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How to Spy on Your Blog Competition (A Competitive Analysis Guide)

You should spy on your blog competition.

It’s not as bad or unethical as it sounds. They’re spying on their competition and probably spying on you, too.

Spying has always been about competition. Countries typically spy on other countries to gain a competitive advantage over their national economies. However, countries sometimes use unethical or even illegal means of collecting intelligence.

You don’t have to break the law to spy on your blog competition.

There are plenty of ethical ways to collect competitive intelligence, and this guide will show you how to do it.

Why Spy on Your Blog Competition?

You should spy on your blog competition to gather intelligence on how to make sure your blog remains successful.

There are ethical ways of snooping and unethical ways of doing it. I won’t be covering unethical methods here because you shouldn’t use those tactics. Doing anything unethically can result in many negative things, including lawsuits and even a criminal charge. Yes, even in the blogging world.

To ethically spy on your blog competition allows you to analyze the successes, failures, weaknesses, and missed opportunities of other blogs in your niche. You can then use this analysis to better your own blog.

Competition always watches each other. Even if they say they don’t, 99.9% of them are doing it in some way or another. And we should be because we might be missing the one thing to solve the needs and wants of our audience, and it’s about them, after all.

So, why should we spy on our competitors? To better our blogs and better serve our audience.

How to Spy on Your Blog Competition

Spy on your Blog Competition with Content Analysis

In order to spy on your blog competition, you need to take the time to research and exploit the content of your blog competition.


Read Everything Your Competition Distributes

You need to start by reading every piece of content that your competitors are distributing online and offline.

If they have a blog, read every post they publish. If they send out a newsletter, subscribe to it and read every issue they send. If they have products and services, research them, and even consider buying them if it’s relevant. Read publications and even books if they sell them.

You want to know what kind of content and topics your competition is distributing to the niche so that you can compare it to what you are putting out there.


Analyze Your Competition’s Niche

Spy on your blog competition by analyzing everything you can about their specific niche.

Look to see what topics they cover on their blog, newsletter, and other content distributions. Try to understand what article formats they use the most. Consider the presentation style of how they get their content out. Finally, look at how they engage with their audience on the blog, in newsletters, and elsewhere.

It’s important to know the niche your competitors are in so that you can understand how to improve your blog’s position in that niche.


Tools to Assist in Competitive Research

There are multiple tools available to help you spy on your blog competition.

These tools make it easier to research other blogs and their activities. You can do it yourself if you have the time and the patience for it. However, the tools below will help you speed the process up and take some of the load off your shoulders.

Sprout Social is a service that allows you to gather data and analytics on your competitors and help you compare them to your own social media pages. Social media is often your largest marketing advantage, and it’s important to spy on your blog competition in this realm so that you know what to do and what not to do in terms of social media marketing. Sprout Social is powerful but it does come with a higher price tag.

Social Blade is good for tracking YouTube views of other channels you might be competing with. You may or may not have a YouTube channel for your blog, but if you do, this tool may come in handy when monitoring your competition. The free version of Social Blade has limited features. You’ll need to upgrade to get the most out of this service.

Kompyte is an artificial intelligence tool used to track and monitor your competition. If your competitor changes something on their blog, sends a newsletter, updates social media, or does anything, you’ll get informed about it by the tool. Competitive intelligence tools are a growing trend in used by blogs and other online businesses. You’ll need to request pricing information if you wish to use this tool.

SEM Rush is used for search engine optimization functions and also includes competitive analysis features. If you want to outrank your competition on search engines, SEM Rush would be an ideal platform. It is one of the most popular search engine optimization and keyword research platforms available. There is a nice free version available but you’ll need to upgrade to get most of the better tools.

Ahrefs is another website optimization platform that is very popular in the search engine optimization world. You can use it for keyword research, competitive analysis, and more. There is a nice free service with many webmaster tools available but you’ll need to upgrade to be able to use the best of the services that Ahrefs has to offer.

Buzzsumo is a very popular platform for competitive intelligence analysis. It allows you to analyze content, track trends in your niche, and find opportunities across search engines and social media. There is a free trial, but after that, you’ll pay around $200 a month to enjoy its powerful services.

SimilarWeb helps you analyze and understand the amount of traffic different websites are getting when compared to similar websites in their niche, which means your competition. If you want to spy on your blog competition, SimilarWeb will be one of the most used tools for this sort of activity. This service offers a powerful free solution, but to access better features to help you get a better understanding of your competition, you’ll need to upgrade.

Feedly is a good service for following multiple competitor blogs in one place. When you spy on your blog competition, you will likely be tracking multiple blogs. This service allows you to see new content from multiple blogs in one place, which is very efficient when tracking multiple sources. Feedly offers a generous free plan but better features when you upgrade to premium, which is under $10 a month.

