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The Marketing SCENE

Mar 4, 2011

Cool Tools for Checking Out Your SEO Competition

In a recent post at Search Engine People, Wayne Barker notes that keeping up with SEO trends can be truly challenging, even for those who work within the industry. Staying current can be even tougher for small businesses that operate without much of a marketing budget, let alone an SEO or PPC budget. The landscape becomes even more competitive when you consider how many marketers are already giving away so much of their best stuff on their blogs.

So how can a small business get ahead in such a crowded space? Barker advises that the best way to contend with bigger players is to first understand why they rank so well in your niche or industry.

Here are some tools he suggests you use to check out your competition:

Google Alerts. By setting up free Google Alerts based on saved search terms, you can see who and why certain sites are mentioning your competition. Use that information to develop potential linking or marketing opportunities.

Social Mention. Receive emails from services like Social Mention that detail who is talking about your competition in real time on blogs, microblogs, video and audio. Determine what they are saying, and whether the sentiment is good or bad.

SEO Spy Tools. Barker suggests using Open Site Explorer to find out what sites are linking to your competition as well as the anchor text being used. He also recommends these tools available through SEOMoz: Trifecta, Competitive Link Research Tool, Keyword Difficulty Tool and Crawl Test.

PPC Campaign Spy Tool. Finally, Barker recommends employing SpyFu for downloading the keywords your competitors are using—and helping you emulate their successful PPC campaigns.

The Point: Spy away. Use today’s tech tools to learn more about what your competition is doing right. But remember: Successful businesses study and improve on—never steal from—competitor campaigns.

Source: Search Engine People.