Here are tools and tips to keep your search engine ranking by checking on what your competitors are doing.
Spyfu is a great tool to quickly see what keywords your competitors rank for in the natural and paid search results. Find out what ad copy they use, their daily ppc spend, and track changes they make. This is a great place to start for competitive data mining.
The keywords your competitors use may converting better than your keywords. You can use adsense to test what sites will be triggered for what keywords.
Check who links to them using tools such as opensiteexplorer.org, yahoo site explorer and majesticseo.com this can give a good indication of professional partners and associations you may wish to join.
Check online information hubs including PRWeb search, Digg.com, and article aggregators such as ezinearticles.com to see what content your competition is trying to promote and what keywords they are trying to rank for.
Check local review websites such as citysearch.com, yelp.com, google places and special review sites such as the BBB trustlink.com to see if they offer specials or custom events. You can undercut them on price or special announcements if you find out their plans in advance.
AuthorityLabs.com allows you to examine competitors side by side to identify which keywords they use.
Social Media tools that can help with finding competitors data
- Social Media For Firefox plugin by 97th Floor. Use a search for link:www.competitor.com
- Who’s Talkin
- Twitter Search/Lists now with advanced search operators
- Image Search
- SEO For Firefox plugin
One of the best methods to research competitors is to search their HTML code including the Robots.txt file. Sometimes hidden sections are listed including: a test site, pictures, a new product, additional domain name. Search for possible partners and collaborators and check http://dotheyfolloweachother.com to see who people in your competitors’ business follow on twitter.
Follow their company on LinkedIn.com, fan the Facebook page. If a person leaves their group you can call them to find out why. Find all employees of a company and follow them using private lists. They will talk disarmingly as they feel they are anonymous (for example they may give details if they’ve had a bad day)
Continuously read their content and consider emailing them about links to outdated content and request a link to your better content on your domain.
Become an affiliate of all competitors to find out how much they pay (gives an indication of their margins) and earnings per click (indicates traffic and conversions).
Blekko.com is an amazing new search engine that provides real link data, ranking metrics and updated search feeds. To see all sites a person owns use these searches: /adsense=COMPANYADSENSEID /analytics=ANALYTICSID
Quarkbase.com lists company information including twitter mentions, physical location and social profiles.
Twittercircles.com lets you find influencers on twitter.
Find sympathetic bloggers and authors who consistently work for a site, and ask them to write for you. many companies use guest posting services, and these are great people to ask to write articles and posts for you.
Tineye.com will show where an individual has other profiles and if they are legitimate.
Use domaintools.com alert for domain name changes to see registration updates or new domains in the same account. Use mark-alert for brand name research to search for word stems using a company brand.
The Google search modifiers “submitted on” OR “submitted by” OR “discovered by” OR “posted by” will determine which content is being submitted and from whom. Look for the pattern of when new content is being promoted or submitted. Try to get into this circle, and TwitterCircles.com can help identify who competitors are connecting with.
Oodle.com/job helps show job listings which indicate company changes. Look up a competitors name, create an RSS feed and aggregate multiple competitors and jobsites.
A tactic we have seen played on us is someone pretending to be a Venture Capitalist and wants to know your competitive information on the phone to get an idea of investment potential in your company. We have also had people pretending to be a student and say that they are writing it up for their school newspaper. These are underhanded and not good for the web community, remember Karma.