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The Best SEO Competitor Tracking Tools Online

It's hard to avoid spying tracking online competition, especially when competitors may make changes or advances quicker than you. The most important aspect of SEO is the ability to stay ahead of competitors but more important is a clear understanding of why you increased ranking results and being able to put solid assessments behind collected competitive data. With that said, our compilation of the best free competitor tools (not to be confused with our Top Free SEO Tools list) focuses on all aspects of your competitors and allows you to understand the competitive landscape to help you succeed. So, here we go:

SEO Competitive Tools

1. Touch Graph Google by TouchGraph.com

Touch Graph

This tool is one of our favorite graphic SEO tools. It gives an amazing view of your site and your competitor's site relationships. TouchGraph.com uses a free Java application to explore the connections between related websites. You can move or toggle the relationships around and separate the "nodes" to make relationships more clear. It comes with several filters to filter out only sites that are similar to one another. You can take a screenshot of your touchgraph and compare it after several months to assess the change of your industry. It also comes in handy to spot potential link partners.

2. Myriad Search by SEOBook.com

Myriad Search

This search engine allows you to combine the results of Google, Yahoo, MSN Search and Ask Jeeves in one set of results. This advertising-free search engine also gives you the possibility of assigning greater value to a certain search engine or limit the amount of duplicates per engine. As if that wasn't enough, it also allows you to export everything in CSV. A great tool for viewing competition rankings across multiple search engines.

3. Web CEO free edition by WebCEO.com

Web Ceo

For many Web CEO free edition is only an evil scheme of the company trying to make you upgrade ;-). But in all honesty, the free version has enough juice to help you analyze what competitors are doing online and also gives a very powerful ranking and visibility engine. We have tested the paid versions and they lack stability for running an SEO analysis on large sites, but the free version though is great for smaller web sites with less than 1000 pages. Overall, an excellent competitive analysis tool.

4. Top Ten Analysis Tool by WebuildPages.com

Top Ten Analysis

Webuildpages has done it again! This tool gives you that quick fix feeling by giving you a detailed comparison of the top 10 results in Google for a particular keyword or phrase. It goes a few stpes further by including "allinanchor," Wayback date," "Backlinks and .edu Backlinks" and more from the ranked sites for that phrase and you compare the results to your site with an easy-to-read table. Tip: To gain insight to your competitors with this tool simply set up a quick monthly reminder to run the report again for a few of your top phrases to get a handle of growth from competing sites.

5. Competition Research by Seotoolset.com

Competition Research

This competition research tool shows the current ranking of your top competitors across all the major search engines. If you combine this information with a little bit of Yahoo Site Explorer then you can really be dangerous in terms of link building or accessing competing site's link building efforts.

6. Google Trends by Google.com

Google Trends

Spoting trends is definetely one of the most important factors for the forward-thinking marketer. In the old days when Google took 60 days to show your page refreshes you didn't have to worry so much about time-sensitive content. Today, even though this tool only would gives you a historic trend (past), by analyzing the patterns, you will be able to understand if it is worth reconsidering a specific market or build upon a new niche or new product or service. In essence, you can couple this tool with a few decent keyword tools to understand why a competitor might be shifting into other business areas.

7. Trend Report by URLTrends.com

Trend Report

This is a very important competitive intelligence tool. It compares Page-Rank, Alexa Rank, Google Backlinks, Yahoo! Backlinks, AllTheWeb Backlinks, Del.icio.us bookmarks, Archived pages, and Page-Rank passed! This tools is worth a second look. It allows you to export your results to Excel (free) or to PDF (with the subscription). Up to 10 Urls may be entered and registered members may check up to 100 URLs depending on their account type.

8. ThumbShots Ranking by ThumbShots.com

Thumbshot Rankings

We love visual tools because they make things so easy to understand, even from an SEO beginner's perspective. ThumbShots Ranking let's you compare rankings from a search engine to rankings in another search engine. You can calculate the overlapping of links between the two sets of results too. The most important feature is that you can compare one keyword to another keyword in the same search engine (something you can't do in Google or Yahoo! alone). There are also other useful features like comparing a site against the competition for a specific keyword and then by just hovering you can check out a preview snapshot of the sites. Very useful!

9. Page Strength Report by SEOmoz.com

Strength Report

To be able to use this free competitor tool you have to register with SEOmoz. This tool is great in assessing the importance of a webpage. Most newbies and people stuck on PR would say that the best way to know that is by using the PageRank toolbar. But since PR is only useful from a ten thousand foot view, the Page Strength tool is a much better metric of a page's true value.

If you are considering building link prospects for one of your clients, you have to use this tool.

10. Charles Web Debugging Proxy by Karl von Randow

Charles Web Debugging

SEO competitor research nowadays is nearly impossible without a good web proxy tool. We've tried some web debugger tools and finally settled on the Charles Web Debugging Tool. You don't necessarily have to pay the $50 to enjoy Charles. It can be used as shareware with certain limitations - but for free. The most important of the limitations is that you can only use it for 30 minutes at a time. For most competitive intelligence SEO you can do restart your browser after the 30 minute period without much hassle. It also comes with a firefox extension that lets you administrate firefox through the web proxy! If you use the tool a lot though, I'm sure the paid version is the way to go.

11. Quantcast's Site Composition Tool

Quantcast comparison

Quantcast can give you statistics on tens of thousands of web sites to understand audience composition such as age, gender or income level of the internet visitor and/or their household. Quantcast analyzes internet log records which includes information such as the page viewed and the IP (internet protocol) address used to access the page. "All of the analysis conducted by the Quantcast system is done using anonymous internet usage information." A decent tool for understanding web site value to advertisers or, for us SEO's, taking a peek under the hood of your competitor's site.

