Hitwise, one of the most credible companies reporting on competitive intelligence issues, cites some interesting stats from the past couple of months. First, if you are a part of certain industries such as automotive, sports, entertainment, business and finance, news and media, and social networking then your industry has experienced a double-digit increase in the percentage of traffic coming from search engines. The same industries also saw a double-digit increase in the amount of traffic coming from Google. These stats are a comparison between October 2008 and October 2009.
This just simply proves that search engine traffic is still good today. And it doesn’t look like any other traffic source will pass the search engines any time soon.
As far as competitive intelligence goes, the best way to use this information is as a benchmark. If you are below your industry average then perhaps you need to step up your search engine marketing. If you are well above your industry average then you can take that as a sign that you are doing well at search engine marketing. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t improve.
There is more than one way to gather useful competitive intelligence. One way is to get your hands on information that you can use as a benchmark. It may not reveal anything about any specific competitor, but if it helps you better understand where you fall within your industry then it’s good information.