Doing competitor traffic analysis, and estimating their metrics accurately is really important when it comes to growing your online business.
There are many tools that help you do this.
For this post, let’s have a look at two popular website traffic analysis tools — Semrush Traffic Analytics and SimilarWeb — and see if one of them can make a dependable data provider for your marketing campaigns.
For each criterion, we will be telling you which one is the winner.
In this review, we focus on the tools’ website traffic analysis capabilities. The metrics involved are key indicators of a company’s digital marketing performance.
Semrush Traffic Analytics comes from a comprehensive online visibility suite that also owns tools for SEO specialists, PPC advertisers, social media and content marketers.
In contrast, SimilarWeb is intended solely for website statistics.
Which one is the best?
Let’s judge by specific features.
Semrush Traffic Analytics offers full access to traffic stats from 190 countries, with the ability to filter by location. All the regions are available in one subscription.
SimilarWeb also has data across a whole range of territories but offers access only to purchased databases. Each country’s database is priced separately.
Winner: In this aspect, Semrush is the clear winner as it has a bigger database
The main types of traffic — direct, organic search, referral, paid search, and social traffic — are covered by both tools.
In addition to a traffic sources overview, Semrush Traffic Analytics can help you gain insights into how a website actually generated traffic from each channel. You can even gain insight into what sources led traffic to specific pages of a domain (with the Top Pages feature of the tool).
In addition, you can benefit from the general Semrush subscription and reveal the researched website’s advertising campaigns, keyword strategy, and content across the media.
SimilarWeb provides a more detailed analysis of the traffic sources at a basic level.
However, it gains its point by offering data for two additional channels: display ads and emails.
Winner: SimilarWeb as it reports two additional channels
Semrush comes with excellent keyword research tools. Broadly speaking there are two main types of keyword research:
- Competitor keyword research
- Keyword research using seed keywords
With Semrush, you just need to enter in any competitor URL and it’ll return you all the keywords that the site is ranking for.
You also have a tool called Keyword Magic Tool, that lets you research the winning keywords by just entering the main keyword.
You can make use of the filters, sort the columns, and much more. Semrush also displays the different types of keywords like questions, broad match, phrase match, exact match, and also related keywords.
Added to these two, with Semrush you can also implement keyword gap analysis.
This helps you know what are the keywords that your competitors are ranking in common, but your business may be totally missing.
With SimilarWeb, you can do competitor keyword analysis and also keyword research.
You can just enter multiple websites, and see what keywords they are ranking for. You’ll get to know their traffic share, positions, etc. They also have good filters to help you display only the relevant results.
For general keyword research, you can either enter a big list of keywords that you want to analyze or you can also make use of their keyword generator tool (which is quite similar to Semrush’s keyword magic tool).
Here you can see, I’ve created a keyword group called “US car insurance”. SimilarWeb is displaying me all the metrics for the keywords in the list. You also get the traffic trend and market share as you can see in the screenshot’s graph.
With the keyword generator tool, you just need to enter the seed keyword, it’ll return you the “phrase match” and also “related” keywords to the main keyword. Another thing you can notice here is that SimilarWeb is lacking some of the helpful filters like the broad match, questions, word frequency filter, etc.
The yearly trend graph that Semrush comes with and also organic vs paid data are great.
But unlike Semrush, SimilarWeb does not have a keyword difficulty score that helps you easily weed out high competitive keywords to shortlist when batch processing.
Winner: I would say that Semrush is the clear winner in terms of keyword research as it comes with superior Keyword Magic Tool and also Keyword Overlap tool.
SimilarWeb used to have a feature called Popular Pages that ranked inner pages by their page views’ share. Recently, the feature has been made unavailable to the wider audience.
Meanwhile, Semrush Traffic Analytics has the Top Pages report, giving you a list of the most visited pages on a website, counting both internal and external visits.
You can filter the ranking by unique pageviews, unique visitors or entrances and also have a look at the traffic sources.
Winner: Semrush. SimilarWeb does not come with this feature.
In Semrush Traffic Analytics, mobile traffic data is fully available.
