How to Spy on Your Competitors Marketing Strategy and Gain an Edge

September 16, 2020
Growth Hacking
SEO
How to get insights in your competitors marketing strategy

In order to beat your competition online you have to first have a clear idea of what they are doing that is working. Having competitors is a good thing because they push you to innovate, become creative and build something unique. 

In this article we will look at different ways you can spy on your competitors marketing strategy in order to improve your own marketing and growth. If you know the strategies being implemented by your competitors you can leverage them and create something that provides more value for your audience or customers.

Check Your Competitors SiteMap.xml file

There is so much information you can gather simply from looking at the makeup of your competitors sitemap.xml file. You can see how frequently they publish content, their website structure, keyword targeting and more. 

Below is a sample snapshot of a website’s sitemap.xml file. In order to see a copy of a website’s sitemap.xml file, type in either one of the following below after the name of the domain name.

Sitemap.xml

Or

Sitemap_index.html



From the sample website we are checking out backyardboss.net we can see that their website contains two sitemap files. One is for the posts they publish and another is simply for the different pages on the website

If we click on their post sitemap we will be able to see every single post that the website has published along with the date the post has been published. 


We can also see that this website has published 922 articles , with the latest post being on 9-16-2020. 

This allows you to see every single piece of content that the website has published. 

Through here you can see what kind of keywords and content your competitor is targeting and how they are structuring and creating their content. This is extremely valuable if you want to gain a holistic view of how much content your competitor has created.

Check Your Competitors Traffic Breakdown

Another way to gain insight into what your competitors are doing is to analyze where their website traffic is coming from. 

One way you can do this is by going over to SimilarWeb.com and typing in your competitors website. 

It’s worth noting that the traffic stats provided by SimilarWeb are estimates. Actual websites traffic stats could be lower or higher. This is meant to give you a basic level estimate of the competitors traffic analytics. 

From the main snapshot we can see the following traffic information about 99singals.com: 

  • Global website rank
  • Country website rank
  • Category rank
  • Total estimated monthly visitors
  • Average duration per visit
  • Pages per visit
  • Bounce Rate

Going down further we can gain even more insight into the traffic distribution by country. 



We can see that the website's primary sources of traffic comes from India and the United States. This gives us a good idea of the kind of audience the competitors are targeting.

Going even further we can see a breakdown of the different traffic sources for the website.

We can see that the majority of the traffic for 99signals.com, approximately 80% comes from organic searches. This indicates that the majority of the content on the website is found by organic search. 

If we were interested to see which keywords our competitors rank for that are responsible for some of this organic traffic we can go down to the traffic breakdown distribution. 


Knowing this information puts you in the forefront of what is currently working for your competitors and what kind of keywords generate traffic for them. It also allows you to see what kind of traffic their website has and how it’s spread out. 

Check out our Full Review of Similar Web and it’s Features: Similar Web

Check Your Competitor’s Backlink Profile

Another way to spy on your competitors marketing strategy is to see what websites are linking to them. One way we can do this is by using SEMrush’s backlink tool. Just type in your competitors domain and check out the full backlink analysis. 


You can see an amazing amount of information about your competitors backlinks and a full breakdown of where they are coming from.



You can also see the individual pages that are linking to your competitor and the kind of impact that has on the rank of their content. 


Check out our full guide on how to use SEMrush for Link Building


Check Your Competitors Keywords

Although it can be quite boring, keyword research is necessary in order to find the right kind of content you need to be creating, not just the type of content you like creating. If you’re creating content and it gets lost deep in Google’s index where no one can see it, you’re simply wasting your time.

In order to spy on your competitors marketing strategy you have to have an idea of what keywords they are targeting. We can find this out by using SEMrush’s keyword research tool.

Checkout our full guide below which breaks down the process from start to finish. 

How to Use SEMrush for Keyword Research 
SEMrush

Subscribe to Your Competitors Email List 

If your competitor is doing things correctly, they will most likely have an email list to which you can subscribe to. Getting on your competitors email list is a great way to gain some insight into their marketing strategy because it allows you to see what kind of content they are sending to their subscribers. 

  • Are they sending blog posts?
  • Do they have a drip sequence?
  • Are they sending affiliate products and services?
  • How frequently are they sending emails out
  • What kind of ad copy do they use?

By getting on your competitors email list you gain access to their email marketing strategy and see the methods they are using to interact with their audience through email. 

It’s a great way to find out how your email strategy compares to theirs and what kind of improvements you could make to yours. 

Check Your Competitors Activity on Social Media

It’s no question that social media can bring floods of users to your website. In order to gain an edge on your competitors social media strategy, it’s important to analyze all the social media channels they are on and what kind of content they are posting on them. 

If you notice that your competitors are seeing plenty of engagements on their social media pages, dig a bit further. Some important things you should take a look at include: 

  • What kind of hashtags are they using
  • What kind of images are they using in their posts
  • How frequently are the posting on social media
  • Are they interacting with their audience through the comments section
  • Which social media channel appears to be bringing them the most traffic to their website
  • How long have they been on social media
  • How many followers do they have on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms

These are some of the important things you should analyze when you are checking out your competitors social media pages. 

It’s also important to analyze places where they appear to be struggling in which you see potential to grow.