Google Gadget for Keyword Research & Competitive Analysis

I put my favorite keyword research tools and competitive research tools in a Google Gadget. Thanks to Jay at Widget Waker for making the original version with a sweet design, which I hacked up a bit to add a few more tools at the last minute.

If you use the iGoogle homepage you can add the tool to your homepage by selecting add by URL and then submitting this URL: Creating tools for Google's platform allows Google to suck down even more of my time and attention. Many others are also hooked on iGoogle and the Google feed reader, to the point where they scream and/or unsubscribe if a channel only uses partial feeds. If Google doesn't lose the farm on copyright, the only way someone is going to beat them is if they come up with a way to make it faster and easier for us to consume information and feed our egos. It is going to be hard to create something sustainable and scaled that does that, largely because scale undermines most communities, and no company will be able to collect as much data as Google does right now without running into legal issues.

I am off to fly in a few hours and haven't packed yet. If you are going to the Domain Roundtable I hope to see you there soon.

Is Better Than

I just grabbed Quantcast's free rankings of the top 1,000,000 sites. Currently comes in at 112,095, which is 5 spots below, which is apparently a PageRank 3 porn blog stuck in an industry with an endless supply of traffic. Based on some of the SEO sites that were missing from the Quantcast top sites database I don't think you can fully trust their data as being exceptionally accurate, but if you search through it you should be able to come up with at least a few cool ideas, especially if you combine it with other free and cheap data sources.

The last couple days I have been planning a fun project and feel like a kid in a candy store with competitive research and Internet marketing tools. Now hopefully some of the ideas I came up with will work. :)

Hiring a Google Gadget Developer

I am looking to hire someone to create a few Google Gadgets for the the iGoogle homepage. If you are good at that sort of stuff please contact me. My email address is Search Analytics is Amazing

I recently got a beta account to the upcoming Search Analytics tool. I am not sure of their pricing yet, but Jay Meattle, from, told me "the price points will be extremely attractive to small business owners."

You can get leading category based keywords, top competitors for a given keyword (exact or broad match), compare competing sites head to head on keywords, and get the breakdown of traffic sent to any website.

How Accurate is

Their model of data collection is going to make their data more accurate for frequent search terms and larger sites, but I tested their keyword data against some of my smaller sites and it was surprisingly accurate.

How to Clone Smaller Competitors

This is yet another way authority sites will pick off smaller competing sites. It is a simple process. If your site is one of the most authoritative sites in your space you can clean up.

  • Use Google's site targeting ads stats to check what sites are running AdSense and getting a lot of traffic (you don't even need to buy ads on them to do this)

  • Go to to get the top keyword phrases competing sites rank for and create content targeting the same keywords. You can also run the keywords through Google's Traffic Estimator to sort the keywords by Google's value estimates.
  • Beyond that, you can run Google's site targeted ads or general contextual AdSense placement reports to find out what pages are the most popular on competing sites, and then create content covering the same topics.

Lowbrow webmasters are fast becoming the outsourced market research department for bigger, more technologically advanced, and cash flush companies.

The Effect of Better Competitive Data

All of these analytic services are going to increase the value of domain authority (since it can be easily leveraged for greater profit) and force webmasters to move themselves up the value chain (since models like AdSense give away too much competitive data, especially when combined with

Other Ways to Use

  • Compete can be used to see how strong a brand is in its field. The top keyword in the credit card category is Capital One. Both and are also in the top 5 keywords. They are obviously a leader in that space. You can also see what percent of a website's traffic originates from its brand related keywords.

  • You can search for a broad match phrase to see how established your site is inside a vertical, how consolidated a vertical is, and how much potential upside you have by increasing your share of search traffic.
  • Compete can also show you the if a competing site is heavily reliant on a few strong keywords or if their traffic distribution is wider. This can be used to see sites worth investing in (especially if you understand search relevancy algorithms) or sites which have a lot of risk and are worth avoiding.

Tips for Using Google's Traffic Estimator for Keyword Research

Google's traffic estimator tool by default is set to broad match. If you want to see an estimate of the value of a specific phrase remember to wrap it in [brackets] instead of just submitting the broad matched version of the keyword term. I just reprogrammed my keyword research tool's traffic estimator link to include the broad, phrase, and exact match of each term. Since my tool is driven from Yahoo's it strips the s in some plural phrases, so the link to the traffic estimator tool gives all 3 match types, and links to all 3 match types with an s appended to the end of of the keyword phrase.

How to Make an Automated Search Spamming Tool

Eli goes through the thought process of how to create automated search spam generator software. His recent launch of SQUIRT (a much expanded version of his free quick indexing tool) seems to have went quite well. Great marketing on the launch.

He also posted about recycling content, which is a bit aggressive for high brand sites, but probably quite common on thinner spammier sites.

Google Shows You Who is Willing to Sell You Quality Links Cheaply

Google recently added the ability for you to report link buyers, which is probably nothing more than a mind control game and a complete waste of time. I recently saw what looked like obvious link buying by Do you think Google would do anything about it if I reported them? Nope.

Google also recently starting a phased launch of their position placement reports, which is far more beneficial to webmasters, as it shows what sites your AdSense ads are syndicated to. Most sites monetized via AdSense only make a fraction of their full potential, so sharing this data presents more arbitrage opportunities. How you can use this data to profit:

  • refine your AdSense ad buys to only target the best performing sites and pages

  • better learn who has your desired traffic stream and create things that appeal to their ego / belief system / audience
  • buy custom ads direct from the best converting sites (including text links)
  • find out what pages on competing sites get the most traffic and see how easy it is to rank for the terms those pages target
  • survey a competing site's traffic profile to find out which entire sections or sub-sections you should duplicate
  • if a site is getting a lot of traffic but an exceptionally poor CTR, consider buying the site outright and better integrating the ads into the content

Spy on Visitor Browsing History for Competitive Research

Spyjax allows you to view the browsing history of website visitors. You upload a list of competing URLs and see which ones the browser visited before visiting your site, which can be used to let you know what competing sites people typically visit before seeing your site. By tracking this, you can replicate the features and/or marketing strategy of other well visited sites and move yourself earlier into the buy cycle.

SEO Digger

A friend pointed me to SEO Digger, which is another site which shows what keywords a particular page ranks for.

Other similar sites that do this are SpyFu (AdWords & Organic), KeyCompete (AdWords), and URL Trends (Organic).

Serp Archive looks a bit alpha(ish), but looks like it might be a useful rank checker and competitive analysis tool.