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Competition Analysis Should Be a Constant Vigil

May 21st, 2010 | | Advanced SEO Tips, SEO Keyword Research

nothing ever happens here.

Today I got into a friendly email war with one of the business development heads at where I 9-to-5. He was starting to pick over some of the services we were offering for a client. At one point he wrote back, “Isn’t Keyword Analysis and Competition Analysis essentially the same thing?”

“No,” was all I could say.

Actually, what I wanted to say was, “‘Fa, fa-fa, Fa, fa, FA-FA, Fa, fa,’” because I thought his question was sad (I was a little tired and irritated). But it was in that moment, as I snickered to myself about my inside-joke-for-1, that I realized the bigger problem.

The Need CurveSee, last week, my answer to that question would have been much different. If you were to graph the supply and demand charts for the What’s-on-Finn’s-Mind market, the consumer demand changed drastically from last week to this week. And with it, the language to express these needs also changed.

What changed? This week, the much-anticipated, “Otis Redding: Live on the Sunset Strip,” was finally released. I had it on the brain, and I’ve been listening to it again, and again, and again. Included on the album is the Redding classic, “Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song).”

Competitors in online markets have to deal with similar shifts. Pending on the market, effective keywords will evolve thanks to the cat-and-mouse game between consumer searches and competitor reactions. Factor in the presence of news and media sites, affiliate marketers, and bloggers all crowding for the same space and fighting for those terms, and your need to constantly monitor both the keywords AND the competition becomes paramount.

Competion Analysis should never be lumped in with your Keyword Analysis. It doesn’t help your efforts. And it certainly doesn’t help your clients.

But Competition Analysis should be performed nearly as frequently as Keyword Analysis.

What do I mean by Competition Analysis?

When I say, “Competition Analysis,” I don’t mean using one of those scraper tools that are integrated into the Google Adwords or Analytics API, but actually going to the site and visually inspecting it. Setting up “ears,” – Google Alerts and Google Reader. Subscribe to Twitter keyword searches and Facebook Wall Posts. Sign up for checking media outlets to see if which names from your market(s) appear.

Make sure you get all the data you can to paint as clear a picture you can for you and your client.

And as for my friendly email war, I finally wrote and explained to him the difference and promised him we’ll finish our glossary before to long.

(Oh yeah, be sure to check out “Otis Redding: Live on the Sunset Strip.” It’s a performance that’ll get into your soul. You can find it on OtisRedding.com).

(photo credit:  1) heanster & 2) A Look Askance via Flickr)

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