SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor’s SEO

Watching your competitors’ progress can be pretty exciting.

Just like what Bill Gates said, “Competitors keep us on our toes.” But more than that, you can learn and benefit from their marketing strategy.

SEMrush Competitor Analysis Tool

Nothing can beat the happiness of finding a suitable competitor research tool. SEMrush offers valuable insights and excellent features in analyzing your competitors and markets.

Since I couldn’t introduce all to you, I chose the top four SEMrush features you can start using. But you can learn more about the other tools in our SEMrush review.

1. Domain Overview

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 1

Domain overview helps you analyze and spy on your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. It gives you a quick insight into your competitors’ site performance and online visibility. 

Most data modules on this page are clickable and bring you to more detailed reports. You can gather information from your competitor in different aspects and utilize it to enhance your own site presence. 

Here are some data metrics you can see on the Domain Overview:

  • Site’s domain authority. 
  • Paid and organic search rankings and traffic. 
  • Organic and paid top keywords. 
  • Backlink profile and referring domains. 
  • Site’s online display ads. 
  • SERP features. 
  • Traffic trend. 

If you subscribe to the Guru or Business plan, you can compare up to five competitors at the same time and access the following: 

  • Growth report – evaluate your site’s progress for a certain period. 
  • Compare by countries – compare your competitor or your site’s performance in up to five countries. 

Competitive Research using Domain Overview and Keyword Research

  1. Click “Domain Overview” on the left-hand side. 
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain. 
SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 2

3. You will then be directed to a bird’-eye view of your competitor’s site performance.
4. Now click the “Organic Search Traffic” Tab.

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 3

5. Look for keywords your competitor ranks for but with lower keyword difficulty. Go to advanced filters and follow this:
*1st box: Include
*2nd box: KD
*3rd box: Less than
*4th box: 50

6. Next, aim for long-tailed keywords so there will be less competition. Add another filter and follow this:
*1st box: Include
*2nd box: Word count
*3rd box: Greater than
*4th box: 4

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 4

7. Don’t worry about the search volume for now. Focus on searching and listing down keywords you can use for your content strategy. You can also add them to “Keyword Manager” so SEMrush will give you real-time updates and deeper analysis on your chosen keywords.

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 5

2. Organic Research

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 6

This is another powerful SEO tool of SEMrush. Organic Research data consists of organic competitors, the site’s organic traffic, featured snippets, top-ranking pages and organic keywords, and a competitive position map.

Use this tool to analyze your competitors’ performance based on their organic keywords and organic search positions.

Aim to target competitor’s keywords that have lower keyword difficulty. If you’re just starting out, it’s better to pick keywords with a KD of below 50. SEMrush provides advanced filters that will help you search faster.

Use this together with Semrush’s other tools like backlink gap and keyword gap tool. These features provide top opportunities, keyword overlaps, and potentially profitable keywords of the selected domains.

Competitor Analysis using Organic Research:

  1. Go to organic research and enter your site’s domain.
SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 7

2. Scroll down and go to main organic competitors. 
3. Click “View all competitors.” 

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 8

4. Arrange the list by competition level to know your biggest competitors. 

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 9

5. Go to Keyword Gap and type your competitors’ domain.
6. Choose which type of keywords you would like to assess (organic, paid, or PLA). 

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 10

5. You will be directed to a database where you’ll see top opportunities for you, keyword overlap, and a complete list of keyword comparisons between your site and your competitor. 
6. Find untapped keywords with low KD (keyword difficulty) and make your very own keyword master list.

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 11

3.Traffic Analytics

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 12

This tool provides an overview of a site’s online performance by estimating website traffic. What I like about it is you can compare up to five domains at the same time. 

On the overview, you can see your competitors’:

  • Total number of visits, unique visitors, pages/visit, average visit duration, and bounce rate. 
  • Top pages, subfolders, and domains. 
  • Traffic share (mobile and desktop). 
  • Traffic sources, journey, and traffic by country. 
  • Company info.

The data gathered can help you:

  • Understand your site’s online performance in a specific market.
  • Determine audience overlaps with your competitors. 
  • Create effective marketing campaigns by learning about new niche markets through trends.
  • Compare traffic distribution and sources of particular domains.  

But here’s the catch…. 

You need to pay an additional +$200/month to fully maximize the tools under traffic analysis. This is on top of your monthly subscription. 

It will allow you to perform more profound research, find out more about your competitors’ website traffic, understand your prospects’ behavior, and gather info about market trends. 

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 13

Use this feature to identify your competitor’s backlinks and compare them to your domain. SEMrush updates its database every two weeks, so you don’t have to worry about outdated info. 

Like Traffic Analytics, you’re also allowed to monitor multiple competitors at once. The only drawback I encountered is that it resets automatically. You need to type the domains again if you leave the overview tab. 

The overview provides the following data: 

  • Total number of new and lost referring domains and backlinks. 
  • Referring domains by categories, authority score, and countries.
  • Top anchor texts, backlink types, and link attributes.
  • Site’s top pages based on the amount of referring domains. 
  • Domains with similar backlinks. (aka your competitors)
  1. Go to “Backlink Analytics” and type your domain. 
SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 14

2. On the overview page, add your competitors’ domain. You can add up to 4. If you’re not familiar with your competitors, SEMrush will provide some suggestions. You can start with those. Click “Compare.” 

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 15

3. The analysis will change and show you graphs of your competitor’s authority score, referring domains, and other backlink data. 

4. From there, you can start doing any of the following:

  • Check your closest competitors’ links/referring domains that you don’t have. And create a digital marketing campaign to find similar partnerships and boost your backlinks.
  • Use Backlink Gap Tool and view link-building opportunities that you’re not aware of. You can use this together with SEMrush’s Link Building Tool.
  • Identify potential publishers for your ads by knowing your direct competitors through backlink similarities.
SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 16

ADDITIONAL TIP: Integrate your Google Search Console and Google Analytics to your SEMrush backlink audit for more accurate analysis.

Related: SEMrush Site Audit Tool: Improve Your Site’s SEO Health

Pros Title

  • The swiss knife of SEO tools
  • Excellent organic search research features
  • Great tool for content research, creation, optimization, and distribution
  • Manage all digital marketing tasks in a single place

Cons Title

  • Backlink filtering needs work

SEMrush is one of the best marketing tools in the market – if not the best. It has everything you need to optimize and maximize your site’s performance in all aspects of your online business. And you can do that in a single dashboard! The best thing about this tool is the ability to research for data, whether it’s keywords or content, and turn it into actionable items for your marketing strategy.

Other Tools to Help With Your Online Marketing Strategies

SEMrush Competitor Analysis: How to Spy on Your Competitor's SEO 17

Here are some other features you might want to try for competitive analysis:

  1. Advertising Research. Evaluate your competitor’s ad strategies. You can also get ideas of top-performing paid search keywords for your search engine marketing campaign.
  2. Social Media Tracker. Monitor your competitors’ social media activities and learn from their successes and failures.
  3. Market Explorer. Assess your market size and learn how your competitors generate traffic.

SEMrush Competitive Analysis: Conclusion

There are so many other ways to do competitive research using SEMrush. It’s better to explore your options and see which tool benefits you the most.