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Measuring Keyword Competition


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#46 memmert

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 12:35 AM

When I ran through the relevancy exercise, I realize that the only keyword phrases that will be "relevant" therefore the right traffic are either in this state or surrounding states.

Maybe it would help if I gave a concete example. One of the words identified in the brainstorming session was chest pain. So, I ran a query in Wordtracker on chest pain. What I get back for chest pain is different versions of chest pain (adding s, capitailization differences, etc.) ranging in 11-886 searches with anywhere from 100,000 to over a 1M competing sites. Now I know that
all of those sites aren't truly competitors- I'd have to do the query in Google to figure out which ones really have it in their title tags, but my goal is not to have everyone who needs to know about chest pain come to the web site. My goal is to have people who live in Atlanta or Georgia for that matter or neighboring states who might be doing searches to educate themself on chest pain- what to do about it, where to get treated- basically to provide this web site as a resource for information on chest pain and potentially have those people then become patients. When I do a search in Wordtracker on "chest pain Altanta" or even "cardiologists Atlanta" I get nothing. So how do I need to think about this for SEO?

#47 DanThies

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 12:54 AM

First of all, and I mention this in my guide as well, is that you don't want to consider the geography when you're thinking about relevance. Wordtracker doesn't have enough data to show you useful counts for a search term plus a local modifier.

Just because you only serve the Atlanta area, that doesn't mean you shouldn't target relevant search terms, as long as you realize you're going to get traffic from local searches that include localizing words like "Atlanta."

In this specific case, you have to assume that people aren't searching for "chest pain Atlanta." They might go looking for information on chest pain, but they probably aren't going to add the name of their city.

If you want to build an information portal, I would encourage you to do that, in cooperation with other physicians, and you may not want to make it "local." Put your content onto the site, invite others to do so as well. A directory of cardiologists, with your site as a premier listing for the state of Georgia, and for Atlanta, would bring in traffic, if you can incorporate it into an information resource. Offering premium (paid) directory listings, and using Adsense or other advertising to generate revenue, can pay for a resource like this. You may even be able to find a partner to put it together and manage it, in exchange for a share of the revenue.

For this kind of local targeting, pay per click can be very cheap and effective. If you use Google Adwords, you can target your ads specifically at Atlanta, and bid the minimum (5 cents) on all of your search terms. This will bring visitors to your site from the local area, whether it's for an information resource (which you would advertise under terms like "chest pain" or for services (which you would advertise under terms like "cardiologist").

#48 DanThies

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 12:59 AM

Just a quick note to clarify that last bit on Adwords. Your listing on Adwords goes higher on the page if you have a high click-through rate. Targeting Atlanta specifically, you will get a higher click-through rate because you have a local resource, which means a lower bid will still end up in a high position on the search results.

#49 memmert

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 01:04 AM

Thanks so much. This is SO incredibly helpful.

#50 BrianR

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Posted 12 February 2004 - 11:31 AM

Again, correct me if I'm wrong, memmert, but it seems that your client is a cardiologist based in Atlanta.

If it was me, I'd also be optimising for more specific keyword combinations such as 'angina treatment atlanta' or 'heart problems doctor georgia' and the like. If you brainstorm with a few people, you'll be amazed at the terms they use for a search query!

Sure, the numbers might be small, but the enquiries from such search terms would be 100% relevant, thus yielding a much higher conversion to sale. And if you optimise lots of those little-used relevant terms, the traffic can really begin to add up.

Just my tuppence worth...

BrianR

#51 mal4mac

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 07:13 AM

KEI is interesting, but it seems to me like a slightly blunt instrument. For instance, you can have the same KEI for a high count/high competition site and a low count/low competition site. A key question is: when is there too much competition?

By poking through the excellent articles on the Wordtracker site I found a suggestion that the average Joe Seo should aim for competition < 1000 with a good KEI. Do you guys think this is a good suggestion? I have had success with this approach, finding that I did not need to even bother with backlinks to get on page 1 in many cases.

