7 Ways to Spy on Your Competition

Have you ever thought about what sort of super power you might like to have?

Flying, Invisibility, X-Ray Vision, Night Vision, Mind-Reading, Super Speed, Time Travel… You can see, I read way too many comic books growing up.

But… there is ONE super power that you have as a business owner.

It’s kind of like X-Ray Vision or Mind Reading 🙂

Allowing you to see exactly what your competitors are doing at any given time. Where their traffic is coming from, where they are advertising, guest blogging, who their top JV’s are, and a whole host of additional juicy info.

You just have to know where to look 😉

And in this article I’m revealing 7 super cool ninja tricks for spying on your competitors.

So put on your spy glasses!

And let’s dive in…

1. Find Out Where Your Competitor’s Traffic is Coming From with Alexa.com

Most of you have probably heard of Alexa.com but most people don’t realize it’s true marketing potential.

You see what I love about Alexa.com is that it uncovers literally hundreds of different traffic sources.

Not only can you see your competitor’s traffic stats but you can also see their top traffic sources by looking at the Clickstream.

Here are a few examples:




You’ll notice that Pinterest jumped into the top 10 traffic sources on BodyRock.tv 🙂

Some other top traffic sources include Facebook, Twitter, BlogEngage.com, and Google (of course ;).

Alexa is a really great starting point to find out who’s sending the majority of traffic to your competitors.

You can uncover potential affiliates, top advertising spots, guest posting opportunities, and much more.

But we won’t stop there 🙂

Here’s another cool trick for you…

2. Find Out EXACTLY where Your Competitors are Guest Posting

As you guys probably already know, guest blogging is one of the best ways to drive laser-targeted traffic, build high-quality backlinks, and build relationships within your industry.

But how do you find the best places to guest post?

Work backwards!

First find out who the most prolific guest bloggers are within your market.

Once you’ve done that we’re going to do some special Google searches to find out ALL of the websites where they’re guest posting.

So let’s roll through an example real quick.

One person who has done a LOT of guest posting in the IM industry is Ann Smarty.

Now in order to find out all the different places where she has guest posted I would go to Google and type in the following searches:

“Ann Smarty” + “This guest post was written by”

“Ann Smarty” + “This guest post is from”

“Ann Smarty” + “This is a guest post by”

“Ann Smarty” + “This is a guest post written by”

“Ann Smarty” + “guest post” (sometimes you can just use this one alone)

Try those out and you’ll soon have a complete list of places where you can guest post.

Also, if you’re wanting to look for potential guest post opportunities within a certain industry, here are some other Google Searches you can use:

Replace ‘Fitness’ with your own keyword term:

Fitness + “Submit Article”

Fitness + “Add Guest Post”

Fitness + “Guest Bloggers Wanted”

Fitness + “This guest post was written by”

Fitness + “Become a Guest Writer”

Fitness + “Submission Guidelines”

Fitness + inurl:guest-post-guidelines

Fitness + “Now Accepting Guest Posts”

Fitness + “My Guest Posts”

Fitness + “Submit a Guest Post”

Fitness + “Guest Post by”

Fitness + “Write for Us”

These cool little Google search queries will unlock hundreds of new traffic sources within your industry.

3. See What Your Competitor is Split-Testing

Next up is a site called the Wayback Machine.

This free tool reveals YEARS of split-testing data.

You can find this tool at www.archive.org.

Basically, this website allows you to see what your competitors’ websites look like over time.

Here are some interesting examples to look at:

http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://www.womenapproachyou.com (Check out how their squeeze page has changed over the years. Priceless data.)




4. Keep a Close Eye on Your Competitors

Want to find out exactly when your competitors make a change to their landing page, squeeze page, or sales page?

You can use a service like Copernic Tracker to keep tabs on what sort of changes your competitors are making.

That way, you’ll know exactly when they’re testing a new headline, design, offer, etc…

Pretty cool huh? 😉

5. Find Out What Sort of Display Ads Your Competitors are Running

Here’s a really cool tool for any marketer.

It’s called Moat.com and it’s essentially a banner search engine.

It allows you to search thousands of banner creatives from companies across the web.

Lots of competitive intelligence and marketing goodness…

Example 1: Moat

Example 2: VResponse

Example 3: Rackspace

6. Study Their Backend

Ok, that sounded kind of weird 😉

But you can learn a lot by studying OTHER people’s sales funnel (especially outside your own market).

A lot of times people start doing the same ‘ol thing within a certain industry. But by studying OTHER markets, you can often find new ideas that you can implement into your business.

