What tools do you use to spy on your competitors?

My good friend, nearly unknown business success and wildly cool Internet marketer (no pressure) Kenny Goodman posted this to FaceBook earlier today:

“What tools do you use to spy on your competitors (apart from Market Samurai of course)?”

Here’s my reply – shared here for the 7 people world-wide that are not yet on FaceBook (hurry up already?!).

“Who cares? Organize right and do the right things and success is guaranteed in time. Measuring the competition is only about gauging how long it will take. Plan for the long term and competition doesn’t matter. Moreover, your competition is likely lame anyway, so setting them as your measure of success if in most cases aiming low.

Google is not your competition. Your competition is not your competition. Your only competition is that part of you, your life and your business that results in less of the right effort than is required to get the results you want.

Search is math, but success at search is personal.”

To put an even finer point on it …

  • what Google does is known enough and stable enough that you should rarely be thinking about it (more on this in a later post)
  • you should *assume* that what your competition is doing is “best practice” – even when it is not – because someone out there is, and they will come our of nowhere to beat you
  • so the only thing left is what you do – which is cool, since it is also the only thing you control!

Work on yourself and your business and external factors cease to matter that much.  That’s why so much of what Dan Thies and I teach in both The SEO BrainTrust and Link Liberation 2 is about (a) mindset and (b) business process.

But don’t we teach how search engines work?  Sure, and better than anyone else. 🙂  But knowing is not doing, so our real focus and the reason our customers, clients and partners have been, and continue to be, so successful is that we “get real” about the repetitive actions that are the real cause of success.

Success in anything is a process and success in SEO is no different.

Comments

  1. I got a lot of respect for you and Dan, and I keep coming back to your blog. But after a while you learn that no one else has power to make you a success but yourself. Living vicariously through a guru gets you nowhere (and doesn’t even earn the respect of said guru). The quote you mentioned above sums that up quite nicely. You basically said the same thing in the interview with David Jenyns.

    I refer back to my SEOBT videos, STSE2, the OptiLink videos, and the Referential Integrity Rocks video (best I’ve ever seen on SEO) but that’s just information, and information doesn’t make you money; application does. You gotta do the hard work of creating the content, building the links, building relationships in your niche, doing cool things for your customers, etc.

  2. Essentially, what you guys are teaching are the principles of agile software development: break the project down into small deliverables, iterate like crazy, and focus on getting the job DONE. That’s the synopsis of the speech Ken Schwaber gave at Googleplex a few years ago.

    It’s remarkably simple.

  3. Agreed. I always like to keep my eyes on my own game. All too often I see people get caught up in what other people are doing. You just focus in on what you’re doing and do it to the best of your abilities.

    Please don’t miss interpret what I’m saying here… you obviously need to do due diligence but your this is more on a keyword basis than a specific competitor.

    If you want to lead, and not follow, you need to be setting the pace so others are watching you – I find it’s a much more effective use of time and energy.

    Anyway, just some food for thought.

    Dave J

  4. Leslie, I came here with one purpose–to ask you whether you think Google’s recent slap of EzineArticles.com and other article farms should encourage people to post good content to their blogs or websites instead of these article directories.

    I’m writing a blog post on the topic and asking SEO and social media experts for their opinions. Comments will be used with photos and a link back to your website or blog.

    Then I saw this above:

    “what Google does is known enough and stable enough that you should rarely be thinking about it (more on this in a later post) ”

    I’m curious as to how you will answer my question. My followers are primarily people who want to learn how to use traditional and social media to promote their expertise, or any product, service, cause or issue. You can email me privately at JStewart@PublicityHound.com.

    P.S. I’m a fellow Stomper.

  5. Leslie,you’re bringing it to the point!

    If you spend lots of time searching what your competitors do instead of bettering your own sites, you’re not only wasting your and your client’s, time but actually you spend notable (by Google) time and page views as a visitor on your competitor’s sites, making them even stronger.

    The best view of your competitors sites is the one you have in the rear mirror! 🙂

  6. I’m glad I bumped into you guys. Or so it seems I’ve bumped into you before but your first video in the series on http://www.linkliberation2.com/fe/10475-knowledge-is-power definitely resonated with me. I’m learning you can build an online business without the SEO razzmatazz (I think that’s actually a word). Fundamentals like having folks come to you because you really deliver what they need and want and creating an online presence that isn’t smoke and mirrors internally OR externally—these things really appeal to me. Anyway, sounds like you guys teach and preach down that same line, so I’m looking forward to the other videos coming up.

    And I’ve been a newsletter subscriber of Joan’s for awhile and would love to see your answer to her comment above posted here.

  7. Hi Leslie a quick question that I am arguing with a friend about the best way to setup a wordpress site to target keywords. Which option is best?! Thanks
    We are targeting 4 keywords:
    OPTION 1: I say that it is better to have 4 wordpress categories. Each category MAIN page is optimized for the keyword in question. It will have all the PR flowing to it from the pages in its category which is excellent, It will have a maximum of 5 post summaries on the main page which may bleed some PR but in the long run the silo effect of the category pages will make it rank well.

    OPTION 2: My friend says it is better to have a wordpress page for each keyword.

  8. Leslie, I couldn’t agree more. Too many people simply try to out smart Google. That may work in the short term but never lasts. Why not just give Google exactly what they want? If you dig in deep and go for the long haul everyone else simply disappears over time.

    On a different note I love what you said about focusing on what everyone else does. Would be competitors set the bar is so low in most cases it isn’t even worth looking at.

    Thanks again, Great article!

  9. That stung more than a Google Slap … but so very true. I’ll be quoting you on this one TODAY!

    “Google is not your competition. Your competition is not your competition. Your only competition is that part of you, your life and your business that results in less of the right effort than is required to get the results you want.

    Search is math, but success at search is personal.”

    Thanks for the Rohde slap!

Speak Your Mind

*