Keyword Research: Analyzing the Keyword Competition

Posted on May 2 2015 - 9:46am by admin

 

how to check keyword competition

We’ve learned how to look for good niches ideas/keywords in our first part of my FREE Make Passive Income Online for Single Moms training course..

We’ve looked at the commercial intent of those keywords in the niche (people are spending money in this niche).

(if you haven’t read these articles yet, DO SO or you won’t understand any of this)

Now we need to find out how competitive it is to rank a (new) website in this niche; this is called finding out the keyword competition and applies to a specific keyword (for example, ‘best dog food‘) or a keyword niche (dog food).

What do I mean by ‘rank‘?

I mean this: your website will show up in google when someone types a keyword or keyword phrase.

Because we are looking at the search terms people are typing into google and we have those tools (Google Keyword Planner) that tell us information about the people who type those keywords in, we can guestimate if we can make money, should we create a website that ranks for those keywords / keyword niche we are looking at.

Why are we ONLY looking at Google search traffic? I mean the internet is a big place and there are other ways to get traffic that are not Google search based right?

Yes, but Google search traffic is the easiest and most reliable means of getting steady, money making traffic to your website.

You can certain go after Facebook, Pinterest, direct type in traffic, and other sources of traffic, but it’s often hard to make money from these sources and and you really need to know what you are doing if you are going after the social traffic demographic. SO we are ignoring this for now. This traffic can be very important as a means to diversify your traffic so it’s not just based on Google, but we’ll discuss this later.

Determining Keyword Competition in Your Niche

competitor-analysis-300x200

So we’ve found some niches that have good traffic, look like they are profitable, and have good commercial intent behind them.

Great. We can start making money.

Not so fast.

First you have to be able to RANK your website for that term.  And trying to rank your website is where the majority of your efforts will be spent.

You can choose niches that are very very difficult to rank for (years of effort) or you can choose niches that are very easy to rank for (weeks or months).

Personally, I prefer niches that are easy(er) to rank for so I can make money quicker.

(tough-to-rank-for niches can be rewarding, but usually not for beginners to this)

What you do not want to do is find a profitable niche with good commercial intent and immediately set up a website without checking how competitive that niche is.

You could inadvertently, by trying to rank your website for a challenging and competitive keyword, be trying to climb the digital equivalent of Mount Everest.

Sure you could rank, given enough time and resources and experience on your part, but it’s a LOT of work. And if you are a beginner (which I’m assuming about 99.98 percent of you reading this are), then you won’t be able to climb that specific mountain, not yet.

So. why not try climbing something more easily conquered instead. Something that you can make money with sooner rather than than at some distant time in a potential future? Once you start to make a bit of money, suddenly this whole make money on the internet thing will click, and you’ll believe it.

(I was skeptical until I made my very first dollar online. And then I saw the light and believed for the first time I really could make an income online)

That’s why we need to look at the keyword competition. And iff the niche is not very competitive then you have the green light to go forward and build a site with a good deal of confidence that you can make money and make money within a reasonable amount of time.

Make sense?

Investigate the Competition of a Niche Not a Tiny Segment of the Niche

 

Note that when you do this keyword research,  you want to investigate the whole keyword niche NOT just a single long tail keyword in that niche. This will give you an idea how hard it will be to rank your site for many terms in the niche, not just a specific one that’s very narrow.keyword competition analysis

That means, you want to look the body keyword not necessarily the tail. Remember when I talked about dividing keywords into head, body, tail, and long tails (go HERE to read it again).

So that means check out the keyword competition for ‘pit bull food’ to see how competitive the whole NICHE is, rather than an ultra specific segment of that niche like ‘best pit bull food for allergies’.

There are some strategies out there where you only look at the keyword competition for a single very long tail keyword like ‘best dog food for pit bull allergies’ or ‘best android phones with big screen’. And yes, you can target these long tail keywords by running those keyword phrases through Steps 1-7, then setting up a website that is ONLY targeting say the keyword ‘best android phones with big screens’.

But I don’t recommend this strategy. It’s best to look at a more broad niche (body) when it comes to keyword competitiveness. If you can rank your site for a body keyword (say you rank for ‘pit bull food’), chances are you will automatically rank for the long tail keywords as well (such as ‘pit bull food for allergies).

