One of the smartest things that you can do as an internet marketer is keep an eye on your competitors to know what are they doing to climb the SERPs. Once you know this, you can accordingly change your strategy to counter theirs. In the online world, spying is very easy and there are a number of tools that are available to accomplish that. These tools will make you aware of the keywords that are working well for your competitors, what are the features that have made them popular among their subscribers, what tools are being used by your competitors to generate returns on their PPC campaigns and what are their SEO initiatives.  


To be able to know what your competitors are up to, try these 5 free SEO tools for competitor spying:


1. Google Alerts

With Google alerts, you can know anything and everything that your competitor is doing and also where is he doing so on the web. You need to set up the searches for the keywords that you intend monitoring for their activities. Google alerts not only tells you what is being said about your competitor on the web but also makes you aware about your reputation in the online world. You will be notified by an e mail whenever the keyword/competitor you mentioned comes up anywhere on the web, Google blog search or Google news. 


You can also set alerts for the terms that you intend tracking from a particular industry or your niche. Whenever there is a new link that points to your website, you will be notified. Whenever you article is discussed or picked up, you will be alerted. You just have to enter the competitors name and the moment your competitor is discussed, you will be notified via an email. 


2. Compete Search Analytics

This tool is a wonder way of getting to know the number of unique visits to the site that you intend spying upon. It returns the rank of the site based on the visits that were unique. It also arms you with a detailed information about the keyword being targeted by the competition. You just need to enter the URL of the competitor and the results will return the keywords that are responsible for driving traffic to the website. 


3. SEMRush

SEMRush is a tool that is very handy and efficient in spying PPC advertising campaigns. The moment you enter the competitor’s URL you get a detailed information not only about the popular keywords but also their position, volume and CPC for every keyword. This tool also returns the Google adwords phrases that are responsible for driving traffic to the site. 


4. KeywordSpy

This tool lives upto its name by letting you know the organic keywords that your competitor is reaping dividends from. Apart from organic keywords, you can also search for domains and destination URLs. This is regarded as a tool that is capable of giving a deep insight into the competition. The free version of this tool provides a lot of data on a certain geographical location. It must be noted that this tool only gives you the average ad position, number of clicks and the keywords and does not tell the exact position of the keyword.


5. OpenSiteExplorer

Ever since SEOMoz rolled out this tool, it has increased its popularity by leaps and bounds and is currently one of the most important free spying tools. You can use this tool to compare as much as 5 sites in a single go. This tool provides a huge volume of data to study. One aspect of this tool that is worth appreciation is that it tells you the anchor text of your competition and the keywords that it uses for its inbound links. Apart from all these activities, you can use this tool to know the domains that are linking to your competition and thereafter approach those sites yourself. 

With a sound knowledge of these free tools, you can effectively spy on your competitors in order to know what are they up to and what fetches maximum benefit for them. Apart from such spying activities, what is most important is that you remain active on the web, keep visiting forums and follow the trends of the industry. 



Author Bio:

Allan is a online marketing consultant for Saffire Ecigs. He like to contribute on various online tactics such as SEO, PPC.




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