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Top 20 sneaky tools to spy on your competitor

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Way before people entered the cut-throat world of business; they were spying on their competition. At the time, it was all about “checking” your neighbor’s backyard and doing something better in your own. When the internet exploded, things changed. Hundreds of “spying” tools emerged; some of them help us monitor web performance; others help us gather data. Here’s a detailed list with 20 of the sneakiest tools every business should use when marketing their business in the online environment.

  1. Google Alerts

Monitor brand mentions with Google Alerts. The tool is free, very easy to use, and it has the simplest interface. Reports will be sent to your inbox, and it can be used whenever someone mentions your brand in the online environment. Keywords can also be monitored with Google Alerts, but that’s up to you what you want to track.

  1. SocialMention

SocialMention is a very cool tool that companies should integrate into their online marketing process. After you’ve accessed the tool, enter a term you want to search; the name of a company you want to spy on or a keyword. Then let the tool do its magic.

  1. Topsy

Topsy is monitoring tool targeted at brands with active Twitter accounts. You can use it to track competitor tweets, assessing the number of tweets your competition has; get a tweet list, and even see which had the most influence. Whatever information you need, use Topsy to filter the data.

  1. Marketing Grader

Use Marketing Grader to track mentions of your brand; but also mention of your competitors. Based on your social media activity, lead generation, SEO and blogging success, this tool is fun and precise. Check fluctuations and learn to be one step of the competition.

  1. InfinitiGraph

Track everything that’s trendy on social media with InfinitiGraph. Choose your industry, and then use the influence of your audience to check the content type that’s the most trending. The whole idea of the tool is to perform a competitive analysis on your brand’s main competitors.

 

  1. Google Keyword Planner

Formerly known as Traffic Estimator and Google Keyword Tool, this sneaky tool has all you need to spy on your competition. It doesn’t focus on analyzing the competition, but it does gather competitor data to help you craft a better online marketing strategy for your brand and business.

  1. Instapaper

Save web pages that drew your attention with Instapaper. Read them later on your mobile device, computer, or Kindle. After signing up, use it to add bookmarklets to keep things organized. You can also use it to spy on others and also use content that you might find useful for your own business.

  1. Monitor Backlinks

Use Monitor Backlinks to follow your competitors’ backlinks; with this tool, you can send those backlinks to your inbox, including a description of the most authoritative domains. You can also check dofollow and nofollow links. The dashboard is very easy to use and explore; compare results and see exactly which links are earned by your competitors.

  1. SEMRush

An all time favorite, SEMRush is a favorite keyword monitoring tool that specializes on monitoring competitor data. Type the name of your competitor and get vital info on their rank, traffic, and organic keywords.

  1. SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is great at revealing traffic insights on your main competitor websites. With this tool, you can analyze county rank, global rank, and category rank of any site; the graph shows weekly visitor number over the past 6 months.

  1. Simply Measured

With Simply Measured you can do a little bit of everything. The advanced tool helps businesses get info on conversion rates, trends, social media, traffic, analysis, and more. Over 35 different reports can be accessed with the tool.

  1. Majestic SEO

With Majestic SEO you can download any competitor’s website link profile; and check all the links by slicing them down and analyzing them to be one step ahead of your key competitors. Know what they’ve been up to lately, and use the data to revamp and perfect your own online marketing strategy.

  1. SpyFlu

With SpyFlu you can find out the secret recipe of your main competitors in the online environment. Use it to check what keywords they use, and keep an eye on their next move. Review what keywords they use and track analysis back 6 years.

  1. WooRank

WooRank is one of today’s most powerful and efficient SEO and website review tools. It’s very easy to use, and it packs a simple, streamlined platform. All you have to do is type your main competitor’s URL and downloads a report; use the report to improve your own website by analysing SEO.

  1. Open Site Explorer

Perform a complete link research on your own website with Open Site Explorer; you can also use it to spy on your competition, exploring backlinks, anchor texts, and more. Some of the key features of the tool include authority information, reviews of inbound links, top website pages, and more.