By ONLY targeting long tails with your website and with your keyword research and your link building, you are really only setting yourself up to rank for a specific long keyword phrase, which means you may well not rank for the more broader, less general keywords in the niche.

So, target the niche itself with your competition research NOT the long tails in the niche. This will give you a better guesstimate for how hard it will be to rank in the niche, not a little segment of then niche.

To put everything together in steps 1-7, here’s a summary of what to look for and how to put it all together. Keep in mind this is all just research that helps you decide whether you should build a website about a topic or not. It’s not always 100 percent accurate, but it will give you a good feel for how much potential work you will have to do to rank for a keyword/niche

Step 1: Install Some Competition Analysis Tools into your browser

mozbar-seo-tools

The first thing you need to do is install some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools on your browser so you can, at a glance, determine how competitive a keyword might be.

There are a couple free tools you can use at the same time.

  • MozBar (for Google Chrome or Firefox)
  • SeoQuake

Grab one or BOTH of these tools and install them. I personally prefer MozBar, which I find more accurate (this is the tool I will be using for most of this tutorial). The actual information can vary between tools. I generally stick to one tool only when doing keyword competition research.

For the MozBar, you should create a free account on moz.com so the bar shows you MORE details. If you don’t, only some information will be shown.

Note: the two tools are a bit wonky when you have both installed and activated, so if you find the tools are not working, disabled ONE of them and refresh the page.

Once you install these tools, you should now see an overlay in your search results.

Here is MozBar once it’s been installed into my Chrome browser. You’ll see extra information under each Google search result (if you want to disable this information, you simply click a button to turn off the bar).

mozbar-upgrade

mozbar

 

Now when you install SeoQuake, another bar will appear:

 

info

 

Step 2: Check Page Authority and Domain Authority

These toolbars give us access to some key metrics that are critical for guesstimating how competitive a keyword might be.

We want to look at Page Authority, Domain Authority, Page Rank, Links and number of referring Domains

What is Page Authority

Remember that a website is (usually) made up of many pages with the homepage (http://example.com) as the root ‘Domain’ and a ‘page’ something else added on to that (http://example.com/this-is-a-page).

Page Authority is the ranking power of a single page on a website. It’s a general term SEO’s use, but in the context of this tutorial, we refer specifically to the MozBar’s PA (Page Authority) score.

page authority seo help

The more links from other websites to a page and the ‘stronger’ those links to a page are (the referring websites have strong Domain Authority) affects this score.

Page Authority is basically the SeoMoz calculation on how authoritative google considers a single page. The higher this number, the more ‘trust’ google has for this page. The Page Authority is probably the single most important metric you want to look at when determining how strong a competing website page is for a keyword term.

As Moz.com puts it:

Page Authority predicts the likelihood of a single page to rank well, regardless of its content. The higher the Page Authority, the greater the potential for that individual page to rank well in search results.

If the Page Authority number is high, that often means it will be difficult to outrank that page for that keyword term.

Page Authority can range from 0-100 with higher meaning the ranking page has more ‘ranking power’.

If you are looking to rank for keywords and you see low PA scores, this CAN be a good sign that you can rank for that term. It’s not the only sign to look at. I consider PA scores between 1-10 as very low, 10-20 as low, and 20-30 as medium. 30-50 as strong and 50+ as difficult. This is my own rule of thumb though — you have to look at OTHER metrics as well.

Such as Domain Authority.

What is Domain Authority

Besides Page Authority, Domain authority is another important metric to look at when doing keyword competition research. The Page Authority of a page can help a page rank for a keyword (it’s perhaps one of the most important ranking factors) but the Domain Authority of the site the page is on also makes an impact too.

Domain Authority metric refers to how authoritative a domain is. Like Page Authority, this number is calculated from a number of different things such as number of links to a domain, the domain authority of the linking domains, the page authority of the page (or domain) linking, the Page Rank, and so on.

Domain Authority is often a single you want to look at when you consider ranking for a whole niche, not just a keyword. For example, if you see a website that’s about a specific niche with a high Domain Authority score, that’s a sign that the website in that niche will be hard to outrank.

Domain Authority also can give a website a sort of carte blank to rank for MANY different keywords in a niche. Individual pages on a website with a strong Domain Authority score can often easily and quickly rank high in Google for those terms, even if those pages have a very low Page Authority score.

