Allan Dick from Vintage Tub and Bath was first to present his presentation. He starts off by asking why you would want to check on your competitors? I think the number of people in the room answer that, because they are curious. They want to know what they are selling, marketing, and use it to their advantage.
His first tip is to take a look at Alexa.com. You can compare your site against the competition. You input your competitor and your url into the traffic data section to compare the traffic rank for each of you. Another site that is very helpful is Faganfinder.com that includes many little tools to do research on the web. He recommended checking in the Internet Archive to look at yours and your competitors sites over the past few years.
Pay per clicks can communicate information about your competitors. Look at what keywords your competitors are buying ads with. If they are buying ads on them they are important to their campaign (or they just bought bad keywords). Consider taking a lot at Marketleap.com to find out the backlinks of your competitors. Find the links from each of the search engines and discover where these links are coming from. He also covers how news articles and distributor information are good ways to learn more about your competitors. Often times you can find these in the backlinks of a website. Pulled up an example of a competitor of his that outsourced his linking building to a company in India. This information tells them how sophisticated they are.
Next tip to find more information is to do the following search: intitle:”manufacturer” + “product”, searching by phone number with and without parentheses, search by someones name such as “allan dick” +vintage tub and bath. I wonder how often Allan Dick checks his name and if this report will show up when he searches. : )
Ebay is the search engine that’s not a search engine. It offers a great place to find information on competitors that might be entering the marketplace. Its an instant store. You can find out who is entering, what they are selling, for how much, and what kind of feedback they may have. The feedback is valuable, learn how to use it. Allan recommends you find out what customers like, such as great price, beautiful faucet, and other information that customers will include in their feedback.
Copyrighted content are becoming a problem. There are pages on your site that are more likely to be stolen if they offer content that is valuable to them. These pages tend to be those pages no one else wants to write (such as history, info) and affiliates or competitors could lift the content easily. Check on copyscape.com to find out who is copying your content.
David Williams from 360i was up next. He starts off to go through the various thing he uses to do competitor research. He asks:
Who are your competitors? Where are people going to make there purchase? Is you site designed for success? Is you site designed to rank well in the search engines? What can you learn from links?
David offers up a good resource for checking links at http://www.linksecrets.com/optisite/ which spiders the entire site, looks at PageRank, keyword count, backlinks.
How competitive are the search results? Consider the number of competitors, diversity of competitors, keyword cost estimates, keyword difficultly, algorithmic ranks, paid listings ranks, paid listin cost per click cost, Hitwise keyword report, and tracking systems.
David displays how they look at competitors and presents a spreadsheet organized into what information they need to obtain. He looks at three sets of terms “Awareness, Shop, and Purchase Terms. So for example an awareness term is “tub”, shop term is “clawfoot tub”, and a purchase term is “acrylic clawfoot tub”. They also look at who is in the product results in Froogle, ads, and organic results to see how competitors are using these terms.
Next slide shows a list of helpful paid tools that you can use to check on your competitors, and then a page with free tools (that includes no links to these tools??).
I left the session a bit early to go to the Organic Listings forum which Barry should be reporting on shortly.