Hi, it’s Aaron Kassover from AgentMethods. I want to talk a little more today about doing some research on your competition and give you some ideas on how you can estimate traffic to your competitor’s websites and also your website, and also get a sense of where that traffic is coming from. I’m going to go through a couple of tools that are available. They are all free or at least have a free version. I’m not going to go into too much depth because I want you to go and explore them yourselves, but I’ll show you some of the benefits you can use with information you can gather from each tool.
Let’s go back to our browser. We will continue where we left off yesterday where we had done a search for the phrase Colorado Health Insurance and we saw that this site colohealth.com was the top result. We did some digging into the backlinks on that website. Now, let’s go and maybe get some information about the site, about the traffic, and about the search engine terms it’s bringing traffic from.
*The first site that we look at is something called Alexa.com. We can do a search for a domain name and actually look up that domain and get what’s called the Alexa Rank. The Alexa traffic rank is really literally the number ranked of how popular or how much traffic that site gets. So the number one site will be the site that gets the most traffic. This one is about 2.88 million on the web. It sounds like a lot, but really probably the Alexa traffic rank is not totally the most useful thing. *
*Now, if we click through to Coloradohealth.com on Alexa, when the page loads, we’ll see that they don’t really give us good information about the traffic. They don’t give us data here, so I’m going to have to go somewhere else. What they do give us are pretty good pieces of information on search. They show us – you can see the number one through 10 query of where the site traffic comes from, you can see which phrases have the most impact, and you can really sort of dive in and learn a lot about the keywords that this site is drawing traffic from and what they’re ranking all for. *
There’s a lot of data here and I recommend you go and spend some time just sort of exploring Alexa because it won’t show you just how they rank over all in Google, but really the traffic results of those keywords are bringing to the site. So that’s Alexa.
*Now, the next one I’d like to look at is Compete.com. And Compete is pretty cool because they have a sampling and they pull from ISPs through a sort of random path or anonymous panel to get actual data that they are using to model the population over all of web browsing. So they can give you pretty good results of the traffic the site is going to. These are estimates, they’re not exact, but in my experience, they tend to be pretty accurate, especially if you’re getting more than a 1000 visitors a month. So we go to Compete.com and we’re able to see right here a one year rolling history of the site’s traffic. You can see that it generally gets between about a 1,000 – 2,600 visitors per month. There are some big spikes, like last fall and in January and in March, and that might be because of pay-per-click campaigns, some of those sort of marketing campaigns, they’re doing to drive traffic. Maybe they were doing a lot of aggressive search optimization, drove traffic up, and then were using tactics that got banned and so they got dropped back down the results. You can see that there are sort of some peaks, but there is some consistent value, as well. That gives you a sense of how much traffic is on there. Compete will also give you data on some of the keywords, but they want you to have a subscription to really get all of them so you can get better results from Alexa. *
The last tool I like to use is called SpyFu and SpyFu really zeros in on both organic search and pay-per-click. Now, in this case, we don’t see pay-per-click because they don’t have data on this site, but you’ll find as you look at sites overall, you begin to get a picture of how much they’re spending per click, what their daily budgets are, especially if you look at sites like eHealthinsurance, which we know are doing pay-per-click campaigns, you really get a sense of what kinds of phrases they’re targeting, what they really view as the “money” phrases they’re bidding on, and so SpyFu is a great tool for that. You can see here that eHealthInsurance has a daily budget; this is per day, of about $11,000 to $50,000, so obviously they are spending a lot of money. They are nationwide in traffic. SpyFu is a really cool tool for digging into pay-per-click campaigns and learning more about that. They give you some information on organic search, as well, but again I find that Alexa is a better place to go there.
There are three tools: Compete.com, SpyFu.com, and Alexa.com. They are all free. They all will give you some information about your competition, and also if you want to look at your site, you can learn a little bit, as well. There is a lot of data here, and so I recommend you go in with a specific question you want to answer, as opposed to just going in and clicking through, because you can spend a lot of time and really feel like you’re learning a lot, but it’s not necessarily going to help your site’s optimization unless you know why you’re going in here.
So give it a try so you can learn and I’ll have more on the competition tomorrow. Thank you.