Now that we’ve looked at Page Authority and Domain Authority scores, we can use that information to access how competitive a keyword is to rank for.

What is Brand Authority

Unofficially, there is another ranking metric that’s visible when you do any search: this is the broad ranking ability google grants to brand name (websites).

I call this Brand Authority. It’s basically a sort of bank cheque authority google gives to websites with a very high Domain Authority score.  Typically the only sort of websites that can achieve this are…Brands

Yes, brand names.

Do a search for any keyword term and you’ll see what I am talking about. You will see well known websites that are not specifically tied to the niche ranking for keywords in a niche.

Here are some example brands you will often see ranking for anything and everything:

  • Amazon.com
  • HuffingtonPost.com
  • Forbs.com
  • Buzzfeed.com

Do any search and I’m sure you can see many more general brands ranking for terms. Don’t get too caught up in brand authority, but just know that it’s visible, it’s there, and it can be a powerful ranking affect. If you jump into a niche and you see a lot of brand names ranking for keyword terms, you will now know why. The good thing about brand authority is that IF it’s  a single page from a branded website that’s not specifically targeting your niche, you can easily outrank it. If that ‘brand’ is about the topic/niche/keyword, then it’s going to be tough to rank.

Use the MozBar Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) To Estimate Keyword Competitiveness

Now that you know what Page Authority and Domain Authority are, how can you use this information to gauge a keyword’s competitiveness?

Well, here’s the short version:

you simply type a keyword into google search and look at the search results that pop up. Pay attention to the top 10 results and the Page Authority, Domain Authority, and Link Count to that ranking page. To rank in a similar spot on the top 10 results, you will typically need to have a website or webpage that ends up with a similar Page Authority (PA) or Domain Authority (DA) or combination of both to rank. More specifically, you will need to look at the number of links to a page, and roughly get around the same amount or fewer (better) ones.

Now, this is NOT a hard and fast rule as there are other ranking signals taking into account like Content and Relevancy, Dwell Time, Brand Signals, Page Links, and perhaps Page Rank. So it is possible if your other ranking signals are very high to rank for a keyword or niche if your DA and/or PA signals are low/er than the rest.

To make this easier, I’ve given you 4 possible cases you will find when ONLY looking at PA and DA numbers/

1.High Domain Authority and High Page Authority

VERY BAD: Typically, it’s a big red flag if most of the results on a page have High DA and High PA. Trying to rank your website for the top 10 spots against websites like this will be challenging (usually).

2. Low Domain Authority and High Page Authority

BAD: This is typically not a good sign. It means the website page ranking for a keyword likely has a lot of links (and maybe good ones form high Domain Authority websites).  You can still rank for keywords that have websites like this occupying it, but expect a fight.

3. High Domain Authority but low Page Authority

NEUTRAL/GOOD: This is, usually, a positive signal. It means you will have to look at some other factors now to see if you can easily rank or not.

The webpage is ranking based on the actual domain authority. If you create a website with better content and can trigger positive ranking signals, you may be able to outrank it.

4. Low Domain Authority and Low Page Authority

Do you hear the sound of heavily trumpets? You should, because you’ve likely stumbled into a gold mine of a niche. Low DA and Low PA sites coming up for a keyword when you type it into Google is a sign you can easily rank a website for this term — and pretty quickly.

So ideally, you want to choose keywords that are #4 or #3. You can target #2 and #1 types if you have experience or you are willing to work your ass off on a single websites for a long time, but I recommend you look for #4 at first while you learn this stuff.

Step 5: Check Number of Backlinks to Page

The number of links to a page or domain is one of THE most important metrics for telling how hard or easy it will be to outrank that website page for the same spot in google search.

Using the MozBar tool, here is the number to look at:

finding links to domain seo

Once you’ve eyeballed the PA and DA numbers in Step 4, you can now see HOW the Page Authority number is achieved by looking at the number and type of links the page has.

What are Links?

Page links refer to the number of ‘links’ a page has. Those links can come from other pages on the same site or from other websites.

Page links are fundamentally how google determines how to rank websites.

