Speakers:
John Andrews – JohnOn.com
Todd Malicoat – Market Motive / Stuntdubl
Moderator–Lisa Williams

Summary:
Learn what your competitors are doing to drive their online businesses, how to emulate their successes, and exploit their weaknesses.

Todd:  Competitive Analysis and SEO Campaigns Planning Using KOB Score
The difference between the snake oil salesmen and legit SEOs is the ability to set & manage, and then delivery on expectations.
Overarching SEO Process:
  • Understanding the Business Model as it applies to search traffic
  • Understanding Intent of user queries – successfully identifying commercial intent
  • Prioritizing keywords accordingly
  • Evaluating SERP competition
KOB Analysis provides a framework for this:
  • Keyword + Opposition + Benefit
  • Cost/Benefit analysis for SEO
Understanding query type & commercial intent
  • 80% informations, 10% transactional, 10% navigational
  • High CPCs are the best predictor of high profit transaction customers…see what things cost in AdWords
  • Wordtracker, SpyFu, SEMRush, SERPs
Opposition:
KEI was an OK solution for this, but looked at total results, not competitiveness of top 10.
Factors in opposition:
  • Age/Anchor text (Archive.org)
  • On-page optimization
  • Global Link Popularity (total links/PR)
  • Local Set Links (Pinnacle Phrase single word, Hubfinder, Touchgraph)…most difficult to calculate
  • Unique LD (Link Harvester, now SEOmoz toolbar or SEOQuake)
  • Exact match domain bonus
  • Social signals (Quarkbase for social data points)
Easy way to do opposition: SEOmoz difficulty score or SEO for Firefox
Think about how much depth do you need?
Benefit: Search Volume x CPC
Opposition / Benefit = KOB score
See the Matrix!  Understand the Top 10
Cost/Benefit is for suckers, execution is for winners…pushing forward after analysis
Impacts:
  • On-page SEO
  • Content creation
  • Link dev strategy
  • New domain v. Directory
  • Power/organization/timeline
4 Types of Marketing Warfare
  1. Defensive
  2. Offensive
  3. Flanking
  4. Guerrila
John: SEO and Search for Competitive Intelligence
SEO is competitive intelligence
  • Information that has been analyzed to the point of decision making
  • Tool to alert management
  • Means to deliver reasonable, actionable assessments
  • Way to improve bottom line, part of best-practice companies, seeing outside yourself, short v. long term
Competitive Intelligence is NOT:
  • pretexting
  • spying
Competitive research findings
+ other market rssearch
+ SEO persepective
+ advanced technical wisdom
Good way to learn requirements for competing in a space, to learn competitive status of a player, relative to others.
“Ability to learn fast than the competition is your only sustainable competitive advantage” (source?)
Ways to follow along as colleagues and associates advance in your field via social media
  • Follow associate + competitors …skills, connections, etc.
  • Competitors are broadcasting their tactics, secrets, goals
  • Following Twitter favorites
  • Who are their customers? Who are the unhappy customers? … Who are their brand evangelists? Do they respond to comments? Where are their priorities?
  • Wiki of social monitoring solutions: wiki.kenburbary.com
“Singularity is almost always a clue.  The more commonplace & featureless a crume the more difficult it is to bring it home” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Anything deliberate suggests a purpose…we can find meaning
Matt Cutts favorited Benyw (frmr G search engineer) post on Bing copying Google…interesting perspective on “fairness”
What they do, what they say, what they reveal
  • What’s on pages?
  • How did they design?
  • Infrastructure
  • Domain name
  • Server config
  • CMS, editorial
  • Interfaces, syndication, connections
  • Source code is full of clues – Analytics, customized
  • Competitive aspects in footprints
“Competition is at the core of the success or failure of firms”  – Michael E. Porter, 1st sentence of Competitive Advantage.
  • Analytics & Google AdSense IDs connect owned sites
  • Blekko query /adsense=nnnnnnnnnnnnn  / analytics=nnnnnnnnnnnnn
  • ReverseInternet.com (fee)
Google is your friend for search:
  • brand
  • brand + sucks
  • new + brand
  • brand + vs.
  • brand + reviews
  • is better than + brand…
Scenario planning…Google as if you’re a competitor, save and repeat
  • Discover owned domains
  • DomainTools.com (fee)
  • Google specific whois contact info of one of known domains +site:Domaintools.com
  • ReverseInternet.com (fee)
  • SpyFu.com (fee)
  • ReverseInternet:
  • IP addresses
  • Domains
  • AdSense ads: essentially a customer list
You need to be as good or better as they are to really “see” with competitive analysis eyes.
“It is best to keep one’s own state intact.  To crush an enemy’s state is only second best”  – Sun Tzu
If you’re competitive, THEN augment with competitive analysis.
Counter Intelligence measures:
  • Tool vendors resell your activity to others, including your competitors
  • Tools are designed to retain customers, by maintaining data stores
  • Google’s keyword suggestions…reselling competitive data
  • Don’t get hooked…
  • Block the Bots
  • Strong analytics
  • Secure disconnected accounts
  • Judicious use of tools
Recommended tools:
  • SEO Book
  • Raven
  • 80legs (programmable, for advanced, build your own)
Q&A:
Using auto-complete/Google suggest…John suggests scrapebox (bot?)
Using CPC for Benefit — which match type do you pay attention to…Todd usually uses Broad
Recs for folks getting started with CI:
John: look at the search results…do the top 10 all do the same thing?
Todd: understanding basic ranking factors, understanding links as equity
Learn a lot before paying for tools.  More than just does it provide data…Can you make decisions? Does it help you execute?  What data points do you need…pick your tool based on that.
Search competitors aren’t always the same as the company’s identified competitors.
Good SEO should be able to explain WHY each of the top 10 are there
What’s the % of importance as far as 1. strategy, 2. tool
Todd: Tools help you build your case, justify your efforts (70-80% of SEO time?)
John: Big toolbox doesn’t help, knowing how to use key tools does

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