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Are there any free tools for competitor analysis?

  1. I want to find out keywords that a site is optimized for by typing in a URL
  2. I want to find out competition (a number) for a given phrase or keyword - Google Keyword tool gives a visual bar. I need a number so I can sort the data in Excel
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closed as off-topic by Zistoloen, John Conde Mar 13 at 11:15

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5 Answers 5

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Sounds like you need to re-visit the tool(s) you're already using - the "free SEO tools" you find in the wild are hardly as accurate or useful as information made available by Google. (Though there is a certain amount of amusement in visiting the #2 search result for "best SEO tool")

I want to find out keywords that a site is optimized for by typing in a Url

Go to the Adwords Keyword Tool and, in the Website field, enter the URL.

I want to find out competition (a number) for a given phrase or keyword - Google Jeyword tool gives a visual bar. I need a number so I can sort the data in Excel

Try "estimated CPC" (which reflects the economic competition - why bother optimizing for key phrases which aren't worth money?) ...

... or use the Download > CSV for Excel option and presto, that graphical column is converted into a numeric value.

Update:

When it does come time to pick your keywords, you'll want to pick the keywords which are most specific to what your site is about (there's no sense trying to optimize for the word "food" if your site is about "canned lutefisk", for example) and, amongst the terms which match what you offer, you'll want to pick the terms which get the most traffic (and, if you're selling something, the terms which result in the most purchases).

Per Virtuosi Media's comments, this proviso was lacking.

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Just wanted to point out that the "economic competition" is the competition for that keyword on Google AdWords only. It may or may not correlate to the actual value of a keyword phrase to a website. –  Virtuosi Media Oct 3 '10 at 3:47
    
@Virtuosi Media - That's a good point and I missed mentioning it in this answer... updated to include proviso from webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/3369/… –  danlefree Oct 3 '10 at 5:35

This doesn't directly answer your question but one tool that I have found useful for a good overview of competitor sites is the Open Site Explorer. It gives you an estimated domain authority and shows who is linking to you and/or your competitors.

(You may need to register at SEOmoz to use it but it's a free account.)

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I've done SEO for a couple of years now and each time I have been fairly successful with my approaches. That being said I don't claim to know the answers and I advise any clients to be extremely wary of anyone that claims to.

One of the simplest methods I've used to help a website utilise its marketing potential is to do a thorough Competitive Analysis through identifying the market and finding out what the strongest links to my competitors are. I then emulate that through targeted, natural link building in similar areas.

One of the tools I use is Link Diagnosis (although I haven't used the new one recently, if it doesn't work for you give the classic tool a try). I build several Excel spreadsheets of each of my competitors and provide trends for my clients to target.

It's really an invaluable tool, and one that very few people really talk about. I'd highly recommend it for anyone looking to do their Competitive Analysis finished quickly so that they can work on more important things.

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Second Open Site Explorer, I use it fairly frequently for SEO purposes. Another site I find useful is PageRank, which gives you the estimated page rank (ie how much weight or authority a site has in a search engine) - this is only really useful for analysing links into your site.

But as for your questions, both can be answered through the Keywords Tool as danlefree's answer mentions.

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KeywordSpy does an adequate job comparing most keywords and pointing out which sites are top dog and your competitor.

But when I really like to get deep in research, I almost always fall back to Google Trends and then just check pagerank on similars.

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