How Links Determine the Ranking 

Each ‘link’ is essentially a vote for a website or webpage. The more ‘votes’ a website or webpage gets, the stronger an indication that website is important when it comes to specific topic. The more important google considers a website, the higher it is likely to rank it.

Now HOW google associates LINKS with CONTENT is a complicated question that only google knows, but we do know there are some signals:

  • anchortext links (the link text used in the link)
  • the type of site the link comes from (the more related in content a linking site is to the site it is linking to, the stronger the vote google gives the linked-to site for the topic)

A shoe website linking to another shoe website is a much stronger vote associating the linked-to website about the topic in question than say a dog website linking to a shoe website.

I don’t want to get too caught up in this sort of tech babble other than to say that links coming from websites about the same topic as your website are much stronger than links coming from websites that are not at all related to the topic.

Now there are really two things we can talk about when it comes to ‘links’: Quantity of links and Quality of links.

Between the two, quality is FAR more important. But the quantity can make a difference too, especially if they are from different websites and not all from just a few (more about this in the next section, referring domains).

But when you use a tool like MozBar, you only see the number of links (Quantity) at a glance.

With the MozBar or SeoQuake, we can easily tell how many links to a website page there is. Typically, the more links a page has, the more difficult it will be to rank your website / website page for the same position as the competition you are looking at.

To find the QUALITY, you will have to drill down into the data using some other tools.

Looking specifically at the links coming to a page or website is a huge part of keyword competition analysis and we will talk about this more later.

How to Use Number of Links to Estimate the Competitiveness

There is really no hard or fast rule here when judging how strong the competition is based on looking at the number of links.

In general, this holds true: the less links to a page there are, the LESS competitive that keyword is, and easier it will be for you to  rank for that similar position.

 

Typically if you see a website ranking for a keyword term and there are less than 10 links that’s a good sign. If there are 5 links even better, and if there are 0 links, that’s a very good sign. But to really get an accurate guess, you also need to look at the Referring Domains number (RD) as well, which we talk about in Step 6 below.

Note: the Domain Authority (DA) score highly impacts this calculation. You might very well see websites with 0 Links, low Page Authority score, but a high Domain Authority (DA) score. In this case, it’s the power of the domain authority that is allowing the webpage to rank. If this is the case, you can still rank for the term IF you get more links to the page, however.

Step 6. Check Number of Referring Domains

On MozBar you can get this information from the ‘RD’ number under the Page Authority (PA) section:

referring domains

SeoQuake has this information too, but they show ALL the referring domains to both the page and the domain. This, I prefer to use MozBar instead for this metric and not SeoQuake.

 

 

linking domains seo

 

 

What are Referring Domains

Simply the number of DIFFERENT websites linking to a website or website page. This is NOT the same as looking at the number of overall links (Step 5). Looking at the number of links just tells you the total number of links coming to a page.

But not all links come from different sources.

You might have say 100 links, but 99 links could come from one single website which means the referring domains would only be 2. We would say then that only 2 different websites are linking to that page (or domain) and in the real world, this really only means the website has 2 links and not 100 links pointing to it.

It’s generally well accepted in SEO circles that the more links coming from one website to another website, the less vote power each links holds. Hence, website A has 100 links pointing to website B, it’s likely that after a couple links, there is little  to no power behind the additional links.

How can you get a lot of links from one website?

Footer links, sidebar links (also called blogroll links) are the most common culprits

So, what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that when you just look at the total number of links (as in Step 5), the ‘real’ number of links could be much less. If you check the number of links to a site and find it has 1000 links but only 5 referring domains, that means the site really only has 5 links. And if you want to rank your website for that term, this could tell you that with 3-8 similar links, you might too be able to outrank that website.

The number of linking domains is one of the ranking signals google uses to determine whether website should rank for a keyword.The more diversity of referring domain links a website/page has, the STRONGER the Page Authority and Domain Authority it will have.

You can look at Referring domains linking to the root domain or referring domains linking to the individual page.

Both are important metrics.

  1. Links to Domain: You can look at the number of different domains linking to the DOMAIN itself (i.e. http://example.com) or to the Website Page itself (http://example.com/this-is-a-page). The number of referring domains to a domain (the main website itself) will give you an indication how strong the Domain Authority for that website is. This Domain Authority will boost how well the domain can rank any page for keywords in a niche.
  2. Links to Individual Page: You can also look at the number of different domains linking to an individual website page. This will give you an indication how ‘strong’ the Page Authority for that individual page is and thus how hard or easy it will be for you to outrank it.

