• What is the performance of your competitors?
  • How can you compare supplier lists without browsing their websites?
  • What are the top trends in your industry?
  • What are the best keywords to use in marketing your products or services?

Those are the all-important questions when you’re doing competitive analysis. The problem is, mining data from websites is challenging.

Fortunately, there are a number of online tools that you can use to list your competitors’ websites and mine data that matters about them. They give you data based on the parameters you determine when making your query.

Doing data mining

But first thing first: Why do you need to generate such list?

The Purpose of Generating Website Lists

The overall purpose of creating website lists through data mining is marketing. Marketing drives sales, which drive profitability and income of a business. If a business ignores such information, they may be overrun by the competition.

Information on what your competitors are doing, their linkage information and more will inform you on where you should concentrate your marketing efforts to get an edge over your competition.

Note that in big business, a small shift in marketing can have huge effects on the overall performance of the company and how their customers relate to them. Keeping an eye on your competition is a necessity for most online companies.

Data mining for analytical purposes

The Type of Data Mining Tools You  Need

These tools can be placed into different categories based on how they compile the data that you need.

1. Analytic Websites

Analytic websites compile data based on different algorithms and methods from those used by conventional search engines. Websites such as webspotter io use certain methods to crawl through the web and give you information they glean from meta-data and other criteria.

Another analytical and popular website is Alexa, but it still has its shortcomings, when it comes to providing accurate data based on tight search criteria. This is why it is necessary to refine the search results in Alexa.

Premium analytic websites give you more options to get accurate information right from the start. They consider information that free tools like Alexa will simply gloss over. When you want a deep scan based on analytic websites, then using premium services is the best option you have.

The reason why premium websites like Webspotter offer better results is the scope of scraping that they do. Tools like Alexa use monthly data when providing you with a list of websites based on your criteria. Premium services use a tighter scope, such as weekly data. So if you are looking for the trendiest fashion websites of the week, you will get better results from premium services as compared to Alexa.

2. Keyword Search

This is perhaps the most common and popular method of looking for a list of websites. However, it also gives a watered-down list as the keywords can bring up irrelevant results.

For example, if you want to know about websites that offer financial services for investments, you may end up with results listing stock brokers and other financial service providers who are not engaged in investment financing.

Keyword search simply looks at the words and does not go as deep as that provided by analytical websites. The algorithms cover a wide base, resulting in some erroneous answers being added to your list.

One way of refining keyword search queries is to be more specific. Search engines have their own refining codes which you should familiarize yourself with.

For example, when you put quotation marks on a search query, you get exact word matches, helping you to weed out websites that would have otherwise been added to your list.

Web scraping

3. Scraping Search Engines

This is a grey area when it comes to collecting information and creating a list of websites that comprise your competition. Scraping can be done by using proxy servers of special scraping software.

Search engines have for a long time ignored this practice but some of them are now actively trying to block proxies and scraping tools.

The data or website list created from scraping can be refined depending on the search criteria you input at the start. Most proxies are free, but the premium ones give you better results, a higher degree of anonymity, ensuring that you get the full set of data that you require.

Takeaway

Webspotter.io and other similar tools are essential in maintaining a competitive edge in your niche. You cannot ignore the important service they provide and the data that they mine. If you have been ignoring compiling website lists, then it is high time that you started keeping a hawk’s eye on what your competition is up to, using services like Webspotter.