  1. The Search Monitor

The Search Monitor is extremely efficient at assessing competitor data. It allows you to track trademarks and affiliates from main search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo), and from competitor websites, forums, news, and blogs.

  1. iSpionage

With iSpionage you can monitor keywords, and check which ones perform the best on your competitors’ websites. Track PPC, and analyze the amount of time other spend on both paid and organic search. Also, assess ad copies that perform the best on other people’s websites.

  1. Ontolo

Ontolo is better known as a backlinking tool. Targeted at content marketers, it can be used to prioritize content and learn which topics perform the best. Use it to identify websites that link to your website’s content, and assess link building opportunities.

  1. Link Prospector

A tool targeted at link building, Link Prospector is excellent at providing reports on link pages, guest posting, giveaways, content promotions, reviews, and more. Based on what you’re searching for, the tool issues reports that you can use to assess your own website’s potential.

  1. What Runs Where

A lot of people ignore paid search when doing SEO. You shouldn’t ignore it, and What Runs Where can help. The tool is excellent at extracting the right data about the paid ad campaigns of your competitors. Use it to gather pertinent info on their marketing strategies, and check their keywords. Also, assess the budget they usually spend on their campaigns; just to have a bigger picture of what you should do too. 40+ ad networks can be monitored with the tool, so that you can have a detailed, comprehensive overview about your competitors’ most successful/unsuccessful ad campaigns.

Spying on your competitors in the online environment is something all businesses should do. You’re not stealing their data; you’re checking up on what they’re been doing, and how they’ve been doing it. This will help you assess your strategy, tackle pain points, and work your way to improving it. Use the tool that best matches with the demands of your online business; some of the best available are free of charge, so it doesn’t really cost you anything to rethink your marketing strategy and take your business to new heights.

By Maxwell Donovan and Bestonlinereviews.com

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Economy

Friend-shoring: India’s rising attractiveness for an emerging partnership

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There are numerous forces currently affecting investment flows in the global climate for foreign investment. Investor concern has been caused by the many geopolitical issues, which had repercussions even as countries were recovering from the pandemic. Businesses are being forced to re-evaluate the global business environment and potential fault lines as a result of these disruptions. India has constantly improved the business environment (EoDB). It may now advance by utilising the advantages to strengthen its place in the global economy and fulfil the ambitions of its sizable, primarily young population. The country’s business and investment climate has significantly improved as a result of the fast and steady pace at which reforms have been implemented.

Apart from the fact that India is one of the largest economies in the world with the quickest rate of growth, the government’s emphasis on infrastructure and manufacturing, strong consumption patterns, digitization, and a burgeoning services sector all contribute to this optimism. The persistent efforts of the Indian government to lower regulatory hurdles are also fuelling MNCs’ favourable opinion of India. However, India’s expanding domestic consumer base and digital economy are the greater draws. After the US and China, the estimated actual growth in consumption is the third-highest. Given that all of these markets are sizable but relatively saturated and growing at a slower rate, India presents a particularly good opportunity for MNCs seeking growth opportunities in the ensuing ten years.This has acquired more traction in the US context as it has become clear that the nation cannot overcome all production issues on its own and that cooperation with friendly or ally nations is essential for all-around development. The term “friend-shoring,” a hybrid of the terms “onshoring” and “near shoring,” refers to forming business alliances with people who have similar principles and interests.

In a world driven extensively by globalisation, it is inevitable to not just make ally’s or create partnerships that are not only strategic and synergistic, but also facilitate a purpose driven iterative connection between two nations. A strategy used by the US to persuade companies to relocate their sourcing and manufacturing operations to friendly shores—often back to the same shores in the case of the US—is known as friend-shoring or ally-shoring. And the goal is to protect their supply networks against countries with less compatible policies, like China. But is it the best course of action? Global supply chains have changed production by enabling businesses to produce things wherever it is most affordable, thanks to decreased tariffs, lower transportation, and communication costs. This typically means that low-end production shifts to emerging markets and developing countries, while high-value-added inputs (such as research and development, design, advertising, and finance) are provided from established economies.

