Mention (#20)

Another tool for Social Media & Trend Analysis: Mention.

Moreso than other’s I’ve explored in this series, Mention’s selling point is that it proactive monitors your interests (by specific topic, celebrity, a political issue, cause, etc).

Its first few steps require a bit of up-front knowledge about what you’re looking for, as it asks you this right away:

In the Feed view, we can see a mailbox-like view of all the places where this topic is picked up across the internet.

We add a filter by source and language

Specifically for a brand, we can tell mention our social media pages and profiles. Mention will create a feed showing any time someone mentions these social media accounts in their own timeline.


A “last 7 days” view gives us a trend over time view of how this topic changes.

Mention is the "be the first in the know" tool to get alerts and insights into how your topic of interest is being talked about online. This early warning system can give you braod overview into where your topic is mentioned online and on social media.

All-in-all, Mention seems like a slick tool for a specific brand to use but leaves some features to be desired for competative research.


SEMRush (formerly QuickSprout) (#19)

Everyone advertising online needs to learn about sites similar to their site. This is so you can figure out how to out-do your competition in search rankings (SEO) and keyword advertising (pay-per-click).

In a crowded marketplace, it’s often the case that short, 1-to-3 word keywords are already heavily associated with high ranking websites.

Three little keywords like “little black purse” that drive a ton of traffic to people selling purses. Very few except the ones who have been in the marketplace for a long time will be able to be at the top of Google.

But how do you understand where there are opportunities to be had in what people are searching for?

Enter QuickSprout, a tool to “let your competitors do the work for you.”

QuickSprout appears to have been purchased and rebranded as SEMRUSH. However, the original Quicksprout landing page greets you with this deceptive search box. (Warning: the search doesn’t actually work; you can type anything or nothing in this box and click ‘Start now’ and the website still takes you to the long-scroll landing page you see below.)

Then, before you are required to sign up for the free trial with a credit card, you are greeted with a good dose of marketing ideology and schmooze by being led through several pages of high-octane ad-buying theory. I’ll just leave it here for you to read for yourself.

Today we’ll research the keywords “pet supplies” to see what people are searching for related to their pets.

From here we can see people are searching for pet supplies plus, pet supplies, pet supplies near me, pet supplies plus coupon, pet supplies store, etc. (No surprises there.)

In the Keyword Manager, we can create a list. (Let’s call it “pet supplies”)

It is empty by default:

We then add keywords to this list to create a composite view.

Gap Analysis

Let’s take a quick look at the Keyword Gap Analysis tool. Here I want to look at the clothing brand Uniqlo versus four competitors: H&M,,, and Express.

The keyword analyizer shows is a visual Venn diagram of the overlap between these brands.

If my brand were lacking in significant keyword traffic as compared to the others, this tool would tell me what keyword gaps I have in my traffic (where I could be more competative).

SEO Writing Assistant

SEMRUSH also includes an SEO tool to analyze my text. When I give it the text of this article, it scores me with a 5.9 out of 10, giving me advice that the text is too short, it is missing a headline (it is not actually), and that I should add the keywords ‘digital marketing,’ ‘search results,’ and ‘search engines.’

There’s a ton of more features too: cost-per-click views, saved reports, site auditing, backlink auditing, and social media auditing.

Semrush is a powerful tool if used in the right way: it can let you slice and dice your SEO and ad spend to gain insight into where you can have a strategic edge.


SpyFu (#18)

In ad buying and organic optimization, there are two critical acronyms you should familiarize yourself with: SEO, which stands for “search engine optimization,” is the art of positioning your content and its associated buzz in ways that get you optimal organic search results. In other words: to the top of Google.

PPC is a term used in ad buying and it means “pay-per-click.” Since most ad buying networks rely on a model where you pay only when someone clicks (or engages) with your ad. You don’t pay for all the times the ad network displays your ad but people don’t click or engage with it. That’s why it’s called “pay-per-click.”

When you’re buying ads, you need to be paying attention to your competitor’s position in the marketplace.

Analyzing their spending is critical, as is understanding gaps in the way they are advertising. This will give you get a competative edge when you are purchasing ads for your campaign or websites.

SpyFu lets you spy on your competitor’s SEO and PPC and helps you identify opportunities in your keywords or search traffic.

Let’s take the popular video calling app Zoom as an example.

First, a breakdown of the competitors to this website, and how they get traffic. Remember, organic always means people typing search queries into search engines; paid refers to traffic from advertising (that is, an ad is shown after a search is performed).

Here are the primary competitors to Zoom:

Next, SpyFu draws you an actual Venn-diagram to visualize the overlap between these sites (based on the keyword traffic):

Next, we get the keywords— organic & paid, associated with this domain.

We see the top pages that are driving traffic to this website:

SpyFu analyzes the keywords between these competitors and then intelligently recommends whether you should buy that keyword now or not. (Presumably, by analyzing the supply-demand ratio of the market for those keywords.)

We get a glimpse into the AdWords marketplace specifically, which is Google’s ad platform.

The monthly Pay-Per-Click overview shows us a chart over time. This interesting data point shows us that Zoom conferencing, which took over during the COVID pandemic of 2020, appears to have had a significant drop-off in paid advertising right at the beginning of April 2020, just when its popularity took off because of everyone working from home.

Next, we get a breakdown in paid advertising by keyword, which also shows a drop-off in April. (Notice the little bars indicate that Zoom stopped advertising all but two keywords after April.)

SpyFu lets you literally spy on your competition. See what keywords are driving organic traffic and how much they are paying for paid keyword traffic.

If you’re doing paid keyword advertising, especially on Google, this tool is an invaluable resource for understanding the marketplace you are competing in and how to get the most bang for your buck.