What metric is more important?

Well, both are. But the Links to the individual page are more relevant for determining how easy or hard it will be to outrank that page.

How to Use Referring Domains to Determine Keyword Competitiveness

You first look at the number of links to a page (Step 5), then you look at the number of referring domains. The more important metric is the number of referring domains. If the links and the referring domains number is vastly different, then this is a positive sign. So always look at the Referring Domains when guessing how many links you may need to rank for a keyword when looking at competing site that ranks for that keyword.

If you only see a couple referring domains (between 0-5), this is a very good sign that you can likely rank your webpage for that term. If you see dozens or hundreds of referring domains to a page, then this is a good indication you are going to  really have to do some work to rank above that page for the target keyword.

Step 7: Investigate the Link Profile of the Competition

A website’s link profile is one of the most important things you can look at to determine how easy or hard it will be to rank for a keyword / niche.

If you’ve done Steps 2-6, you’ve looked at the following metrics:

  • Page Authority (PA)
  • Domain Authority (DA)
  • Number of Links
  • Referring Domains

then you need to look at the link profile of the top 10 websites on the google search results as the next step of research.

MozBar and SeoQuake give you metrics that you can eyeball and on a glance get a feel for how easy or hard it will be to rank for a keyword, but you also want to dig a bit deeper.

But these scores can actually be quite misleading.

It’s possible for websites to have high Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) scores by using spam or low quality links that will vanish in days, weeks or months. Sites that use low quality links to rank for keywords, however, rarely ever stay ranked for long — it’s only a matter of time before they lose their ranking and get banned from google.So if you look at a link profile and find the links are not good links, this may mean you can rank your website for that keyword.

Which is why you look at the Link Profile.

Now this basically means we are going to look at the QUALITY of links coming to a webpage.

Looking at the link profile of a competitor can give you an idea about what sort of links it will take to RANK your own website for that keyword. At the very least you have a bit of a benchmark to guestimate what you need to do to rank. It’s not always accurate (there are other ranking signals google uses that you can exploit to your advantage to shortcut your ranking), but it’s a good guestimate.

To do this, we can use one of the following websites to get this information.

Now all these sites will only show you limited information a limited number of times per day for free (you will need to pay money if you want full access), but you can get by on their free offering.

  • Moz.com (recommended as it’s FREE)
  • Href Site Explorer: https://ahrefs.com/site-explorer
  • Majestic SEO
  • Seokicks.de

For this tutorial, I’m going to use the MOZ tool because it’s free (you just need to register).

So let’s get down to business.

How to Use Site Explorer to Look at the Link Profile of Your Competition for a Keyword

 

1. Go to Site Explorer (or other similar tool)

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2. Put in a website URL from the Top 10 google search results for a keyword you are looking at 

(note, you will want to check out the top 3, the 5th, and maybe the 9th or 10th ranking sites on the page just to get an idea)’

 

using site explorer to do link profile

 

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3. Look at the Inbound Links

(Make sure you click on  Group by Subdomain so you see links grouped by unique websitse)

inbound links

 

4. Look at the Quality of the Links

 

how to use moz site explorer

You want to look at the overall quality of the links. The higher quality the links, the more difficult it will be to rank for this keyword.

From the link profile list, you can get a feel for the quality of the overall link profile by considering three factors:

  • Anchor Text
  • Page Authority of Link
  • Domain Authority of Link

Anchor Text

Anchor Text is very important when it comes to looking at links. IF the anchor text contains your the niche keywords you are targetting (or some variation of them), this is a much stronger link than a link with NO anchor text or anchor text that does not contain the keywords.

For example if we are looking at the keyword ‘best coffee machine’ and we look at the link profile of a site ranking on the top 10 results.

and we see many of the links contain:

  • ‘best coffee machine’
  • ‘coffee machine’
  • find a coffee machine
  • coffee
  • machines to brew coffee
  • top coffee machine

This indicates there are a lot of targeted links to that page and it will be more difficult to overtake that page in the search results.