A commitment to cooperate with nations that “have a strong adherence to a set of norms and values about how to function in the global economy and about how to govern the global economic system” was described as “friend-shoring” in Secretary Yellen’s statements of April 13, 2022. But is it the best course of action? Any type of protectionism will worsen the already shaky global supply chain after the years-long Covid-19 shutdown has had an impact on the world economy. Despite its political unrest, China has been devoting its resources to manufacturing since the 1990s, and many businesses have already established manufacturing operations there since their suppliers are all nearby.

Even though Vietnam, India, and Thailand are also known for their low-cost manufacturing, moving the manufacturing sites could be expensive and risky for businesses because they would need to reorganise their entire supply chain for all materials required. In addition, other Asian countries might not have the full infrastructure needed to support manufacturing in some sectors. The world of today is at its best because of international cooperation. Each country’s disadvantage is made up for by having it use its greatest asset to boost global economic growth. Although there are many differences and even disagreements between nations and we are still far from full globalisation, offshoring does not seem like a good answer for a better future for the global supply.

USA is believed to pursue the “friend-shoring” strategy of deepening economic integration with dependable trading partners like India to diversify away from nations that pose geopolitical and security risks to supply chains. This is in response to an “extremely challenging” global economic outlook and geopolitical instability. She claimed that some economies’ debt loads were becoming unmanageable due to the Russia-Ukraine war-related spike in food and energy costs, and that steps to reduce these debt loads would need to be explored. Countries that already have well-established production and business service networks are those that are seen as friendly partners in the US context. India is attempting to draw MNCs that are moving their subsidiary supply chain networks and activities in this wave of supply chain restructuring and diversification of their specialised ecosystems.

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Economy

Pakistan’s elite and the current economic crisis

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Former Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail in a media interview made some very interesting points. While Ismail lashed out at his successor and current Finance Minister Ishaq Dar saying that the latter’s Anti International Monetary Fund (IMF) approach was one of the key reasons behind the current economic crisis in Pakistan. He also underscored some other points.

 First, he said that if countries like Bangladesh and India have left Pakistan behind, there are some serious deficiencies in Pakistan’s governance model.

Second, Ismail stated that different forms of government – democracy, parliamentary democracy, dictatorship – have been tried out, but the country is invariably ruled by a small elite, and this is amongst the key reasons for the numerous challenges the country is facing today.

In recent years, has been increasing criticism of Pakistan’s foreign policy and its excessive economic dependence upon other countries for its economic survival.  While earlier strategic commentators and analysts questioned the skewed nature of Pakistan’s ties with the US, in recent years several strategic commentators have begun to question the excessive dependence upon Islamabad and the terms and conditions of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the lack of transparency of the project.

If one were to look at the current economic crisis which has engulfed Pakistan, there have been a series of opinion pieces critical of domestic policies, the country’s dependence upon external sources for aid not just the US, but also Gulf Countries and China and how the IMF rescue program would impact certain sections of the population more than others.

Maleeha Lodhi, a former Pakistani diplomat, and a prominent writer and commentator, in a hard hitting article titled Elite Politicsfor Dawn (December 5, 2022)argues:

‘The availability of external resources as a result of Pakistan’s foreign policy alignments during the Cold War and beyond created a habit of dependence on ‘outside help’. This habit urged successive governments — representing rural and urban elites — to avoid economic reform, mobilise adequate revenue or tax its network of influential supporters’. 

Touqir Hussain in an article An underwhelming foreign policy written for The News (November 23, 2022) highlights how Pakistan’s dependency upon China could harm the bilateral relationship. Says Hussain:

‘Because of the dependency syndrome, even the China connection has become ever more important for Pakistan, and not for all the right reasons. It is fomenting a popular view that with China at its back Pakistan does not need to care about other relationships, inciting anti-Americanism which has become in the public mind a badge of ‘independent’ foreign policy’.

S Akbar Zaidi in an article IMF as Saviour for the Dawn (January 26, 2023) makes an interesting point about how the unequal impact of the IMF program and how the elite would not just be able to deal with it but also benefit in the long run. Says Zaidi:

‘A fistful of dollars coming in, prices being upwardly adjusted, an exchange rate which is supposedly ‘market-driven’, will offer false hope to our elite while it grumbles about the tough measures of the IMF’. 

