A4U Expo Live Blogging: Internet Sleuthing: Gathering the Intelligence Required to Beat the Competition w/ Martin Beijk, Sam Crocker, Kelvin Newman and David Sottimano

Session starts with Sam Crocker who makes the formal introductions.

Kelvin begins session with a presentation about link analysis.

How to do Back Link Analysis Properly

What Type of Links Do You Need?

Competitor research can help you to identify these. The focus should be on doing better than your competitors. Kelvin uses radar charts to analyse links. He starts with link volumes, then link authority, link velocity and anchor text when looking at competitors. To visualise these he uses the radar graphs in Excel. He makes decisions based on these and pull his data from Majestic SEO. He can then see how he compares to competitors and the entire market.

Not about actual links but rather the themes

Should be looking at theme of links rather than targeting one link. So for example if a recruitment site has a link from one conference site then you should potentially look at targeting a whole range of conference links This is rather than the exact one your competitor has.

Understand the second order of links

Think about who links to the people who are linking to you. You need to go one step further as the power of this site may drop over time. For example they have received an initial boost for a topical news story. backlinks.in is a volume link checker and extremely quick.

Track down the tipping point links

Links that have led to good rankings for a competitor. He uses Raven for this and whether they have spiked in rankings for particular terms.

Key point of presentation is that there is a lot more to competitor link analysis than first meets the eye. Presentation comes to a close.

** Sam Crooker now takes to the stage **


How To Find Your Targets

Great data is expensive but you should use tools such as comscore if possible. Cheaper options exist however such as Google Insights.

How To Find Their Keywords

Check meta keywords tag. You can write scripts to pull these from sites. SEM Rush is another tool that can be used as is Spyfu. Finally you could use scraping techniques.

Finding Secrets The Easy Way

Ask them! Submit a support question. Alternatively you could pose an affiliate when looking at competitors.

How To Steal Their Thunder

Use alerts. Have they big up and coming launches. This is however quite reactive. Do searches such as Brand + Keyword to find press releases. You should then pounce on this and submit your own. Nothing wrong with a bad press release provided that the information is true.

How To Go Too Far

Some people will do anything.


Setup a fake mobile site, create a fake dev site, mess with their analytics, send in head hunters (Sam doesn’t in anyway recommend these)

The point is you should be aware of these things.

** Sam has asked not to blog the next part **

Sam suggests people invest where

Hit Them Where it Hurts

What are they doing badly. Are they socially proactive or invest in poor links. To steal market share you need to do something special. Can be as small as offering a more streamlined design than competitors.


** Sam Crooker now takes to the stage **

Martin Beijk is from ComScore

How Do You Measure Performance?

There are some great tools you can use to measure these.

What is Web Analytics?

The outershell is the click stream and a key part of it. In order to be effective you need to refine and optimise.

Measuring Performance

Ask the network if they can support with track backs. You want to know which pages in your site are performing best and creating the most money. A good flow of information is required.

Do you know who your audience is?

You could use onsite surveys, ad planners, build relationships in person to find this.

What are your competitors doing in terms of web analytics?

WASP Plugin for Firefox. Gives you some insight into what they track. Ghostery can be used to look at the code of a site and understand what a site is trying to measure. You could also take a closer look at their analytics implementation. You can get a feel from what they are trying to gauge from their visitors.


** Dave Sottimano now takes to the stage **

Dave is from Distilled and going to talk about competitive analysis.

Reactive vs Proactive

we should be reactive at certain points however it can be very dangerous. Understand what works and how the landscape is reactive. There is a time and place for being reactive, especially when a competitor makes a mistake.

What do i want know about the market leaders?

Focus on key competitors. You want to understand what they are going to do in the future. Its too late to understand what they are doing now.


You want to beat the competitors by staying ahead of the curve. You also want to beat the competitor but not copy them.

Getting Insider Information

Setup a couple of niche sites which is optimised for guest posts etc.

Staying ahead of the curve, Not Just SEO Anymore

There is no tool to beat your competitors. Its a change in mind set and about thinking ahead. Don’t just look at your industry.

** Dave now shows us a tool he has put together **


Takeaway Tips

– Setup a satellite site

– Try something new & cool. Don’t worry about failing.