How to Analyze Competitor with SEMRush Market Explorer in 7 Steps

Competitor analysis is needed if you want to outrank your competitor. There are many tools to do competitive research and one of them is SEMRush. SEMrush has use cases to do competitive research. This guide will help you to analyze the traffic for your SEM’s audience such as PPC search advertising, audience targeting, demographics targeting, etc.

SEMRush Competitive Research Use Cases

If you already know your website’s competitor, then you can go directly analyzing their traffic and pages, but if you don’t know or don’t know which is the leader, let’s follow this step.

Identify your competitor and market leaders

Let’s pretend that we will do competitive research for, a sales funnels tool such as landing page builder, email marketing management, and so on. We know that some of the competitors of this marketing tool are ClickFunnels, BuilderAll, and also GetResponse (even not its main tool).

Step 1 – Let’s start by put domain in the search field.

SEMRush Market Explorer
SEMRush Market Explorer

By typing a domain on this search box, you can also get a suggestion to use other tools such as keyword explorer, domain explorer. For now, let’s use “Market Explorer”. This tool will really help us to know the market landscapes of our business.

Step 2 – Change the industry competitors into organic competitors.

Change into organic competitors
Change into organic competitors

I found out, if you are still a small player, using industry competitors will lead you heads on with big players and they are not directly competing with you.

When I use “Industry competitors”, the industry is too big and the top 10 players that SEMRush gave to me is somehow not direct competitors. They are websites that have biggest traffic in the industry which is “Online Marketing” or “Online Business”

After I use “Organic Competitors”, the websites given to me is more relevant to my website. Some of them are competitor, and some of them is informative website or consultant. We will dive deeper to this in the next section.

Step 3 – Examine the growth quadrant

Competitor Analysis Growth Quadrant
Competitor Analysis Growth Quadrant

We have quadrants here. The X-axis is traffic volume while the Y-axis is the traffic growth in percent. There are no specific number to let us to see the bigger picture.

There are 4 categories in this graphic:

  1. Niche Players are website with medium traffic volume and medium traffic growth. They are websites that play in a specific niche, so they don’t have high traffic volume, but they are still developing. This is the place where every website will start.
  2. Game Changers are websites with high traffic growth even though they have medium traffic volumes. They are called game changers because their traffic growth is great, it means they are getting traction. After their traffic growth slows down, they will be placed in the “Established Players” sector.
  3. Established Players are websites with high traffic but their traffic growth is not big because their traffic already big. This condition may be because they are already settled with their products but they are lacking innovation or features. Nevertheless, they are a big competitor
  4. Leaders are players with high traffic volume and they are getting traffic more and more every day. They are the biggest competitor here. They already settled in this market and innovating, getting new users every day. Websites in the “Established Players” will go to this quadrant if they do something significant that getting traction such as creating new big features.

From the quadrant we get list of website related to our website. So these are the listed website on that quadrant.

  1. (competitor)
  2. (consultant)
  3. (informative)
  4. (competitor)
  5. (consultant)
  6. (consultant/informative)
  7. (consultant)
  8. (consultant)
  9. (competitor)
  10. (consultant)
  11. (our website)

After we open their website one by one, we can label them using competitor, consultant, and informative. The “competitor” is simply a label for our head-to-head competitor. “Consultant” and “informative” are labels for websites that are actually giving service or information related to our industry. In this case, they are offering courses or sales funnel creating service. You can always use other labels such as “complimentary”, “tools”, “marketplace”, and so on.

We can approach a consultant/informative website to use our product. You can offer them special prices, affiliate links, training, premium support and so on. It may pay off in the future.

Now, we know that our competitor recognized by SEMRush is,, and We can analyze them further.

Step 4 – Examine Domain vs Market Dynamics

Domain VS Market Dynamics
Domain VS Market Dynamics

Here we can get better understanding about the share of traffic. Using this chart we know who is our biggest competitor and who is the biggest consultant/informative website.

You may see what is your biggest competitor main features and emphasize why are you better than them. You can also make a specific use case for you that no other competitor has.

For the consultant/informative website, we can continue approach them and offer something based on their position. But, you know which “partner” will give you the best traffic.

For use case, we know that is the biggest player with 90% of traffic. We can see what is their features and present it to the board of director of the company.

Step 5 – Examine the Geo Distribution

Geo Traffic Distribution
Geo Traffic Distribution

If you want to target a specific country, you can get a better understanding here. Which country is having traffic related to your industry? By using this, you can prioritize your localization such as language or branch office.

We can see that in this use case, Israel is the biggest traffic from country that not use English. Later, we may add localization for Hebrew. Your company may also see if you need to open a branch office there or hire dedicated support for people from Israel. This is just an example. You may need to discuss it within your company.

Step 6 – Examine Market Traffic

Market Traffic Over Time
Market Traffic Over Time

You can see the traffic to this market, to know the trends overtime. You can see whether the growth in this market is declining or increasing. By using this info, we can determine our effort, whether we should increase our marketing budget or not.

If we take a look at the market traffic for, it seems that the market is declining. So, we can target our effort to get a share of the existing traffic because new user growth is declining. Contrary, if the market is rising, it means there are many new users, we should target those new users.

Step 7 – Examine In-Market Audience Interests

This section is really helpful for people who want to use PPC ad campaigns for their business. We know that market insights is really valuable to any marketers. You can skip trial and error by setting up the correct audience.

Audience Interest
Audience Interest

This section will really help you to build an audience for your ads campaign. Many PPC platforms have audience targeting. You can know which interest is relevant for your PPC campaigns.

In the chart shown, it seems “business and industrial” seems the highest interest in this market. You may build use case for people with that interest. Such as building a funnel for product from business & industrial player.

Market demographics
Market demographics

SEMRush also has data for genders and ages. This will really help you to target demographic correctly. Using age and gender targeting will help to get better ROAS (Return on Ad Spending).

You can coordinate with design and content marketing team to plan what is the most suitable content and interface you should use for landing page or blog. Do more research about this demographic to know better your potential customer.

So, that is a use case to use SEMrush as competitor analyzing tools using market explorer. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg of SEMRush competitor analysis. This report will really help if you are a marketer of a company that wants to analyze your competitor.

If you are a small business owner or affiliate marketer, this report maybe will not really suitable for you because SEMRush’s data will somehow lack. I am planning to make a report for competitor analysis for SME in the future. For the meanwhile, you may consider reading the Keyword Research report.

You can use SEMRush free-trial for 7 days to use this Market Explorer feature and later decide whether you need it or not. Meanwhile, you can also use free tools of SEMRush on our website.

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