How to Amplify a Competitor Analysis with Advanced Google Search Techniques
Joshua Davidson wrote this article
You are reading a guest blog post by Will Haire.
There is magic in numbers. Google has the largest database of user-generated search queries, with a staggering amount of data waiting to be crawled. Google’s advanced search techniques enable us to break up and translate this data into useable information and valuable insight. These insights can be used to educate us on trending topics, successful campaigns, and killer content. As an SEO ninja, being able to analyze this data in order to get the pulse of a marketplace is key to managing time, resources, and expectations. Insight-as-a-service is becoming a popular service for businesses large and small. Let’s dive into some of these advanced techniques, and the magic behind the numbers.
Advanced search techniques are the methods used to search catalogs, databases and search engines to find information. Within Google’s framework, we can utilize punctuation or search operators to get more specific search results. Google has provided a breakdown of some of these advanced search operations (although Google Plus is no longer relevant).
Punctuation & Operators
“” (exact phrase): A very useful operation that limits Google’s search algorithm to return results that are an exact match of the phrase in quotes.
– (minus): The minus operation allows you to remove phrases from Google SERPs that are not relevant to your research. This operation can be combined with other operators.
* (wild card): This operation helps with brainstorming and research by “filling in the blank.” For example, plumber* will pull results for plumber, plumbing, plumbers, etc.
~ (synonyms): The tilde operation allows Google to return results that are synonyms to the keyword being searched. Very useful for brainstorming.
Boolean Operators: AND & OR
If you search several words Google will return results that match both or all of the words in the query. This is referred to as an AND operation, and is automatic when searching multiple words. If you want to search multiple words and would like results that contain any of the words in the query, but not necessarily all of them, you can use an OR operation. For example, you could search “Dr.Jekyll” OR “Mr.Hyde”, and the search results will pull either the phrase Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. We can even break this down further by using parenthesis. (“Dr.Jekyll” OR “Mr.Hyde”) (“Robert Louis Stevenson”). This means that the search engine will provide search results for either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Page Title, Content, Site and URL
Savvy SEOs know how to incorporate popular keywords into a website’s title, content and URL. We use Google Search to look for patterns, popularity and industry trends around targeted keywords.
This operator restricts results to a website or document title. This is a great method for analyzing popular keywords used in headlines. For example, if you are looking for popular articles on the latest iPhone, you could perform an intitle search like this:
intitle:”iPhone” OR “Apple iPhone”
If you are not concerned about the title, you can analyze a web page’s content. Staying with the iPhone example, an intext search would look like this:
We can limit our search results by top level domain or by a website. Here are a couple of examples:
“iPhone 7” site:apple.com – to search the Apple website for the latest iPhone model
“hunting permit” site:.gov – to limit our search to a top level domain.
We can also just limit our searches to the URL by analyzing the Domain, Domain extension, folders or file name.
“One of the great responsibilities that I have is to manage my assets wisely, so that they create value” Alice Walton
Being able to manage your assets to create value is a difficult task in the world of keywords. Honing in on your audience and cutting out irrelevant, coincidentally related terms will help you to better define your brand and market. For example, A “conductor” has multiple meanings depending on the context. “Conductor” could refer to an electrical conductor, a musical conductor, a train conductor, and more. Thinking about how a keyword is used in your marketplace is key to finding relevant keywords. At Checkmate Creations we have a seven keyword prospecting analysis for analyzing competition in a marketplace. Let’s use Green Tea as an example to illustrate Competitor Prospecting Queries (prepare to get your nerd on!).
Seven Competitor Prospecting Query Types
Below are the seven elements with examples!
1) Marketing-Defining Keywords (MDKWs)
Accurate keywords that describe the search queries that your target market or keywords that describe your industry are MDKWs.
- Green Tea
- Benefits of Green Tea
- intext:”Green Tea Blends”
2) Customer-Defining Keywords (CDKWs)
Knowing how your customers refer to themselves will help you discover relevant keywords your target market may identify with, e.g. I do Yoga so I am a Yogi and Yogis love Green Tea.
- Tea Sipper
- insite:UK Green Tea Drinkers
3) Product/Category Keywords (PCKWs)
These are high-level terms that describe what you sell.
- Grocery & Gourmet Food
- Coffee, Tea & Beverages
4) Industry Thought Leaders (ITLs)
By analyzing influencers in an industry we will get insight into who are industry leader, public relation topics and interview opportunities in your marketplace.
- Green Tea Interviews
- Koots Green tea
- The science of Green Tea Professor Hiroshi Yamad
- Green Tea Forum
5) Competing Company Names (CCN)
Competing company names give us insight into how reporters, bloggers and customers view leading companies in your industry
- Tazo Green Tea Review
- Tazo Green Tea Forum
- Tazo Green Tea Interview
- Tazo Green Tea “guest article or post”
6) GEO Keywords (GKWs)
Geo keywords can help find local prospects and complementary products or services that may have an impact on your local market. Always consider your local market.
- (GKW) Events
- (GKW) Blog
- (GKW)(MDKW) Blog
- (GKW) Directory
- (GKW) Review
7) Related Vertical Keywords (RVKWs)
Think of your industry as an “ecosystem” that could potentially aid in your research. Thinking along the lines of Green Tea
When conducting research, be sure to approach it systematically and thoroughly. Alter your queries, research keywords, and figure out what works and what doesn’t within your industry.
What type of Competitor Metrics do you find useful when researching the online marketplace?
About the writer of this guest blog post: Will Haire is the Director of Digital Marketing at Checkmate Creations, one of Connecticut’s fastest growing Digital Advertising Agencies driving brands and businesses to reach their full potential through online mediums. Will and his team are responsible for all digital marketing activities including SEO, SEM, Content Creation, social media marketing and much more. You can find him on Twitter: @MarketingChimp1 or LinkedIn.
Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for our readers here at the Chop Dawg blog? Email us at Hello@ChopDawg.com!