Monitoring your website traffic is one of the best ways to make data-driven decisions on how effectively your marketing campaigns and messaging work.
Moreover, checking out your competitors’ website traffic can help you identify areas for improvement on your own site.
In this article, we will look at the top eight traffic analysis tools, what we like about them, and some tips on how to get the most out of each tool.
You need different tools depending on whether you want insights into your own traffic or someone else’s. If it’s the latter, head to the sixth tool on the list (using our sidebar).
Probably the most used and best-known traffic analysis tool available, Google Analytics is a tool that probably every website owner should be using.
It can track acquisition reports to find out how users get to the site, audience reports to better tailor experiences to different groups, and conversion reports to keep an eye on goals or events.
It also offers real-time tracking so viewers can see how many active users there are.
Some of the top things we like about Google Analytics include:
- Managing more than one property under a single account.
- Extensive reporting on traffic, engagement, and conversions.
- Allowing for audience segmentation for Google Ads remarketing campaigns.
How to use it
- First, sign up for a Google Analytics account (if you don’t have one).
- You need to add the tracking code for Google Analytics to your website. This code will collect data about the individuals visiting your website and then send it to the account you have set up for Google Analytics.
- Google Analytics will begin collecting data about your website as soon as the tracking code is installed and activated on the site.
One of the most useful (but often underutilized) detailed reports in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the Path Exploration Overview.
Go to Explore > Path Exploration.
This is a custom report (you’ll need to set it to use it in a way that works best for you), but it can be extremely useful!
The report allows you to see the specific path users take to get to specified URLs on your website. Or what’s often more helpful—review a reverse path, i.e., see how users got to a specific conversion point, for example.
Google Analytics is 100% free. Yet, its features still manage to rival a number of premium tools.
One of the most widely used and essential traffic analysis tools is Google Search Console. It is a free service provided by Google that allows website owners to monitor and optimize their sites visibility in search engine results.
It lets you see the number of clicks, impressions, average position, and click-through rate (CTR) for each page on your website.
- Provides detailed data on organic clicks, impressions, and click-through rate (CTR)
- Allows you to identify and fix technical issues that could be affecting your website’s performance in the SERPs
- Shows the keywords that are driving traffic to your website with their search volume and positions
How to use it
- First, sign in to Search Console with your Google account.
- You should see a “welcome” message with two options. Select the first one, then enter your domain or subdomain (without the
- Lastly, verify your domain, and Search Console will start gathering data.
One of the best things about Google Search Console (in terms of analyzing traffic) is that you can see which of your pages are losing traffic. That means you know which pages are a priority when it comes to updating and optimizing your content.
You can do this by going to the Performance report, then adding a date range comparison to see stats for the past six months compared to the previous six months. Turn off “Impressions,” as you only need to focus on clicks; then click on “Pages.”
Sort the report by “Clicks Difference” in ascending order to see the pages with the biggest traffic drops.
Google Search Console is also completely free.
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a powerful, free SEO tool that analyzes traffic and monitors the SEO health of your website.
It provides valuable insights that can help website owners understand and analyze their websites traffic patterns and the keywords that drive the most traffic to their sites.
- Monitors and tracks your website’s organic search traffic
- Tracks the keywords that drive traffic to your website and lets you get insights into their SEO data
- Identifies which sites compete for the same keywords as yours
- Comes with other helpful SEO features (backlink analysis and technical site auditing)
How to use it
- Sign up for an Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account
- Add your website as a project
- Confirm ownership of your site either by importing from GSC or with a DNS record, HTML file, or HTML tag
The best thing about Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is that it shows you all of the keywords you rank for rather than just the top 1,000 like Google Search Console.
It also gives you more data that you can use to find ways to increase your traffic. By identifying high-volume keywords where you already rank in positions #4–#10, you can focus your efforts on improving their rankings.
Plus, you can find keywords with featured snippets where you rank in the top five but not in the snippet; then, optimize for them accordingly.
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is free for website owners.
Mixpanel provides insights into user behavior on a website or mobile app, allowing product teams to determine how different user groups interact with their services.
You can track individual users or whole companies and watch how they convert over time by using segmentation. This makes upselling and targeted selling based on customer preferences more viable.
You can also view graphic trends on when and how customers interact with the products or services, thanks to Mixpanel.
- Offers user cohorts that assist you in analyzing user behavior and its effects
- Allows analysis of behavioral data collectively using Mixpanel’s group analytics to determine account- or business-level metrics
- Drop-off analysis identifies friction points and where users get stuck
How to use it
- Sign up for a Mixpanel account and verify your email address
- Go through the setup process following the steps and connect your website or app
- Customize your dashboard with the insights you need
Mixpanel’s emphasis on individual user behavior and ability to track and analyze user interactions at a detailed level are probably its best features.
Based on the distinctive features of your website or app, you can define custom events and properties and track the metrics that are most important to your company.
Mixpanel has a free Starter option with limited tracking and exports, allowing for five users. There is then a Growth plan starting from $20 per month and an Enterprise plan starting from $833 per month.
Microsoft Clarity is designed to help you understand the behavior of visitors to your website.
It provides access to heatmaps and session recordings that show how people interact with your website, including what they click on and where they spend their time.
Heatmaps allow you to gain insights into user engagement, interactions with widgets, and design changes. As well as seeing potential issues such as dead clicks and rage clicks (when someone thinks an element should be clickable and keeps hitting it to open).
The visualized data also allows you to identify potential problems in user navigation or usability so that you can take corrective action as needed.