Note, if the majority of the links have the EXACT or same keyword anchor text, this is a very strong sign that those are low quality spam links. If those links also have low Domain Authority and Page Authority, it’s even more suspect. If the site is being ranked by blackhat spam techniques, it likely won’t stay ranked for that keyword for long.

Page Authority of Links

There is also the Page Authority of the link. The higher the Page Authority, the better the quality of the link. If you see links with very high page authority links, this is a sign it will be difficult to overtake that page.

Domain Authority of Links

The domain authority is also important, though not as important as Page Authority. If there are a lot of high Domain Authority links, it can indicate there are strong websites linking to that page. Note that it’s possible to have strong Domain Authority links that are low quality such as:

  • comment links
  • forum links
  • article directory links
  • web 2.0 properties (ezinearticles.com, hubpages, squidoo.com, blogspot.com, etc)

This is why looking at the Page Authority is a more relevant factor when determining how good a backlink is.

Putting it Together

You want to look at a few of the results for the Top 10 page.

Look at the top 3, the middle couple, and the 9th and 10th.

Good Signs:

What you want to see is the following sort of links when you look at the quality factors:

  • Only a handful of incoming links to the page/website you put into the Open Site Explorer tool
  • Incoming links to the page you put into Open Site Explorer with no or only a few keywords in the anchor text
  • Low Page Authority (0-20) on the incoming links

If you see links from the following type of websites, this is also a very good sign:

  • Blog comments
  • Forum posts
  • Article directories
  • Blog networks
  • User Generated Content platforms such as Yahoo Answers, EzineArticles, Hubpages, Squidoo. Note that these type of platforms often have high Domain Authority but low Page Authority)

Bad Signs:

If you see the following links with these quality factors, this indicates it might be difficult for you to rank in this niche.

  • lots of links
  • links with a good number of keywords (the ones you want to rank for) as the anchor text
  • high page authority with low domain authority
  • high page authority with high domain authority

If you see the types of sites these links are coming from the following, it’s a big red flag:

  • Links from authority sites in your niche
  • Major news links (Huffingtonpost.com, cnn.com, bbc.com, forbs.com)
  • Brand links
  • Hard to get links (from sites with very high Domain Authority)

So in summary, once you’ve looked at the Page Authority, Domain Authority, Number of Links, Referring Domains for the top 10 sites that pop up in google for your keywords, THEN you go to Step 2 and look at the link profile for a number of those sites, you are then ready to go to the NEXT step.

And that step is to look at how well your competition is optimizing their site for those keywords.

Step 8: Look at Competition’s On-Page SEO

Now that we’ve looked at all the external seo factors that tell you how much external seo (link getting) it will take to rank, we now need to look at the ONE PAGE SEO. That is, how relevant is the content and how well optimized is that content for the keyword you are targeting.

This is, ironically, the most important and the least important part of ranking. If the external ranking factors are the same between sites, then the one page seo factors are often what will determine who will rank higher or lower.

It’s also possible, with excellent content and onpage seo, to jump in and outrank websites with much stronger link profiles than you. So it’s critical you have good on page seo to maximize your chances for ranking.

If your competition does not have good onpage seo, you stand a good chance at being able to rank for that keyword. You want to look at all these factors as a whole to determine how well your competition’s On-Page SEO is.

There are two parts to On-Page SEO: Meta SEO and Content SEO.

Between the two, Meta SEO is more important for ranking because this is what searchers will SEE in the search results for the most part. However, Content SEO can make a big difference two. Ideally YOU want both for your own website and your competition not to.

Meta SEO

If your competition has poor Meta SEO, you have a good chance of ranking.  Meta information refers to ‘extra’ information that’s not the actual content itself. IN this case, the Meta information is specifically for the search engines to know what the webpage is about. Poor Meta SEO means it’s much harder for the search engines to know what the content is about.

SO, what we WANT to see here is search results for a keyword that do not have the:

  • Keyword in the Title (the most important factor!)
  • Keyword in the URL
  • Keyword in the Description

If the results are missing all of the above, then BINGO — you should be able to rank, even if the websites in question have strong Page Authority and Domain Authority. The most important factor is the keyword in the title, however. If the results are missing the keyword in the title but have the keyword in the domain and description, you are STILL good to go for trying to rank.

Let’s give some examples here.

