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A quick recap of content from a competitive analysis session of PubCon 2010 with Matt Siltala, Michael Streko, Michael Gray, and Andy Beal.

Matt Siltala

Things to identify about the competition:

Hubs. Check PRWeb search, Digg, or article site search to see what’s being said about your competition, what they’re doing, and even which keywords they’re going after. You can make a spreadsheet of keywords that are being targeted by your competitors. Check local review sites to see which specials are being offered.

Tools. Use AuthorityLabs to put competitors side by side with keywords and identify areas to attack.

Social Media. You can use Social Media For Firefox plugin, Knowem, Who’s Talkin, Twitter Search/Lists, Image Search, SEO For Firefox plugin to identify.

Do “link:www.competitor.com” together with the Social Media For Firefox plugin to identify the best content.

Identify competitor keywords. What your competitors may be using may be converting better than your keywords. Test with Adsense. Make sure you’ve got enough good content on your site around your competitors’ keywords.

Michael Streko

Ways to find the “Next Move” of the company you’re looking at:

  • Search their code.
  • Check out their Robots.txt. You could find a test site, pictures, a new product or domain, etc.
  • Google search for possible partners.
  • Check http://dotheyfolloweachother.com to see who people in your competitors’ organization are close to.
  • Follow their company on LinkedIn.com Fan the Facebook page. If someone leaves, call them right away and find out why.
  • Know Who Links To Them
  • Read their content, don’t be afraid to email a site linking to a page that has out-of-date content and request a new link to your better version of content. Use incompetence to your advantage.
  • Become an affiliate of your competitors’ sites, find out “earnings per click” to get a good idea of traffic.
  • Non-Internet Bonus Tactic: call your competitor and walk through the process.

Michael Gray

  • Using Blekk0.com – use “/adsense=XXXXXXXX” with the Adsense code or analytics code and get a list of competitor sites.
  • Use Tineye.com to see where an individual has other profiles and whether they are legitimate.
  • Quarkbase will show popularity of content.
  • Use a Google search for “submitted on” OR “submitted by” OR “discovered by” OR “posted by” to determine which content is being submitted and by whom.
  • Identify the pattern of content “sneezers” when new content is being promoted/submitted. Try to get into the circle. TwitterCircles.com will help you identify who competitors are connecting with.

Andy Beal

  • Look for customer rants. Poach clients, promote your alternative, improve your own products and services to avoid these same issues.
  • Look for any negativity coming from competitor employees or clients. Blow on the spark that lights the fuse.
  • Use Twitter. Use custom parameters at search.twitter.com and set up competitive searches. If X employee talks to Y employee about Z keyword, track it. Export as RSS. Take advantage of private Twitter lists.
  • DomainTools.com/Registrant-Alert/ and /Mark-Alert will let you spy on competitors to find out when they’re registering new domains.
  • Oodle.com/job helps spy on job listings. Look up competitors’ name and create an RSS feed then aggregate multiple competitors.