Tracking Your Competition With Google Reader

A great tool in your arsenal to keep track of you competition is Google Reader. If you are not aware, Google Reader is an RSS reader that allows you to read RSS feeds. An RSS feed (also known as Really Simple Syndication) is an xml file format used by web publishers to advise their audience where frequently updated works are involved—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio or video. We even use it on our website. See our RSS feed here. You can easily subscribe to an RSS Feed at most major sites by looking for RSS feed Icon ( ) and clicking on it. But what are you to do if there is no RSS feed on the site you want to track changes on? Unfortunately, the only solution is the time consuming  practice of  checking a site every time you wanted to see if something changed.

Now Google has unveiled a game changer that makes Google Reader a lot more powerful. This new feature gives anyone the ability to monitor changes to Web sites that lack RSS feeds. What does this mean? In markets where RSS feeds are not standard for websites,  for example in the B2B market, you can put any competitor Web site into Google Reader and updates will appear anytime a change or addition is made to a particular web page.

Google will create a custom snippets showing page changes (like below-click image to enlarge) that will allow you to quickly decide if the information is of interest.

As you can see, this is a powerful tool for keeping tabs on your competition when they do not offer an RSS feed. However, because this tool is so powerful, Google has offered a way for web publishers to opt-out of tracking. Nevertheless if some of your competitors opt-out Google Reader is still a quick, easy way to stay on top of your industry and trends. And of course, we also hope you will add us to your list by subscribing to our feed found here.

**** Google has discontinued this. We recommend you looking at Firefox Mozilla Add-On Update Scanner****

Adrian Speyer

About The Author: Adrian has over 12 years experience in Digital Marketing and Analytics. He currently works as a Marketing Manager at Vanilla Forums, a modern forum software platform that allows clients to connect and engage their communities and customers. He lives and works in Montreal.

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