Traffic estimator tools have now become an integral part of the digital marketing toolkit. They allow you to measure your marketing strategy and traffic against your competitors, as well as see what you can do to improve your online reputation and business.
As competitor research is most important part here, most of the tools we will look at are based on tools related to competitor research, but our focus will be on their ability to estimate the traffic and reporting functionality.
Keywords also play very important role in this domain, and we will also focus on the keyword search volumes or ‘popular keywords’, as these bring potential strategy and traffic together.
Ahrefs are one of the most trusted names in the digital marketing industry, and their SEO suite specially focused on competitor research.
Their Site Explorer tool goes far beyond estimating traffic. It has three main components: Backlink Checker, Organic Traffic Research and Paid Traffic Research Tool.
The Organic Traffic screen shows estimated traffic for the selected domain, along with organic keywords. You can filter the data to view different date ranges, and by traffic from different countries. The right sidebar also shows the top ten competitors to the chosen website, it also has an option to click and view data of each of those.
This kind of ease of access to search data makes Ahrefs a top choice among traffic estimator tools.
Other tools in the suite include: Keyword Research, Backlink Research, Content Research, Rank Tracking, and Web Monitoring.
Ahrefs’ clients include Facebook, Adobe, LinkedIn, Netflix, Uber, Shopify, and Tripadvisor, to name a few.
Pricing starts at $7 for a 7 day trial. Monthly billing starts at $99 for the Lite plan, and increments to $179 for their most popular ‘Standard Plan’, $399 for the advanced plan, and $999 for their Agency Plan. Users can also opt for Annual billing which includes a two month saving compared to one year’s use of the service, on a monthly plan.
Alexa is a marketing software stack from Amazon.
Like its namesake, the virtual personal assistant, Alexa tailors its responses to the user’s (in this case the webmaster’s) individual needs.
To compare competitors, Alexa’s free tool shows ranking, rather than traffic.
You can get a 7 day free trial of The Website Analysis Tools ‘Insight’ plan to estimate traffic with Alexa, after trial ends, you need to pay $79 per month.
Alexa’s Marketing Stack offers a 14 day free trial of the Advanced plan, which costs $149 per month for use with one user, and a 30 day free trial for the Agency plan which costs $299 per month, for use with 20 users and up to 35 sites.
Alexa marketing software is trusted by brands such as Wildfang, Umbra, Tillys, Apartment Therapy and Houzz.
Quantcast believes in an AI-driven approach to digital marketing. More specifically, their products utilise the power of machine learning to analyse the web, to provide data to clients.
Behind the scenes of Quantcast’s products, is an AI program called Q. Quantcast says that Q is the largest online audience behavior platform. Q’s machine learning capability allows it to interpret user data and provide webmasters with data that is like the “real-time pulse of the internet”.
The products on offer fall into two main categories. Audience measurement for publishers and site owners, and a complete toolkit for marketers, agency partners, and consultancies.
In terms of freebies, you can sign up for limited use of Quantcast’s ‘Measure’ dashboard. This gives you detailed breakdowns of traffic, demographics, user devices, user engagement, user shopping interests, user media interests, occupation types, general interests, and political interests.
We entered the domains of two big brands into the Measure dashboard for traffic estimates, and the estimates were more or less in line with what SEMrush report. The measure dashboard is also among the most user-friendly SEO dashboards we have seen.
There is also the option to track your own website’s data, which you can do by adding a Quantcast tag to your site’s HTML head section.
A whole host of big brands are now on Board with Quantcast, including McDonalds, T-Mobile, Citibank, Microsoft, NBC, Toyota, Vice, and Whole Foods.
4. Traffic Estimate
Traffic Estimate is a very simple and easy to use website based around a search which, yes, you guessed it, estimates website traffic.
The site is entirely free to use, and it doesn’t require users to sign up.
After searching your selected domain, the site will return a simple line graph which maps an estimate of the past 12 – 18 months of unique visits.
When comparing the data returned by Traffic Estimate to equivalent data from SEMrush and Ahrefs, we did notice a little more variance than we saw between premium tools. The implication here is that Traffic Estimate should perhaps not be your first port of call to estimate web traffic.
