How to spy on competitors using Google search string

People who succeed in digital marketing do one thing very well;

That is, they spy a lot.

You will agree with me that no business is new.

Starting a business that people are already into can be very stressful to push forward as a marketer, that is why a lot of digital marketers take their first strategy as carrying out a competitive research.

But doing this requires tools

To be frank, the best of this tools aren't free and you will have to pay to get a maximum information about your competitors.

Tools like Semrush, similar web and more requires premium payment for you to enjoy its in-depth competitive research. 

What if you don't have the money?

Don't worry you can still have loads of information about your competitors.

While there are paid tools, there are also free tools that can give you enough data about your competitors.

Some of this free tools include

This free tools can be used to carry out qualitative and quantitative data about your competitors that will be helpful in creating a digital marketing strategy.

Today we will be looking at one of these free tools.

Google search string.

Google search string is a line of a command typed into the search engine to find out a specific information.

There are lots of Google search strings out there, but we will be dealing with the ones that matter to our line of interest.

Before proceeding to the subject of this post, I will like to give you some interesting benefit of carrying out competitive research before mapping out your marketing strategy.

Benefit of Competitive research

The internet leaves a wide data of footprints from various businesses and consumers and these data are very valuable if used wisely.

Let us take a look at how these data can be useful

  1. Knowing Competitors strength: carrying out a competitive analysis exposes you to your competitor's strength in the market. through the analysis, you will gain insights on how your competitor surpasses you. This will be helpful in mapping out your marketing plan.
  2. Weaknesses: competitive research exposes your competitor's lapses. This is very important, as it gives you an advantageous edge over them.
  3. Marketing Trends: when you carry out a competitive research, you get updated on changes in your market and thus exposing market opportunities you need to tap into.
  4. Product Improvement: Products are rapidly developed to meet consumers needs. You need to key into this. competitive research helps you understand these improvements and other unique improvements that can drive in more sales.
  5. Marketing: competitive research also helps you identify key features that can improve your marketing plan. If your competition is successful in selling their product, then they are definitely doing their marketing right. Try adopting their tools, products features and marketing plan after them.

How To Use Google Search Strings to Spy on Competitors

There are three major Google search strings that matter when carrying out competitive research and they are
  • site:
  • link:
  • related:
the above are search string codes if used properly will give you enough information about your competitor.

Next step is to show you how they work using pictures.

for the purpose of this tutorial, I will be using a popular Nigerian digital marketing website as a competitive sample...


This search string tells you how many pages your competitor's website has.

This comes in very handy for people who want to build a website but have no idea on how many pages they need.

Using this search string, Google specifically shows you the website pages of your competitors and their titles.

on the google search engine interface, type in the search string followed by competitor's website without any space.

Just like this;

Google will show you all the pages on the website.

How to spy on competitors using Google search string
As you can see from the picture, the returned result of the search string showed only two pages are available on

next search string is


Link search string shows up the result of other links and affiliates that link to your website.

This search string come in handy when you are looking for your competitor's backlinks or outbound links.

The search string shows you several websites, blogs or affiliates programs including apps linking to your competitor's website.

To use this search string, head on to your Google search engine interface and type the following

Remember there shouldn't be any space between the search string and your competitor's website.
How to spy on competitors using Google search string
from the above picture, you can see the result of the search strings

240,000 result were found linking to either to the website or just mentioning its name.
Note: the first page of the search result normally comes out accurate, but the rest of the result pages can be inaccurate.

and the last of the search string is


This search string comes in handy for those who do not have an idea of all their competitors.

The search string is used to find out the websites that are similar or related to yours.

Let us assume you want to start a business and you only have an idea of one major competitor.

You will want to also find out other competitors out there who aren't popular but offer the same services as yours.

Using this search string you type the competitor website without and space 
for example