Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Using Search Engine Optimization For Intelligence Analysis

SEO Analysis Now - A Site For Using SEO in Intelligence Analysis
Rated: 4 Stars out of 5

As a final requirement of this course, I had to research and report findings on an analytical technique of my choosing. In addition, I had to test-out and apply the technique in order to reveal its true strengths and shortcomings; as well as come up with a how-to guide to use the technique. For my project, I chose to conduct a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Analysis on the Websites of two popular coffee shops, Starbucks (which is well established) and Caribou Coffee (which is slowly gaining popularity) and reflect on how this process can be applied to Competitive Intelligence (CI), to Law Enforcement Intelligence (LEI), or to the National Security sector. I chose SEO not only because it is an emerging analytical process and can be useful to intelligence analysts, but also because I found it quite intriguing and fun.

SEO provides a way to gain insight into a Website’s audience.

If we know who an audience is (age, gender, ethnicity, education, affluence, etc), how they behave (what other Websites, or types of Websites, they visit), from where they log on, when they visit, and what other sites direct their traffic (as well as what their general interests are), then we can make assessments and predictions about how to either promote their behavior (steering them toward a particular site – useful for CI & marketing purposes) or how to counter that behavior (keeping them away from sites – useful for LEI & N’tl Sec purposes).

For more detailed information about how SEO can be used for Intel analysis, please check out my project:

SEO Analysis Now - A Site For Using SEO in Intelligence Analysis

(The image below is a geographical search index comparison of online users searching for Caribou Coffee [left] and Starbucks [right]. Images provided by Google Insights for Search)

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