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Tools To Help Learn From Competition

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Let’s imagine you’re asked to review a website and provide either a technical audit or a content audit.  If you’re doing it for a business, you’re surely expected to understand a bit about the competition and what they’re doing correctly.  How can you provide this information?  How can you leverage this information?  So, as an SEO, you have two choices.  Run in unarmed and guess like hell, or arm yourself with the right tools.

Granted, it’s a big SEO world out there.  Finding the right SEO tools is a little daunting.  I personally discover new tools all the time and abandon old tools just as often.  If I can find a tool that helps me with SEO and with paid search, I’m even happier.  For me, finding new SEO tools can be as addicting as finding new iPhone apps, bootlegs of Beatles shows, and a better cheesesteak.  I don’t know what it is about it.  I think it’s because each discovery helps me think a little differently about SEO, and provides a little visibility into potentially successful strategies.  It’s just a matter of keeping your eyes open and thinking outside the box.

So one SEO tool that I find really useful is from SEOquake (homepage).  I learned about them about 2 years ago because of their sweet Firefox plugin.  If you’re a Firefox user (and you should be for SEO… so many great plugins that you can’t get anywhere else), installing this plugin allows you to get instant snapshots on a site.  It’s the kind of data that helps see who you’re up against, and see if they’re worth studying for insight.  But I digress.  The SEOquake tool that really hooked me is SEMrush .  I used to use SEOdigger, which was a great tool for understanding what competitors are doing with AdWords, but SEMrush (which uses their technology) took it even further.

It’s not a free tool, BUT you get freebies with it.  I found that I liked what I was getting so much from just using the freebies that I upgraded.  Even if I’m not using it for paid search, I like to have paid search data.  It helps me decide the value of keywords for organic purposes.  SEMrush actually does the work ahead of time on their backend crawls, and pretty much store wait for you to ask for it.  Most services I’ve worked with would have to make you wait while they went and did the work.  SEMrush is unique because it’s on demand with no waiting.

Try it… I took this from their site.  If you want to see how your site ranks up (or your competitors), just go to SEMrush or change the domain in the URL string to your domain of choice.

Earn using your competitors’ experience

Even with these results, there’s a ton of insight you can find.  This opens up doors to a million keyword opportunities (if you think about it, that initial burst of ideas can be the most frustrating part sometimes).  I use this tool all the time in proposals or reporting, where I go to show a potential client missed opportunities.

Another tool I just found out about is SEOpivot .  Like SEMrush, it provides some free data and provides it on demand.  By having this data captured, it’s able to provide more information about where you rank now, potential traffic you’re missing, and what that traffic could look like if you go after (or optimize) other terms.  For a company that’s trying to forecast and understand what SEO can bring them, this is amazing insight.  This is on my radar to buy shortly.  I think the two tools can be used in tandem.  It’s good, good stuff.



    Comments

    The comments are do-follow. However, any comments that use keyword anchor text as the name will be removed.

    1. robseo
      November 4, 2009

      Yes Bill. You are right – use of SEOdigger gives you an understanding what her competitors are doing with AdWords.

      Reply


    2. robseo
      November 4, 2009

      Yes Bill. You are right – use of SEOdigger gives you an understanding what her competitors are doing with AdWords.

      Reply


    3. Chris Shin
      January 20, 2010

      Nice!

      Reply


    4. Chris Shin
      January 20, 2010

      Nice!

      Reply


    5. Nice list of resources here. I think that many newbies in the SEO world don’t realize that most SEO is relative. They want to know how many links they should get to their sites and so on, when the real answer is “it depends”. And generally it depends on your competition, so any resources like these that help you understand your competition are very handy indeed.

      Reply


    6. Nice list of resources here. I think that many newbies in the SEO world don’t realize that most SEO is relative. They want to know how many links they should get to their sites and so on, when the real answer is “it depends”. And generally it depends on your competition, so any resources like these that help you understand your competition are very handy indeed.

      Reply