I like to study the most competitive markets online because that’s generally where the most innovation is taking place. The Dating market, Relationships, Health & Fitness, Weight Loss, and Finance. Study those markets voraciously and you’ll find LOTS of ideas for your own business.

7. Get on Their List

Yes, I know your inbox is probably already full. But I would strongly encourage you to become a subscriber of ALL of your competitors.

Plus, you can get an even deeper view of their business by purchasing their products. That way, you’re able to see their backend funnel and see exactly how they market to their buyers specifically.

Study ALL of their different marketing funnels:

* The Prospect Follow-Up Sequence
* The Buyer Follow-Up Sequence
* Testimonial Acquisition
* Affiliate Follow-Up Sequence & Training

And of course – you can often times get more innovative ideas by studying the different marketing funnels of people OUTSIDE of your market.

Within any one particular industry, different strategies tend to start repeating themselves. But… if you study OTHER industries – you can often find new innovations to bring to your own market.

Kim Roach is the official Marketing Lab Rat at Buzzblogger.com. If you’d like to discover ALL 24 of Kim’s favorite traffic sources, go to http://www.buzzblogger.com/traffic-lab.html to claim your FREE
Underground Traffic Report.

About the author


Kim Roach


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  • tank you for this tip, i use the alexa a long time ago, but you make me see this tool of another way.

  • This is certainly an invaluable resource to use to try and catch up with your competitor. This piece is wonderful and highly informative. I will recommend it to my friends.

  • It was surprising that “Google Alert” as missing in your list!!
    Its one of the most valuable tool to sky on your competitor. Not only it tracks your targeted keywords it delivers it to your inbox too.

    Amit Patekar
    Twitter @amitpatekar

  • Way too much time spent following the leader… lol.

    You want to know what your competitor is doing and save all that time researching…? If you must follow the leader that is. And time being money, make it simple.

    Simply pay off the Secretary of your competitor, have her zip drive all valuable info and email it to you. That way you can spend your time time sleeping instead of coming up with new and inventive ways to be a leader yourself…

    When you get the info, just copy and paste now isn’t that much easier than ding all that tiresome research on your competitor?

    And guess what? In the end, you’ll still be a follower… Hurray for you!

  • And don’t forget via Alexa you can spy on your competitors PPC campaigns via the ispionage.com link. You can also do comparisons between your campaigns and your competitors here as well which is an excellent way of seeing where they may be succeeding with better worded adverts or keyword usage

  • In terms of the accuracy of Alexa with regards backlinks… why does it show only a fraction of the actual backlinks to a site .. my site for example has over 800 backlinks showing using google webmaster tools, yet Alexa shows 63!!??

  • Thanks for your Tips! I know already a few of them, but I´ve never heard about “Ann Smarty” searches ! Great Tip!

  • I found this information extremely informative. I will definitely use this as a reference for getting a “leg up” on the competition. Thanks so much!

  • Thanks for this, some very useful information.

    One point:
    Alexa statistics are only generated from users that have the Alexa toolbar install on their browser so the data *can be* massively out of date.

  • Good point Sean.

    The fact is that nearly all Alexa tool bars are installed on web designers/developers and associated sectors/genres.

  • Great article! I honestly didn’t worry about any competition for the longest time. I wasn’t selling anything tho. I will definitely use this advice and understand my competition better.

  • I use most of these tools for the first 6 months then I back off. If I don’t know the industry segment by then I will be destined to always be a follower.

    This doesn’t mean that I don’t watch and learn from other businesses – I look at ideas from the net all the time, I just don’t focus on my competition. For example, a unrelated online electronics business in Californis has a $7.00 shipping policy regardless of the order size. I tried offering a $7.95 shipping policy on my http://www.kegkits.com web site and my shopping basket size increased an average of $30.00. The increased revenue more than covers the additional shipping I am paying for.

  • A lot of times people start doing the same ‘ol thing within a certain industry. But Virtual PBX by studying OTHER markets, you can often find new ideas that you can implement into your business.

  • I just found this site and i see the last comment was 2012. I saw that after I checked your “tips”. This info is great, still valid and VERY time-saving. I’m taking a course on internet marketing and this will be an essential tool. Thank You Thank You Thank You

  • Thanks for this article it really pointed me in the right direction, I really am an SEO fool at the minute. I feel a little less lost in the sea of SEO and I am going to give it a bash! I am not quite sure if I am ready to invest in other peoples products yet, haha I haven’t made nearly enough money yet.

  • wow! this is really a wonderful post to keep in check your competitors. I really love coming in here to tap lots of business ideas.

    Thanks so much.