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Old 08-17-2004   #1
Chris Sherman
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Search Marketing and Competitive Intelligence

Search engines can tell you a lot about your competition, if you know what to look for. In today's SearchDay article, Search Engines and Competitive Research, guest writer Shari Thurow reports on a Search Engine Strategies panel that explored methods for uncovering the tactics your competitors are using in their own search marketing campaigns. It also offers specific tips for getting a leg up on your competition.

Beyond the basic step of checking out a competing site's source code, what do you do to more fully understand your competitors? What strategies do you use to gain competitive advantage, either in organic or paid listings?

Chris
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Old 08-17-2004   #2
Daria_Goetsch
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Check out which backlinks are pointing to their website. Checking backlinks shows if internal pages are being picked up by the search engines, as well as backlinks from other websites. You can also view, then use the backlinks of competitors to increase your own link building campaign.
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Old 11-10-2004   #3
James Colborn
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Understanding Competitors

There are a number of ways to understand competitors. Many of the techniques were cited in the article but there are tools available that give a feel for what other sites are doing.

Here are some of the ways to approach competitive research

1. PPC - a well cited way of working out who is doing what. This really applies to Overture (as Google's AdWords mechanims isn't as easy to predict) but it's important to pick the right words. The trick is to understand what a competitor is doing so recording the bid prices and who is bidding for the top terms in the first 5 placements and then recording how many listings each company has gives a good impression of their aggression. It also gives info on share of voice (SOV) or how much of the audience they wish to reach.

2. Use a competitive positioning tool. Lycos (ranking.lycos.com) provides a tool whereby the keywords and rankings of one site plus four other competitors can be seen and all keywords being used. Comscore (www.comscore.com) has a search competitive service, qSearch, and then there are other companies like Hitwize (www.hitwize.com). All of these services are paid but worth it if you are seriously interested in the competitive landscape.

3. There are sites like Alexa (www.alexa.com) or Metrics Market (www.metricsmarket.com) that provide information on any website URL that is entered. As much as this doesn't provide Keyword data it does provide a feel for who has the most or least might within a market place.

I hope that these few ideas are of help to people.

JC.
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Old 11-10-2004   #4
tomslick
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Another thing you can do with both natural and PPC listings is read your competitors copy to understand how they are positioning themselves with consumers. What key benefits do they communicate? Are they focused on price? Quality? Service? What copy do you think works? What doesn't?

Often, a competitive copy-review can give marketers insight into how they might position themselves. Learnings from this type of analysis can be transported onto your website, email marketing or offline marketing programs.
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