Initial Hitwise impressions

For those that aren't really familiar with Hitwise, they're a data collection agency. Through relationships with ISP's, they track user behavior. Then, they turn around and sell the information back to us webmasters.

I got an account approved for my 2007 budget (not an easy task, let me tell you) and started poking around in there today. My first impression is that this is really amazing data.

For starters, I've taken most of our top competitors and found all of the phrases that are driving traffic to their sites. For those of you doing your own sites, how useful would that be? I'm able to see if there are phrases that would make sense to target ourselves that our competitors are using.

Secondly, once I've found a cool phrase, I can see what websites get what percentage of the traffic for that phrase. This is really cool for benchmarking how well we're doing for a given term.

While this data is cool, it's also incomplete. For example, Amazon hasn't shown up on any of the reports I've done yet, even though they rank for quite a few of the phrases I've searched for. Also, a site has to get to a certain threshold before it's included in their dataset. If it only ranks for a few terms and doesn't get enough traffic, it won't show up.

I'm sure it'll take me a while to analyze all of this data, but when I do, Look out world - Here comes ToolBarn!

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