How to Build the Initial List of Your Top Competitors

When starting a new project or entering a new niche the first thing to do is to find out which sites you are going to compete with.

The first step to take is to actually find who to compete with and then work on the list researching the competitors' tactics. This post is about this very first step: building the initial list of your most successful competitors:

Competition list


One of the tools inside is actually a competitor list builder that helps you find your competitors for your main term.

Take a note of the respective tool features:

  • The tool only has data for high-traffic keywords, so it needs to be used only for your main term;
  • At least one of the words in your query has to contain more than three characters. (This means you won't be able to check your happy competitors who rank for word "SEO" :))

  • You can select between the broad and exact match.
  • Basic users have access to the following data:
    • 5 top competitors;
    • The "Volume" of each one (represents the share of an individual Site's total search traffic that is generated by this keyword).
    • "Search Referrals Share" of each one (which is the share of total search traffic (90 day moving average) generated to the destination website by a specific keyword).
    • "Average Monthly Search Referrals" of each one (which is the three-month average of the total volume of search referrals that a site receives).

Data sources: Compete’s clickstream data are collected from a 2,000,000 member panel of US Internet users (about a 1% sample), using diverse sources.

Free versus Paid: The service offers quite a few plans with free one being quite limited. A basic user can only see top 5 competitors and top 5 keywords.

2. SEMRush

SEMRush has recently enhanced features available for basic (and even unregistered) users. For any given URL it generates a large list of competitors but hides additional information traffic details, position quality, etc.

The competition-relevant features include:

  • Find your top competitors in organic search and PPC (Google);
  • Choose one of the available territories to target your search: USA, UK, Russia, Germany, France, Spain.


Data sources: Google

Free versus Paid: Basic members get access to the list of competitors but won't see some advanced stats like keyword position quality and traffic.

3. WhoICompete

This is the most basic tool of all. I developed it with the idea to make cross-SERPs domain analysis easier. What it actually does is going through a number of related search results pages and finding domains that got ranked for several of close terms.

The competitive research features include:

  • See domains that have found for up to ten related searhes;
  • See which pages of each domain got ranked and where.


You can also go one step further and apply advanced search command to find domains that have key terms in title tags or anchor text:


Data sources: Google

Free versus Paid: basic members can only select to scan up to ten top search results. Besides, they cannot retrieve some SEO-relevant information in bulk. Both the groups can export results to a CSV file to further build research.

After you have your list of competitors, you can learns their strong and weak tactics to build your marketing strategy and get inspired!

Ann Smarty is an SEO Consultant who blogs on SEO, social media and general Internet Marketing topics.

Post image by ZeroOne

Posted in SEO

About the Author: Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is a blogger and SEO consultant and professional blogger. Check out Ann's personal project My Blog Guest - the forum meant to connect guest bloggers to blog owner for plenty of mutual benefits. Ann also provides guest blogging services.

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