12. Spyfu Competitor Keywords Tool

Spyfu keywords tool

Spyfu sums it up nicely - "SpyFu lets you see which keywords your competitors are buying and which ones they optimize their site for. Once you understand the competition, you can beat them at their own game or your can exploit their weaknesses." Couldn't have said it better ourself.

13. Microsoft's Adcenter Labs

Microsoft Labs - Adcenter

Even Microsoft gives us some useful competitive tools to help mine some data! The Content Categorization Engine is useful to determine what types of webmasters might be good linking prospects and seeing how search engines interpret your web site. In the right hands, the bevy of tools from Microsoft could help build some solid data to support your company's research with trends from competition.

14. SEOdigger's Keyword/Document Analyzer

SEOdigger Tool

SEOdigger.com allows users to analyse which keywords can be used to find a given domain in Google or MSN. It also allows you analyze any site and documents - both your own and your competitors. In the base version (for unregistered users), you can only perform 5 queries per hour. For registered users you can perform unlimited statistics on a compelte domain.

Please list any that we missed below and we'll update the post with ones that help with competitive squashing research. Feel free to also check out our Top 15 SEO tools post made several weeks ago to help you build your SEO tools arsenal.


Anonymous's picture

Alex A Centeno (not verified)

October 12th, 2007

Excellent job! Great set of tools, some of which I already use and some that I will be using for sure. One of my favorites is the TouchGraph. I wished they developed another one based on Backlinks and another one for a sitemap.

Digital Media Marketing

Anonymous's picture

Resonate (not verified)

October 16th, 2007

Excellent resource you have created here, I use these tools more often then not & totally back up your choices.

Regards Resonate
SEO, SEM, Web Standards Consultant

Anonymous's picture

Drew Stauffer (not verified)

November 19th, 2007

Nice collection of tools. I'm definitely bookmarking this page for later use.

Anonymous's picture

hikids57 (Over Googled) (not verified)

December 7th, 2007

WOW - I put this group right up there with my SEO software from James Brausch!

Again, thanks for the excellent list!

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous's picture

Scranton Web Design (not verified)

March 3rd, 2008

That was a great post. I really liked several of those tools.

Anonymous's picture

Exdizajn (not verified)

March 12th, 2008

Nice collection. My favorite is TouchGraph.com

Anonymous's picture

Flash Developer (not verified)

May 7th, 2008

This is a great list. Although I have came across other links, first time I saw seodigger.com. Thank you.

Anonymous's picture

kamal (not verified)

May 27th, 2008

All given tools are superb and help all seo professionals to have an competitive edge over others... here is one more excellent ranking tool, TrackingGuru.com, for accurate and quick rank tracking for unlimited keywords and absolutely free.

Anonymous's picture

social bookmarking (not verified)

June 4th, 2008

This is excellent as I am starting in seo for a social bookmarking related site, and was look for some direction.

Anonymous's picture

Matt (not verified)

June 4th, 2008

Wow. Its good collection. Its very useful for all SEO learners. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Anonymous's picture

Maria (not verified)

June 11th, 2008

Nice site! i like all the job you do! am from Costa Rica. I will add this web site to my favorites.. i use a lot the James B. info so now i will place you guys right on the top next to my Glyphius :)

awesome job !!

Anonymous's picture

Internet Marketing Blog (not verified)

June 14th, 2008

Thanks for this awesome post. There's so many great resources here that I already use but also several that are new to me that I need to incorporate on a regular basis...

Thanks again, I'll be sure to bookmark this one!

Anonymous's picture

Kelly (not verified)

July 5th, 2008

For your keyword research try using KeywordSpy.com - a keyword research technology that will help you know what keywords your competitors are using and how it generates money for them, you can use those keywords to drive traffic to your site and give your business the exposure it needs. It offers Free trials.

Anonymous's picture

Fernando (not verified)

July 15th, 2008

Its good collection, add favorites.

Anonymous's picture

SEO Chester UK (not verified)

October 12th, 2008

Excellent list Brian, I havent come across "Touch Graph Google" looks very cool I will go and give that a try now.
One tool I use a lot for SEO competitive research, and could'nt live without, is SEO SpyGlass by Link Assistant, it's mainly a link analysis tool, I use it for competitor analysis and also for creating reports on clients link popularity progress. Maybe it's a tool you would like to include, have you used it before?

Anonymous's picture

Lei (not verified)

November 18th, 2008

I tried using TouchGraph Google and I need help interpreting this data. I entered a competitor's domain name and it showed his website and other competitors' website. But when I typed in my website, it didn't show any competitor but rather just my subpages. Anyone know what this means?

Anonymous's picture

London Tours (not verified)

January 12th, 2009

Is there a tool that easily allows me to view competitor backlinks with PR and NOFOLLOW info also included easily? I use Link Diagnosis which is good but I wonder if there is anything better.

Anonymous's picture

Link Exchange (not verified)

February 22nd, 2009

I am currently using "trend report" and compete.com when comparing ranking and other stats of several competitor sites.
For keyword research I am using the free version of keywordspy.com which is similar to spyfu.com but works better for me.

Anonymous's picture

John Knight (not verified)

November 1st, 2010

Great job! Some of the tools that is included here will be very helpful. As for me I have depended on SEOmoz.

Anonymous's picture

Website design (not verified)

April 13th, 2011

There are various other tools for keyword, backlinks. Try to uupdate your page with some others like SEO spyglass. Its a cool tool for competitor spying.

Anonymous's picture

Swift Creations (not verified)

June 29th, 2011

Excellent post guys. Some really good SEO tools here. Thanks a lot for sharing.