How to find out the most popular websites in a certain category?

Bunch of Minis somewhere in Spain

A buddy of mine asked me the following question:

I’m looking for the top automotive websites in Australia by unique visitors and any other metrics I can fathom. Can you help point me in the right direction?

Why sir, of course I can. In all honesty I’m no expert here but can share a handful of free and quick steps to collect a few data points.

Start with Google and SEOquake toolbar

  1. Install SEOquake toolbar
  2. Google for “” (mind bogglingly clever, I know)
  3. Check Alexa rank that is now displayed in the results for initial assessment of what’s what.

That’s the first data point and will give you a few first competitors to dig further into.

Drill into Alexa top sites in Australia

Alexa kindly offers top sites by country (here’s Australia). This will be a long shot and time consuming but could be good. If anyone has a solution to download that list into Excel then chime in, that would be super useful.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Alexa results should always be taken with a large pinch of salt as their data collection methods can be off by a margin in certain countries. As a ballpark figure it’s still good enough most of the time.

Similarweb and their country/category listings

Why did I not start with this one? Because as good as it sounds the listings don’t seem to be perfect. For example Autos and Vechicles / Australia lacks Top Gear which per our Google search was among the top 10 Australian destinations for cars.

Similarweb allows to dig into one specific site allowing you to start looking into traffic figures of each website. Here’s the data for, for example. Note that the page says website desktop traffic which hints that they can’t/don’t track mobile traffic (yet).

Similarweb screenshot

Heatsync collects data from various sources

Heatsync combines a number of different sources together, for example Similarweb, but also Compete, Moz, Alexa and others. It’s only as good as the sources so again, pinch of salt and all.

Heatsync screenshot

Open Site Explorer for the drag race

Open Site Explorer does not offer any unique visitors or other traffic numbers but what it does tell you is your site strength against competition. This is useful for making educated guesses about your chances of winning good positions in Google search results.

open site explorer screenshot

There are many-many other tools out there, these just happen to be the ones I got to for a quick 10 minute research. What’s in your arsenal?

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