What is the lowest count worth bothering with? I guess 1 visit a day is...er an extra visitor each day, which is no bad thing. BUT Wordtracker can only reveal what has happned in the last six months, and even then only approximately. So when it SAYS 'you will have 2 visitors a day', who knows? From now, on it could be 0 visitors a day.

I guess common sense needs to be applied. You find very strange phrases getting low counts. I guess someone repeatedly searched for the phrase in Dogpile on an off day, and no one ever will again!

#52 DanThies

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 12:40 PM

By poking through the excellent articles on the Wordtracker site I found a suggestion that the average Joe Seo should aim for competition < 1000 with a good KEI. Do you guys think this is a good suggestion?

I recommend ignoring KEI entirely. Look for the best targeted search terms, and then evaluate whether or not you can compete.

The "small count" keywords on Wordtracker are very suspect. A count of 1 means that it was searched once in the past two months between Dogpile/Metacrawler. That's not a lot to go on.

#53 mal4mac

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 08:07 AM

I agree completely, and I am not basing any pages on such low count keywords. But if a low count key phrase has little or no competition and fits nicely in the context of a page then why not include it once in the body text? Then, if anyone searches for the phrase, you will be found.

#54 DanThies

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 10:15 AM

If you even include all of the words in the phrase somewhere on the page, you'll be found. Those low count terms are often helpful in identifying individual words that might be part of a search.

#55 btreloar

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 10:51 AM

As the topic is the competitiveness of a particular keyword phrase . . . and as I'm a firm believer in the KISS principal . . . I'm trying to come up with a simple, single numerical evaluation that I can discuss with my clients.

SEO Research Labs used to use something called CI (Competition Index) but I believe they've found that recent algorithm changes have made it less relevant.

The task before me (and perhaps some others in this thread) is to come up with a replacement scale that will reflect the overall competitiveness of a keyword phrase.

How would you treat the following factors -- multiply them? Apply some weighting to some?:
allintitle count
allintitle "exact phrase" count
inanchor count
Alexa ranking
top 10 average PageRank

I'm also thinking (partly-baked idea here) that some kind of overall suitability ranking out to be achievable by factoring in an estimated relevancy percentage and the WordTracker frequency along with a measure of the factors listed above.

How nice it would be to be able to rank keywords on a single suitability index! I suspect the old admonition about "if it sounds too good to be true ..." applies here, though.

Any thoughts on this?
Bill

#56 Sharon & Roy

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 01:51 PM

[quote name='btreloar' date='Apr 1 2004, 08:51 AM']As the topic is the competitiveness of a particular keyword phrase . . . and as I'm a firm believer in the KISS principal . . . I'm trying to come up with a simple, single numerical evaluation that I can discuss with my clients.
[/quote]

Hi Bill,

Simple is best.

[quote name='btreloar' date='Apr 1 2004, 08:51 AM']The task before me (and perhaps some others in this thread) is to come up with a replacement scale that will reflect the overall competitiveness of a keyword phrase.

How would you treat the following factors -- multiply them? Apply some weighting to some?:
allintitle count
allintitle "exact phrase" count
inanchor count
Alexa ranking
top 10 average PageRank
[/quote]

This is NOT simple.

It is complex and completely useless.

[quote name='btreloar' date='Apr 1 2004, 08:51 AM']I'm also thinking (partly-baked idea here) that some kind of overall suitability ranking out to be achievable by factoring in an estimated relevancy percentage and the WordTracker frequency along with a measure of the factors listed above.
[/quote]

Once again, utterly useless.

[quote name='btreloar' date='Apr 1 2004, 08:51 AM']Any thoughts on this?
[/quote]

Yes, our thoughts are to keep it simple.

If we ask you these questions, how would you answer it Bill.

If you are optimizing a page would you include your primary keyword phrase in the HTML Title Element (AKA Title Tag)?

If other people are optimizing a page would you think that they would include their primary keyword phrase in the Title Tag?

