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Reasons to Keep Track of Competitors

     
8:26 pm on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I used to keep track of competitors. Part of the reason was nosiness. But part of it was somewhat legitimate, to be aware of their link building and SEO strategies. It didn't help my site rank better, but it did help me understand what kinds of tactics were or were not working.

What are your reasons for keeping track of your competitors?

8:33 pm on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Curiosity
8:36 pm on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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A "finger on the pulse" of niches. Helps my efforts not look too artificial.
8:39 pm on Oct 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I like to keep an eye on new sites with viral buzz as some new startup sites do some flashy things that catch on quickly but luckily most have died off when their members realize it's all flash and no substance and move on.

Mostly reasons are roughly the same as you already stated such as keeping track of what the competition is doing that works better or worse than what I'm doing in terms of search engine positioning.

Sometimes you find out your competition isn't playing fairly such as a big old domain park pushing one of their own brands with thousands of IBLs to the site, or someone with dozens of sites creating their own authority hub to outrank everyone, both playing games by manipulating the SE's that could put a dent in your future without a timely SPAM report. ;)

3:56 pm on Oct 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That's a good point incrediBill. A few years ago I had an alleged DMOZ editor try to blackmail me into giving him a link in exchange for a link from DMOZ. I told him I already had enough links from DMOZ but keep building I might link to him in a year. So the guy was just out of college with the ink still drying on his diploma in this niche and he built a really good blog about his topic and picked up a ton of backlinks. Quite impressive, gave me a good lesson on using blogs as community link magnets.
5:33 pm on Oct 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"Keep your friends close, your enemies closer." :-)

In our niche it's mostly to see if they are stealing from us. Most of our competitors are work at home moms who don't take their business seriously, so their sites are composed of borrowed images and Front Page monstrosities.

What's kind of flattering is when we implement a new idea, say, a new line of products due to customer demand, suddenly our competitors begin offering similar things.

12:23 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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monitoring the competition could tell you which niche not to go for. You need as less competition as possible, right?
12:47 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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the purpose - Learning form their mistakes so that you don't follow their steps and make the same mistakes they have made.

Keeping track of the competition for online entrepreneurs has the same effect like a book of history has for politicians LOL (this was a bit of a "not really" moment)

12:56 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We do it for others(what they have done good, what they have done poorly); not for us

I rather hire a third party to survey our competitors

(A non partisan eye works better when looking in your own back yard!)

3:11 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Only occasionally do I glance over competitors sites. It's mostly to check pricing. They copy us; i'd never get inspiration from their sites