From a marketer perspective, search engine benchmarketing presents some unique challenges and opportunities. Unlike other channels, search has no easy answers to the bottom line metric, ?How much are my competitors spending?? You used to be able to see exactly what marketers were willing to spend per search click on specific keywords. But with recent changes to Yahoo?s bidding model, that bottom-up data source is also gone.

However, the action in search plays out every day on a public stage, and there are some great tools available to track competitive activity: what keywords drive traffic to a specific site? How much traffic is each keyword driving? What is a competitor?s reach and share of visibility and traffic from specific keywords?

The question may have occurred to you, why do I need to benchmark in search marketing? Since my own campaigns are so trackable and performance can be optimized in real time against hard results, why spend scarce time and energy watching the other players?

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