Once I have a list of phrases, rankings, and volumes from these tools, I'll look to internal tools (maybe Excel, Access, or another database) to organize, classify, and forecast opportunity. This is where I'll estimate a competitor's traffic based on volume & position CTR, set goals for a target position, and estimate traffic based off that position's CTR and keyword volume.
Let me show you an example. I just surfed over to a very popular blog called The Busy Budgeter (www.busybudgeter.com) to find an example topic. Rosemarie is the blogger over there and I’ve been following her journey recently. She’s absolutely killing it online! But, I happen to know that she gets most of her traffic from Pinterest and that working on SEO is one objective that she wishes to tackle. So, let’s see if we can help her out… A quick scan of her homepage tells me what type of content she produces and who her audience is. It appears her audience is largely female, lots of stay-at-home moms and a good portion of her content revolves around teaching others how to make money online.
SEMrush is a very useful tool for both researching competitors when starting a site or for growing an established site. I really like to find weaker niche sites that still seem to be ranking for lots of keywords; SEMrush helps me see what they are ranking for and what I can potentially target. You can also see what keywords you’re on the cusp of ranking for with your established site - another very useful feature.
They’ll show you information like how many external links the site has, the number of Facebook and Google+ shares, estimated visits per month, and its page authority. All of this is valuable intel that can give you insight into where your page could potentially rank against them, without needing to do more research with a separate tool or on another page.
Long Tail Pro is a keyword research tool that helps you quickly find low competition keywords for your website. In particular, the tool is built for people doing SEO (search engine optimization) as opposed to people doing paid ads (Google Adwords PPC). I'm sure there are some advertisers that use the tool for paid ad keyword research, but the tool was built for SEO keyword research.