500 SEO Tips: Essential Strategies To Bulldoze Through Google's Rankings, Increase Traffic and Go Viral
Chapter 2: Competition Analysis
The sites that rank in the Google search results for a particular keyword are known as your competition. When hundreds of high authority websites rank for a particular keyword, there is a small chance you will too.
These websites with a high PageRank and strong online presence are impossible to beat because they have strong PageRank, thousands of valuable backlinks and killer content. Once you have established yourself as an expert in your niche, by writing lots of content, you will have the credibility to take on some of these sites. But for now, you need to find keywords which have relatively low competition.
39. Competition Is Important
When lots of low authority websites rank for a traffic earning keyword, you've just hit the sweet spot. That means your website can bulldoze through the rankings to number one, and clinch all that sweet traffic.
If you select a keyword with thousands of monthly searches but has high competition, you will find it very difficult to break through the barrier. That's why doing some competition analysis is so important. By seeing what the competition is like, you can see how many backlinks you'll have to build to reach the top spot and what kind of content you'll need.
40. What is Competition Measured In?
Competition is measured by PageRank and Domain Authority. These two factors both tell you what the quality of the sites is and whether you should start targeting a keyword.
PageRank is the algorithm that made Google's search results so relevant and what made it stand apart from the other search engines. PageRank is a very complicated algorithm in practice, but it's easy enough to understand in theory. Every website, blog and page on the internet is assigned PageRank, which is on a scale from zero to ten.
Once your site becomes established, it will begin to receive backlinks from other websites. A backlink is an organic link to your page from another website. When you begin to get more of these links, your PageRank begins to increase.
The more quality links you have to your page, the higher your PageRank goes. When a website links to your website, it gives some of its PageRank to you. So if a dodgy forum site linked to your content and had a PR of zero, you would receive barely any PR at all (it would even damage your site’s reputation).
But if Wikipedia, a university or government website linked to you and they had a PR of 6 or 7, then you would receive a lot of PageRank.
Google still put much emphasis on PageRank even post-Panda. High authority pages have a higher PageRank and the beginning, mediocre websites have a small PageRank. PageRank is a small factor but it was the signal that made Google the company it is today.
That is why you should check the PageRank of the top 10 search results for your targeted keywords. You can then make a judgment on whether competition is too high or easy game.
Domain Authority is on a scale of 1 to 100. This takes content quality, links, social shares and influence into account. High quality websites with lots authoritative content and tons of good backlinks have a higher DA than low quality websites.
41. How To Analyze Your Competition Easily (PageRank) – You can check both the PageRank and Domain Authority of your competition using tools such as prchecker.net and opensiteexplorer.com. However, with these – you can only check one website at a time. When you want to check more than ten sites at once, you will need a tool to do it for you.
The best tool for this is Niche Market Finder (http://www.seodevgroup.com/products/niche-market-finder.html).
You can use Niche Market Finder to quickly analyze the competition for a certain search phrase or keyword. When you input a keyword, the tool will find all the pages that rank for that keyword. Their PageRank and other details are looked at. It is a quick and fast way to seeing what the competition is like.
Once you have it downloaded, open it up and take a look at it, just to get a feel for it.
Type in your keyword into the search box and press, “Find Pages”. A list of all the pages will appear and you can see what PR your competitors have. Pages with a PR of 4 or more will be very difficult to rank alongside if you have a starting website. Pages from 1 to 3 are a lot easier to rank with.
Target keywords that have lower PageRank (0-3) websites in search results.
42. A Quick Overview On The Types Of Competition – Once you have some Niche Market Finer results loaded up, start checking the results out using this guide. Here is a scale you can use to assess the playing field based on the PageRank of your competition.
Very Low Competition (Moneymaker): This typically includes websites with low PR’s (0,1,2) and poor content (less than 700 words). Lots of fantastic content and a couple of backlinks are the formula to taking these guys down.
Medium Competition (First Pager): These rankings have a mix of high and low PR websites in the 0-5 range. They have a variety of high and medium quality content. Some will have some very obvious SEO done, whilst others have a poor attempt at it. You may not get the first spot in these rankings too easily, but middle of the first page is a safe bet.
High Competition (Tough Cookie): Here, you will find websites that know their stuff with PR’s in the 3-5 range. Spots are reserved for well-known websites and experts in the field. After building up your blog and getting it popular and well-known, you can target a place here but it will take a lot of work. In the end, it pays off because keywords with this competition usually get tens of thousands of searches a month.
Extremely High Competition (Warzone): I hate to break it to you but if Wikipedia, MSN, YouTube or high PR websites are ranking for over five results, your website won’t have a single chance. These websites have a soaring PageRank and when I say high, I mean high. Wikipedia’s PR is 9, YouTube’s is 9 and MSN’s is 8. Even with a website with $20,000+ SEO work and a PR of 5, you still cannot get past them.
30. Check Your Competitor's Keywords
Keywords play a huge part in competition too. If you contain the exact keyword phrase in your Title Tag, Google will value your page higher than others with variations of the keyword. That’s why you need to see how many of the pages target that exact keyword phrase. If every page has the exact keyword phrase in its title tag, your competition will be higher. Whereas, if some of the pages have the exact keyword and others have variations, your page will be valued higher for that keyword.
For example, a page titled, “How To Make Great Lemonade” will rank higher for the search phrase “great lemonade” rather than “How To Make Lemonade With A Twist”.
43. Watch Out For Exact Match Domains
Are there any exact match domains? These are domains which target a precise keyword of keyword phrase. If thousands of people search for a certain keyword phrase, you can create a website with that exact keyword phrase as your URL. Google have always given them more advantage in search results, eg: www.typesofinsects.com would target the exact keyword phrase “types of insects”.