We will assume that your answer is yes to both questions.

Then the simplest way to measure the number of competing pages for a specific keyword phrase is to use the < intitle: > syntax like this ...

[quote]intitle:"search engine optimization"

http://www.google.co.....optimization"

Results 1 - 10 of about 207,000
[/quote]


[quote]intitle:"search engine optimization" intitle:"new jersey"

http://www.google.co.....22new jersey"

Results 1 - 10 of about 47
[/quote]


[quote]intitle:"search engine optimization" intitle:NJ

http://www.google.co.....n" intitle:NJ

Results 1 - 8 of about 9
[/quote]


Here's another example ...

[quote]intitle:"gift baskets"

http://www.google.co.....gift baskets"

Results 1 - 10 of about 517,000
[/quote]


[quote]intitle:"gift baskets" intitle:"virginia"

http://www.google.co..."...:"virginia"

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,540
[/quote]


[quote]intitle:"gift baskets" intitle:VA

http://www.google.co.....s" intitle:VA

Results 1 - 10 of about 68
[/quote]

[quote]SEO TIP: Are you including your FULL Address on EACH of your pages? If not, add it NOW! Be prepared for Local Search.

QUESTION: When I optimize my pages for my location, which way is best, location at the beginning or location at the end? In other words, like this ... virginia gift baskets ... or like this ... gift baskets virginia?

ANSWER: Adding the location at the end is what we advise. Although, there are situations where it would be advantageous to add the location to the beginning. This would almost have to be determined on a case by case situation. In-depth keyword research and analysis will show you which is most advantageous. Also keep in mind that you will usually receive a different set of search results for each query and of course, ranking well for both is in your best interest.
[/quote]

Your Friends,

Sharon and Roy Montero

#57 jaycee33

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Posted 02 April 2004 - 04:15 AM

I just tried the allintitle search for a competitive 3 word phrase and although the initial search on Google showed 602,000 results, the allintitle for the phrase only showed 124!! BUT I was surprised that the top 10 for the allintile search was NOT similar to the top 10 for the standard search on that phrase. There were only 3 results which were the same for both. I presume from this that the Title isnt that important to Google? I am fairly new to this, so no flames please!!

#58 bkernst

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Posted 02 April 2004 - 04:28 AM

The title is one of many factors that influences the ranking.
IT does have some importance, and you don't actually want to have soemthing else in the title than what your page is about, since the title is shown in the search results. I have had some success with pages where the searched phrase is in the title and content.

Bernhard

#59 DanThies

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Posted 02 April 2004 - 06:44 AM

Google has become sort of a special case when it comes to optimization, but the idea of using basic SEO principles to determine the level of competition is still sound.

We use Google to do "intitle" and "inanchor" searches because Google offers those search features, not because we think Google is the only search engine. The answers you get from Google with these searches will apply to competition on all search engines.

When you count pages with the search term in the title, that will tell you something about how many folks are out there trying to get ranked. When you add in the anchor text search, that tells you something about how many folks are trying real hard to get ranked.

Bill, if you want to pick "just one number" I would say that the number of results for "intitle:phrase" is the single best measurement of the level of competition right now.

I don't think one number is possible, though. You also have to consider the link popularity (search "link:domain") of the top sites, and possibly the saturation (number of pages indexed) for the top sites (search "site:domain").

We've got a very rough tool right now that uses the Google API to pull out some of these competition metrics, but it uses too many searches in its current state, so many that using it for a single keyword report would exhaust our daily allowance.

Once we get Alexa's paid data feed integrated (they provide a count of Google backlinks for a site, which is one of the main things that eats up searches) then we'll have something.

If anyone is interested in seeing our competition metrics system as a public resource (bring your own API key), let me know. Maybe we'll do that if there's interest.

#60 qwerty

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Posted 02 April 2004 - 08:02 AM

If anyone is interested in seeing our competition metrics system as a public resource (bring your own API key), let me know.

Consider yourself let known. Sounds very useful. :applause:




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