- Lets you manage multiple properties under one account
- Provides detailed heatmaps and session recordings of how your traffic interacts with your site
How to use it
- Sign in to Microsoft Clarity with your Microsoft or Google account
- Add the domain you want to track as a “New Project” and add the tracking code to your website
- Add the tracking code and confirm it; the tool will start pulling in data from your site
One of the best things about Clarity is that you can get real-time data into how your site is being used through live recordings. The tool will notify you when users are online and allow you to watch their session as it happens.
Microsoft Clarity is completely free. It rivals several competing premium tools, offering almost identical features without the cost.
The next few tools we are going to look at are best used for checking out traffic for a site you don’t own.
With Ahrefs’ free traffic checker, you can quickly check organic traffic generated by any website or page. No strings attached. You can do it an unlimited number of times and don’t need to set up an account.
- Lets you get an estimate of any website or page site traffic
- Provides a list of top pages and keywords driving traffic to the website
- Identifies which countries drive the most traffic
How to use it
Ever stumbled across a site and wondered how much organic traffic it gets?
With this free tool, you can see whether a given site has been increasing or decreasing in traffic and what its traffic value is (based on ranking keywords).
If you use the tool on a specific page, you can quickly see if it gets organic traffic and which keywords you’ll need to target to create SEO content on the same topic.
Ahrefs’ free traffic checker is 100% free.
Ahrefs’ Site Explorer is a powerful traffic analysis tool that provides in-depth insights into the organic traffic of any website and its paid search ads.
The tool lets you:
- See any page’s organic keywords with premium SEO data like ranking history.
- Analyze your competitors’ site structures to see how different sections contribute to the overall SEO.
- View the pages that receive the most traffic from search engines and the keywords they are ranking for.
- Perform a content gap analysis in a few clicks.
- Find out if your competitors are using paid search advertising, what copy they’re using, and where they are sending their traffic.
- Do much more. The tool comes as part of Ahrefs’ all-in-one SEO toolkit, which includes a number of robust SEO tools.
How to use it
- Sign up for an Ahrefs account
- Go to Site Explorer and enter the URL of the website you want insights on
With this tool, you’re tapped into industry-leading SEO data through an interface that’s designed with competitive analysis in mind.
For example, you can jump right into a competitor’s top-performing content in any country using the Top pages report. From there, you can see what keywords they target and how they’ve been performing with time.
Or you can use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool to see which topics you haven’t covered but your competitors have.
Ahrefs has four pricing plans designed to suit anyone from individual site owners, to marketers, to large agencies.
Ahrefs’ Lite account starts at $99 per month for access to the basic features in Site Explorer. Standard accounts, which include advanced Site Explorer features like the Content Gap, Broken Links, and Link Intersect reports, start at $199 per month.
There are also Advanced and Enterprise plans with additional features and extended data available for $399 and $999 monthly, respectively.
Similarweb is a platform that tracks your market share, benchmarks, trends, and traffic analysis.
It’s a popular choice for a quick traffic spot check, but it also offers premium features and data.
- Offers free traffic lookup across different channels with additional data points (such as audience insight)
- Allows you to compare two websites across channels
- Has many more features in premium plans
How to use it
Here’s the thing about Similarweb:
In reality, there is probably no better tool for getting detailed traffic analytics data across different channels for a site you don’t own.
Unlike other tools that can give you an overall traffic number, Similarweb will give you details such as bounce rate, pages per visit, etc.
This is great for detailed comparisons between your own site and a competitor. It also comes in useful when checking out a site you are considering buying.
But you should take the metrics provided with a pinch of salt. From experience, Similarweb’s traffic numbers are pretty all over the place.
For example, here are Similarweb’s traffic metrics for a new testing site I have:
Now here are the same metrics in GA4:
As you can see, the numbers in Similarweb are significantly overestimated. Therefore, keep this in mind, especially if you are using it to check out how traffic is trending for a site you want to buy.
Similarweb is the most expensive tool, starting from $125 per user, per month with limited tracking and historical data.
You can, however, use its free website analysis tool to check out limited traffic data about any website.
Frequently asked questions about traffic analysis tools.
How do traffic analysis tools work?
Website traffic analysis tools give detailed information about the people who visit your website.
The main metrics monitored by these tools include:
- Visits and sessions – How many times your website was visited during a specific time frame (for example, the previous 30 days).
- Traffic sources – How someone arrived on your site. This can be direct (typed your URL), organic (from search engines), social (clicked a link on a social media platform), and referral (clicked a link to your site on another site).
- Page views – How many times visitors viewed a page on your website.
- Unique visits – The number of individuals who visited your website. For example, you may have 1,000 visits, but only 100 may be unique. If the same person visits your website multiple times, they count as one unique visit.
- Bounce rate – The percentage of people who left your site after visiting only one page.
- Conversion rate – The percentage of people who completed a set action, such as made a purchase or booked a call.
- Average time on page – How long users spend on a specific page on average.
- Demographics – Details about the people who visited your website. For example, age, gender, their interests, etc.
- Device and location data – This lets you know which devices people have accessed your website from (desktop/mobile) and the geographical areas they visited from.
Why use traffic analysis tools?
With data from traffic analysis tools, you can figure out what is working and what needs work.
One key benefit is understanding a website’s most popular content, pages, or entry points. These insights can help publishers prioritize creating content that gets more attention from readers.
Why should you check your competitors’ website traffic?
You can use your competitors’ traffic to benchmark your own performance and uncover opportunities for growth and expansion.
For example, if you find that they are receiving a significant amount of traffic from a specific source or targeting specific keywords, you can consider doing the same.