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:
- Open Seo Stats
Let’s begin with 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:
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:
From that graph, you can determine where the traffic comes from.
Next, the social network sources tab:
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 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:
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.
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.
Let’s have a look at the Page Info tab:
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.
Finally, the Page Speed tab displays how long this page took to load.
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
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:
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:
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:
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.
- Follow Links Vs. No Follow Links: What’s the Difference?
- How to Add Title and NoFollow to Insert Link Popup in WordPress
The BuzzSumo extension provides you with the following Social shares for a given page:
- Google plus
Here is it in action:
Based on the above, Twitter and Facebook are the biggest sharers.
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.
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