Considering that marketing spending on mobile is expected to grow by 70% over the next five years, analyzing mobile traffic of a website is really important.
SimilarWeb’s pro plan also comes with mobile data.
Here you can see:
- Total visits refer to how many people are actually visiting a website
- Desktop vs. Mobile helps you figure out the traffic share between the devices
- Average visit duration helps you see how people are interacting with a website
- In the graph, you can see that at any point in time how much desktop and mobile traffic a website is receiving
Winner: With Semrush you can see the desktop vs. mobile traffic when it comes to different traffic sources.
With Semrush Traffic Analytics, you can check the audience overlap between any websites.
The subscription also includes the new Market Explorer tool, which helps you discover demographics (age and gender) and interests of the in-market audience. The features also allow you to discover similar websites.
You also have the ability to compare your domain with your competitor domains and see what are all the differences and similarities when it comes to traffic, market, traffic sources, top pages, countries, etc.
With SimilarWeb, you can analyze audience demographics, interests, and geo. You will get to see similar websites in the tool, too.
However, the audience overlap remains unaddressed.
Winner: Semrush, as it comes with audience overlap and also detailed domain comparisons for benchmarking.
The closest that Semrush gets to industry analysis is with its Market Explorer.
It’s a separate tool where you can see a list of relevant websites, similar to the one you enter. These domains belong to websites aimed at the same market and in the same industry.
Winner: In SimilarWeb, this aspect is crystal clear. You can check category performance, traffic share, leaders of the industry, and benchmark yourself against these metrics. So this time, the point goes to SimilarWeb.
Semrush Traffic Analytics offers API access independently from the interface subscription. This means you don’t have to buy Traffic Analytics if you only need this data for your custom reports or API integration. Moreover, data is arranged in a more user-friendly way than in SimilarWeb.
For example, to receive all the main stats of a domain, you need to make just one query in Semrush. While in SimilarWeb, it takes three queries.
SimilarWeb has a truly comprehensive UI. You can clearly see how many API units you have spent and how many you have left. There are even special Similar Websites API and Adult Websites API.
Winner: You can get more data with SimilarWeb API.
As both the tools use similar algorithms of clickstream data collection, projection, and estimation, the discrepancy is inevitable. And, of course, when comparing stats with what you see in Google Analytics, you will see the difference in numbers.
No tool in the market is ultra-accurate when it comes to reporting traffic numbers.
Traditionally Semrush suffered from quite a lot of discrepancies. While I was writing this blog post, they rolled out a huge AI and machine learning algorithmic update that improved the traffic estimation accuracy.
Generally, it’s said that Semrush Traffic Analytics does quite a better job than SimilarWeb in analyzing smaller domains. But for high populated sites, the tools are practically neck-to-neck.
Semrush Traffic Analytics has the “Estimated accuracy” sign at the top of the interface.
The larger the audience of an analyzed website, the higher the accuracy as per the tooltip indication.
Don’t be scared by the fact that discrepancy exists at all: as this possible error is applied to all the researched competitors’ domains.
Winner: Tie. But Semrush seems to be more proactive with improving the accuracy, especially after their recent $40m funding.
All features for website traffic analysis included in the Semrush Traffic Analytics tool, regional databases, and historical data are available for $200/month.
You get all the benefits mentioned in this article, including the unbeatable keyword database, by buying any Semrush subscription — so, the price for the entire package will start from $299.95/month. Most importantly, the price will be the same for every market.
SimilarWeb has a more complicated payment scheme. The database of each country must be purchased separately, and many features (top pages, mobile data, etc.) also need to be paid for individually. Even the basic package is expensive and has no fixed price.
It comes with a free plan too allowing you to access limited data the tool has got to offer.
Winner: Semrush is a better value for money.
So which one is better? Semrush or SimilarWeb?
If you are looking to use your money and time more efficiently, it may make more sense to subscribe to Semrush Traffic Analytics. This way, you will get more for less. You could also add a general Semrush subscription to your toolkit if you need a detailed analysis of digital marketing channels.
Because, along with traffic analytics, Semrush also comes with a whole lot of features like competitive backlink research, keyword research, paid traffic analysis, social media toolkit, etc.