link1764 link1765 link1766 link1767 link1768 link1769 link1770 link1771 link1772 link1773 link1774 link1775 link1776 link1777 link1778 link1779 link1780 link1781 link1782 link1783 link1784 link1785 link1786 link1787 link1788 link1789 link1790 link1791 link1792 link1793 link1794 link1795 link1796 link1797 link1798 link1799 link1800 link1801 link1802 link1803 link1804 link1805 link1806 link1807 link1808 link1809 link1810 link1811 link1812 link1813 link1814 link1815 link1816 link1817 link1818 link1819 link1820 link1821 link1822 link1823 link1824 link1825 link1826 link1827 link1828 link1829 link1830 link1831 link1832 link1833 link1834 link1835 link1836 link1837 link1838 link1839 link1840 link1841 link1842 link1843 link1844 link1845 link1846 link1847 link1848 link1849 link1850 link1851 link1852 link1853 link1854 link1855 link1856 link1857 link1858 link1859 link1860 link1861 link1862 link1863 link1864 link1865 link1866 link1867 link1868 link1869 link1870 link1871 link1872 link1873 link1874 link1875 link1876 link1877 link1878 link1879 link1880 link1881 link1882 link1883 link1884 link1885 link1886 link1887 link1888 link1889 link1890 link1891 link1892 link1893 link1894 link1895 link1896 link1897 link1898 link1899 link1900 link1901 link1902 link1903 link1904 link1905 link1906 link1907 link1908 link1909 link1910

Competitive Research Who’s Your SEO Competition?

Competitive Research 
Who's Your SEO Competition?

Now that you've brainstormed a long list of potential keywords, you may be wondering which keywords are most important. Good question! We'll spend two lessons on competitive research to help provide some answers. First, you'll learn who's your SEO competition among the top-ranked websites.

Identify the Top-Ranked Websites for Your Keywords

In this step of the SEO tutorial, you begin to evaluate your potential keywords by finding the websites currently ranking for those terms. Knowing these "keyword competitors" helps you determine whether your site belongs in the competition for that keyword.

search query changes the game and the opponents entirely, depending on what the search engine perceives the searcher's intent to be. Identifying who's competing for a particular keyword topic can tell you what type of game is being played and whether you should even step on that field.

Some keyword competitions just won't be your game.

Since your keyword choices influence who can find your website, optimize your pages for the phrases and terms that buyers, not just masses of window shoppers, might use to find what they need. You must select keywords that interested site visitors would search for (and then make sure the content on your page answers their needs AND uses those keywords). Whatever you hope your site visitors will do (whether to make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter or other), you need to figure out which keywords those people will search for.

Fortunately, the search engines are trying to figure out the same thing — what people really want — for every search query. So the best way to tell whether a keyword could lead to a conversion on your site is to see what kinds of results the search engine delivers. If at least some of the top 10 websites offer the same types of products, services or information that yours does, then that's probably a relevant keyword worth putting on the list. But don't worry. We have another free SEO tool to make your competitive research easier.

Here's how to use the Top-Ranked Websites by Keyword tool:

  1. Enter a keyword or phrase below and click "Research Keyword."
  2. View the list of URLs returned for each search, which may be your keyword competition (more on that in a moment).
  3. Keep these lists of keyword competitors in your spreadsheet (next to each keyword), as these are sites you may want to analyze later.
     

What the Competitive Keyword Research Shows

The Top-Ranked Websites by Keyword tool lists the sites with the most top-25 rankings and shows the specific pages that rank highest for the keyword you entered.

The numbers represent each site's current (real-time) ranking position in several search engines (1 means the First position, 3 is third, etc.). Keep track of the individual page URLs that are ranked best and are your major competition (we'll identify your true competitors in a moment). The example to the right shows the top-ranking web pages for the keyword "campsites in Southern California."

Can't I just run a search? If you search directly on Google or Bing, your results are biased by your personal settings, city, and previous searches and clicks. Using our SEO tools eliminates almost all bias and personalization. This unbiased ranking information provides helpful benchmarks for SEO competitive research.

However, if you're a local business or service, you'll want to run your keywords through the search engines directly (with personalization turned off, but your location set to the market area) to see the local competitors.

Know Your True Competitors

Are all the top-ranking sites really my keyword competition? Well, yes and no. In the above example, one result is the Parks Service, an authority .gov website. Will your campground ever be able to compete against it? Probably not for this keyword. You may not consider the government or other high-clout sites (like Wikipedia) to be competitors. Nevertheless, where these and other search result giants are competing for the same SERP space, they're among your keyword competition.

Still, the results reveal what kind(s) of pages search engines think are most relevant to this keyword's perceived user intent. If ALL the top-ranking sites serve a different kind of visitor from the person you want to attract, then maybe you don't want to compete for that keyword.

 

 

For example, if your business designs go-kart tracks, should you optimize for the keyword "go-kart racing"? Looking at search results shows the answer: none of the top-ranked websites offer what your company offers. The search engine assumes that everyone searching for "go-kart racing" wants to go for a ride, so it will probably never consider your design company a relevant match.

You'd better keep doing keyword research looking for more relevant keyword phrases whose top-ranking websites include some true competitors. You can see how keyword research leads to competitive research, which leads to more keyword research, and so on. Now that you know who's your SEO competition for the important keywords, keep their URLs handy.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member