Competitor Analysis Sam Crocker at Pro SEO Seminar

Live Blogging from the London Pro SEO Seminar - Competitor Analysis by Sam Crocker

Why do competitor analysis?

New to the market?

Worried about new entries to the market?

Keeping an eye on competition?

Not Losing v Winning

Loads of techniques for static and dynamic techniques for competitor analysis.  Some are useful to board level such as what can impact you negatively.

Four quadrants of techniques -

  • Stalking
  • Weaknesses
  • Beating them at their own game
  • Identify your own weaknesses

Whats the goal?  Become a market leader and protect what you have.  Defence will not win championships.

Competitor Stalking

Dynamic stalking with Yahoo pipes.  Very simple and powerful for monitoring URLs.  Find an existing feed or create one, filter by keywords then you get an RSS feed as an output.  Example Sam uses is location based data, so we have an example of a pipe that pulls in titles and articles for relevant keywords which are of interest to you for monitoring new sites.

Industry News and Blogs and getting data

I can't talk about this bit online - Sorry!

Check your competitors subdomains for test sites

Use inurl * to find development sites of competitors.  Also dev.*.com etc.

Use, to find their development sites

Turning defense into offence

1. Find 404s on a Competitors site usng SEOmoz or Xenu

2. Find backlinks to those 404 pages using Majestic or Yahoo site explorer

3. De-dupe the list, pick up the phone and ask them to change it.

Monitor Changes on Competitors sites

Tool to monitor changes of more than 10% to a competitors pages, you can get email alerts on this.

Also monitor changes to the XML sitemap URLs

Competitor Downtime

Use tools to monitor competitor downtime, if they go down for a prolonged period of time, pick up the phone to the people who link to them and get them to link to you.

What is your competitor testing?

A Firefox plugin that shows you when a competitor is split testing their website using Website Optimiser etc, think A/B testing.

Step 1 - Look for website optimiser or other testing tool

Step 2 - Check for the script in source code

Step 3 - Go incognito and identify which areas of the site they are testing, keep refreshing the page and eventually you'll see what the element is that they are testing

Step 4  - Keep a note of what they are testing

Step 5 - Wait for them to post the results

Step 6 - Decide whether to copy them

Page Speed

Webpagetest is a good to to do comparisons of sites speed.

Just as important for usability as it is for Googlebot and ranking.  Users won't hang around waiting.

Next level defence

Capture competitors IP addresses and show them different data :)  for example ecommerce prices.

Make sure you protect directory structures so they can't be navigated, just password protect the structures.

Don't put your development areas into a robots.txt as you're telling competitors where your test sites are so they can easily see them if not protected.


Keep your eye on job boards, linkedin and patent applications.  Can tell you what your competitors are up to and if they're looking to enter new markets or new revenue streams that could affect you.

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