eCommerce is one of the most saturated corners of the internet, with around 26 million active eCommerce sites available to consumers worldwide. As a result, startups must be able to stand out from the competition. To do this, websites must appeal to the right audience and provide exactly what visitors need to reduce bounce rates.
There are several ways that website owners can go about improving their offerings to meet the needs of consumers. One way is to use OSINT to further understand your website and visitors. In this article, we will take a look at what OSINT is and how it could benefit your business in 2023.
What is OSINT?
OSINT stands for “Open Source Intelligence,” which refers to the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information obtained from publicly available sources. OSINT can include information gathered from sources such as social media, online news articles, public government documents, and other publicly available sources of information.
OSINT is often used by various organizations, including intelligence agencies, law enforcement, businesses, and individuals, to gather information for intelligence and security purposes. It is a valuable tool for gaining insights into various subjects, including potential threats, competitors, or general market trends.
Traditionally, OSINT was used by government sectors and financial companies to conduct investigations. The process has become an increasingly popular tool for commerce businesses that use OSINT to gather data about website visitors and conduct competitor analysis.
How is OSINT conducted?
OSINT is conducted by gathering information from publicly available sources, which can include various types of data such as:
Social media: Information gathered from various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Online forums and discussion boards: Information collected from online discussion boards and forums, such as Reddit or Stack Overflow.
News articles: Information gathered from various news sources, such as online news sites, TV news, or newspapers.
IP lookup tools: These tools can scan databases of IP addresses to provide data about website visitors.
Online databases: Information obtained from online databases such as search engines, academic research papers, or scientific journals.
Data visualization programs: These tools collect and analyze data that is found during the investigation.
The process of gathering OSINT involves conducting extensive research, analyzing data from multiple sources, and validating the accuracy and reliability of the information.
OSINT analysts use specialized tools and techniques to collect and analyze data from various sources, and they also rely on their knowledge and expertise to draw insights and conclusions from the data. The process of OSINT is continuously evolving as new sources of information emerge, and new tools and techniques are developed to gather, analyze, and disseminate information.
Why is OSINT important for businesses?
The data provided by OSINT could help your business to develop a competitive edge by providing insight into your competitors, the type of people that visit your site, and data sets that would remain otherwise unknown. This could help you to develop a data-driven strategy.
A large amount of data is kept out of reach- accessing this could put you ahead of the business competition. The use of OSINT by large corporations is rapidly growing. Therefore, smaller businesses must follow suit so that they are not left behind.
How can startups use OSINT to their benefit?
As we have already established, OSINT isn’t just for large corporations. Startups and smaller businesses could also benefit from using OSINT. OSINT analysis requires specialized tools. Typically, these investigations are conducted by OSINT experts that have been trained in using advanced analysis tools and methods of data collection.
For startups on a budget, hiring a third-party OSINT specialist can be very expensive.
Luckily, there are several easy-to-use OSINT tools that startups could use to begin their investigation in-house.
Here are a few helpful tools that could be used by startups to implement OSINT analysis.
IP lookup tools
One of the best tools to use for website OSINT is an IP look tool. IP lookup tools allow businesses to learn more about their website visitors by gathering and scanning IP addresses. IP addresses contain a plethora of data about web users including their location and their ISP. This can be used by businesses to understand where visitors are coming from. IP lookup tools can also be used to detect fraudulent activity by scanning databases of blacklisted IP addresses and comparing these to the addresses that visit your site.
If you are looking to conduct analysis in-house, IP lookup tools are great. It is easy to learn how to use the tool and once set up, the tool will run in the background of your operations to gather data.
For more information, take a look at this in-depth IP lookup guide by SEON.
UserSearch is a free-to-use research tool that can gather data from social media platforms and websites around the globe. The platform offers a comprehensive range of services, including email, forum, and cryptocurrency user lookups, as well as searches for users on dating and adult websites. Additionally, it can analyze a web page and extract all the emails listed on that page.
Competitor research tools
If you want your website to outperform the competition, it is important to understand how your competitors are performing and the gaps that exist between your content and theirs. You can find this information by using competitor research tools like SEMRush. This tool will conduct a full audit of competitor websites to provide useful market insight.
Malware detector tools
One important aspect of OSINT that shouldn’t go overlooked is detecting malware or viruses that may be harming your website performance. If these issues go unresolved, they can significantly impact your chances of beating the market competition.
Luckily, there are numerous tools available that can be used by startups to detect malicious content. Many of these tools are free to use and will take just a few minutes to scan your website. The best tools will also provide advice for resolving any issues that are detected.
OSINT is the process of gathering valuable data that could help you to outperform the market competition. While the process was traditionally used by large corporations, law enforcement and finance, it can now be used by startups to improve business performance. A good place to start is to download a handful of easy-to-use OSINT tools and gather data in-house. As your business grows, you may want to outsource OSINT to a trained expert.