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How Do I Spy On Competitors?

 7:31 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi there, Everyone:

I know a couple of sites that sell similar products to mine, but our prices are pretty favorable.

I BELIEVE that they use Adwords to sell, but I don't know what exact products and terms they bid on.

Is there a way to find out what search terms they bid on?

I know this might sound backwards, and that I should focus on what WE do, but since we offer better prices and quality, why not find out which keywords they have already found profitable and go from there?



 8:08 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are tools that try to do that, and they sometimes reveal interesting tidbits, but treat them as fodder for brainstorming rather than as a source of reliable information.

The ones I've tested (to see what they say about AdWords campaigns I'm involved with) get a lot of keywords wrong and their estimates of PPC costs are sometimes wildly inaccurate.

The biggest thing I find them useful for is gaining new ideas for negative keywords.


 2:45 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can you mention here what those tools are?


 3:20 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are lots of tools that claim to provide competitor keywords but I have found them horribly inaccurate. I know of one tool that has accurate data on both organic and paid keywords (I think they source from ISPs), though it is somewhat expensive: $499 for one month.

Posting the tool here might be against forum rules, so I just sent you a PM.


 6:49 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

PPC_Chris is probably referring to Compete.com

Spy Fu is one of the largest and SEM Rush is another. SEM Rush is cheap but the data is not very reliable. We tried them for a while but no longer use them for that reason. I think Compete is worth it if you can deal with the price tag, but even there, don't stare blindly at the data as reality, because it isn't.


 7:31 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips, PPC_Chris and alexsel. I will look into them.

I was hoping there was a "free" solution that just required lateral thinking...


 10:02 am on Nov 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would be wary of using these tools but I agree it is good to look at all data as it can bring in fresh ideas. Don't forget that even googles bid estimates are wildly inaccurate.


 9:37 pm on Nov 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I use a variety of tools (they're in the SEO Tools item) but you're not going to find much for free.

Also, pay attention to who's putting out the tool. I've seen some I wouldn't put my data into just because I don't know who is behind it, and frankly if I wanted to grab a bunch of data and wasn't terribly worried about the ethics of it, what better way than to create an SEO tool?

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