Real Estate Marketing Academy

16 Clever Tools to Help You Spy on Real Estate Agent Competitors

By Matthew Bushery

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16 Clever Tools to Help You Spy on Real Estate Agent CompetitorsReal estate agents want to know what other local agents are up to with their real estate marketing and sales tactics — and it’s understandable. Who wouldn’t want to know what the competition is up to, like what marketing strategies they implement and how they secure real estate leads? The only problem is that many agents don’t know the first thing about investigating competitors’ online real estate marketing efforts. The tools below, however, can solve this issue.

Check out 20 of the most widely used and highly reviewed online marketing competition services that can give you insights into other agents’ real estate websites, social media activity, and search optimization strategies, including what keywords they use and who links back to their content.

(Note: Many of these tools perform multiple functions, but the category they’re each listed under are the ones they’re most known for. Also, most offer free services to help you spy on others’ real estate marketing, but if you want to perform a deep dive into your competition, you may need to spend a little. Now … spy away!)

To Determine How Competitors’ Real Estate Websites Perform

1)  Alexa

As the service notes in its “about us” page, “Information is power.” The more you pay attention to other agents and how they run their real estate websites, social channels, and pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns, the more you can identify ways to improve your own marketing — and Alexa allows you to do just that.

With Alexa, you can glean data from thousands of websites that have installed a special script that allows Alexa to judge the website’s traffic. Enter a website in the search bar, and you’ll discover its:

  • Global website rank
  • Bounce rate
  • Daily pageviews
  • Daily time on site
  • Audience demographics

The site offers four different monthly pricing plans that provide the option to identify more trends about your competition, the lowest of which runs $10 per month — a small price to pay to learn about fellow agents’ marketing methods.

2)  Quick Sprout

You couldn’t ask for a simpler homepage interface than that of Quick Sprout. The only thing you see when arriving on site is a search bar — one for your site and up to three competitors’ sites:

Quick Sprout website checker

The website provides a detailed view of competitor website performance, including an “SEO Score” and “Speed Score” (the latter of which relates to page load times), as well as warnings and errors that detail areas of the real estate websites that need adjustments (like header tags and meta data). Quick Sprout pulls no punches: It simply offers the honest truth regarding any site you search.

3)  HubSpot’s Marketing Grader

The core components of a solid inbound marketing strategy for real estate include blogging regularly, posting on social media frequently, and creating a search-optimized, visitor-friendly real estate website. Plop in your website URL, and those of your agents, in HubSpot’s Marketing Grader tool, and you can compare and contrast your site with those of your peers. The software firm even offers up advice on how to fix different components of your online marketing presence, like how to make your site more mobile-optimized and better at generating leads.

4)  Compete

Benchmarking your real estate website against those of other pros means comparing and contrasting metrics, like real estate lead conversion rates, and marketing strategies, like which tactics were used as part of their real estate lead generation. Compete not only affords you the chance to do this, but it also offers resources, like marketing insight reports, that can help you take your real estate marketing to the next level.

It’s free site search tool provides slivers of analytics, like website visitor comparisons. Entering in “google.com” and “yahoo.com” generates this unique visitor comparison (which, unsurprisingly, shows the former beating the latter in organic traffic by quite a bit):

Compete competitor website analysis

Pro plans from Compete run a pretty penny and are likely out of most beginner real estate agents’ budgets. If you work at a brokerage, though, it may be worth bringing the service up to the head honcho to see if the platform can give your firm’s agents a competitive edge.

5)  SimilarWeb

It’s not enough anymore to know only high-level traffic numbers for your real estate website. Now, it’s vital to know where exactly that traffic comes from. SimilarWeb shows agents whether visitors come from desktop or mobile, as well as what the source of the traffic was: direct, referral, social, search, email, or display ads.

To Identify Agents’ Real Estate SEO and SEM Strategies

6)  SEMrush

“All-purpose” is an appropriate adjective to describe SEMrush. There are numerous projects you can set up, reports you can order, and tools you can use to get the inside scoop on other agent’s real estate websites. See other agents’ top keywords, where their traffic comes from, examples of ads they post online, and how those ads change in rank over time.

“How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”

— Bill Gates

Take a look at the free competitor search tool on SEMrush’s homepage. Here’s some data from the service related to organic and paid traffic that was generated after inputting “facebook.com” into its search feature. Notice the traffic figures to the left separated into organic and ad-based visitors:

SEMrush website keyword SEO checker tool

When you’re done combing over competitors’ sites, consider getting a real estate website audit from SEMrush, which provides a diagnosis of any problems on your site (e.g. duplicate pages, broken links, etc.) and advice on fixing them.

7)  Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Google always knows how to help brands and professionals measure their marketing. Keyword Planner is primarily intended for Google AdWords campaigns (which you can learn more about in this Academy post), but an unintended benefit of the tool is the ability to see what the competition is trying to rank for in search engine results pages (SERPs).

While you can’t see which other agents are using specific long-tail keywords in their marketing using the Planner tool, you can gauge what terms related to your local housing market are the most popular and, in turn, can modify your organic and paid advertising strategies accordingly.

