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There is one big problem with the Internet – it’s always changing. I don’t mean on a daily basis, either. The Internet is a living, breathing animal that is changing by the minute. Take organic search for example. Search spiders are crawling the web as we speak, sucking in new content, following links, and generally trying to find the best content available.

A search conducted now could reveal entirely different results to an identical search performed an hour ago. The rate of change is such that competitive intelligence has a very short life span. Knowing a competitor has x number of links today could be worthless tomorrow, especially if they have been on a link-building campaign. Check the links tomorrow and they may have increased noticeably – they may have dropped as well.

Because the Internet is continually evolving, competitive intelligence is not a one off activity – it has to be ongoing with data available on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you need to be buried in data, or to become fixated on what your competitors are doing. Rather, competitive intelligence has two major uses. One, from an Internet marketing perspective, it shows what areas you need to work harder in.

From a business perspective, competitive intelligence can help with your more traditional data like prices, models, reputation, free offers, or special marketing programs. With this knowledge, you can make business decisions aimed at either competing head on or adjusting your aim to target areas your competitors are not targeting. Without up-to-date competitive intelligence, your business has nothing with which to base its own progress on the Internet.

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