Analyzing Competitors with SEMrush – Traffic Data That Speaks Volumes

Where does your competitors’ traffic come from? How successful are they in engaging their target audience?  You could answer these questions and more if only you were able to run Google Analytics for your rivals’ websites, but you can’t. However, there is another way to get information about competitors’ traffic channels, geographic distribution, user behavior, etc. In SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics you will find estimates for each of these metrics and more. We can even help you run an in-depth analysis of your rivals’ traffic and gain insights into all aspects of their marketing strategies.

“Data helps teams prioritize and this is the data that they normally wouldn’t have access to, given that, historically, marketing and development teams are not close,” says Nick Wilsdon, Product Owner, Search, Vodafone, a British multinational telecommunications company which managed to build an effective digital strategy based on the data-driven decisions powered by SEMrush.

Let’s see what SEMrush offers to help you achieve your business goals.

Even the basic metrics can become a boatload of insights if you look at them from the right perspective.

Information about Visits, Unique Visitors and Traffic Rank (SEMrush’s proprietary evaluation based on the total estimated number of visits) that you can find in Traffic Analytics reports will let you evaluate the size of the competitor’s audience, compare your rivals’ websites against each other, and estimate each competitor’s market share.

Traffic overview

If you want a sneak-peek into the quality of traffic a competitor gets, and make some conclusions on the efficiency of their digital marketing activities, you can analyze Average Visit Duration, Pages/Visit and Bounce Rate.

The amazing thing about Traffic Analytics is its data, based on the analysis of the behavior of over 200 million real internet users and over 100 different apps and browser extensions carried out by our partners. The numbers may differ slightly from what you might see in Google Analytics as we are aiming to dive into your competitors’ terra incognita not to measure your own website’s traffic. Some SEMrush users may note the difference in values in Traffic Analytics and Domain Overview reports. It is caused by the difference in the calculation and data acquisition methods (in Domain Overview you see the data calculated on the basis of the website’s position in SERP).  

Usage Example

The correlation between the Bounce Rate and Pages/Visit values can indicate poor traffic quality resulting from wrongly targeted marketing campaigns.  To get more information, switch to the Subdomains report to see which subdomains of your rival’s website drive the most traffic and what your target audience is interested in most.

To compare multiple sites (benchmark yourself against competitors or competitors against each other) by a selected parameter, simply enter the domain names into the search boxes at the top of the report and filter the report by the target metric.

Traffic trends

The Traffic Overview report will show you the past 6 months, one year, or an all-time (dating back to April 2016) trend of a target website’s traffic.

To dive deeper and see how your rivals set their traffic acquisition priorities you can switch to the Traffic Sources report and have the target website’s traffic split into direct, referral, search, social, and paid.

Traffic sources

Monitoring these parameters on a monthly basis is an easy way to identify which channels work best for your competitors and what marketing mix they use to drive more traffic to their websites. To make the data even more granular, you can filter the report to see the domain’s most ‘traffic-yielding’ referring sites, search engines, and social networks. If you are interested in learning more about each channel, you are welcome to uncover the full potential of the SEMrush’s Competitive Research toolkit.

Things to Do:

Referring websites

  • If you are seeing that a domain is getting a lot of search traffic from search engines other than Google (Yandex, Bing, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo! etc.), you could consider expanding your reach and strategies to your target audience in those engines.

Search engines

  • And with the continually growing amount of available social media platforms, it would also be reasonable to adopt some clever ideas from your competition’s top networks and make sure you have them all covered in your marketing plans. To facilitate this process and dive deeper into your rivals’ social media strategies you can use Social Media Tracker.

Social networks

Now that you know where a website’s traffic is coming from, you can switch to the Destination Sites report and analyze the websites people visit through hyperlinks on your competitor’s site. It is one more way to identify trusted websites in your niche and find prospects for partnership, PR campaigns or comarketing.  

Considering a go-to-market campaign? Traffic Analytics can help you estimate the perspectives on the target market and check whether and to what extent they are already occupied by your rivals.

By looking at the Geo Distribution report in the Traffic Analytics tool, you can identify the areas of the world where a competitor has better demand. Knowing the total traffic and traffic share from each country comes in handy if you want to learn which global markets your rival has covered. The traffic and user behavior metrics will tell you if they have been successful in their expansion.

Traffic GEO distribution

If you want to make sure your investments into a particular region pay off, and already know the companies you are going to compete against, you can use Traffic Analytics to estimate the size of their audience and learn about their performance as described in the first chapter.

Whether you are offering goods or services, you need to offer solutions to your customers; our tools can help with that. It is essential to make an offer at the right moment and in the right form. And of course, you want to highlight your strengths so well that a potential customer won’t hesitate a moment before choosing you.

You can use SEMrush Traffic Analytics to get a detailed overview on how well a prospective customer’s business is doing online. This information will allow you to create a comprehensive business proposal that will show problems and solutions. You can even go into the meeting with a stunning PDF report that will support all the data you found.

Your Client vs. Their Competitors

If you offer marketing, SEO and/or web-services to other companies, you can use our tools to determine how well your current or potential clients stand against their online competition. The data provided can give you insights into what aspects of their strategies need improvement. For example, the website in the screenshot below is receiving very little referral traffic, and the number of visitors is falling steadily. With this information, you can show the client that further analysis is needed, and you have the skills to find a solution.

Traffic Analytics PDF report generated by SEMrushAn example of a Traffic Analytics PDF report generated by SEMrush

Traffic Analytics reports will let you gain insights into competitors’ traffic and use the data to inform your marketing decisions. But this is just a first step. SEMrush offers a unique, comprehensive Competitive Research Toolkit that is ideal for running an in-depth analysis of each and every aspect of your rivals’ marketing strategy, from organic search and advertising to PR and affiliate programs. With this toolkit, you will be able to adopt the winning practices of renowned market leaders and take your campaigns to the next level.

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