Completion among websites is growing fiercer by the day. And in the US, websites fight tooth and nail to stay ahead of each other. This is expected, as the US is the country with the third-largest internet users in the world. 

Getting a website ready for competition is quite a task in itself. There is a ton of research involved and it is quite hard to track down everything. This is why website owners and SEOs depend on competitor research tools. 

There are online tools that can track down competition for websites in their particular niche. There are many competitor research tools available nowadays and you can choose one based on your requirements and features. These softwares differ from each other by their features and pricing. 

However, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to determining which one’s the best. 

In this article, let us go through some of the most famous and well-respected online tools specifically tailored for competition research in the US.

1. SE Ranking

SE Ranking undoubtedly ranks as my number one recommendation for anyone who needs a robust SEO toolset without the high price tag. The competitor research tool is one of the many features of SE Ranking and you will hard-pressed to find software with a similar array of tools. 

So what makes SE Ranking’s competitor research tool stand out from the rest? Well, there are many! Let go through some of the features of SE Ranking’s competitor research tool. 

An Intuitive dashboard

The first thing that you will be greeted by when you enter a domain into the competitor research tool of SE Ranking is a comprehensive and clean dashboard. In most other software, you won’t find these two qualities go hand in hand. Either the dashboard will be filled with information, where you will be left confused. Or the UI will be so beautiful that it has to compromise on useful information. 

As you can see here, SE Ranking plays it a little differently. The most important pieces of information go to the top, and they are neatly structures. Let us deconstruct what you see there. 

Traffic organic & paid:

First SE Ranking shows you the traffic, both organic & paid, that the website garners from different locations. 

Keywords:

You can see the total number of keywords the analyzed website ranks for in organic search and PPC campaigns.

Total Traffic:

You can get a gist of the total traffic accumulated on the website from both Organic and paid sources. 

Total Traffic cost (Organic):

This is the cost of traffic when you target all the keywords. 

Total Traffic Cost (Paid):

An approximation of the monthly budget for your PPC campaigns. 

Now that is just the first of a long list of metrics that you see when you use SE Ranking to find the competition for your website. Let’s look at some of the other features it has under the hood. 

Packed with useful features

SE Ranking shows you the rate of traffic that your website gets from both organic and paid sources for a period of time. Here you can track your progress on how well your website has done over the years or months. 

Under the total traffic reports, you can see the Organic keywords that are most popular in your niche. SE Ranking shows the search volume and CPC rates per keyword. This is of great help as you can track the keywords that are climbing up in charts, and also the ones that are losing popularity. 

Competitor research made easy

This is where SE Ranking eliminates a fair share of research for you. Based on keywords and other search metrics, SE Ranking shows you the list of competitors for your website. 

You can see the total amount of keywords that these sites have in common and their overall keyword strength. 

When you click on the detailed report, SE Ranking shows you a much more in-depth analysis of your competitors. Here you can see the following:

  • Common keywords with your competitor
  • Missing keywords, your website has the competitor 
  • The total number of keywords on your competitor’s website 
  • The total traffic for your competitor website 
  • The total traffic cost per competitor 

With just one click, you now have access to the entire list of websites that are competing in your niche. 

Understand how your competitor uses keywords 

Now that you know who your competitors are, it is time to review the keyword strategy of your website. Naturally, since you and your competitors are competing in the same niche, there are bound to be keywords that are common between the websites. 

However, what you really need to pay attention to is the keywords that your website is missing, and the unique keywords that your website has. 

Having a condensed view of everything makes it easier to understand. You can always get a more detailed report by just clicking on the respective metric. 

In addition to the websites that are competing with you, SE Ranking also shows you the top-ranking pages in SERPs. You can see how much traffic these websites get and detailed reports, the software shows you the total number of keywords each of these webpages target to rank in organic SERPs. 

What I have shown you here are some of the many features of SE Ranking. You can clearly see why SE Ranking is my choice for competitor research. In essence, this tool has everything to help you understand your competition. 

2. SEMrush 

Next in line is SEMrush, a very popular SEO tool that really shines for SEO analysis. If you browse through the feature list of SEMrush, you can really see that they have invested a lot into SEO research. 

However, with time, they have branched into different areas like social media management and content marketing. In this guide, we are specifically targeting a competitor analysis tool, so let us see what SEMrush has to offer. 

