Digging in the nooks and crannies...

One of my responsibilities is keeping people informed about when my competitors change their webpages. Which seems like a simple enough job until you realize we're profiling 32 different competitors and each one has an average of about 350 web pages, which translates into monitoring more than 11,000 pages.

There are many ways to track these changes; I was a big fan of Watchthatpage for over a year and you can't beat the price (free), but they were recently off-line for nearly a month, which is a great time to cue the audience: "You get what you pay for."

Copernic provides another way of doing this.

Point being, there are many cheap ways to do this, but one of the questions I always ask is if I've found all the pages on a website. As a former web developer, I know that many (most?) websites have orphaned pages - public existing pages, which aren't necessarily linked to anything. You can find them if you nail your search perfectly, but we all know how hit and miss that is.

For that reason, I'm a big fan of Yahoo's newest tool, which helps you see a list of every indexed page on a given URL. I've already found half a dozen "orphan" pages, including a pricelist (one of the Holy Grail markers of CI).

Another use for this tool is to get a feel for how dedicated (or not) your competitors are to their web strategy. When one of your competitors has 40 times the pages of another, that means something.

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