With that said, for any given website which Traffic Estimate returns data for, it also shows keywords the site targets, websites competing for similar keywords, SERP, whois and hosting information.
The tools menu tab will give you access to a list of other free SEO related tools.
Considering the ease of access to traffic estimates, keywords and other tools, we think Traffic Estimate is worth using to quickly double-check data from another source, or if you quickly want to see meta information for a given site.
We recommend the other freemium and premium tools previously mentioned in this article for estimating traffic and other related tasks, but we think Traffic Estimator is certainly worth knowing about.
5. Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Google Adwords Keyword Planner has long been used to research keywords for Search engine optimisation. Typically webmasters who have an Adwords account to manage pay per click Google ads, also have access to keyword search volumes. However, here lies a popular misconception, you don’t need to pay for ads to check keyword search volumes.
When you login to the Keyword Planner, you get two choices, the second of which we are going to look at in more detail:
“Find keywords: You can get keyword ideas that can help you get data of people interested in your product or service.
Get search volume and forecasts: You can get search volume and other metrics for your keywords, as well as forecasts for how they might beneficial in the future.”
Navigating through to this particular tool can be tricky, (which is why relatively few people know it can be used for free) so let us run through that process briefly.
Firstly, ensure you have a Gmail account, and go here and click “Sign In”.
At this point, you (if you’ve used Google Analytics or Keywords before) may see a paid ad set up process. If this happens, sign back out and ensure that you use Google Chrome in Incognito mode.
Now, when you sign in, you should be able to “Skip the guided setup”.
You should now be on the All campaigns Overview page. Go to tools, keyword planner, then Get search volume and forecasts.
Here you can enter relevant keywords and domains, and Google will return keyword ideas. Keyword ideas can be sorted according to a number of metrics which will help you to determine which keywords to use. Metrics include: Average monthly searches, Competition, Ad impression share, Top of page bid (low range), Top of page bid (high range), Account Status.
SimilarWeb is a solid alternative to Ahrefs. While the number of tools and features SimlarWeb offer is fewer than Ahrefs, you can start using them for free.
On their Products page, SimilarWeb breakdown their suite into three sections: Website Analysis, Industry Analysis, and App Analysis.
In terms of narrowing the focus down to traffic estimating, let’s start with Website Analysis. This tool offers breakdown metrics of a domain’s traffic that include: total visits, desktop and mobile, average monthly visits, average visit duration, pages per visit, bounce rate and more.
Such a detailed picture of a competitor traffic gives webmasters plenty of variables with which to compare and strategise. Speaking of strategy, the Website Analysis tool also features and Audience Interests section which details audience behaviour. The intention behind this section appears to be finding new audiences.
The Industry Analysis tool estimates traffic across industries. Here users are able to: see visitor metrics by industry, see traffic volume by industry, see what organic and pay per click keywords drive each industry, see industry leaders, see which businesses lead each industry in terms of traffic, and much more.
Clients include DHL, eBay, Google, Microsoft, and Airbnb to name a few.
As noted, you can start using SimilarWeb for free. This doesn’t include all of the features listed above, but the free plan does provide access to a limited range of useful tools, and at the time of writing, doesn’t have a time limit.
To access an Enterprise custom plan, which SimilarWeb say will be modular and dependent on each client’s needs, you need to contact them directly.
SEMrush offers an all in one Marketing toolkit for SEO professionals, and they are at the top of the industry, boasting clients such as eBay, HP, and Booking.com.
You can sign up for free use of SEMrush’s toolkit, which will give you access to most of the main features, with limited use. For example, the Competitive Research section is where you are able to estimate traffic of other websites, and the service allows you do up to ten searches per day before it alerts you to sign up for a free trial of the paid plan.
Competitive Research gives a detailed picture of competitors traffic. The breakdown includes: paid traffic, organic traffic, desktop and mobile, keywords for both organic and paid etc.
Monthly plans start at $99.95 for the Pro account. You can also save on the cost of each monthly account by committing to an annual plan.