There has also been a suggestion to rethink Pakistan’s approach towards India and focus more on geo-economics. Shahzad Chaudhry, a prominent strategic commentator, in an opinion piece published in Express Tribune praised India’s foreign policy for managing to balance ties between the US and Russia, in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis. While praising India for having been able to strike a balance he dubbed this as diplomatic coup. Chaudhry also said that Pakistan should rethink its foreign policy vis-à-vis India and focus on ‘geo-economics’.

Pakistan PM, Shehbaz Sharif in an interview to Al Arabiya TV (a Dubai based channel) had himself stated that Pakistan could not afford another war with India and had also alluded to his willingness to resume talks (The Pakistan PMO however said that Pakistan would only resume talks with India if the latter reversed the decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir).

In conclusion, while Pakistan clearly has its task cut out if it is able to realize the pitfalls of excessive dependence upon external countries will it be able to put its economy firmly back on track. It is also important for Pakistan to strengthen economic ties with neighbours in South Asia rather than looking at the outside world. For this it will require Pakistani leaders to think out of the box.

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Guangdong special economic zones at China

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Guangdong Province in southern China is distinguished by the economic development. The sign been approached by “Made In Guangdong” is becoming so famous globally, besides the Guangdong industries and its unique culture.

  Guangdong represents one of the most important provinces of China for a number of political, economic, social and natural reasons. Indications of the success of the openness experiment pursued by China since the late seventies of the last century are evident in it.

Guangdong special economic zones have made great achievements. As the province with the largest economic output in China, south China’s Guangdong Province has achieved tremendous economic development in the past 40 years, thanks to the establishment of special economic zones.

 According to my information, the Guangdong region has established the “Zhuhai Doumen” intelligent manufacturing economic development zone recently, after the Guangdong Provincial Government officially approved the establishment of the “Zhuhai Doumen intelligent manufacturing economic development zone”, which will implement the existing provincial-level economic development zone policy.  It is the third regional economic development zone in “Zhuhai” after “Foshan Industrial Park and Liangang Industrial Zone”.

 Guangdong Province is an economic powerhouse in southern China, and the province will promote high-quality development this year by fostering new engines of growth and strengthening cooperation and communication in the regions of (Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay) to deepen reform and opening up.

 Guangdong Province, a major part of China’s foreign trade and industrial hub, accounts for about one-tenth of China’s GDP and is the largest of all Chinese provinces.

 Guangdong Province pays close attention to the progress of China’s modernization and the overall picture of reform and opening-up and major national strategic planning. It firmly attaches importance to the reform and opening-up policy by strengthening cooperation between the province and the “Hong Kong and Macao” regions, aligning the development of Guangdong with the “Northern Metropolis” plan of Hong Kong and the economic diversification strategy of Macao, implementing the “Greater Bay Area Connection” project in a more in-depth way, and working with “Hong Kong and Macao” together to build a world-class bay area, injecting vigor and strong impetus into its modernization efforts”.

 It Is remarkable that most of the cities of Guangdong Province are crowded with visitors from all over the world, especially Arabs and Africans, who come to them for the purpose of trade and search for investment. The province is considered one of the regions characterized by the diversity of its industries, quality and attractive prices, as well as commercial activities in various fields.

 It Is also distinguished by the beauty and sophistication of its buildings, which embody the aesthetics of modern Chinese architecture, as well as the spread of green spaces and vibrant squares throughout the day. It is also distinguished in terms of weather, with its atmosphere that resembles the tropical atmosphere with heavy rain, and the various cities of Guangdong Province are also characterized by easy access to it from different parts of the world throughout the day, as well as ease of movement between its various cities, thanks to the presence of an infrastructure that makes most of the cities of the province at the forefront of attractive cities for investment globally.

  Due to the existence of the commercial ports, Guangdong has a long experience in terms of commercial exchanges regionally and globally.

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