Things on this list are what I recommend checking when analyzing your competitors. It’s not an SEO competitor analysis checklist and it’s not one of those lists telling you to analyze what message your competitors are trying to broadcast to their customers.
I assume you already know your competitors, your strengths, weaknesses, target audience, and etc.
There is no in-depth explanation as to what to do with the information you find. If the fact that 90% of your competitor’s customers are from China doesn’t tell you anything – that’s on you.
Competitor analysis checklist
1. Traffic analysis
There’s a number of tools you can use to analyze traffic sources, geodata, referrals and etc. I prefer to start building the big picture with SimilarWeb. While the data it provides is not always accurate, it’s free and has a browser add-on.
Again, there’s a number of tools you can use. I’ve worked with Semrush, Ahrefs, Serpstat, and Moz, they all have strengths and weaknesses so I’m not going to give any recommendations.
What you need to be looking for is the list of keywords your competitor ranks for in organic search in your region and the list of pages that generate the most traffic.
Get a list of keywords your competitor bids on, list of landing pages and ads copies.
4. Social media activities
Subscribe to your competitor’s social media profiles and analyze their activity, see how their customers interact with their brand, what they like or dislike, what type of posts they respond to and etc.
Keep track of your competitor’s promoted posts.
Subscribe to your competitor’s marketing newsletter. Read it, analyze it.
6. Affiliate program
See if your competitor has an affiliate program. Check their rates and conditions. Usually, googling brand name + affiliate program is enough.
Find out if your competitors participate in any affiliate networks. May not be relevant for some niches but it’s better to check either way.
8. Special offers
Check if your competitor has any special offers running or had them running in the past. Start with checking places like Stacksocial, Appsumo, DealFuel and etc. Googling “brand name + stacksocial” will do.
9. Mention tracking
Track mentions of your competitor’s brand. I use Google Alerts, Mention.com, and Notify.ly. Apart from the obvious stuff, tracking mentions can help you with targeting competitor’s disappointed customers.
10. Human resources
- Get the list of your competitor’s employees and find out what is the average salary for each profession in their region. Find out how much they spend on employees to estimate the biggest part of their monthly spend. If your competitor has a /team page similar to this one get the list there, if not – go to LinkedIn and find people who list your competitor as an employer.
- Check what vacancies your competitor posts on job search sites and their own website.
11. Slideshare presentations
Look up your competitor’s brand on SlideShare and see what comes up, sometimes you will find presentations revealing information you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
Hint: you can also look up the names of people working for your competitor, like VP of Sales or CMO.
12. Social media accounts of C-level employees
Monitor the accounts of executives and top-level employees. I personally find twitter particularly useful, especially tweets and replies section, where you can often find conversations full of important information.
- Compile a list of the upcoming industry conferences and see if your competitor’s brand comes up anywhere on their websites. Set up a crawler to find text on a website to automate and speed up the process.
- Attend these conferences and talk to someone who represents your competitor. By asking the right questions you can always learn something new about your competitor’s plans.
14. Press release sites
Search the most popular press release sites for any mentions of your competitor.
15. Partners and user perks
Some companies may establish partnerships beneficial to their users, these partnerships may serve as a source of traffic or conversion instrument by providing additional value. Either way knowing if your competitor has such partnerships and what they offer is important.
16. Number articles published per month
One more metric to help you with figuring your competitor’s budget. If you’re tracking mentions of your competitor you won’t miss the articles where the competitor is mentioned. Every published article has a price, whether it’s a single payment or a combined cost of all efforts put into it.
17. Tech used on competitor’s website
Services like builtwith.com scan websites and look for familiar pieces of code showing you what tech your competitor is using. Check what your competitors use and how much it costs.
18. Number of links acquired per month
Just like articles, links have a price. SEO tools like Majestic and Ahrefs will show you how many links your competitor got and where from. Get that list and analyze the quality of links they get. Even if your competitor didn’t pay to get the backlink it still has its price and it’s better to know what you’re competing with.
19. Review websites (Capterra, G2 Crowd, Yelp, BBB)
If your competitor has a lot of reviews to go through, I recommend parsing the pros and cons as defined by their customers to find out more about your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to use my guide to extracting reviews from G2 crowd.
Hint: some review websites link to the social media profiles of reviewers, usually LinkedIn.
20. Reddit activities
Some companies have a subreddit dedicated to their brand, check if your competitor has one and see what’s going on there.
Usually, companies have a dedicated Reddit account they use to interact with their audience, go to that account’s comment history and see who they talk to, get a list of competitors customers on Reddit and run their usernames through snoopsnoo.com, it checks user’s activities and creates a short resume of their interests based on that. You can find out a lot about your target audience this way.
Optimize this process by generating custom links containing each username on your list: https://snoopsnoo.com/u/USERNAME and use scraper to fetch necessary data from the URLs you’ve generated. To scrape data from website or list of URLs I usually use Netpeak Spider, which you can set up to scrape pretty much anything from pretty much any website. I’ve explained how to use it in my article about tracking competitor prices.
21. Biggest clients
You can find this information right on their front page or in the /clients folder, where they list all of the companies they are proud to work with.
22. Book a demo
If your competitor offers a demo on their website send your request and have a one-on-one conversation with their sales representative. Ask as many questions as possible, try to learn about their logistics or how many servers they use to run a service, how many warehouses and etc.
23. Go through their sales funnel
Become their customer. Go through every step from registering an account to buying something from them. Don’t do this in a day take your time, see how they will nurture you as a lead, what kind of emails they’ll send, at what point you’ll be transferred to their sales team and how will they communicate with you.
24. Request a refund
See how they will handle it. What will they offer to try and keep you as their customer.
25. Order twice
If you will receive an order ID at some point, order again immediately to see if your next order ID will be sequential. If that’s the case, order again a week later and you’ll know how many orders per week they close. You can use this data to estimate their revenue.
That’s all I have, for now, this competitor analysis checklist will probably be updated at some point, so if you have a suggestion please leave it in comments, I’ll add it to this list with a proper credit.
Thank you for reading.