What Are the Best Tools to Estimate the Traffic of a Website?
There are a few options out there, but you really need to take all of them with a huge grain of salt. The most reliable tool to estimate the traffic of a website is Similarweb, but SEM Rush can get you a ballpark number as well—just remember that there’s no tool that will give you exact traffic without access to a site’s analytics.
Just to illustrate my point, I’m going to give you the example of one of our client’s website. We have access to the actual site analytics, which we will compare with the data that we pull from the following tools:
- SEM Rush
First, the actual analytics of the website
Below are screenshots of the analytics for the month of May, 2017 for our client’s site. First, the overall traffic, including direct traffic, paid search traffic, and organic search traffic:
Next, just organic traffic. I thought that it should be important to show this since several of the tools that I am about to show you screenshots of claim to track the organic traffic to a site. Overall, there were 549 sessions that came in through organic traffic during the month. Let’s keep this number in mind while we see the estimates of some of the SEO tools out there.
Even though it is a local company and I know that they work really hard to make it a great tool, SEM Rush has never been my favorite SEO tool. It doesn’t really fill my needs as well as some of the other options out there, but I thought that it would be worth seeing what its estimate of my client’s traffic would be for the month.
It estimates our client’s organic traffic at about 1,200/mo, much higher than the actual traffic coming to the site. It also missed the paid search campaigns that we have done, all of which have been about $1k-$2k mo.
Similarweb is one of the most popular tools for estimating a site’s traffic. I do use it (I have the browser toolbar installed) and it does get a decent ballpark estimate of the traffic of a website. So how close to 549 did it get?
For May, it was pretty damned close. I can tell you that this website’s traffic does not fluctuate much, and had we done this for the month of March, it would have been a pretty bad fail for this tool.
What the hell, let’s check the analytics for March!
Like I said, the March numbers in Similarweb were pretty far off…
This is a popular tool as well and I do occasionally check sites with it. What estimate did it have of activefitnesscenter.com???
Waaaay off. These numbers are laughable.
So how do you estimate the traffic of a competitor website?
Unless you have access to that website’s analytics, there is no tool that you can reliably estimate traffic with. You can almost always get an idea of whether the site has traffic in the hundreds, thousands, or millions, but if you want to drill down and see if it is getting 250 or 750 visitors a month, you’re probably not going to be able to.