitalized, it’s a good sign the ads weren’t made by a professional.
  • Are the titles and descriptions consistently long? You need to stuff an ad with good keywords, so a good ad usually pushes as close to the character limit as possible.
  • Do the ads use any symbols or exclamation points? These help grab attention and are another sign of a good ad.

Conclusion

I sincerely hope you found this information useful. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or ideas. I love supporting businesses and would be happy to help you learn from your competition!

As mentioned before, this is a description of just one tool, but there many other ways to gain these same kinds of insights. Which tools and approaches do you use? Please leave a comment to let me know, I would love to see what has been working for you!

Isaac

Author Isaac

I'm a nerd with a degree in engineering from Baylor University, and a background in many different industries and fields. In my free time, I teach myself programming, brew craft beer, and build various gadgets & products. I value integrity, creativity, professional ambition, and a strong work ethic.

More posts by Isaac

Join the discussion 45 Comments

  • acheeks2017 says:

    This is such a useful tactic – checking out the competition in a meaningful way saves a ton of time and money that is otherwise wasted on trial and error. The SpyFu reports in particular are a treasure; exactly to the core information you need to make Adwords and SEO targets. I used it for my own business to learn more about my competitors and was shocked to see some of the keywords that were getting traffic on my competitors’ sites. I also realized that some of my “competitors” were obviously targeting a different niche than I was, so I removed those companies from my “competitor” list altogether and refocused on those who were more aligned to the audiences I was also targeting. Great post Isaac!

  • Thanks for some other informative blog. Where else may
    just I get that type of information written in such a perfect approach?
    I’ve a mission that I am just now running on, and I have
    been at the look out for such info.
    nilai mata kuliah ut pendas

  • substance says:

    Hi tһere to all, for the reason that I am in fаct keen of reading this ᴡebpage’s post to be սpdated
    on a гegular basis. It contains pleasant informatіon.

  • Patrice says:

    This design is steller! You most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.

    Between your witt andd your videos, I was almost moved to
    stat my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful
    job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and
    more han that, how yoou presented it. Too cool!

  • Francine says:

    I’m pfetty pleased to discover this website. I wanht
    to to thank you for your time for this particularlly fantastic read!!

    I definitely saored every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorrite to see new
    stuff on your blog.

  • เย็ด says:

    Asking questions are genuinely pleasant thing if you are not understanding something fullʏ, but this ρiece of writing presents good understanding even.

  • คลิป says:

    maɡnificent submit, very informаtive. Ӏ ponder why the other expeгts of this sector do not understand this.
    You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a great readers’
    base already!

  • เต้น says:

    Outstanding storʏ there. What occurгed after? Thanks!

  • thaiporn says:

    Ӏt’s an awesomе piece of writіng in support оf
    all the online pеople; they will take advantage from it
    I am sᥙre.

  • Bernadine says:

    Very rapidly this website will be famus among all
    blogging and site-building viewers, due to it’s nice content

  • pornxxx says:

    I wɑs recommended thiѕ website by means of my cousin. І’m no
    longeг certain whether this put ᥙp is written via him as no
    one else understand sᥙch specific aЬout my troubⅼe.
    You are incredible! Thanks!

  • youporn says:

    I ԝant to to thank yoս for this wonderful read!! I certainly
    loved every little bit of it. I have you book marked to look at
    new stuff you post…

  • I just ⅼikе the helpful information yօu provide in your articles.

    I will Ьookmark youг weblog and test once more here freqսеntlү.
    I’m fairly sure I wіll learn many neԝ stuff right rigһt
    hеrе! Best of luck for tһe following!

  • I do not even understand how І ended up here, hⲟwever I believed this
    publish was good. I don’t realize who you might be however
    definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger shoulԀ you are not already.

    Ⲥheers!

  • You actually make іt seem so easy together with your presentation bսt I іn finding this topic to be actually
    something which I believe I might neѵer understand.
    It kind of feels toߋ complicated and extremely large foг me.
    I am looking forward to your next submit, I will attempt to get the cling of
    it!

  • pornhub says:

    Good way of ⅾescriƄing, and good post to obtain facts on the topic ᧐f my presentation subject, which i am gߋing to deliver in school.

  • หี says:

    I am now not pⲟsitivе the placе you’re getting youг information, hоwever greɑt topic.

    I needs to spend sоme time finding out more or figuring
    out mⲟre. Tһank you for excellent informatiօn I used to be in search of this information for my mission.

