Google Trends Helps You Spy on Competition

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 23, 2008

Google Trends is live and that means there is yet another free resource to help you spy on your competition. Find out how much visitation their website gets and what other websites people are viewing that are related to yours. Just go to trends.google.com and type in a domain name.

There is a lot of talk on blogs and forums about this topic lately. Seems it’s okay for all of these other sites to post competitive info (and we sure use it!) but when Google creates a similar utility, everyone

goes crazy calling Google an information stealer. First of all, what Google displays (in my view) is actually inferior to the others. Google Trends only shows 10 competing sites and 10 keyword phrases to find those sites.

Google Trends image

We all know that the top 10 keyword phrases are going to be high-level phrases. So, that’s not such a huge help. But, where the top 10 competing sites can help is when looking for inbound links to your website. I could see doing a search for each of the 10 specifically and then targeting them for inbound links campaigns, but there are other ways to do that too.

Personally, on this review of Google Trends, I don’t see anything additional than what’s out there readily available, but it does show Google’s willingness to share information with others that their servers collect even though their privacy policy might suggest otherwise in some places.

For example, their privacy policy says: “We will not collect or use sensitive information for purposes other than those described in this policy and/or in the specific service notices, unless we have obtained your prior consent.”

Google of course terms “sensitive information” as limited to medical, racial, ethnic, or religious content. But, sensitive to ME could certainly be related to visitation statistics and keyword phrases that I’ve been fighting for to get seo positioning.

So, there’s argument either way I suppose with Google Trends producing “sensitive information” or not. Personally, I don’t think Google Trends provides enough detailed sensitive information for us to all get up tight about. But, it does set the stage for them releasing “more” details to the public in the future than we might want the public to know about when it comes to our websites and the strategies we use to go about getting more traffic. And, one day when they cross that line, the public will be there to either ban Google or get the lawsuits flowing.

What do YOU think about Google posting your website visitation stats and competition and keyword phrases? Getting too close to home? Or no big deal?

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