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Measuring Keyword Competition


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175 replies to this topic

#1 DanThies

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 09:52 PM

Just a few quick hits on the topic - hopefully some of you will have something to add.

Wordtracker's "competition search" doesn't really give you any idea of the level of competition. All it gives you is the total matches for an exact phrase search. A lot of those "competitors" aren't even trying.

To eliminate the "accidental competitors" and figure out who you're really competing with, try these instead:

First, the very least someone would do to optimize would be to include all the words in the page title. To find out how many there are, do an "allintitle:" search on Google. For a 3-word search phrase, your query on Google will look like this:
allintitle:keyword1 keyword2 keyword3

Second, you can narrow that search down to pages that have the exact search phrase in the title, as a phrase:
allintitle:"keyword1 keyword2 keyword3"

That tells you roughly how many are trying to compete with you. Now let's see how many are competing on "off page" factors as well. To do this, you want to know how many of the pages with the phrase in the title, also have the phrase in the text of inbound links:
intitle:"search phrase" inanchor:"search phrase"

Now, let's see how many incoming links the top ranked sites actually have. You may need to match their counts, or get higher quality links, in order to compete.
You can look at 'em with the Alexa toolbar installed, and it will show you, or you can do a "link:domain" search on Google. Don't just look at the links to the ranked page, because interior pages will show few links. It's also a good idea to look at their link popularity on other search engines.

Don't forget that the competition doesn't sit still. If you've installed the Alexa toolbar, check the traffic rankings of the top 10 sites while you're at it. If they're a lot busier than your site, consider the possibility that they may have more resources available for content development, link building, etc. You can also check Alexa rankings at http://www.alexaranking.com, but I have no idea if they got permission etc.

#2 BrianR

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Posted 24 January 2004 - 06:35 PM

Thanks, Dan - sounds good to me. I'm researching competition for a new client next week, so I'll give it a whirl.

Cheers - BrianR

#3 BrianR

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 05:55 PM

Well Dan - I feel like a voice in the wilderness! Maybe we need to SEO this thread a bit to get your good advice noticed by other forum members!

BrianR

#4 DanThies

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 06:27 PM

:lol: I guess we'll be the only ones with this super secret inside information on search engine optimization positioning high rankings. Is the thread optimized yet?

#5 Scottie

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 07:02 PM

LOL- Great info, as always Dan! Weekends are usually a lot quieter and everyone's attention seems to be held by the new Google update thread -Gladys- as there are currently 14 people viewing it!

#6 qwerty

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 07:09 PM

Gladys?? I heard it was called Austin -- new year, new set of names you know.

Very good advice, Dan. An excellent step-by-step method for working your way up to the real competitors.

#7 Scottie

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 07:15 PM

We are calling it Gladys. :lol:

#8 qwerty

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 07:22 PM

So be it, but I won't. That's what my high school band teacher called me, so it would feel a little odd :lol:

#9 Scottie

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 07:24 PM

ROFL! :lol:

My high school band teacher called me Qwerty, but I'm past it now...

#10 Dyan

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 08:16 PM

You mention the Alexa rankings. Are they important? And what are they based on? And if they are important, how to I get my site that nifty picture and description?

The reason that I ask, it that I checked a couple of sites and found some strange (as in unexpected and difficult to believe) results.

#11 torka

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:19 PM

Dyan, IIRC, the Alexa rankings are based on the number of visits to a site by people who have the Alexa toolbar installed. Dunno how "important" they are in the overall scheme of things. Guess that would depend on what you mean by "important" and by answering the question -- "important for what?"

You can find out more about how to get the Alexa traffic stats box (if that's what you're talking about) by checking out the Alexa website. You'll find the stuff you're looking for under Webmaster Services. :)

It's my understanding that the population of people who have the toolbar installed tends to be weighted toward webmaster-type people, so the results are sometimes skewed toward sites that are of interest to webmasters.

I'm also given to understand that if you install the toolbar yourself and make it a habit to visit your own page often enough (perhaps recruit a few friends to do the same) you can get a reasonably decent showing in Alexa without too much trouble. I haven't tried this myself, because I don't have the toolbar installed.

MHO, "abnormalities" you saw in the results would probably result either from the natural weighting toward webmaster-oriented sites, or from a deliberate campaign by somebody (sombodies) with the toolbar installed.

HTH! :)

--Torka :)

#12 lepp

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 11:02 AM

Dan - Thanks for posting the information. I'm still learning a lot and those are very useful tips. Keyword competition is something that I've been wondering about lately and here's the information I need.

I just want to know how you guys seem to know exactly what I need to know and when I want to know it and then post it without any prompting from me. It's getting kinda spooky. I may have to go back and read that conspiracy theory thread again. ;)

Thanks,
Lucia

#13 Paul J

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 12:48 AM

Good info, Dan. I'm gonna' test out the intitle and inanchor: "search phrase". :cheers: I use the allintitle: quite a bit and find it really effective. I've only tried that on Google, however. One thing I don't know, do different SE's utilize the allintitle, or if they do, is it phrased differently at all?

The only thing I could add is for anyone who does PPC. For instance, one can have a campaign with 30 different phrases at the same CPC. Some phrases will appear at an average of 3, some will appear at 12. The ones that appear at 12 "generally" have higher competition.

With that said, I suppose some people rely almost solely on PPC, and some people do not use it at all. This sure doesn't measure exact "natural" optimization, but it's another thing I keep in mind.

My opinion only,

Paul

#14 DanThies

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 04:46 AM

If it costs money to get PPC rankings, there *will be* competition in the organic listings, even if it's not there today. PPC is a great indicator, because it tells you what keywords are the most coveted.

#15 Ruud

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 02:00 AM

Oooh! That sounds like a new geek setup I'm gonna try! Thanks!

In this post Torka writes:

The "KEI" numbers in WordTracker aren't really the best way to guage the level of competition...


As someone who fell into SEO accidently by using WordTracker and very successfully optimizing his personal site for a specific search phrase I'm very interested in how you view/weight the KEI-feedback at WordTracker.

Ruud




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