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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 their 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 of the different places
where she has guest post 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 http://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.)

http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/truthaboutabs.com

http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://fatburningfurnace.com

http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/golfswingguru.com

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 Dispaly 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…


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.

22 Responses to 7 Ways to Spy on Your Competition

  1. Zack Lim says:

    Hi Kim,

    Although I have been following and reading your blog for the past 6 months, I am still amazed at the quality of the content that you are able to provide on a consistent basis.

    The resources you have shared is very powerful if we bother to invest the time to reverse engineer the competitors websites which are very successful.

    Right now in Singapore it is 12:45am, you have just caused me to sleep late again :p

    My mind is exploding with ideas and excited about the precious information that I will be able to get on my hand.

    Thank you for sharing this excellent content :)

    Zack

  2. Hey Kim,

    Great tips as usual.

    I especially like numbers 6 and 7. Being on the mailing list of the people you follow allows you to check their sales process and funnels.

    I take a look at Alexa now and then to see where people are getting their links from, but don’t really study it that much.

    As for a super power, it would have to be mind control, I could do a lot with that :-D

    Thanks Kim,

    Dan

  3. Robert C says:

    Well, once again Kim – you write a post that is not just fluff – but with useful, actionable information. Kudos…Robert…

  4. Ken McDaniel says:

    Awesome tips as usual Kim! Although I knew a few of the tricks, as always, you have expanded upon what I already knew!

  5. Mikemajor3 says:

    another great post :)
    I’d never heard of Moat; it’s promptly been added to my toolbox
    thanks again!
     

  6. Jackie says:

    I too had not heard of Moat but have also added it to my toolbox.

    And, I agree always good content here.

    Thanks

  7. Tasneem says:

    Love the tip on how to conduct searches within Google to find guest comments and uncover hoards of new traffic sources. Top-notch stuff as usual! 

  8. Herman says:

    Great tips Kim..now I can figure out what you’re doing:-)

  9. Nick Von Cover says:

    lol.  I’ll start checking out my competitors backends then!

    Seriously though, great information.  I would add that if you run a search on a competitor’s site on Alexa you can also get the search terms that people are using to get to the site in question.

  10. Paul Kaliher says:

    Hi Kim,

    Another collection of valuable tips.  Thanks.

    One more way to learn a little, or a lot, about your competition, is to go to the free Google Keyword Tool at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeyWordToolExternal  and enter the website address of your competitor in the search box instead of a keyword search term.  Google will then return keywords related to what your competitor’s site is all about, including some of the keywords your competitor is using for their site.  Of course, you can also go to your competitor’s site and view the page source of each page to learn which keywords are highlighted.  But, it is nice to know what Google thinks the site is about too.

    Thanks again.

    Paul

  11. Kristi Hines says:

    Great tips, and thanks for including my site as competition!  :)

  12. Greg Bussmann says:

    Great information. Just finished reading it and I have already put a couple of these tips to good use.

  13. Louis says:

    Study there backend…that was really funny! Great tools! Thanks for the spying techniques!

  14. Louis says:

    To me the best technique was the MOAT.com one. I really didn’t know about this. Was searching for a tool like this instead of going one by one searching for banners! Great as always! You give us too much! I am greatful!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh boy, my brain is smoking after reading this!  I had no idea of how important it was to look at my competition.  I’ve been just steam-rolling ahead.  It all became clear to me after I read this post how important it is.  I’m taking action on it right NOW!
    Many Thanks,
    Donna Merrill

  16. JosiahG says:

    Great article! I made notes and plan on doing most of your steps! For web page changes, I’ve never used the software, but what I have been using since it came out many many years ago is watchthatpage.com. Free service that emails whenever a change happens on any webpage.

  17. Wendy says:

    This is a great application of an age old technique – watch what others do and how they do it. The thing is to watch those that are successful. 

  18. Francisco says:

    kim I Really loved this post.

    I thinku missed one sensational tool. The google ad planner is an amazing way to see where is the traffic of your “enemies” coming from and then where they go when they leave their site.

    Tnx a lot desde Mexico 

  19. Dev says:

     Loved this post, Kim. Hearing first time about Moat, can’t wait to try it.

    Great tips.

  20. Kashaziz says:

    By “study their back end” I think of … well, checking what tools, CMS and plugins their website has used. To check this, I use 
    http://builtwith.com

  21. reddy says:

    Good information, I always use SEOmoz campaign to track my competitors and get useful data like where the traffic is coming from, links, page authority and many more.

  22. Brian says:

    I think it’s amazing to see blog engage sending traffic. Good to know
    over the past 5 years some of our members are seeing a real benefit.
    I’ve never considered looking at Alexa this way, in fact I’m sort of
    surprised I didn’t catch on. I wonder who my competition is online. I
    find our community to be rather unique in it’s own way.

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