MailCharts is a competitive intelligence service for email users. Gathering email data and mailing list competition information can be tricky and challenging. This service makes it easier to do. There is a generous free edition of this service. You’ll need to upgrade to the paid edition to get the better features and services, though.

The services and platforms listed above will help with all your efforts to spy on your blog competition with ease so that you don’t have to take on all of the work yourself.

Sometimes, these tools are worth the investment if you lack time but still need to fully understand your competitors and their activities.


Spy on Your Blog Competition with SEO Analysis

If you want to spy on your blog competition and get ahead of them, you need to have a good SEO strategy. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and helps impact your position on search engine results.


Analyze On-Page SEO

Go to your competing blogs and do a thorough sweep of their on-page SEO tactics. Look at what keywords they’re targeting, SEO format and keyword placement, and how they’ve integrated tools and links into their content. You’ll want to do this for multiple pages and keep an eye on the next posts they publish to continue collecting your intelligence.


Analyze Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is another important factor to consider. Research what your competitors are doing for SEO away from their blogs. More specifically, you’ll be looking for their backlinks or websites that have linked to relevant content with your competitors’ content. Often, these backlinks help put blogs on better search engine results pages for various targeted keywords.


Analyze Technical SEO

You should also be analyzing technical SEO aspects, too. Analyze the speed of load times of competing blogs. Determine their ability to provide mobile responsiveness and a user-friendly experience with their themes. Look at their URL and link structure. There are many free websites available where you can find this basic data to compare to your own practices.


Spy on Your Blog Competition with Social Media Analysis

You should also gather intelligence about your competition’s use of social media. Social media is one of the biggest sources of getting more traffic to your blog, so it’s important to keep an eye on it.


Follow Social Media Accounts

Find every social media account that your competition is using. Follow these accounts and choose to be notified when they receive new updates. You should even follow accounts of your competition on social media platforms that you’re not on. You never know if another platform will do better for your blog in the niche until you spy on your blog competition and their social media.


Analyze Social Media Behavior

You should be paying attention to how your competition is posting on social media. Are they using a scheduling service or doing it manually? How are they engaging with their followers? What type of posts are they making? What format of content are they publishing? This is important when gathering intelligence about your competitors via social media.


Analyze Follower Behavior

You also need to analyze the social media activities and behavior of the followers of your competition. How are they engaging with your competitors? Are they asking questions in relation to the niche? Are they satisfied with the answers they’re getting? Pay close attention to what their followers are saying because those are the audience you’re trying to win over.


Spy on the Audience of Your Blog Competition

When it comes to successful blogging, you don’t just spy on your blog competition. You also want to spy on the audience of your competition as they will be able to give you a lot of critical data that you can use to better your own blog.


Understanding the Needs and Wants

Try to understand your competitors’ audience’s needs and wants. This is related to the niche, and it’s the most important topic that people are asking about. Then, try to analyze how your competitors are answering those questions. Are they providing solutions? Are the solutions good enough for their audience?


How the Audience Gives Feedback

You should also look at the various ways your competition provides their audience with the ability to give feedback. This could be a form, messenger app, or survey. It could be purely social media. There might be a forum or a discord room. Try to determine what methods are offered for feedback distribution and see which of the methods their audience is utilizing the most.


Audience Discrepancies

You should also review any discrepancies from your competition’s audience. Look for complaints in comment areas, social media, and even the Better Business Bureau if it’s in the United States. Look for reviews online about your competition, too. You should definitely read the good reviews, but you should also pay close attention to the bad reviews.


Spy on Your Blog Competition with Intelligence Tools

There are many great tools available to help you spy on your blog competition. Remember, it might feel wrong, but every business is doing it, and your competition is likely spying on you.


Use Open-Source Intelligence

Open-source intelligence, or OSINT, is the best way to spy on your blog competition ethically. OSINT is public domain; therefore, it’s open to the world to see. Use products like the OSINT Framework which can help you find out more about anything to do with your blog competition. Set up Google Alerts to notify you when your competition is mentioned on the internet. There are numerous apps available that use AI to help you watch your competition.


Subscribe to Your Competition

If you can subscribe to your competition, make sure you’re doing it. Subscribe to their blogs and newsletters. Follow every social media account they are on. Act like a normal subscriber and follower, and continue to gather intelligence about your competition.


Research the Niche and Industry

Research your niche and industry heavily. Assume your competition is also doing the same thing. It is your responsibility to become an expert in your niche or industry. Subscribe to blogs, newsletters, magazines, publications, courses, and social media that cover your topics. Try to learn something new every single day. The more of an expert you are in your niche, the better you will be at the competition.


Final Thoughts About Spying on Your Blog Competition

It’s normal to spy on your blog competition. It’s ethical as long as you use ethical means of doing it. If you choose unethical means or you make foul play, you could end up seriously damaging your own blog and your own reputation. You should always do the right thing.

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Shawn Gossman

About the Author

Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers who follow this blog. Shawn also offers various services for extra help in content creation and blogging.

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