Analyzing The Competition

Feb 28, 2008 - 5:12 pm 0 by
Filed Under SMX West 2008

Moderator: Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land Q&A Moderator: John Marshall, CTO and Founder, Market Motive

Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance is first up to talk about this topic. This is a huge field offline but she will chat about the online tools.

- Goal is to acquire information that leads to intelligence that helps make better business decisions - Get data from public sources - Not industrial espionage - Much of the data is free and online

Benefits of Competitive Analysis - Identifies real competition - Tells you your strengths and weaknesses - Provides bigger picture of your business landscape - Confirms your unique value proposition - Helps determine success factors in your market - Identifies opportunities

The Process: - Identify online competition - Background with domain and site history - Look for strategic relationships and partnerships - Look at marketing activities including SEO, PPC and SMO - Opportunities here

- Identify competitors - Type your keyword phrase into a search engine and see how is in the organic and paid results - Look to see how well they are optimized

- Domain Information - Whois via - Shows ownership but - People are using private registration - is a great tool - Study backlinks via Yahoo Site Explorer and Alexa, plus Firefox plugins SEOQuake

- Organic search positioning with Web Position Gold, SEO Digger, etc. - Tools for traffic data include compete, hitwise, alexa, comscore - Tool, Trellian competitive tool

PPC Competitive Review - What engines are they using - What search phrases are they buying - Study bidding strategy - Review the quality of their ads and landing pages - How many competitors are buying your top terms - How are the PPC competitors doing in SEO

Tools for PPC: - KeywordSpy - KeyCompete - AdGooRoo - SpyFu

Reputation and News - Google Alerts - Google News & Yahoo News - Forum Boards & Discussion Groups - Search blogs, podcasts and videos via Technorati, Ice Rocket, Podscope, YouTube, etc. - Better Business Bureau - Dun and Bradstreet - Epinions

Remember: - Research tools are not always accurate - Use caution in using the data for major business decisions - Try to look at multiple sources - Look for missed opportunities

Bill Tancer, General Manager, Global Research, Hitwise starts by saying they do competitive intelligence as a product.

He said, when going through customs, don't tell people you are in "competitive intelligence," funny stuff.

Then the company slide...

He shows some of the tools they have that you can buy. It shows click stream data via ISP data they collect. Very flexible and powerful tool.

He goes through the tool and how people are using it... I am sure if you email Bill, he would send you all the details and slides. ;-)

Sorry for not covering his presentation too well.


Jake Baille, Managing Director, STN Labs is last up.

- The best webmasters already investigate their competitors - SEO is a game: know more than your competition, and you will win - Most novice webmasters have no idea - use this to your advantage

The Whois Advantage - Advanced webmasters just fake the info and dont bother with private registration

Regional IP Databases: - First step to social engineering - Use nslookup to find the IP address of the website - Plug in the IP address to and findout who the ISP is.

Social Engineering: - Getting someone to tell you something you shouldn't know - You would be stunned at how often it works - IT's OK to lie - Don't ever expose who you are

Targets (talk to): - ISP - Company Marketing Dept - Upstream Providers - Significant Others - Estranged Friends / Co-workers

The Script: (1) Introduce yourself as someone your not (2) Be friendly (3) Learn from the travel industry, if you don't get what you want the first time, hang up, call back to talk to someone else (4) Ask a question you know will confuse the person on the other end of the phone. (5) Thank them for their time

All In Anchor - Returns all the web pages linked to with that target term - Good for discovering networks : take five keywords from one site, and run them all through allinanchor. Find the similar sites that appear.

Google Them - Where are their links from - Any dead giveaways (link from WMW profile page)

Search the Internet

CCA Introduction - You have acomputer that can track and log - You have visitors and competitors coming to your site - You track your visitors to a tee with 42 different log analysis and conversion systems

Unnatural Traffic - People who type in "allinanchor" in Google are not your target visitors - People who type in link in Googlee are not your target visitors - People who come through an SE cache are not your target visitors - People coming to your site 20 times in two minutes - Coming from

Tracking and Logging - Track their referrer and do something fun with it - Mess with them


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