SimilarWeb is a breath of fresh air to digital marketers. Enter the URL of a website you want to investigate and at a glance you will see a wealth of information that you might have thought to be only available to the website owners.
SimilarWeb scores points on so many levels but first let’s look at the function for which I would guess it was originally developed – finding websites that are similar to the one being looked at.
This is a constant headache for me when analysing the competition being faced by my clients. They may have a very good website but how well that website performs is ultimately decided by how well their competitor’s websites perform.
Services like SEMrush will give you a list of competitors based on your keyword profile but those competitors will often not actually be competitors as such – they are websites that share common keywords with you but which do not necessarily supply a similar product or service. It’s important to know all of that but sometimes you do need to look at other sites that do supply similar products or services – enter SimilarWeb.
When Similarweb displays websites that it considers to be comparable to the one you entered the URL for, it takes into account much more than just the common keyword factor that is used by SEMrush and which will throw up a number of less than useful suggestions such as Wikipedia and Amazon as being competitors to the site in question. Similarweb don’t, of course, divulge what all those factors are but suffice to say that it appears to be fairly accurate.
Whilst SEMrush will show you websites that share a number of common keywords with the target site, SimilarWeb goes further and suggests sites that are far more likely to be actual competitors rather than just sites that steal your traffic due to common keywords or phrases.
So what kind of information can you obtain from SimilarWeb, for free?
The easiest way to find out is to install their very handy Chrome Extension, free of charge, which lets you find out all sorts of information about any website that you happen to be visiting. Alternatively you can go to their website and enter the URL of the site you want to analyse. Assuming you use the SimilarWeb Chrome extension, just go to the site you want to find out about and click on the SimilarWeb Chrome Extension icon, you will see something like this:
This is very useful information for anyone trying to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors but it does come with a word of warning – these are estimates that you are looking at, not actual data. I have compared the Site Visits metric given by SimilarWeb to those obtained from the actual site’s Google Analytics and there have been considerable differences. The important thing to bear in mind is that you should always compare apples with apples – if you use the SimilarWeb metrics for evaluating one competitor, use it for all of them and then any inconsistencies should be uniform across all of the sites.
If you want to dig deeper and go beyond the limited information shown for free by the browser extension or the free version of the product, you will need to have a fairly hefty budget since SimilarWeb starts at $199 for the most basic version and the pricing for the higher bands is kept secret, i.e. not published on their site – a red rag to a bull where I am concerned but you will have to evaluate the benefits of the package against what is likely to be a significant cost.
To summarise, despite the patchy availability of data on Similarweb, quite often the sites I want to work with have no data available in the SimilarWeb database, I do like the product and I think it has great potential, just as soon as it’s finished.