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Using Hitwise as an SEO Tool

Over the last few days I have been devising a strategy for a client that will be implemented during 2011/12. During the process I have spent a considerable amount of time within in Experian Hitwise to look at multiple areas to base my decisions on.

I find myself in a forunate position that although working for an agency I still get to use Hitwise for this particular client. It is by far one of, if not the best online marketing tool that I use on a daily basis. It gives you so much information that I can easily be found in Hitwise for hours on end. Not everyone can afford Hitwise as it is a very expensive tool but to me the benefits massively outway the cost, therefore I recommend it to all our clients whether they are existing or new.

I am going to have a quick look at how I use Hitwise to help me for SEO.

Competitor Analysis

Knowing what your competitor is targeting can help you understand a lot more about their SEO campaign. Analysing my clients competitors is the first thing I look at when devising. By analysing their competitors allows me to see whether they are targeting the same key phrases as my client.

By identifying the key phrases that our competitors are targeting that are not in our current scope provides missed opportunities that could improve traffic.

Keyword Research

For me this is where Hitwise helps me as an SEO massively, giving an array of options to give all the information you require to select the most profitable keywords and phrases.

Being able to find the most searched for keywords and phrases within your industry is key. The image below shows the top keywords or phrases that have driven traffic to the news and media category. In the example below you can see that Fernando Torres is the 9th largest search query driving traffic to the news and media category during the transfer deadline time. If this was a product you would be looking to these keywords and key phrases to target during your campaign as part of your primary list.

Image courtesy of Hitwise – Robin Goad

When selecting keywords and phrases you need to ensure that you have got all variations and steps of the buying/research cycle covered. Hitwise allows you find out what keywords and phrases are being searched after your selected keyword. The below image shows the top 10 search queries entered after searching for the query “stop smoking”. What is good about this feature is that it allows you to identify key phrases during the next step of the cycle and keywords that might not come out in the initial research.

Image courtesy of Hitwise – Robin Goad

The only problem that I have with Hitwise is the way they represent the numbers. Everything is in percentages against the category that the brand has been allocated to. During my conversations with Hitwise they have informed me that they are going to introduce numbers based on search volume in the near future a long with a number of other features.

Market Share

Getting a clear indication of where your company/brand is placed within your industry allows you to benchmark your progress and identify trends against your main competitors. I find that directors of major brands like this type of graph to show them how close their competitors are and whether they have increased or lost market share.

Image courtesy of Hitwise – Robin Goad

Above I have discussed only a handful of different features that Hitwise provides us as SEOs. Hitwise makes my job a lot easier than using multiple tools such as Google Insights, Trends, AdWords and to make decisions. Do you use Hitwise for SEO? What are your thoughts on its features?

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