8 Tools to Beat Your Online Arch Enemy Through Competition Research

Everyone has a theme – online rivals, enemies, competition. One of the first questions we often ask our clients is ‘who are some of your biggest competitors’ and you know what – people never say ‘oh, no one’ or ‘we don’t know, we try to focus on ourselves’. No, they all spit off three or four competitors that they want to beat, or that they want to model their digital marketing plans on.

Knowing your competition is a good thing because it means you have somewhere to start, but what do you do once you know your rival? How do you catch up and pass them?

With these 8 competition research tools.


Not only is Buzzsumo an adorable word that makes me think of both bumblebees and sumo wrestlers, but it is a great tool for content creation, finding trending topics by industry, and spying on the competition.

This tool can look at the engagement a particular piece of content is getting on the big social platforms, as well as shares across platforms and all over the web.


We promise, we don’t work for SEMRush and gain nothing for namedropping them. We just mention them in almost all of our tool posts because they are so helpful, easy to use, and detailed.

Additionally, SEMRush has many different tools within its platform, such as content creation or checking tools, keyword researching tools, technical SEO helps, linking strategy information, and – competitor analysis.

You can use this analysis to discover your biggest competitors, see their rankings, backlinks, even the words they are ranking for and probably targeting. Then, you can go to their page, look at how they are using their H1/H2/H3 tags and one-up them. You can go through their meta descriptions too, you sly dog.


Ahrefs Site Explorer lets you see your competitions organic traffic and keywords in a convenient chart. So, if numbers aren’t your first love, this tool is for you. The visual way it lays out the data makes digital espionage easy.

Plus, you might just find some high-volume keywords that your competition is getting traffic from that you never even thought to use.


Similarweb helps both SEO and content endeavors, as you can actually look at your competition’s content, their traffic, as well as where that traffic is coming from and where they are sending it (to which end page).

But for the content-interested agent, you can spy on your competitor’s topics and see what their traffic is searching for, and what they ultimately visit.


This is actually a browser extension from Moz that gives you an immediate view of how authoritative a site is by Google’s standards. That means that Mozbar tells you the domain authority of any site you see in the SERPs, and domain authority (based on backlinks) is a large SEO factor.

So, essentially Mozbar tells you how trusted (and rankable) your competition is. Also, you can compare yourself to the competition based on domain authority and see how long they’ve been gaining backlinks (and begin creating your own strategy – learn more about backlink building here).


Instead of merely looking at page factors like content, keywords, or even backlinks, Owletter helps you spy on your competition’s email marketing. It mainly can be used to show you when (and with what frequency) your competition is sending out their emails.

This, in turn, can help you know when to send your own emails. Back in the olden days, we would use a ‘fake email’ to sign up for all of our competition’s email lists and spy that way – but this is a much less time-consuming option. Plus, it is all laid out in an easy-to-understand visually organized format.


Just like you can use Owletter to check up on competitor’s email game without checking your junk email account daily, Feedly lets you check up on content and blogs without looking at your arch enemy’s blog daily and giving them traffic.

Feedly collects and shows you content that has been published by your competitors, so you can know what topics are being posted about, as well as trends in content strategies and posting schedules.


Now that you know content, keywords, emails, and even blogs of your competitors – only one major area is left: paid ads.

If you want to really dig into your competition, then knowing their paid ad spend (not just organic traffic) is imperative. iSpionage analyzes PPC (or pay-per-click) ads by telling you the number of ads, as well as the keywords they are targeting within those ads.

You can also see your competition’s competition and see who they are trying to beat out with their ad. From all this PPC data, you can even extrapolate what their budget is for their ad spend and top it (or see how their campaign goes to decide if you want to make a similar investment).

Pretty Neat, Right? Want Help Defeating Your Foe? Let JSL Marketing Be Your Superhero!

Contact JSL Marketing & Web Design today to have us deep dive into your competition and create an individualized digital marketing plan on how to beat them. We can’t wait to work with you.

The Easy Link-Building Guide (for People Who Don’t Understand Link-Building)

Link-building is not ‘dead’ like some experts predicted, it’s just evolved due to algorithm changes and updates. In reality, link-building is more important now than ever – as your authority and trustworthiness depend on it.

There are many great link-building guides out there, but most are written for the near-expert or at least SEO-savvy individuals who want to update their strategies. Unfortunately, most of the link-building questions we get aren’t form experts, but from our clients – like, how the heck do you get a quality link in the first place? What makes a link good or bad? And what strategies no longer work (or can even hurt you instead of help you)?

Let’s look at 4 successful (and simple) link-building techniques that anyone can do.

1. Good Things Come to Those Who Ask

Sometimes, link-building is as simple as asking, because other companies online want links too. For example, if you are an auto body shop, you can talk about rental cars in the area and link to one – then you can simply ask that rental company if they would like to link to you in a relevant and helpful way.

Relevant and helpful means the anchor text to your link makes sense – i.e. ‘Need a rental car during your repairs? Visit us and then head to one of the local and trusted auto repair shops near us.’

Simply asking for (or exchanging) links with relevant and trusted companies or websites is a great way to gain backlinks as well as start in on tip #2…

2. Build Connections & Relationships with Others

Building relationships with other companies through connections, conversations, and yes, asking about linking in relevant and helpful ways is a great way to become known in your area and gain even more links.

Think of it in a non-business way – if you ask a friend to do you a favor, they’ll probably say yes, but if you ask a stranger, your likelihood of getting a positive answer declines dramatically.

Not only is building relationships good for business, it’s good for links too! So talk to others, remember names, reply to emails, and more – because even mere name-recognition can help boost your likelihood of gaining links from others within your industry or in adjacent industries.

3. Testimonials Are Win-Wins (So Are Blogs)

Making a testimonial for another and linking to your site (with permission) gives them a great review, you a backlink, and everyone leaves happy. Additionally, testimonials are easy to create and can be made for as many companies as you have professional experience with – so the list can continue to grow with little work from you.

Some backlink strategies are time-consuming and labor-intensive – but not this one, that’s why it’s a part of our easy guide.

Blogs are similar – because you can link to others, creating connections, while simultaneously creating new and educational content that others can easily use and link to as well. Creating a blog with great content can make it easy for your community to find resources that they actually want and will, therefore, link to, which means you’ll gain even more backlinks (and maybe relationships).

This is why creating educational and research blogs are more valuable and useful than sales pitches or even promotional ones.

4. Use Directories (The Good Ones)

Listing your company on relevant directories is the perfect final tip on how to gain relevant and useful backlinks. The only word of warning and caution we will say here is it is always good practice to check the authority of the directory. Make sure you are being associated with good small business directories, not the shady ones.

The directory being paid or free doesn’t actually mean it’s good or bad, so make sure you do a little research before you go through the steps of being listed.

Don’t know how to check page authority? Use a tool like this that checks their backlink profile and tells you if they are ‘toxic’ or not – or consult a professional who can help you determine where to get links from (or do it for you and acquire backlinks all on their own).

Do You Need Someone to Take Over Your Link-Building Strategy? JSL Marketing & Web Design Is Happy to Help!

If the above still seems difficult, or if it’s simply too time-consuming for you and your booming business, we’re happy to help with your rankings, authority, backlinks, and more!

Contact JSL Marketing & Web Design today to talk about packages, custom plans, link-building strategies and more – we love making businesses work, and we can’t wait to work with you.