Today we’re excited to launch an important upgrade to our Keyword Research module. Quickly finding the perfect keywords and boosting your online profits just got easier.
As a Market Samurai user, you’ve heard about the Samurai “Four Golden Rules”. The rules that ensure you don’t waste hours (or months…) on the 99% of dud keywords that drain your time, sap your enthusiasm and cause most folks to quit.
You see, in your niche there’s probably thousands of potential keywords you could target, but with Market Samurai’s help, your job is to focus on the handful with:
A. Good traffic
B. High commercial value (e.g. they bring buyers)
C. Relevance to your business (e.g. well targeted)
D. Acceptable levels of competition
In other words, you follow the Golden Rules…
And of these, the most important is “D” – Competition. If you mistakenly target highly competitive keywords, not only will you not rank, but you’ll feel like you’re belting your head against a brick wall all day long. Be smart – pick fights you can win, make money & grow.
But quickly filtering out the hundreds of overly competitive keywords can be tough…
So what’s the best way to analyse competition in your market?
Approach #1 – Analyse Google’s Top 10
To rank on the first page of Google, you must replace a page that’s currently there. That’s why we created the SEO Competition Matrix – to give you x-ray vision into all the key ranking factors that cause competitors to rank on page one (don’t forget, with the “Add Custom URL’s” button you can also see how your page stacks up).
So, if you’re going to spend any real time on a keyword, review the SEO Matrix first.
But, the problem with this approach is it’s manual, making it tough to quickly review the hundreds (or in most cases) thousands of prospective keywords in your niche. We need a shortcut…
Approach #2 – Count the number of “Valid Competitors” (OK, let’s explain that a little…)
Not surprisingly it turns out that keywords with millions of competitors are almost always a lot tougher to rank for than those with only a few dozen (kind of obvious). Your goal is compete for keywords where the number of valid competitors out there is small, and measuring these “valid competitors”, it turns out, can be done.
Let’s consider the different metrics available for measuring the number of valid competitors in a market:
1. Keyphrase anywhere in a page (SEOC) – We can consider the number of pages globally that contain at least one complete copy of our target keyphrase. We’ve used this for years as our primary indicator, but have seen its usefulness degrade over recent months in some markets.
2. Keyphrase in page titles (SEOTC) – I love this metric. Having a keyword in the title tag of a page is, for me, a far stronger indicator that a competitor is genuinely targeting that keyword. Many SEO experts regard getting your keyword in your title tag the most important on-page factor there is!
Early on, Google’s SEOT was a standard Market Samurai filter, but years ago they stopped SEOs doing large volumes of title queries. In recent months we’ve also seen Bing tighten up on large SEOT query volumes too.
Spoiler Alert #1 – SEOTC (title searching) is back – fast & unlimited;more on that below, but let’s look at other options for counting the ‘valid competitors’.
3. Keyphrase in Link Text, Domain Names or URL’s (SEOUC, SEOAC etc) – we can also count the number of pages out there with our keyword in the URL or just the domain name. We can even count those pages that have a the keyword in a link pointing to them from somewhere else, e.g. those pages with inbound links containing our keyword in the link “anchor” text.
4. Combined Measures – Keyphrase in a Page Title AND an Inbound Link – this is what Eugene and I have been wanting to see for years. Think about it for a moment, the folks out there doing SEO basically build optimised pages (e.g. they put keywords in page title tags) and then promote those pages by acquiring inbound links (including some links with the keywords in the anchor text).
Now, yes, thanks to the recent Penguin updates, smart people have pulled back from excessive ‘over optimisation’ and excessive keyword placement in anchor text, but the reality is that if we can count those pages where a keyword is found in BOTH the page title & an inbound link, we should have a great measure of the “valid competitors” out there really trying to rank for a keyword.
Spoiler Alert #2 – A new “Title & Anchor Competition” metric has been added to Market Samurai
OK, so theres a few ways to measure the number of valid competitors. My favourites are Page Title and the combined Page Title / Anchor Text measures. By filtering out keywords with high values on these measures you can quickly hone in on keywords that are most likely to have low or acceptable levels of competition.
Then, with this smaller, filtered list, a manual check of the SEO Competition Matrix is well worth your time.
Where’s the new data coming from?
We’ve partnered with Majestic SEO, arguably the worlds most trusted supplier of independent SEO data to bring you free and unlimited access to five new world class keyword competition metrics.
As some of our pro users will know, Majestic’s entry level paid subscription (to get similar data volumes) costs $499 US per year, but thanks to our partnership, you, as a Market Samurai user can now access Majestic’s keyword data and quickly analyse thousands of keywords at no cost.
What are the metrics & where can I find them?
Each of the new metrics are available in the Keyword Research module and show up after you’ve generated keywords for review.
