To celebrate the release of the new James Bond film, we thought we'd cash in and jump on the bandwagon just like everybody else. You can get involved in some underground espionage and become the online James Bond by spying on your competitors.
SubHub's very own 'Q' opens his secret lab and shows you some crafty gadgets and web tools to help you go undercover and stay one step ahead.
Google Alerts is our first not-so-secret weapon.
Google Alerts allows you to monitor and track what is being said about you, your content, your sector and your competition. It shows results from the web, Google Blog search and Google News. This intelligence is emailed to you on a daily basis. All you have to do is enter the search terms you would like to track and Google Alerts does the rest. Google will scour the internet on a daily basis to keep you updated on your particular industry. Google Alerts also notify you of when you get new links, when your articles are used or when bloggers start mentioning your name. To find our how your competitors are doing, simply exchange your name for theirs.
Google Alerts is a great market research tool. Stay alert at http://www.google.com/alerts.
SpyFu.com is the much-anticipated follow-up to Googspy.com, a free research tool that allows you to look at your competitors' Pay Per Click marketing campaigns.
SypFu monitors nearly 4.5million domains, detailing exactly what the competition is paying for search advertising on a daily basis, how many clicks they are getting and their average ad position. SpyFu.com also tells you exactly the keywords that the competition is ranking for in organic searches and who their top 100 competitors are.
SearchStatus is a brilliant free plug-in for the Mozilla Firefox browser.
It sits quietly on the top bar of your browser and shows you the Google page ranking and Alexa ranking of the site your are looking at. Right-clicking also gives you the following functions:
Highlight no-follow links.
View any page in Archive.org.
Show robots.txt file. This feature will show you exactly the pages and directories a website does not want listed because they want to keep them private (can be quite informative).
Show Indexed Pages. Find out exactly how many pages a website has listed in all three major search engines.
Show Backward Links. This will show you exactly which sites are linking to the current page or website that you are visiting. This is very useful for finding link partners and affiliates.
This is a fun and useful site that lets you look at the history of a website since the domain was first registered.
This is an already a well-known resource, but it has hidden benefits. You can track your competitor's sales messages over time, thus avoiding making mistakes they have already made! You can track their changes and see how they have adapted and refined their sales messages.
As we mentioned, it is also a fun tool. Take a look at Yahoo from 1996.
This is a simple site for checking who owns and controls domains.
It's a simple way of maybe finding out the holding company of your competitors or who maintains their website. It even includes scores on their SEO and Meta Tag relevance!
So there you have it.
Five tricks and tools from Q's basement to help you go undercover and give you a license to kill your competitors in the online market (not actually murder them of course).