I’ve learned a lot in the last week about how to find keyword competition. Before this, I thought it was simply a matter of looking at your tool and checking out the number of competitors (Quoted Search Results). No. This is far too simplistic and ignores the relative STRENGTH of the competition.
I honestly hadn’t even thought about competition in this way before. Now that I know this, I realize why some killer keywords I’d found weren’t getting me anywhere.
Keyword Reseach Tools – the Basics
Firstly, each tool has different indicators to help decipher the competitiveness of the keyword. I tend to use the Wealthy Affiliate Keyword Tool, simply because I am a Wealthy Affiliate member and it comes free with my membership. I also really like to use Jaaxy, but I’m still using the free version there. Why not test out Jaaxy and follow along?
In the Wealthy Affiliate Keyword Tool, to view “Competition”, we have to click View Result. A box pops up and Google runs a search and the number that appears is our “Quoted Search Result” or number of pages that specifically use the keyword we are targeting.
Here is an image to make things a bit easier to understand:
Notice that this is the title of this blog post. A QSR of 9 is excellent! You’d think it would make it easy to rank for, right?
Sadly that’s not the whole picture. You can’t just go off the bare numbers. You have to look at the strength of your competition. I’ve been told many times now that outranking an e-commerce site is very difficult. It will be very tough to outrank an authority site of age, e-commerce and potentially Amazon. It could be that the reason your keyword appears to have low competition numbers is because the strength of that competition is phenomenal.
What do you think, Google?
My next step is to see what pages appear on the first page of Google when I do a natural search for how to find keyword competition. And here it is:
A couple of ads (means it might be a profitable keyword) and several sites I need to analyze.
How to Analyze the Competition
This is a two step process.
- How well optimized is the page? Basically, what I’m looking for is how the keyword is being used. Does it appear in the url? In the title? In the description? When I use the keyword in my blog post, I’m going to do all three so I hopefully am in with a chance if the others aren’t.
- How strong is my competitors page and domain? I determine this by checking for their Page Authority and Domain Authority. This is very simple. I go to Open Site Explorer and pop in the URL. It then tells me the Page Authority, Domain Authority and age of the site. I have my fingers crossed for under 30. The lower the better.
Boo. The number one result has a Page Authority of 61. Never say never, but I don’t think I’m going to be out ranking that site any time soon.
A quick check of the first 10 sites and this keyword is pretty much a no go. Oh well. I’m writing it anyway because its a useful topic. It may not bring any visitors to my site specifically but its helpful.
Curveballs and Other Factors
Apparently, the click through rate a site gets for a keyword matters. If a site appears at number 3 or so, and gets no clicks for a particular keyword, Google will rethink its position as it is not meeting the user’s needs.
Apparently, content that is dated (such as blog posts, Facebook posts etc) is easier to outrank because Google sees it aging and not being updated.
It certainly pays to check out your competition for a keyword before committing to writing an article or a blog post about it. For me, I believe this is the missing piece of the puzzle. I’ve long enjoyed finding long tail keywords that seem to have low competition (QSR), but have never really understood why some keywords never succeed. This is why.
If you’re interested in learning more about keyword research, I would encourage you to jump onboard at Wealthy Affiliate. I’ve been going through the Live Video training recordings recently and when this topic popped up, I knew I had to watch it immediately. And you know what? There’s so much more for me to learn too!