Search engine optimization (SEO) relies heavily on market intelligence the availability of information in order to gauge valid assessments for strategic implementation. Market intelligence and SEO are interdependent in this fashion.
Take keyword research for example, if the tools you are using are common off the shelf or generic (like Wordtracker, Trellian, Wordze, etc.), the depth and scope of the information available for which keywords to optimize will always fall short compared to a superior method for extracting proven keywords with relevant continuity to your business.
Millions of dollars are wasted daily from websites using ineffective market data to based strategic assumptions. From the mom and pop shop spending more on their PPC budgets than they can afford to enterprise level companies who think of PPC as branding and spend more than people make in a year every day to drive traffic to their landing pages.
The problem is, that only the tip of the iceberg is available for research and strategic planning, unless your willing to pay the hefty fee to gain access to the more uncommon (privileged) information. There are two facets that in my opinion fall short when it comes to gauging the size or effectiveness of the market (keyword research and traffic volume).
Micheal Martinez from SEO Theory made a great point on his blog about real search market share and how the data is aggregated is not accurate for determining the amount of traffic or exposure a web property receives.
It is the lack of accurate data that leaves many businesses and webmasters in the dark about which keywords will actually convert, which markets have the highest yields and if they are worth the time to market via optimization. The modus operandi at present for most is to test the results from heuristic trial and error (scraping server logs, or tediously reviewing analytics data for gems) then reapply that data through altering or creating additional content or links to offset the gap.
There are some common tools available on the market like SEM Rush (the creators or SEO Digger) SEO Quake, however based on the availability of data, they go deeper than most commercial tools but still have a limited scope and ability to parse beyond topical algorithms of link weight and aggregated PPC data. This is a great start in the right direction, but ultimately it just leaves people hungry for more (information).
True resources and SEO Tips and Tools are held close to the chest and rightfully so. By understanding the overlapping market segments, their top performing keywords as well as the keywords with the highest conversion and lowest competition (due to lack of exposure) you have a distinct advantage over 90% of the rest of the competition in your industry.
Not to suggest that only expensive tools are worth their weight in SEO, you can aggregate a number of commercial SEO tools and put them to good use with the right mindset. For example, Jordan Kasteler wrote a great post on the Search Engine People blog about 5 SEO tools you might be missing that if harness properly can create vast cross sections of market intelligence for SEO purposes.
SEO tools like a sword are only as powerful as the one wielding them, having access to information and failing to grasp the correlations is almost like not having the information at all. As the market matures, certain advances will be made to common consumption, but in the meantime, most will have to make due or commission their own private tools to be built.
I have been fortunate enough to beta test some SEO Tools that can accomplish more in 3 minutes than weeks or months of research would conclude otherwise. Market intelligence like this do exist (they are private) or have a hefty fee attached to keep only those intent on maximizing the said information to the fullest extent.
What kinds of SEO tools for market intelligence would you like to see that either make mundane process’s easier or eliminate aggregating data from multiple sources? Drop a comment below, you never know what could develop as a result…