10 best competitive intelligence tools to know your enemy

Competitive Intelligence

Competitive intelligence tools gather, analyze and distribute information about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers making strategic decisions for an organization.
Sun Tzu’s wisdom to know your enemy and know yourself in The Art of War is as true today as it was in 500 B.C. If Sun Tzu were with us today, would he be using digital competitive intelligence tools? Probably. Why wouldn’t he? There are some excellent competitive intelligence tools out there. Many are available for free.
Here are 10 best competitive intelligence tools to know the enemy.

  • GOOGLE TRENDS: Measuring individual sites (yours or competitor) is good but the real fun in this is comparing trends. That will give you the key context you need to make even more sense of this competitive data. Don’t focus on the actual numbers (you’ll notice I say this a lot in this post). You want to compare the trends and each line gives context to the other two. That is deeply meaningful. –Avinash Kaushik (Google)

competitive intelligence tools


  • COMPETE: Has a useful interface, speaks the right language (unique visitors, visits, etc.), offers the ability to compare multiple sites, and its data is easy to understand and well presented. Compete is best used for comparing competitors’ website traffic. The trends are reliable. The information could be meaningfully used to look into seasonal trends between competitors. – Sam Crocker (MOZ)

Compete competitive intelligence

  • ALEXA: Has been around since 1996. It’s a (mostly) free service that will help you analyze traffic on your competitor’s ecommerce store. Type in your competitors URL and Alexa will give you their global traffic rank, number of sites linking in, search analytics, audience insight, average site load time, and a whole lot more. You can really dig deep with Alexa, but it’s important to note that there are inaccuracies with Alexa’s information, since they get their data from those who have installed their toolbar for IE and Firefox or installed their Google Chrome extension. Take the numbers with a grain of salt. – Mark Hayes (Ecommerce University)

Alexa compettive intelligencce

  • HITWISE: An Experian product, provides excellent data and insight that no free/ low-cost alternative can rival. With Hitwise, you can build an even more accurate picture of where you are versus your competitors. Upstream and downstream reporting allows you to form an impression of the behaviour, intention and ‘mindset’ of visitors to your website. An ‘upstream’ report will show you what sites visitors have been to before visiting yours and shed light on the types of behaviour customers are displaying before they visit you. – Gavin Llewellyn (Smart Insights)

Hitwise copetitive intelligence

  • SIMILAR WEB: Is a company that aggregates data from multiple sources to estimate traffic, geography, and referral data for websites and mobile apps. Their traffic data can give insights into the reach of almost any website, and according to one study, SimilarWeb ranked as the most accurate for their traffic estimates and had coverage of almost 90% of the internet. These traffic estimates can be used to compare the reach of your website with those of your competitors, and gives you a good sense of your standing in the marketplace. One of the best features of competitive intelligence tools like Similar Web is seeing the breakout of competitors’ traffic. – John Doz (DOZ)similarweb-competitive-intelligence
  • KEYWORD SPY: Offers a free Organic Competitors report that can help identify who the top competitors are for a particular keyword. Using this tool to identify competitors can not only help identify competitors you may not have known about, but also lets you see how competition differs around different keywords.  –Mark Purtell (Search Engine Journal)

Keyword Spy Competitive Intelligence

  • OPEN SITE EXPLORER: Is one of the free tools which will enable you to check link popularity, and monitor existing backlinks. If you are trying to promote your website with the help of blogs or guest blogs, you should definitely keep an eye on the links that you create. Open Site Explorer can help you predict page and domain authority, calculate total number of inbound links and determine the domain’s ranking potential (with the help of over 40 parameters). – Anna Robeson (Grow Map)

Open Site Explorer Competitive Intelligence

  • QUANTCAST: Provides “free direct audience measurement for all website owners including traffic, demographics, business, lifestyle, interests and more.”  What I love most about this free tool is the amount of data it shows, in graphical form,without needing to sign up for an account.  See the screenshot example below for google.com. – Amin Shawki (InfoTrust)

Quantcast Competitive Intelligence

  • SEMRUSH: Lets you monitor competitors’ organic keyword positions, find relevant long tail keywords, see your competitors’ PPC ads, and more. It also includes SEO tools. There’s a wealth of data available from the free search bar on the homepage, though you will have to upgrade ($69.95 per month) for more queries and results – Chris Kilbourn (Kiss Metrics)

SEM Rush Competitive Intelligence

  • WEBSITE GRADER: Allows you to learn about the overall success of your competition’s SEO. With this tool, you can learn website traffic patterns and SEO data. You can also see which tactics are working and which aren’t, and you can also learn if conversions are being made. This tool will score you out of 100, and it will even provide you with suggestions on how you can improve your SEO. – Indiesilver Marketing

competitive intelligence tools - website grader
These are our 10 best competitive intelligence tools. Do they match yours? Would you add another?

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