The main dashboard of SEMrush is packed with information. However, it is not as intuitive at SE Ranking. A beginner will have a bit of a learning curve to understand the whole layout of the software. Once you have a grasp of the widgets on SEMrush, then breaking them down becomes easy. 

Organic search

Here you will be able to see the organic search volume to your website.

Paid search

You can see the traffic coming from paid sources such as online ads.

Backlinks

The number of backlinks to your website from other websites. 

SEMrush also shows you the competitor to your website for both paid and organic keywords. You can get more information on them by clicking the “view full report” button. 

Overview

SEMrush brings in a lot of metrics and tools to the user, and they are helpful in creating a well-rounded SEO strategy. However, the information can be very overwhelming if you are not careful in filtering out what is important for you.  

Like SE Ranking, SEMrush has very advanced features that can help you in understanding your competition better, and even gain knowledge into their keyword strategies. 

SEMrush is also an easy recommendation for SEO pros. However, if you are just getting into SEO competitor analysis, we still recommend SE Ranking because the learning curve is non-existent and you can get the same features as the more expensive counterparts. 

3. MOZ

 

Again, another big name in the industry. Moz has really solidified itself as a credible source when it comes to SEO tips and guides. 

They have their own SEO software that you can buy for competitor analysis. The features that we are most impressed about in Moz are:

  • Top Search Competitors

The list of websites that have ranked for the same keywords as your website. With Moz, you will gain access to the domain authority of these websites. 

  • Keyword Gap Analysis

Like SE Ranking, Moz has an inbuilt keyword gap tracker that will measure the keywords that you miss out on, but present on your competitor. You can leverage those missing keywords and potentially bring more traffic. 

  • Top content analysis

the webpage of the competitor that brought them the most backlinks. Moz considers this page a high-value page, and you can learn from the page if you need to upgrade your existing page.

  • Link intersect

the list of domains that link to your competitor, but not your websites. You can view these websites as potential links that you can get in the future with better content.  

When you review the features of Moz, it is clear that they are aimed at position tracking and backlinks monitoring. It is expected as Moz has invested a lot into technologies specifically to help SEOs in link building. 

How do they compare with each other?

Now that you know the best SEO software for competition research in the US, we us delve a little deeper to find the subtle details the separate each other. 

Pricing

Price is a large factor when it comes to making a purchase decision. Let us look at how much these softwares cost. 

SE Ranking

The lowest plan for SE Ranking is Optimum. It starts at $33 per month. 

SEMRush

The lowest plan for SEMRush is Pro. It starts at $99.95 per month. 

MOZ Pro

The lowest plan for Moz Pro is Standard. It starts at $99 per month. 

Killer Features

Comparing the same tool among 3 market leaders, it is obvious that SE Ranking and SEMrush dominate in the completeness of functionality. Moz lacks the features to do a thorough research of competitors. For example, at MOZ, you will not be able to assess the paid traffic strategy or compare several domains of your competitors. All other things being equal for SE Ranking and SEMrush, considering the price, SE Ranking is the clear winner.

Customer support

Customer support can make or break your liking towards a product/brand. When we matched all three against each other in customer support department, it was a relief to see all having good level of customer support. If we had to choose just one, it was SE Ranking. The reason being that they were fast to respond in comparison to SEMrush or Ahrefs. Also, they made sure to guide us through our issues much better.  

Backlink Research

Even though competitor research is our main point of discussion, we had to test out backlink research capabilities of each software. This is because not only competitor traffic and keywords matter while competitor research, but backlink profile too. 

SE Ranking again shines here as it has very powerful website audit tools. You can check competitors backlink profile against key SEO parameters. Moz, for instance, can provide you with DA, PA and referring domains data. The feature I like in SEMrush is Similar profiles. This is a list of domains with a similar backlink profile to the analyzed domain. It’s a good way to find you backlink profile competitors.

Conclusion

With the level of competition that websites face every day, it is important that you know who the key players are in your niche. 

With effective competitor research, you can improve your own ranking by understanding their strong suits and the areas where they lack. The tools we have discussed here all perform are certainly up to the task at hand. However, if we were to choose one, we old go with SE Ranking as it is a great starting point for budding SEOs and seasoned veterans alike!