8)  iSpionage

Part of every real estate marketing strategy should be pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Creating text and display ads on Google’s Ad Network, Facebook, and other online channels can do wonders for your real estate lead generation. With iSpionage, you get an array of data about others’ Internet presence and marketing success, including PPC.

Below is an example of LiveNation’s top competitors’ paid advertising budgets. When scrolling over each bar, you’re able to see how many of your competition’s on-page keywords overlap with yours:

iSpionage keyword SEO competition checker tool analysis

9)  Rank Tracker

Track, discover, improve — that’s what SEO software firm Moz’s Rank Tracker service can do for agents who want to sneak a peek on the competition and optimize their own real estate websites with the right keywords.

With Rank Tracker, you can:

  • See how your site performs on Google, Yahoo, and Bing
  • Perform on-page SEO competitive analysis with competing agents’ sites
  • Use its crawlers to identify weak areas on your website
  • Track your site improvements to see what dividends they pay

Moz has become a leader in the SEO and inbound marketing space, so you won’t find a more revered and widely used company to move your real estate website to increased organic traffic levels.

To Find Out About Agents’ Real Estate Social Media Marketing

10)  Simply Measured

Reporting on your real estate website using Google Analytics and similar platforms is essential … but the same goes for your social media accounts. Using a service like Simply Measured — which allows you to get free page and audience analysis reports for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and Vine — means you can learn what posting tactics work, what your followers are talking about, and how much your social media following grows over time.

Getting inspiration from the best real estate social media accounts out there today is one way to improve your social presence, but knowing the hard data about your tweets, status updates, and other posts will bolster your overall real estate marketing success.

11)  Keyhole

Content marketing spy tool Keyhole.co

Tracking what’s going on in the wide world of social media can be difficult. Search functionality certainly exists on each of the biggest social networks, but filtering through search results on these platforms can be arduous and time-consuming and end up fruitless. That’s what makes Keyhole such an interesting tool.

Simply enter in hashtags, phrases, or names and the real-time tracking tool will show you a bevy of results associated with the search term: everything from who utilizes the term most in their social messaging, to when it’s most often used throughout the day, to influencers who use those terms most.

12)  Social Mention

While the user interface of Social Mention might make some agents’ heads spin, it actually provides a lot of useful information. On the bar along the left side of the page alone, you can instantly discover a social account’s strength, reach, top users, top keywords, and top hashtags. That’s data that can lead you to new hashtags to use in your own real estate marketing, new users to check out, and new keywords to reach your audience.

13)  Followerwonk

Moz does it again: Here’s another tool from the SEO company that makes it a cinch not only to advance your own real estate social media marketing, but also compare and contrast yours to other agents’. Specifically, the app lets you see which members of your Twitter audience follow a competing agent online and vice versa, along with a grade for how strong their social presences are:

Followerwonk Moz Twitter follower comparison competition

In addition to finding out if other agents are engaging with your core audience on Twitter, you can use the tool to discover where exactly your followers live, who else they follow, and how your follower base has grown over time (and even those of competing real estate pros).

The catch with Followerwonk (and nearly a dozen other helpful Moz apps) is that it comes with a subscription to Moz’s full-service offer, which starts at $99 a month. However, if you’re at a brokerage, this is the type of tool your head broker will want to hear about.

To Discover Backlinks to Competitors’ Websites

14)  Rank Signals

Arguably the most basic spy tool listed in this post, Rank Signals is one of the easiest to use. Simply enter any URL for a competing real estate agent website, and you get a clear-cut look at the site’s most popular links, including ones from external sites, as well as which links are “hot” (in other words, trending at the moment). Use this application to learn about any local (or even national) resources your competitors appear to be using for guest posting or sharing their real estate blog content.

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”

— Jack Welch

The tool even comes with a nifty Google Chrome extension that tells you all about sites you visit, including their unique backlinks, daily reach, Alexa ranking, and PageRank — not a bad snapshot to get of competing agents’ sites in mere seconds.

15)  ahrefs

For a moderately more in-depth backlink discovery service, ahrefs is the app to use. Use the tool to find out exactly what type of backlinks others’ websites have online (see the example data below) as well as the total number of referring domains and their URL and domain rank:

ahrefs backlink website analysis tool

Exporting data to a PDF file takes minutes, and the service even offers a broken-link checker, which is a useful tool for your own website. After all, no one will read your real estate newsjack posts if links to the original news articles don’t work.

16)  Monitor Backlinks

Backlinks are a catch-22 for many professionals: While getting them from reputable, highly searched websites can help your SEO enormously, getting them from disreputable, little-searched sites can do the opposite. With Monitor Backlinks’ checker feature, it takes seconds to pinpoint the sites you want linking to your content. A grade is assigned to each site linking back to yours along with the total number of links each has that lead to your website.

Plans to get complete backlink reports start at $20 per month, but it’s worth the price if you want to find the most trusted and popular sites to reach out to with your content moving forward.

Download The Real Estate Marketing Guide to Keyword Research to improve your real estate website’s performance (and beat competing agents’ metrics).

How do you keep tabs on other agents’ real estate marketing efforts? How do you improve your own? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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