Title Contains Keyword

What you want to do here is look to see if the top results for the keywords you are targeting have the exact keywords in the title.

 

one page seo help

 

In the above keyword search for ‘best coffee machines’ we see that most of the results have the exact keyword we types in as part of the page title. This means the websites have good on page seo.

This is the most important On Page SEO factor hands down. if some of the search results do NOT have this, consider this a VERY good sign you may be able to rank for that term easily.

Link URL contains keywords

If the page link url contains the exact keywords or some variation of the keywords you typed into google search, the site has at least some on page seo:

url

Meta Description contains keywords

If the meta description contains the keywords, consider the site to have at least some on page seo.

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Note, if the result/s have all three of the above, then consider the site you are looking at to have good one page SEO.

Like this example:

onpage good

 

Content SEO

There are a few (less) significant factors you can look at by looking at the actual page content itself rather than the site META information. These include:

  1. Keyword in the H1 tag
  2. Keyword in the H2 tag/s
  3. Keyword appearing in the site content, especially in the first paragraph and ending
  4. Related keywords (synonyms) appearing in the content
  5. Keyword in the ALT tags

To determine if the website competition has good Content SEO, you will have to load the website and look at the content. You can use the MozBar to show you this. Simply click on the website you want to check the Content SEO for, then click the icon in the left corner on the MozBar. Go to the One-Page Elements section and look at theresults.

You want to look at H1 and H2 — if they have the keywords in it, the site has good On Page Content SEO. You can look at the actual content yourself and check to see if you see the keywords in the content. If the MozBar tool shows you the keyword in the h1,h2, url, title, and alt tags, then the page has very good ON Page SEO (meta seo + some content seo).

seo

Step 9: Look at Content Quality

We’ve now looked at external factors of your competition for a specific keyword and we’ve looked at the on-page factors too. This should give you a very good idea now how much work you will have to put in to rank your website for that keyword.

  • You know what sort of websites are ranking for that keyword / niche
  • You know how many links your competitors have to stay in the top 10 results
  • You know the Page Authority and Domain Authority of your competitors
  • You know the Link profiles your competitors have
  • You know your competitors’ on-page SEO (or lack of it)

What remains? Well, you also need to look at the TYPE of content that is ranking.

It’s very easy to get lost looking all these other factors and forget about, at the end of the day, that it’s the content that ranks.

It’s far easier to rank with good content than bad content. And even easier to rank with amazing content over good content. The reason is that if you have good or amazing mind blowing content, people will naturally link to you and people will want to link to you.

It’s far easier to do link outreaching (approaching websites and trying to get them to link to you) with awesome content than it is if your content is poor.

What Is Awesome Content?

This depends on who you ask.

  • Ask a novelist, and you’ll get one answer.
  • Ask a poet, and you’ll get another.
  • Ask a journalist, and you’ll get still another.
  • Ask someone who is learning English as a second language, and get a very different answer.

The bottom line is, there is no firm boundary for what’s good and what’s not good.

Is an article that gives you in depth, quality information but filled with clunky language and impenetrable prose good quality?

Or is a short, wonderfully written article with beautiful prose but thin information good content?

We might consider poetry as outstanding quality while a search engine might scan that and consider it low quality.

See the problem here? There is no fixed definition. Furthermore, Google is a machine and is incapable of telling the difference other than detectable patterns like keyword density, sentence structure, and other like factors.

Personally, I define Awesome content as content that’s blows the minds of everyone who reads it by answering exactly what people are looking for when they come to the page, in such a dramatic way, they can’t help but say WOW.

I call this WOW content.

Now you don’t need WOW content to rank, or even good content (the web is filled with low quality, shitty content).

But it sure makes it easier. Like a lot lot easier.

How to Beat Your Competition’s Content 

It’s easy really. Well it’s not and you will have to put in a lot of work, but if you are willing to, you can.

Two things to keep in mind.

1) Make Your Content Better Than Your Competition’s

In the context of checking out the competition to determine how difficult it is to rank in that niche, this really means you need to see what sort of content the top 10 sites are showing by google for the keyword you are targeting.

That content will be the minimum standard you need to beat.

What do I mean by this?

I mean, you need to take the content your competition has and beat it — in the level of detail.

If your competition builds a house, you build a mansion.

