Tuesday, October 21, 2008

StoresOnline Merchants: Competitive Research Tools

StoresOnline Merchants spend a good amount of time finding products and building their websites. Once the website is ready for online marketing, it is important for the StoresOnline Merchant to get an idea of what the competition is doing to market their products and services online. Here is a list of SEO tools that can help a StoresOnline Merchant do marketing research:

Alexa - shows traffic trends for competing websites. Alexa has a heavy webmaster bias that is nowhere near as noticeable at Compete or Quantcast.

Compete.com - shows you traffic trends for competing websites. Allows you to compare sites head to head. Also offers a paid search analytics tool which is both exceptionally useful and affordably priced.

Quantcast - shows site traffic and demographic trends and details. Also allows you to download a list of their top 1,000,000 websites.

Google Trends for Websites - free tool from Google showing traffic estimates, visitor country location, top 10 related websites, and top 10 related keywords. Only returns data for fairly high traffic websites though.

Google Search Insights - shows keyword trends, hot keywords by cateogry, and top geographic regions for a keyword.

Archive.org - see how old a website is and what it looked like in the past

DomainTools - see Whois data and how many times a domain has changed hands

SearchStatus - highlights nofollow links, shows PageRank, shows Alexa rank, and provides links to some backlink information

Xinu - lists some SEO related data plus more general web related data points like Alexa ranking and Del.icio.us bookmarks.

Research the Competition's Keyword Strategy
View our keyword research tools section, or use some of the following free tools to get a view of their keyword strategy.

Keyword Density Analysis Tool - finds common words and phrases on your site, or competing websites.

Page Comparison Tool - tool compares the page titles, meta information, and most common two and three word phrases between different pages. grab the source code Page Text Rank Checker - tool allows you to check where your site ranks for each phrase or term occurring on the page. grab the source code

Common Terms Keyword Rankings Tool - shows where your page ranks for it's most common terms. grab the source code

Spider Test Tool - shows the page size, source code, meta tags, page title, textual copy of the page, keyword breakdown by density (including 2 and 3 word phrases), number of words, number of unique words, and outbound links on a page.

Research the Competition's Link Strategy
View our link analysis section, or use some of the following free tools to get a view of their link strategy.

SEO Book Competitive Research & Keyword Research Gadget - use almost every useful competitive research tool from our free gadget. You can place this gadget on your site or on iGoogle.

Back Link Analyzer - free Windows based downloadable software allowing you to deeply explore through a competitor's backlinks.

Link Harvester - web based tool that allows you to dig deeply through a competitor's backlinks

Link Popularity Comparison Tool - allows you to quickly and easily compare your link popularity scores to other websites.

Myriad Search - allows you to search all 4 major search engines at the same time.

Competition Finder - tool looks at how many competing pages there are in Google's index that have your desired keywords in their page title and anchor text. learn more about Competition Finder

SEO Link Analysis Script - extend Yahoo! Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Central using this free script from Joost De Valk. It verifies the link is still on the page, adds PageRank scores, displays anchor text, and highlights if the link uses nofollow.

Search Engine Saturation Tool - helps you compare how many pages you have in the search indexes compared against competing sites. grab the source code

From the Search Engines
Google AdWords Keyword Research Tool - allows you to plug in a URL and shows you what keywords Google thinks the page should be advertising for Google Traffic Estimator - estimates the number of Google AdWords ad clicks and bid prices for the top ad position.

Google AdWords - if you bid broad match on competing brands you can track your ad impressions to see how much traffic they get.

Google AdSense - if your competitor is running AdSense ads on their site you can run a site targeted ad to see how much traffic they are getting.

Yahoo Mindset - let Yahoo show you how they can change results for commercial and informational queries

Yahoo Term Extraction - delivers a list of most important keywords contained inside a piece of text.

MSN AdCenter Labs - offers many keyword tools, including a content classification tool and demographic prediction tools

These may be more advanced competitive research methods for some beginning online business owners, but try to get started with one or two aspects of competitive research. It could give you a whole new perspective on your target market and your marketing direction as well.

If you have other SEO tools that you'd like to suggest to other StoresOnline Merchants, leave us a message here :)


susanne said...

The keyword search tool is great! I had my heart set on gift baskets but, it turns out that when I did the keyword search only 250 people last month had searched for the particular type of gift basket I was wanting to sell. This was very useful and gave me a heads up so I could change my idea in the early stages of planning.

Debbie said...

All of these tools are great but what Storesonline excells at is having someone there to show me how to use them!
Storesonline doesn't just give you a list of things that you need to do and then tell you to research the process like certain other website companies that I have tried.

A.Ro said...

This is a great list. My personal favorite is Alexa, I have found it to be very helpful. It's always a good idea to keep your eye on the competition.

Sam said...

I had never thought to use DomainTools to see how many times a domain has changed hands. I think it would be very useful especially if it has changed hands a bunch of times there might be a reason why they dropped that particular name.

Froggie said...

I have a question about the Spider Test Tool. I put my website in there and the tool results came back with a density calculation. Can someone explain to me what that number means?

Kimmy Clark said...

Hello froggie :) I went in and tested the Spider Test Tool to see what results I came up with for one of my websites.

From what I can see, the Spider Test Tool shows you all of the text that the Spiders see when they are crawling your site. The Spider Test Tool shows you how many words you have on the page and the keyword density as well.

The reason why keyword density is important is that spiders, especially Google's spiders, look for the number of times that a key word shows up on the site as it helps to rank the website's relevance to that particular keyword or subject. So if your site shows a low keyword density for "dog collars" then Google may not recommend you as a site with relevant information about that subject.

However, if you look at the keyword density on your site for "dog collars" and you want to improve your chances for being found by the search engines for that keyword term, then you will optimize your site for that term.

There are many figures out there for "proper keyword density". I believe this information can be found in the Merchant Services area under Marketing. You'll find a much more in depth explanation about keyword density there. :)

Dee said...

Alexa is a great way to size up the competition. If you have a bunch of strong competitiors you might want to think about revising your product choice. Or it could help you look at what the top ranked site are doing so you can improve your page.