Choosing the right keywords can deliver you unlimited traffic to your website. The key of course is choosing the right keywords. Last week we found keywords that have good profit potential. This week we are looking into the competition to see how hard it is to rank well for our keywords.
First we will discus how to find out the level of competition, if your marketing channel is SEO. Competition strength depends on many factors of which the main ones are:
Number of competing websites The majority of people estimate the competitiveness of a keyword based on the number of sites that are indexed in Google for the search term (in our case weight loss pills): It would already be better if you put your search term in quotes to only take into account the exact search terms. But the best way is to search using: allintitle: “keyword phrase”. This gives you the number of websites that are actively targeting this exact keyword phrase for their search engine optimization: As you can see the number of competing sites we are facing is far less – … It is still a high number and I would not consider this a “golden profit” keyword for my SEO marketing channel. In general, any keyword phrase with less than about 1,000 competing websites would be ok to target. Keep searching until you find keywords that fall within these guidelines.
PageRank (PR), number of indexed pages, website age of the competing sites. We can easily collect these paramaters by using SEOQuake while we perform our Google searches. The most important parameters to watch for are the page rank (for Google searches), number of indexed pages and website age of the competing sites. If you don’t have SEOQuake installed yet, you may want to read …., where the installation is described. If the PR of the websites on the first page of the search results are 4 or higher, it can be tough to rank well for that keyword in Google. This is not as much an issue in the other search engines, who don’t use PR. Just as with the PR, the higher the number of indexed pages and the older the website, the harder it will be to compete with them.
Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) Now that we have a better indication of the number of competitors, we need to determine how attractive this keyword is by comparing it to the number of times people search for our phrase. The monthly searches will tell us whether to expect a lot of traffic if we rank high or not. The parameter that expresses the relationship between competitor sites and monthly searches is the “Keyword Effectiveness Index”.
The formula by which KEI is calculated is M2/C, where M equals monthly key phrase searches and C equals the number of competitor sites in Google using exact match (in quotes) searches. The higher KEI the more popular the keyword phrase and the less competition.A great source to collect these numbers is WebCEO. They have a free keyword tool that gives you competitor sites, key phrase searches and KEI in one search.
Number of incoming links As we have discussed several times backlinks are very important to rank high in the search engines. This is the last aspect of our competitor analysis. The more links your competition has the harder it will be to beat them for the first page in the search engines. To find out how many backlinks your competitor has, you can start out with Yahoo Site Explorer.
We already saw above that weight loss pills is a very competitive keyword phrase. The link analysis confirms this. I use as a rule of thumb that if a competitor has no more than 1000 backlinks, ?they are worth pursuing, provided the other parameters are favorable also. That is all for the search engine channel. This is the most laborious of the channels. As a matter of fact the other channels don’t involve much of anything, where it comes down to competitor analysis.
For PPC, we need to look primarily at three parameters. The first one is the monthly search volume as discussed above. The second parameter is Cost Per Click (CPC). The higher the CPC the stiffer the competition. For PPC the trick is to find keyword phrases with a low CPC and a high search volume.The last parameter is the number of ads Google shows for your keyword phrase. If you find a phrase that has less than 8 ads showing, you have an opportunity to advertise at low cost. After all, you will by definition be in the top 8 ads (simply because there are not any more than 8). Obviously, this is only relevant if there is an interest in this keyword phrase, which should be clear from the monthly searches number. Once you find a phrase that you believe might be good, you need to test, test and test.
For article marketing, competitive analysis is not nearly as important as with the other two channels. First of all, when you weigh the time to do the analysis versus the time it takes to write an article, you will probably conclude most of the time that writing an article is much faster than doing all the research. In other words, once you find keyword (phrases) that have potential (step 2 in our process), you are better off just writing an article around this topic. I find myself simply checking how many competitor websites there are, and than just write the article.