So.

If the top ranking website is ranking with an article that’s 500 words with 2 images…

you make an article that’s 2000 words with 20 images.

If your competition has a list of the ‘top 10 best basket ball shoes’…

you make a list of the top 50 best basket ball shoes’.

Do you see what I mean? Your content is, at bare minimum, at least as good as your competition and preferably a lot better.

SO if the competition creates content that you would rate a B, create at least B+ content.

Ideally though, aim for A+ content that will blow your competition out of the water.

Once you do, you can proudly approach websites with your link outreach efforts and get the links you need to rank your site.

2) Make Content Easier to Digest

Beating your competition’s content does NOT just strictly mean giving better content, it also means making that content easier to consume by the readers. This includes things like:

  • Good looking website layout
  • Easy to read paragraphs that are not too long
  • Lots of images that make the content more understandable
  • The use of headers and bullet points to divide the content up
  • Links to authoritative sources to prove what you are saying
  • Infographics or other clever methods to make the information more digestible

 

And that folks is how you look at your competition’s content and beat it.

Determining If You Should Go After a Niche

Now that I’ve shown you how to analyse how competitive a keyword is between Step 1-9, now comes putting all that information together, considering it, and determining if that keyword is rankable.

If the signals are there showing that the keyword is not competative, then you have the green light to build a website targeting that niche.

If the signals show the niche / keyword is highly competative, you are best off starting from scratch and look at another niche to targer.

Picking the wrong niche is recipe to disaster.

Picking the right one can change your life.

So, some final thoughts.

You want to find niche keywords where when you look at the competition websites (using Steps 1-5 we talked about above) the fulfill MOST of the following criteria:

Competitor has Low Page Authority with Low Domain Authority with MozBar (best signal) 

I like to look for Pages between 0-20 Page Authority, below 10 is a GOOD sign.

Competitor has a Link Profile with at least one or more of the following 

  • few to no incoming links
  • links with keywords NOT in the anchor text
  • links with low Page Authority (PA)

Competitor has links mostly from or only from the following type of websites:

  • forums
  • article directories
  • blog comments
  • Web 2.0 properties (sites where you can create an account and post content to)

Site Has Poor On-Page SEO content:

  • Titles that do NOT have the keyword in them (GREEN LIGHT)
  • url and description missing the keyword

Content and Website Design is poor to decent 

(with work on your part, you can make a much better looking website and deliver better content)

The Final Word

Now it might take a lot of work to find a keyword niche where most of the websites that show up on the Top 10 fits all of the above.

So keep in mind that this is not a hard and firm rule, but rather a suggestion. If a keyword does not fulfill all of the above, you certainly can still rank.

Think of this information as just a good guess. If you want to look for oil, there’s all sorts of geological tests you do on the rock and dirt that can indicate there MAY be oil if you for it.

But you never know until you actually start drilling.

What to do Next

Now that you know how to do keyword competition research, FIND some good keywords that look profitable, have searches, good commercial intent and are not too competitive (using the three article guides I’ve shown you so far). Once you have some good niches that you feel confident making a website about, it’s time to go to the next step.

And that’s to actually CREATE the Niche Website. GO to the next article in this series that show you how to create your first niche website.

I show you how to go from taking your niche keyword idea and actually turning it into a real website.

  • Heather Larson

    This series of articles has been great! It’s easy to understand and implement. All you need are some ideas, a little understanding of the internet, and the drive to put it all together!

    • admin

      Glad you like it. Stay tuned for more in the series in a few days 🙂

  • Heather Larson

    After working diligently on this, and waiting for 2 weeks for the next article, I can’t help but wonder: Will there be a next article? I am not the only one wondering. I have been talking a lot about this series, and can say, without a doubt, that there are at least 10 other women in my small town alone that are either reading this series or waiting for me to help them with it. I’m sure that there are many others as well. I apologize that I am becoming a bit pushy, but, in reality, being able to implement all of this information makes all the difference in my life. I have already put A LOT of hours into following instructions and I really want to go the distance here, I just don’t know how.

  • btkong

    Hi Heather, been a bit busy this week with another project. But I will be writing the next article in a couple days…so expect it this weekend or early next weekend

  • Heather Larson

    YAY!!!! I’m so excited! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!