How to Quickly Spy on Your Competition

You just surfed to a cool website. It may be a competitor’s site. You may wonder how they built it. What kind of WordPress theme is in use or what plugins? How about their traffic volume? What are their traffic sources? Which social networks are the most prevalent?

Imagine having quick and free ways to get this information.

Here’s how to get there.

The Tools You Need to Spy on Competition

All you need is a Chrome browser and the following five Chrome extensions:

  • SimilarWeb
  • SpyBar
  • Open Seo Stats
  • Mozbar
  • BuzzSumo

Let’s begin with SimilarWeb.

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is one of my favorite extensions. It provides statistics for:

  • Estimated monthly visits.
  • Traffic sources
  • Top referring and destination sites
  • Top organic keywords
  • Social network sources
  • Top Ads networks
  • Related mobile apps

Let’s examine the estimated visits tab:

similarweb

The above example shows you estimated visits on a website. Please note these are estimates. It gives you a good idea about how that site is active.

Next the traffic sources tab:

similarweb

From that graph, you can determine where the traffic comes from.

Next, the social network sources tab:

similarweb

That one is quite interesting. It reveals the social networks that bring the most traffic.

The above three tabs are the ones you should focus on.

SpyBar

SpyBar is a Chrome extension from Rob Cornish, a respected and honest digital marketer.

Here is what you can discover with SpyBar on your competitor’s website:

  • WordPress Theme in use
  • WordPress plugins in use
  • Domain authority and page authority
  • Inbound links
  • Linking domains
  • Top pages
  • Reverse IP
  • Google site search

Let’s see how this works. When you click on the SpyBar extension, it will display the following three sections:

spybar

In Section 1, the WordPress theme and child theme are displayed. You can click on the theme name to discover more. In this example, the Rise theme is in use. If you click on it, it will take you to the theme’s website.

BTW, if you need a super fast and reliable WordPress theme, please consider GeneratePress. This is what I use here at BuzzAndTips.

Section 2 lists all the discovered plugins. Only plugins retrieved from the page HTML code will be displayed. This provides you with a good idea of the plugins used on that site. If you click on any of these links, SpyBar will open a new browser tab to the plugin site.

Section 3 has several links. Let’s examine them:

Moz: invokes Moz Open Site Explorer. It will display metrics such as Domain Authority and Page Authority. You will also see a list of Inbound Links. that is, external websites that point to the website you are analyzing.

MajesticSEO: launches a new tab to Majestic Site Explorer. You will get several stats and graphs about external links, referring IPs, backlink history, backlink breakdown, etc.

ReverseIP: A new tab will take you to viewdns.info. It will display all the domains hosted on the same server. In shared hosting environments, it is common to see dozens of domains parked on the same server. However, you may also uncover other domains owned by the same blogger.

WhoIs: Tells you about the website’s domain registration details.

WhoHosts: Reveals the website’s hosting provider (e.g., SiteGround).

Search: This starts a new browser tab with a Google search focusing on the website you are analyzing. E.g., site:www.buzzandtips.com

Download: This will download a text file containing the plugin list.

You can get SpyBar for $12.95 here (non-affiliate link).

Open SEO Stats

The Open SEO Stats extension provides you with the following information:

  • The number of indexed pages by search engines
  • Geolocation information
  • Site info
  • Page info
  • Page speed

The user interface is divided in several tabs. Let’s take a look at the most interesting ones.

The next figure displays the SEO stats tab. On the top right, the Pages Indexed reveals how many pages were indexed. Look at Bing and Google.

open seo stats

Let’s have a look at the Page Info tab:

open seo stats

The Page Info tab reveals information such as meta description, this is what displays in a Google search results. It also tells you about the number of internal and external links on that page, the canonical URL, etc.

The Link Stats tab (next figure) lists all links found on that page. It also shows whether the links are follow or nofollow. More on this later with the MozBar extension.

open seo stats

Finally, the Page Speed tab displays how long this page took to load.

open seo stats

MozBar

The MozBar extension is maintained by Moz.com. When you visit a website, the MozBar will provide the following information:

  • Domain authority
  • Page authority
  • Highlight links: followed, non-followed, external, internal

Note: You will need to create an account with Moz.

Clicking the MozBar icon will toggle one of three states: Inactive, DA mode and Full bar mode. Depending on the state, the MozBar icon will display as follows:

mozbar

When in DA mode, the value represents the Domain Authority score.

When in Full bar mode, an additional bar will display below your browser’s URL bar as follows:

mozbar

From the above picture, you can determine that the Domain Authority (DA) is 23. The Page Authority (PA) is 34.

If you click on the pencil icon, it will display extra icons like this:

mozbar

This allows you to determine whether links are followed, no-followed, external or internal. This feature is quite useful.

Now, if you select the Page Analysis icon, it will allow you to inspect the following:

  • On-Page elements (see example below)
  • General Attributes
  • Link Metrics, etc.

mozbar

Related reading:

BuzzSumo

The BuzzSumo extension provides you with the following Social shares for a given page:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Google plus

Here is it in action:

buzzsumo

Based on the above, Twitter and Facebook are the biggest sharers.

Key Takeaways

Here you go. You now have five quick ways to take a peek at your competition. All of them are free except one. The paid extension, SpyBar, is worth its cost.

You may want to use these techniques on your website too. They will help you track your progress and pinpoint issues.

How did you like this post? Please leave your comment below.

And please share it with your social networks.

spy competition