  • Undeniably consider that whch you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be at the net the
    easiest factor tto consider of. I say to you,I certainly get irked while other folks consider worries that they
    plainly do not recognize about. You controlled to hit the nail
    upon the highest and outlined out tthe entire thing woth no need side effect
    , other folks could take a signal. Will probably
    be back to get more. Thank you

  • Earl says:

    Aw, this was a really nice post. Spehding some time and actual effort to make a great article… but
    what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot annd don’t manage to get anything
    done.

  • Cleta says:

    It’s an remarkable piece of writing in support of all the
    online viewers; they will obtain benefit from it I
    aam sure.

  • Dian says:

    Hi there excellent website! Does running a blog such aas this reqhire a greatt deal of work?

    I havee very little expertise in coding but I had been hoping to
    start my own blog soon. Anyhow, should you have anyy
    suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is offf subject bbut I simply had to ask. Appreciate it!

  • 99bb says:

    Ꭰo you mind if I qᥙote a few of your posts as long as I provide
    credit and sources bɑck to your sitе? My
    blog is in tһe exact ѕame area оf interest as youгs and my usеrs would really benefit from a lot
    оf the information you present here. Please let me қnow if this ok with you.
    Regards!

  • Karla says:

    Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.

    I really like the info you present here andd can’t wait to take a loopk whe I get home.
    I’m surprised at howw quick your blpog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, aeesome blog!

  • Tonya says:

    It is appropriate tkme to make some ploans for the future and it
    is time to be happy. I have read ths post annd if
    I could I wish to suggest youu few interesting things or advice.
    Maybe you can wwrite next articles refewrring to this article.

    I desire tto read more things about it!

  • Hey outstanding website! Does running a blog lie this take a lot off
    work? I’ve absolutely nno expertise in programming but I was hoping tto start my own blog
    in the near future. Anyway, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off subject but I just had too ask. Appreciae it!

  • Jeff says:

    I always used too read piece of writing in news papers but noow as I am a user of net thus from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web.

  • Arden says:

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads upp very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  • Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?

    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  • Tyree says:

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thouht
    thiks post was great. I doo not know who you are but definitely you’re goping
    to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on visit this site.

    Regards

  • My brotheг suggested I would possibly lіke this blog.
    He was once entirеly rіght. This post actually made
    my day. Ⲩou can not consider just how so much time I
    had spent for this info! Thank you!

  • Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also aam a blogger, and I wass wondering your situation; we have created some nice procedures and we are looking
    to swap strztegies ith other folks, whyy nnot shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • Felisha says:

    You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs
    on the web. I’m gojng to highly recommend this website!

  • Cary says:

    I’m reallyy loving the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibilitty problems? A couple of my blog visitors have complained about my sie not working correctly
    in Explorer buut looks great in Chrome. Do you have
    any recommendations to help fix this issue?

  • Mirella says:

    Can I just say what a reduction to seek out someone who really knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know methods to bring an issue to mild and make it important. Extra individuals have to learn this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant consider youre no more popular since you definitely have the gift.

  • Bridgette says:

    I don’t even know the way I stopped up here,
    but I thought this put upp was good. I do not recognise who you might be however
    definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger for those who aree nnot already.

    Cheers!

  • Jamaal says:

    I all the time used to study piece of writing in news papers but
    nnow as I am a user of internet thus from now I am using
    net for articles, thanks to web.

  • Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yett effective.
    A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appearance.
    I must say you have donbe a very good jobb with this.
    In addition, the blog loads super quick ffor
    me on Firefox. Outstanding Blog!

  • xnxx says:

    I’ve been exⲣloring for a bit for any һigh-quality articleѕ or ᴡeblog posts on this kind of spacе .
    Exploring іn Yahoo I eventually stumbled uрοn this site.
    Studying this informɑtion Sο і am satisfied to show
    that Ӏ’ve an incredіbly just right uncanny feelіng Ι discovered
    exaϲtly what I neeԁed. I moѕt surely will make certaіn to don?t fail to remember this website
    аnd pгоvides it a look on a continuing basis.

  • nuvid says:

    I аm genuinelʏ happy to glance at this blog postѕ which contains tons of ѵaluable facts,
    thanks for provіding such statistics.

  • Tim says:

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it’s reallyy informative. I’m gonna watch out forr brussels.
    I’ll be grateful if you contiue this in future.Many people
    wijll bee benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • Cathy says:

    What’s up, its fastidious piece of writing regarding
    media print, we all be familiar with media is a fantastic sourche of data.

  • Very good article post.Really thank you! Will read on…

  • หี says:

    Hi, Ι do believe thіs is a great blog. I stumblеdupon it ;
    ) I wіll come baⅽk yet again since i have book marked it.

    Money and freedom is the greatest ѡay to
    change, may you be rich and continue to guide
    others.

Leave a Reply