The new measures we’ve added are:
1. Title Competition (MSEOTC) – the number of pages in the Majestic index that contain your search phrase in the page title. This is similar to Google’s “AllInTitle” search.
2. URL Competition (MSEOUC)– the number of pages with the search phrase in the page’s URL (either domain name or page name).
3. Anchor Competition (MSEOAC)- The number of pages in Majestic’s Index that contain the keyword term in the anchor text of an external, inbound link. This is similar to Google’s AllInAnchor search command with the exception that it only reports the count of external links (e.g. it excludes those links from the same domain).
4. Domain Competition (MSEODC) – Number of times our keyword phrase appears in a known domain. Potentially a good indicator of the number of other niche players in a market.
5. Title & Anchor Competition (MSEOTAC) – The number of pages in Majestic’s Index that contain the keyword term in both the page title and in the anchor text of an external, inbound link. A great indicator of pages that actually have key SEO indicators present.
Four reasons to love the new Majestic metrics
1. Insightful, Actionable Numbers – Our use of these stats so far has been really exciting, the ‘hit rate’ in finding good keywords and accessible segments within niche markets is excellent.
2. Independent, Reliable and Stable – SEO tool providers of all kinds have seen both Google and Bing tighten up on providing keyword research data (for example, Bing now charge for previously free data and last week, two of our contemporaries; Raven Tools and SEOmoz lost access to their Adwords API for traffic estimation).
But, because Majestic use their own, internal infrastructure to maintain an independent index of the web, and because we pay for the service, their data supply is reliable and robust. Also, importantly for users doing high research volumes, this data isn’t capped or rate limited (unlike some current Bing data).
3. Speed – Keyword research starts by pulling in Google’s traffic estimation data and unfortunately this still takes an average of 3-4 minutes. We wish it were faster, but given others are losing access to this data, it’s nice that we can still get it.
However, once we have the Google data, we can now use Majestic metrics for competition analysis and Majestic’s data comes in fast. In fact pulling back competitive metrics for 800 keywords takes just 5 to 10 seconds (a lot faster than the alternative Bing SEOC data).
4. Tight Correlation with Google – Before we made the plunge to purchase Majestic’s data (our investment is many 10’s of thousands of dollars), we selected a diverse sample of keywords and analysed the correlation (or similarity) between Majestic’s competition numbers and what Google and others provide.
Whilst Majestic’s overall data set was smaller than Google (but still huge with some 4 trillion pages in their index) we found that the Majestic competition numbers were very well correlated with Google. This was backed up by both human reviews and comparison with other reputable competitive metrics. It was interesting to find that generally speaking, the correlation was tighter for Majestic/Google than for Bing/Google.
Sounds a little too good to be true – drawbacks?
The Majestic data is great and their engineers are brilliant, however, it’s not perfect. We see two key drawbacks in the data:
1. Global, not country specific – the competition metrics are world wide only and not specific to a given country or region. As such we only show the Majestic metrics for users set to doing ‘global’ keyword research. Those doing local searches are advised to continue using SEOC (sourced from Bing).
2. Current database size – Majestic’s current keyword database runs to about 100,000,000 keywords (a big number). However, even with a keyword database of this size, there are still many long-tail keywords you’ll generate that don’t yet have the Majestic competition metrics available. In my experience this can range from between 5% to 25% of the keywords retrieved for the niche markets I’m interested in.
The good news is that any time we request a keyword from Majestic that’s not currently in their database, they queue it for inclusion in the following 24 to 48 hours.
This means we expect to see the Majestic keyword database grow rapidly as Samurai users continue to explore niche markets and, for critical keywords, you have the option to revisit Market Samurai and refresh after 48 hours (by clicking the “Analyse Keywords” button).
How to use these new metrics…
Experienced Market Samurai users will be aware of our inbuilt ‘Golden Rules’ and “Long Tail” filters created to help you quickly find great keywords.
With the release of Majestic data we’ve added two new filters, called “Majestic Golden Rules” and “Majestic Long Tail”. These filters make use of Majestic’s competition metrics (instead of Bing’s) to help you quickly zoom in on great opportunities in your market.
Help Us Refine the New Competition Filter Values
With these new filters, I was able to easily find dozens of great keywords in all of the niche markets I looked at. However, we expect to be refining these filters over the coming weeks and we’d love your feedback as we do. Here’s how to get involved:
Step #1 – Open Market Samurai and enter a starting or ‘seed’ keyword for a market you’re in.
Step #2 – Generate keywords and filter using the new “Majestic Golden Rules” (helps you find the big, important keywords in your market) or the “Majestic Long Tail” filter (great for low competition content publishing ideas).
Step #3 – Check out what you uncover and let us know – either in the comments below or by email to email@example.com, we’d love to hear from you!
Enjoy discovering gold nugget keyword opportunities with these new metrics!
P.S. – Like these new metrics in the app? Share the love with a facebook “Like” below….