This article is a guest-post of Mélissa from the Clicboutic e-commerce blog. In this article, I will explain how to use free tools to spy on your competitors and find out their keywords, traffic and demographic profile of their customers …

If you are used to competitive intelligence on search engines, then surely you know the site I am going to tell you about. If you are starting online, read on.

The spy tool I want to tell you about is called Alexa.com and it’s free!

With Alexa, you can know the most used keywords, the demographic audience and the traffic of a site. You can also assess the popularity of a website by country, see the number of external links which point to this site, etc.

To use it, it’s simple: just install the Alexa Toolbar on your browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.). An Alexa icon then appears next to the search bar of your internet browser.

alexa tool bar

By clicking on this icon, you will have access to all the data of the site you are browsing. These numbers will be particularly useful when you compare them to those on your own site.

Worried about your customers realizing it? You don’t have to worry about that: Alexa gets this information anonymously, no one will know you are spying on it.

1 / Know the Traffic of its Competitors

With the Alexa toolbar, you can obtain the global and national ranking of a website in relation to its volume of visits with one click. Basically, you will be able to find out which of your competitors has the highest number of visits. For example, Google is the most visited site, it is number 1. Facebook is number 2, etc.

A website does not appear in Alexa if its popularity rating is lower than the 100,000th most visited site in a country. By consulting the “Traffic Rank” section, Alexa’s Toolbar informs me that ClicBoutic is currently the 7556th most visited site in England.

concurrent traffic

2 / Know the Keywords of its Competitors

Whether you want to optimize the natural referencing of your e-commerce site or if you are looking to improve the queries on which your Google Adwords ads appear, the keywords of your competitors will save you a lot of time. And money!

By copying the most effective keywords of your competitors, you save yourself long days of research and you gain a more effective compass than your simple intuition.

How to do ? This second step is as simple as the first.

When you have launched Alexa on the page of the site that interests you, click on the “Search Analytics” box.

alexa search analytic

You are then redirected to this page:

alexa top queries

The “Top Queries from Search Traffic” column is the list of keywords that interest you.

Going down a little further will give you more information. In particular, a broader list of keywords and the evolution of their popularity during the last month.

You can now optimize the natural referencing of your pages to make your site appear in Google search results on these keywords.

3) Who Are My Competitors’ Customers?

To answer this question, you will need to know the demographic profile of the people who visit your competitors’ sites.

The demographic profile provides a global portrait of your potential customers based on several essential variables:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Professional activity
  • Level of education
  • Country of residence

Still on Alexa and without changing the page, click on the “Audience” tab above your keyword table.

audience alexa

On this page, you have the possibility of knowing the demographic distribution of the visitors of your competitors:

competitors audience alexa

You can repeat the operation ad infinitum for your competitors’ sites, your own site, or sites in the same sector abroad. This will give you more keyword ideas and allow you to target customers who match that profile.

These indications will be invaluable in guiding the marketing strategy of your online store. Imagine that you want to run a paid advertising campaign via Google Adwords.

4) How to use this Information?

If you know that your competitors (and therefore your market) mainly attract women between the ages of 18 and 25, you can create demographic targeting for your ads accordingly. As a result, the only people who will see your advertisement will be the most likely to click on it. This will allow you to increase your conversion rate and lower your cost per click.

Of course, if you can get the demographic profile of your own customers, it’s even better! Your goal should be to attract more people who match your customer’s profile. You can send a short survey to people who have already ordered on your site to ask their age, gender, country of residence and level of education. You will increase your response rate by offering them a gift in return.

Indeed, people who visit your competitors’ site do not systematically order. This information only gives you an overview of your potential customers. But, if you are in the process of starting your own business, your competitors’ data remains the best way to build this standard profile.

Conclusion: Track Your Progress

Alexa saves you from having to work blindly with reliable data. After this initial analysis, continue to follow the progress of your business. You will be better equipped to compete with them.

melissaHello, I’m Mélissa from Clicboutic, the quickest and easiest way to open your online store. I help entrepreneurs increase their sales on the Clicboutic e-commerce blog.