New Free Competitive Research Tools

Rand recently posted a comparison of traffic volumes and competitive research data for various SEO Blogs.

Here is a brief overview of a few of the other free competitive anaysis tools on the market. All I ever have to do to realize how Alexa is inaccurately skewed toward marketing and webmaster resources is look at my own graph. There is no chance in ___ that this is one of the top 1,000 sites on the web.

Recently there have been a couple launches of services which compete with Alexa, and appear to have quite a bit less webmaster skew to them. gives a snapshot of your site which includes average pageviews per visitor and average time on site. gives a snapshot of your site which includes demographic information (they think 90% of the readers here are guys), and breaks your site visitors and traffic volumes down into passers-by, regulars, and addicts. Sites which have highly engaged visitors are typically going to be much harder to compete against than sites which are entirely reliant on search.

There are also a number of tools which show you what keywords competitors rank for,

Spyfoo shows top ranking keywords, competing advertisers and organic competitors.

URL Trends shows historical link trends and some of the keywords a website ranks for.

I honestly do not use any of these tools much yet, but find them interesting. Do you find any of them or any similar tools useful for search marketing category analysis?

Quintura LSI Keyword Research Tool Updated

Quintura updated their website to allow you to use their keyword research tool right from there home page, without needing to download any software. It is exceptional for discovering keyword relationships and digging deeply through a category.

I added a link to Quintura results on my keyword research tool.

Why Get Marginalized?

So the web is becoming far more social in nature. Many clients insist on owning a 6 page brochure site (or maybe 100 of them) and expect the SEO to rank them for crumbs. There are a few potential outcomes of working with clients like that:

  1. the client's website and marketing are so bad that you can never rank them

  2. the client's website and marketing are so bad that you can just get them a bit of exposure (but will later be marginalized by improving search technologies and competing companies that better understand the web)

If your marketing is dependant on a piece of software that is publicly available and your strategy is just to replicate what is already out there, then even if you find a way to compete (temporarily perhaps)... eventually you are going to get marginalized.

If a company with greater resources that is more receptive to the web hires a person half as competent as you they are probably still going to kick your ass, in the longrun.

Why fight the algorithms and the natural trends of the web? Doesn't it make more sense to leverage the trends to your benefit?

If you accept bad SEO clients all you are doing is pushing your services toward the commodity end of the market. And that a path to unhappiness.

How Hard is it to Relate Your Site to an Important Idea?

Most sites are easy to relate to popular or important link rich ideas if you are creative. For example, to some people this site relates (or at points in time related) to web browsers, open source software, religion, politics, science, education, human rights, free speech, marketing, market manipulation, entrepreneurship, blogging, search, and many other link rich topics.

Part of why I stray off topic is because I think everything is related. But it also doesn't help that I entered the market so late, and SEO is generally hated when compared with the general linkability and passion with which people talk about innovating search technologies. What can you do to make your site relate to something people care a lot about or are irrationally / emotionally drawn toward? Do you care about the environment? Are you religious? Are you disabled? Are you part of a minority? Do you care about human rights? Do you wish the world was safer? What flaws in Google's business model concern you? How did you overcome your biggest faults and fears? Could you help stop wars?

The things you are not supposed to talk about are the things which link rich people link at. You know your idea has legs when people at different ends of the political spectrum link to your idea and claim it as their own because they identify it as being associated with their ideology.

Typically it helps if most of your content is focused on your core topic, but some of the people who are easiest to talk about are easy to talk about because they can relate their topic to other hot topics. If you are a usability consultant why not talk about blogging and search, for example.

Focus on the reader. Controversy will incite passion. Passion drives links.

You have to balance it though, because packaging matters:

At some level, at a very major level in fact, the way we feel about a transaction is more important than the transaction itself. Some people like a sporting event more if they got the ticket from a scalper, other if they got the ticket for free from their boss. Some people need to feel like they've taken the system (whatever the system is) for everything it's worth. Others need to pay retail (especially on a wedding dress, cemetery plot or flu shot).
Marketers are working hard to corrupt the way we feel about our friends and the people we respect. I think, in the end, it's not going to work. We're hardwired to respect real authenticity, and at some level, that means trusting the motives of the person we're listening to.

Backward Links & Forward Links

Microsoft recently announced the ability to research what pages a domain links at. For example, see what pages this site links at using You can also use their advanced search features in combination with LinkFromDomain to look for links pointing at domains within a specific geograph region, and / or adjust the result order by popularity and freshness.

As most seasoned SEOs knows, Google gives sucky inbound linkage data. You still can get a decent sample of recent inbound linkage data from the Google BlogSearch link function though. For example, here are recent blog posts linking at Technorati provides similar linkage data.

You can get a more comprehensive view of linkage data using Yahoo! Site Explorer.

I plan on updating SEO for Firefox to include the LinkFromDomain feature and check if URLs are linked from the Wikipedia.

In addition to all of these forward and backward link tools many video content sites and social bookmarking programs allow you to use other's work to explore interesting items, which sorta brings the fun back to the web...finding all kinds of cool stuff.

As technology evolves, and more users become editors, the value of being a general editor will be commoditized to nothing unless you work long hours, have a community helping you, are heavily biased, passionate, or can add some other significant value to the information you consume and sort. But if you are an agressive marketer being able to sort through information so many different ways makes the job much more fun because it gives you so many options.

Quintura Search - Cool LSI Like Related Keyword Research Tool

Improving Customer Experience linked to me (so they are obviously cool), but, more importantly, they mentioned a cool related keyword research tool named Quintura Search. Quintura is a free LSI type keyword research tool which shows you related keywords pulled from top ranked websites in any of the major search engines and major content sites like Wikipedia and
If you do not know a topic well this can give you added things to think about when trying to optimize for it. If you do know a topic well this can give you a way to test how sophisticated or biased different search algorithms are. In addition to being able to compare various engines, you can grab more results, and adjust the coverage depth of keywords it sorts through to find what keywords are most semantically related. Also when you scroll over a keyword it highlights other related words, likeso:
Quintura Search.

Awsome and slick application. Well done :)


DaveN is making a metasearch SEO tool by the name of Zippy.

Please leave feedback and requests @ TW.

Another SEO for Firefox Update

My programmer recently updated SEO for Firefox again. It now uses the Yahoo! API, the MSN Search API, and the Technorati API for added reliability.

If you have any feedback or comments about the most recent version please leave them hear. While I will be traveling for a bit I will make sure my programmer checks out your feedback.

Clickthrough Rate by Search Result Ranking Position

AOL has a bias toward consumer (ie: non b2b) type queries, and they may have a higher % of brand related searches that both act to place a bit more emphasis on the top search result than general searchers from other search engines, but some people have dug through the 20 million search queries AOL gave away and come up some stats.

SEO Blackhat dug through the numbers and has a free tool for estimating clicks based on search volume estimates and rank position.

Updated Firefox SEO Extension

Yahoo! recently announced they are moving some of their link queries over to Site Explorer. The problem with that is that now there is no way to get .edu and .gov backlink data from Yahoo!

I had my programmer update SEO for Firefox to pull linkage data from MSN Search. In addition, he added some of the features that are in SEOpen and SearchStatus, such that you can highlight nofollows on a page and right click on a page and pull in some of the relevant link and other SEO related information.

After Yahoo! (hopefully) restores the ability to sort linkage data by TLD we will re-enable Yahoo! as a data source. There might be a few bugs in the newest version of SEO for Firefox as if you query MSN Search automatically too quickly they may end up blocking your IP address.