This is the first post in our “compete.com review” series, where we investigate what you can actually do with a pro account. The first thing I wanted to do with my compete.com pro account was to take a look at the site profile for my blog to learn what I could about where my web site stands and how to improve.

Compete.com profile

It’s nice to see that compete.com verifies my notion that this blog is growing. Everything is up from the number of pageviews, to unique visitors – and how long they’re staying.

Referral Analytics

Next I’m going to check out the “Referral Analytics” part of my profile to see where compete.com says my best traffic is coming from. This slice of data shows us which web sites are sending traffic to my blog. I get some details I really didn’t expect.

Compete.com profile

My #1 source of traffic is google (which I expected), but it says that my change in share is down 30% (bad). Some of the rest of the top 10 I expect to see from blog comments and sites that have linked to me, and others I don’t get at all. Like hab.la (a chat applet site) and MattHarward.com (there isn’t a single link on that site back to mine). My entrecard traffic is down 75%, which I expected since I really no longer used it. I also see that Yahoo traffic is down, 69%, which is bad as well. All in all compete says I get traffic from 53 sources, I’d rather that id be 500 sources!

Search Analytics

Now I’m moving on to check out the “Search Analytics” section of my profile, which will tell me what keyword phrases are bringing the most traffic to my blog.

compete.com profile example

It’s very interesting seeing what compete.com thinks my top incoming keyword search phrases are, since they are completely different than what my wordpress.com stats say each day. I have to remember though, this data is for the last 90 days, and wordpress.com stats are daily in my dashboard.

The one thing I learn right away is that I need to build more links for targeted keyword phrases, something I have to admit I don’t do enough of. From my top 10 keyword phrases, only one (eBay wordpress plugin) is something that I’ve actively worked on targeting. The rest are “natural keywords”, or phrases that have naturally risen from my blog postings through the search engines to bring me traffic.

It’s funny how some of these phrases (in the top 10) are from one-off posts I wrote that I never intended to bring me any traffic at all. Like “forum backlinks”, which I’m sure is from posts I wrote about posting in forums to get backlinks. Or “mysql import and export”, which comes from a post I wrote about about how to import and export huge mysql databases. It just shows that naturally writing a blog “will” bring you traffic, but once you have a little bit of information you can go well beyond that if you do some targeting.

Digging Deeper

I really like the fact that you can click on any keyword in the Search Analytics report and what other sites are getting traffic from it (and where you fall in the mix).

compete.com profile example

From my top 10 keywords in search analytics I clicked on “eBay WordPress plugin” since it was the only one I actually targeted myself, to see how well I had done. You can see in the report above that I’m #2 only to phpBay.com – which is pretty good considering they sell the #1 eBay plugin online. I also think it’s funny that it’s a larger part of my search traffic than phpbay.com, and it’s only a few blog posts of mine, but the crux of their entire business.

Even Deeper Than That

Now, I’m going to dig one level further even yet, and click on “phpbay.com” in this report to get information about that site, because if this keyword phrase is only 2% of their search traffic – I really want to see what other keywords are bringing them traffic.

compete.com profile example

I think it’s very interesting that the top 10 keywords bringing in traffic are all brand or domain names like “phpbay”, “phpbay pro” etc. I guess that’s expected to see the product name ranking high, but other than those first 2 brand search terms, the rest of the keywords seem to bring in a sparse amount of traffic. You can’t see it in the pic above, but the phrase “eBay wordpress” ranks #13.

I think this investigation was quite telling (for me), to know that I rank right up there in keyword traffic with phpBay and I only targeted one keyword phrase for one day to do that. This means that I could do much better with my blog by targeting other keyword phrases and actively going after search traffic. It also shows that some sites (like phpbay.com) could probably double their exposure and sales by doing a little SEO and online marketing.

Conclusion

You can get some great data about your site traffic and search referrals at compete.com. The nicest thing I think is the fact that you can look at this data without having to install any “analytics” or stats scripts (or plugins) – the data is just “there when you need it”. I can see why this is the tool of choice for many small businesses that now see the Internet as crucial to their business, like real estate companies and car dealerships. I will be posting more about compete.com and how to use their reports to spy on the competition and build a strategy for ranking better in the search engines myself.

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