Before, Google always gave these exact match domains the first or second spot simply because their URL included the exact keyword, even if their website was bogus. After the EMD update, if a website’s content is not high quality, its EMD status would disappear.
If you see an EMD in the rankings you are targeting, check it out and answer these questions. Does the site look genuine by having no affiliate links, heavy advertising or poor copy? Does it have a fluent site design? Does it have a blog which produces amazing content? If you answered yes to all three of these, you are going to have a hard time blasting this website off the rankings. If not, your quality will beat what they have.
44. For Content: Check Out The Top Content
When checking out your competition’s content (as in, blog posts or articles), try and answer the following questions:
Does it have more than three attributed images?
Does it have more than 1500 words?
Is it engaging, and easy to read?
Is the page delivering a good user experience?
Answering yes to all of these questions means that you will have to step it up a gear in terms of content. That means more words, images and videos. It means creating engaging and interactive material that is clear and concise.
45. Use SEOQuake: Another Competition Analysis Tool
An extremely valuable tool that checks your competition in search rankings is called SEOQuake. You simply search one of your targeted keywords and it displays a toolbar underneath each result. This toolbar displays factors such as number of backlinks, age and PageRank. This makes it easy to see if you can match with your competitors’ achievements.
You should focus a lot more on PageRank because it is a much more accurate way of getting a “count” or measure of backlinks and their quality. SEOQuake displays PageRank too throughout each result so you can see if they are beatable.
To use SEOQuake you will need either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as a browser. Internet Explorer isn’t being catered for at the moment so make sure to download a suitable browser. We will be using these browsers again soon for other tools, so the download is worth it.
After you have a browser installed, it’s time to download SEOQuake. Go to www.seoquake.com and download it for your browser. For Chrome, you can get it up and running by going to the “Toolbar” section of your browser and choosing “Extensions”. You can then click on SEOQuake’s extension and then click to enable it.
46. Watch Out For "Easy To Beat Websites" - If you see any of these websites ranking, you know that you can beat them with a little work. Here is a list of common easy to beat websites that you can easily outsmart.
§ Amazon/Sales Pages –No one really likes long lists of products and neither does Google. Should you find any product listings standing boldly in your way – you can beat them.
§ Unregistered Domains – These are usually websites that have a free domain name such as www.myweb.weebly.com or www.myweb.blogspot.com. The reason they are easy to beat is because the owners probably wanted to become “a well-known blogger”, wrote a few posts (with no SEO or social media optimization), realized no one cares and left. These thin, five post blogs have no authority and so, you can easily get past them.
§ HubPages, InfoBarrel or Ezine Articles – These are article directories, which have thousands of authors to write articles for them. Most of their articles are poor quality and they aren't in the good books at the moment. Google have publicly announced that war is on content farms, so your content should beat them with some SEO and great quality stuff.
47. Browse Incognito To Get Un-Personalized Search Results
When you are checking what your competition is like on Google for certain keywords (especially for local searches), your search results will be personalized. There could be outside factors which influence your results, such as location, device and previous browsing history.
You basically start off on a clean slate, you're an anonymous internet user and the results you get are not personalized.
However, I must note that there can still be a certain degree of personalization such as your location. Still, the degree of personalization is not as pronounced as in a regular search results page.
48. Add "pws=0" To Remove Personalization
By adding this parameter to the Google search URL, you are telling Google not to personalize the search result. Combine this with the step above and you will "de-personalize" your search result as much as possible.
Type the following into your browser address bar, where your desired keyword follows after the "q=".
49. Make Sure You're Signed Out of Google, For No Personalization
This is very important! If you don't sign out of your Google Account, performing the two steps above won't yield any results.
You will know if you're signed into Google, by checking if your email or Google+ profile is listed in the top right corner of Google Search.
50. Don't Measure Competition Through The Number of Search Results
A lot of webmasters say that the more results a topic has, the more difficult it is to rank on page one or even page two for that matter. So, if one keyword has 4,780,000 search results and another has 250,000 – it is assumed automatically that it's a whole lot easier to rank for the second keyword, right? You'd assume so. I would too.
However, the strength of the pages (in other words, PageRank and Domain Authority) ranking for the second keyword could be very high, meaning you'd never have a chance of ranking.
Whilst the number of pages can be a vague indicator, it still doesn't tell you the strength of those pages or how good their content is. Don't really take this into huge consideration when you're analysing competition of certain keywords, check the PageRank of the ranking pages first.
51. How To Check Competition In Certain Countries
If your target audience is outside of your country, you may need to do research in other countries or check Google rankings for other locations. However, you can't just type in www.google.de for the German Google search engine. You will be automatically redirected back to your country's Google search engine. However, there are two ways to do bypass this annoying redirect.
A Good Ol' Google Search
Just type the country's Google address into your browser, and type "ncr" after the URL which stands for "No Country Redirect". If you type www.google.de into your browser, your browser will automatically redirect you to the google address for your countrye, eg: if you were living in the US and typed www.google.co.uk into your browser, you would be redirected to www.google.com.
So, type the following into your browser address bar, www.google.co.uk/ncr and you will be able to access the Google UK page. Now, you can check for what sites are ranking for keywords, in various countries.
Automate The Process With RankTracker
RankTracker is a free tool which allows you to check the rankings of your website for certain keywords in various countries. If you'd rather have the task of checking rankings in other countries become automated, this is the tool for you. Download RankTracker atwww.link-assistant.com/rank-tracker