SEO Competition Analysis

February 23, 2012 - by Andy · Filed Under SEO Leave a Comment 
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    How to do SEO Competition Analysis in 2012

    To be honest, I don’t do a whole lot of KW research. Most of the KW research I do is before I enter a niche to figure out if there is much traffic to get and much money to be made.

    To do this I basically make a list of all the products and services related to that niche and check out the search volume using the Google Adwords tool. As long as there are many interested buyers, there is money to be made. I then start running over this list of buying keywords and do some competition analysis.

    I do this in a very primitive way. I have the SEOMoz toolbar installed on my computer and I search for the KW in Google. The SEOMoz toolbar will then overlay data on top of the search results page. I will then look at the PA (Page authority) and DA (Domain authority) metrics of the pages listed on this page to give me a rough idea of how tough it will be to rank for.

    Virtually anything with a PA in the 30’s and 40’s will be fairly easy to outrank. Pages with a PA of 50+ tend to be harder to outrank. I also load up a number of the top ranking URL’s in OpenSiteExplorer.org – This is SEOmoz’s link tracking software. It will tell you how many links a page has and how many unique root domains are linking to that page.

    After you have done this you will eventually get some kind of feel for how tough certain keywords are in your niche. You can also use OpenSiteExplorer.org to get a complete list of your competitor’s links; this makes it easy to steal your competitor’s links.

    For the most part I check out the URL’s ranking 1-3 and position 10 on the first page. This will allow me to get some kind of idea how many links I will have to build to get on the first page and to get a top 3 ranking.

    Usually when I am targeting a term I will only go after it if I believe I can get a #1 ranking. However, sometimes you will find a set of search results where it will take very little effort to get on to the first page but another SEO pretty much has position #1 locked up. When this happens I will usually try and get on to the first page. After that I will see how much money and traffic that ranking makes me. I will then make a decision on whether I want to go to war with the affiliate ranking #1. It is never anything personal; it is purely an analysis of whether the rewards justify the efforts.

    It’s important to remember that the person ranking #1 gets most of the traffic. And by most, I mean nearly all the traffic. If it’s easy to get on to page 1 but hard to get rank #1 it’s sometimes better to just give up on a term and settle for a page 1 ranking. Other times it is hard to rank page 1 and very hard to rank #1. For those terms I will not go after them until I am established in a market and can afford to throw a lot of money at that term to try and rank it. Even then there are often better uses of money. Everything comes down to a risk vs reward analysis. IE How much would it cost me to get the backlinks needed in order to rank #1? And, how much money will I make from the #1 listing? Again, this is not an exact science and something you will have to judge for yourself as you go along and get a better feel for your niche.

    When starting out I will go for phrases with low search volume, high value per visitor and low search competition. These tend to be transactional keywords where I know the visitor is already interested in purchasing the product they searched for but are also not the most popular products/services in that niche. All big markets have these types of keywords, so do your research and rank for them. Ranking #1 for any one of these uncompetitive keywords won’t make you rich, but ranking #1 for 50 of them could bring you in a pretty healthy income. All of those $5 – $50 per month keywords start to add up eventually.

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