Competitive Research Tools


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Here’s the latest post on the Freelance Writing Pros Blog:

Competitive Analysis Tools for Freelancers

In today’s blog post I walked through a simple manual competitive analysis plan. The idea is to help you get a better idea of your position within your specialty market.

One step of that competitive analysis involves exploring your competitors’ (and your own) search engine visibility.

While you can do this manually when you’re looking into just a few websites and focusing on just a few keyword phrases, a more in-depth analysis requires the help of tools.

What Competitive Analysis Tools Do

The kinds of competitive analysis tools I’ll share here primarily focus on SEO — helping you evaluate your own search engine presence as well as those of your competitors.

These tools can help you learn a variety things about your competitors’ websites such as:

  • what keyword phrases drive prospects to their sites;
  • how well your competitors’ sites rank for those keyword phrase searches;
  • what the top pages are on competitors’ sites;
  • which other sites are linking to your competitors.

Some of these tools can provide even more information. For example, you might be able to find:

  • which competitors use paid advertising for search visibility;
  • what keywords competitors target in ad campaigns;
  • how many social media shares your competitors’ content gets.

The data sets you have access to are huge and go well beyond what you could find on your own.

Because of that, these tools can also be pricey compared to what you might be used to in other routine services.

For example, it’s not uncommon for starting prices to be around $100 / month. Sometimes it’s lower, but some can also run several hundred dollars per month for a full feature set.

If that’s too much for you to commit to on an ongoing basis, consider using them less frequently.

For instance, you might sign up for one every quarter, every six months, or even yearly when working on an SEO audit or your sites’ broader content strategies.

5 Competitive Analysis Tools

Here are five examples of competitive analysis tools I’ve personally used, either in my own business or on behalf of clients.

  1. ahrefs
  2. Moz Pro
  3. Majestic
  4. Spyfu
  5. SEMRush

Next week on the Freelance Writing Pros blog, I’ll give you a more in-depth look at SEMRush in particular, including the kinds of reports you can generate with it.

In that upcoming post, I’ll also explain why you need to take data from these kinds of tools with a grain a salt, and why they’re still incredibly helpful in spite of that.

It’s also important to know these aren’t only for looking at your competitors.

These tools allow you to deep-dive into your own site’s data, rankings, and in some cases even onsite SEO issues that could be hurting your visibility in front of prospects.

Most competitive analysis tools offer free trials ranging from 7-30 days. So consider taking one for a test drive to see what you can learn about your professional website, and maybe your direct competitors’ too.


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Avatar image for Jennifer Mattern

Jenn Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous publications, a few including Freelance Writing Pro's sister site All Freelance Writing, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has over 20 years' experience as a professional writer and editor, more than 20 years' experience in marketing and PR, 19 years' professional blogging and digital publishing / web development experience, and around 17 years' experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.