How to Find Similar Websites with the Audience Overlap Tool
Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, consultant, analyst, or even a salesperson, you have probably found yourself wanting to find similar sites that compete against a particular site.
Why would I want to find similar websites?
Why is this useful? As a business owner or marketer, it’s important to know which sites are competing with your company online. Which sites are attracting the same or similar visitors? Which sites are using similar keywords or marketing to your target customers? In addition, you may want to develop a list of websites similar to a target site for new guest posting or advertising opportunities.
As a consultant or analyst, it’s important to understand your client’s competitors. Who’s getting the most traffic and the most engagement? What are the competitors talking about online? In addition, you may want to build a list of industry sites to track and evaluate in more detail.
As a salesperson, what other companies are similar to a current customer or prospect? What’s an easy way to build a list of potential companies to target?
For these use cases, and many others, it’s handy to have a way to quickly build up an accurate list of similar websites—sites that get similar visitors and that feature similar content.
With that in mind, Alexa has built a tool that uses proprietary algorithms to uncover similar websites based on factors like visitors in common and overlap in keywords used by the sites. The tool is called the Audience Overlap Tool.
How do I use the Audience Overlap Tool?
We’ll go through a set of simple steps to use the Audience Overlap Tool to find a set of similar websites. Learn how the Audience Overlap tool can help you:
- Identify and analyze online competitors
- Develop industry lists
- Create lists of target sites, or
- Benchmark websites against others.
Step 1: Log in, take a trial, or use the free tool
Log into your Alexa account (Advanced or Insight Level) or start a free 7-day trial of either of these plans if you’re not a subscriber. You can also give the tool a quick test drive here.
Step 2: Go to the Audience Overlap Tool
If you’re in your account or starting a trial, navigate to the Audience Overlap Tool in the
sidebar under the Competitive Research section of the Alexa Marketing Stack.
Step 3: Input a target site and run the analysis
Type your website in the search box if you’re looking to see who has a high overlap with your own site.
Or if you’re looking to evaluate a competitor’s site, a partner’s site, or a site you want to analyze or benchmark, input that target site in the search box.
In our example, we’ll use “socialmediatoday.com”. Once you click “Find Similar Websites”, it will generate a list of sites ordered from high “Audience Overlap” at the top, to low overlap towards the bottom.
Step 4: Select sites to evaluate further
Once you have a list, you can select up to 10 sites to compare against each other using other Alexa Tools.
The easiest way to start is to select the target site and the next 9 sites in order, which will have the highest overlap with the target site. Or, you can review the sites further before carefully selecting what to include in your list.
Clicking the filter above the list to “Show only similar sites with similar traffic levels” will narrow the list to those that are very close to your target site in terms of Alexa Rank—a measure of traffic and engagement. This will create a smaller, more focused list of sites that are closer to the target site in terms of size.
Step 5: Use other tools to analyze the sites further
Once you select up to 10 sites, you’ll see the list of sites on the right (in the yellow area) and options to analyze the sites using other tools. We’ll describe the options below.
Competitor Keyword Matrix:
This tool will allow you to compare the keywords that all of the sites are ranking for in the search engines. It’s a convenient keyword discovery tactic to find terms your site should be focused on based on gaps with others in your industry.
Or, you can evaluate the types of content that sites in a particular industry are focused on or are having success with. Make sure to save your list of sites and to use the various filters that are available in this tool. This tool is available in our Advanced Plan only. See an image of the tool in action below.
This tool provides a way to benchmark sites against others in their industry in terms of traffic, engagement, and demographics. Saving your list allows you to come back and monitor how the various sites are doing over time. Below we show a small portion of the Site Comparison tool.
Step 6: Use the “Quick Start Guide”
If you need more help with the Audience Overlap Tool, make sure to access the Quick Start Guide that’s conveniently located at the top of the page.
What are the other use cases for the Audience Overlap Tool?
In addition to the cases described at the beginning of the post, how else would you use this tool to find similar sites? Let us know in the comments!
Tom Treanor is a Senior Product Manager at Alexa Internet and has expertise in the areas of Content Marketing, SEO and Social Media Marketing. He has experience helping startups, small and medium businesses, and large enterprises grow their business and reach new customers.
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