Last year I had the chance to take a guided tour of Hitwise, a competitive Intelligence service that offers up an astonishing amount of data regarding market share, keyword phrases and clickstream data. The Hitwise data is compelling, but far from affordable for all but the largest marketing agencies. Recognizing the small to mid-size businesses could also benefit from their services, Hitwise has announced the launch of Keyword Intelligence, an online tool designed to help marketers discover the best keywords and keyword phrases to use in their search marketing campaigns.

The service allows marketers to generate lists of keywords and phrases that have been shown to drive traffic to web sites in the past. The data is drawn from Hitwise's records of how more than 25 million Internet users navigate nearly half a million web sites. While competing services like Wordtracker and the Overture Search Term Suggestion tool offer up guesstimates based on limited data sets, Keyword Intelligence gathers their suggestions based on the exact phrases that users enter into a variety of the most popular search engines, including Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

Keyword Intelligence has several benefits over traditional keyword research tools:

Industry Search Terms - an overview of the most popular search terms in over 160 different industries

Search Term Suggestions - an overview of the most searched for variations for a particular keyword

Search Term Portfolios - an integrated tool designed to manage keyword lists

Market Data - an analysis of search terms used by searchers in the US, UK, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia in order to show the differences in spelling and terminology in different geographic regions.

Gavin Appel, Vice President of Search at Hitwise explained the company's desire to offer a more affordable version of their enterprise level service in a company press release. "We have launched the Keyword Intelligence product in response to the growing demand within the small business community for more relevant and successful search terms. As search marketers continue to increase budgets, and become more sophisticated with their campaign management and international targeting, incorporating the most effective keywords into search marketing campaigns is crucial for their success. With Keyword Intelligence, small businesses will now have access to top-line, quality search term data, powered by Hitwise, at an entry level price."

Access to Keyword Intelligence starts at just under $90 a month, quite a bit more than Wordtracker, which runs less than $250 for an entire year. Add to the fact that the lowest level of service includes data for just three industries and you're not looking at an affordable alternative to Wordtracker. That said, marketers looking to promote their site in a competitive industry, or small firms that specialize in a particular vertical may find the information well worth the investment.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
July 12, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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