I have done a number of competitive analysis reports in recent past in which my goal was to understand who the competitors are and how entrenched they are. Understanding this would better help me to understand whether a market is too mature or is worth entering. Below are a few tools that I’ve found useful:
1. KeywordSpy.com – This tool is primarily used for PPC campaign spying. You can see who is spending money on which keywords, and they’ll roll this data up to give you an approximation of how much their daily total ad spend is. They also have a tab for showing competition for those key terms. This can be useful (in addition to simple Google searches) for identifying who the primary competitors are in a space.
2. Compete.com – Approximates traffic for a websites and provides 1-2 years of backward data, so you can see their traffic trends. Traffic estimates aren’t terribly accurate but can be used in a relevant context.
3. Alexa.com – Provides a ranking of how popular a site is. For example, Google may be #1 whereas your blog may be 1,000,000. Similar to Compete.com, their data accuracy is flawed but can be useful for relative comparisons.
4. SpyOnWeb.com – Use this tool to see other sites that share the same Google Analytics to Google AdSense IDs. This can be useful for exposing site networks of your competitors. A newer and similar tool is Blekko though I personally prefer Spyonweb.
5. Chrome SEO – A free plugin for Chrome that provides a convenient view of all the competitive metrics in one place such as Alexa, Compete, PageRank, etc, as well as backlink reports. This can be pretty useful and time-saving, when compiling a competitive analysis spreadsheet of all this data.
6. Jigsaw.com – A really useful tool provided by Salesforce.com for approximating the revenue and staff size of a company. It seems to be an amalgamation of how many contacts are available in SalesForce’s CRM and they’re able to derive rough approximations from that. The data is a broad-stroke estimation and should only be used if exact numbers aren’t available from public quarterly reports or INC 5000 or press releases, but in absence of those sources, can provide a good fallback.
7. Klout – Has introduced a composite index score that is suppose to reflect your influence online, and thus can be used to determine how active and effective a competitor is on social media. Think of it like an Alexa ranking for social.
8. CrunchBase – A good way to validate if a business has raised significant funds from angels or VCs is to check out CrunchBase. They’re an offshoot from techCrunch and keep track of all of the funding activity in Internet-related businesses. Needless to say, when you are thinking about competing with someone, it is good information to know they just raised $100M (that you don’t have)!