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In 2013, Outrank Competitors & Pick Keywords with Confidence:

Two Powerful New “Authority” Metrics

Have you heard this SEO “story” before? :-)

Two African explorers who realise they’re being stalked by a hungry Lion. The first drops everything and runs for his life while the second scoffs and says, “why bother, that Lion’s faster than you!”. The first laughs as he makes good ground and answers back, “I don’t need to outrun the Lion, I just need to outrun YOU!”

The same is true for SEO. Your job is to overtake those sites holding rankings on the keywords that will drive you revenue.

In my last post, I did a quick recap of the four golden rules of keyword research, the most important of which is “pick the battles you can win”.

Pick your battles carefully and then do the work to “outrun” your competitors. You don’t need to be the biggest, baddest site in the jungle… you only need to be a TINY bit better than your competition.

The bad news, however, is that if you pick a keyword that’s too TOUGH… then you can literally spend months of futile hard-work trying to outrank a competitor, never budging your rankings… when instead you could have ranked on the front-page for dozens of low competition keywords!

One of the great features of your Market Samurai SEO Competition Matrix is you can also directly compare YOUR WEB-PAGE with the current top 10, to see what work you still need to do.

Here’s an example for the keyword “resume advice” where we’ve added a comparison to our target page “http://www.swiftworldwideresources.com/Candidates/Resume/CV-Advice/”.

If you’re doing ANY work to rank for a keyword, it’s critical to review your SEO competition matrix.

Picking a keyword based on just keyword competition alone (such as Title Competition, for example), is NOT enough… There’s plenty of keywords out there with low Title competition which have fierce front-page competition!

So, make sure you double check to make sure you’re not trying to outrank the 800 Pound Gorillas in your market with high authority, squillions of backlinks and targeted on page optimization!

However, there’s a problem! Understanding Competition & Backlink Analysis Can Still Be Really Confusing. Here’s Why…

While your Market Samurai Competition module gives you a concise, “at a glance” view of your key competition indicators, many of these are far from perfect. For example:

  • Google PageRank (PR) - this is Google’s own measure of web-page “importance” and has long been to many the industry benchmark. It’s a scale from 0 to 10, with a score of 9 to 10 representing extreme authority (think sites like twitter.com, Facebook.com etc) and scores of 0 – 2 being low authority sites. Whilst we like measures from Google (especially as we optimise for Google), the problems with PageRank (or PR) are numerous:
    • Unwieldy Increments – The scale Google use is “logarithmic”, which means the gap between a PR 5 and 6 is huge (and gets bigger every day). To give quality feedback on your progress in building authority, your need far more granular measures (e.g. decimal scores like 5.2 out of 10)
    • Slow Updates - Internally, Google’s measure of PageRank is updated dynamically any time a new link is added, but the number that Google gives YOU is only updated about every three months. That means you can only get feedback 4 times a year! That sucks. To make it worse, when your competitors (or you) launch a new page, that page will INSTANTLY gain authority from any internal site links, but will show up as a PageRank of ZERO until the next update happens (leaving you to think your competitors are weaker than they really are – a fatal rookie error!).
    • Pending death - This one will probably draw a few comments, but I predict Google’s Page Rank will be pulled very soon. PageRank was initially a publicity tool and has now been removed from display in the Google toolbar. While tools exist that can still access the data (including Market Samurai)… Very few real REGULAR people are using it. Practically the only people who look at PageRank now are us SEOs… What’s the benefit to Google in maintaining it something that’s basically only used by those in the SEO industry? That’s why I don’t think it’s long for this world.
  • Backlink counts - Market Samurai provides a range of backlink counts including the number of links to a site, to a page and the number of different domains linking to a target site or page. These are great measures of the QUANTITY of links but give no indication of QUALITY. In a world where one good link can drive more authority than 1000 poor ones, quantity measures are limited.
  • Specialist Indicators – The competition module shows links from speciality sites like educational sites and high profile directories like the Yahoo & DMOZ directories. These give us a hint as to the presence of “quality” backlinks, but it’s very possible to have an incredibly powerful link profile and not be linked from these sources.


Good News – Now the mystery is gone with two brilliant new measures…

We’re really excited to announce the integration of two BRAND NEW, insightful metrics from our data partners at Majestic SEO.

Update Market Samurai today, and you’ll find these two new data points in the SEO Competition Matrix:

1. New Importance Measure – “Citation Flow” or CF
(Like Google’s Page Rank but built the way SEOs need it.)

Majestic SEO recently released a new metric called “Citation Flow” and it’s ready to go.

Citation Flow is very similar to Page Rank. We were privileged to be part of Majestic’s Beta trials (and indeed gave quite a bit of feedback direct to their developers). As part of this, we did a broad comparison between Citation Flow and Google’s PageRank. The correlation between the two is excellent.

Plus, to help SEOs like you and I, you’ll also get these critical (and long awaited) features:

  1. Precision for Sensible Measurement – Citation Flow is a measure from 0 – 100 (rather than 0 -10), meaning you can track your progress far more accurately.
  2. Regular Updates for Fast Feedback – Majestic update their metrics DAILY (rather than Google’s approximate 90+ day update cycle).
  3. Longevity – as a commercial metric from a long established provider, we can reasonably expect this data source to remain stable. (PageRank won’t be with the SEO community too much longer we predict!)


2. New Authority Measure – “Trust Flow” or TF
(The ‘secret sauce’ in modern search algorithms?)

It turns out the web can be broken up into neighbourhoods – trusted sites generally link to trusted sites and nasty, dodgy and spammy sites tend to link to each other too.

It’s why many SEOs talk about “authority” or “hub” sites… What they really are talking about is the concept of “Trust” or “Authority”…

Our second new measure, “Trust Flow” is built around an analysis of the flow of “Trust” through links from trusted, higher authority sources.

Similar to Citation Flow, it’s a score out of 100 and as you’d expect, reputable sites get high scores and new or dodgy sites get low scores.

SEO commentators have long been talking about the influence of links from trusted sources, and with Majestic Trust Flow, we now have a quality measure of this.

For those SEO Nerds out there – Trust Flow is similar to Yahoo’s famous TrustRank

Anything not to love?

Whilst these new metrics are visible the majority of the time, in a couple of markets I was able to find ranked pages with no Citation Flow or Trust Flow values. These were mainly obscure pages from mega sites like Amazon, Pinterest or YouTube. However in each case, by reviewing the Citation and Trust Flow values that were available, I was still able to get a good gauge of competition.

So, where do these new metrics fit in?

To see Citation Flow and Trust Flow in action, simply open up the SEO competition module for a keyword of interest and generate results.

(And don’t forget, with the “Add Custom URL’s” you can add your own websites for comparison)

Here’s the above example again, but with the new metrics showing (note the new “CF” and “TF” columns).

(Click the image above to see a larger screenshot)

Extra Awesomeness #1 – Citation Flow in Detailed Backlink Report

In addition to integrating Citation Flow into the SEO Competition Matrix, our detailed back link analysis report (which lets you spy on your competitors and see where all their high power links are coming from) is now also powered by the Citation Flow metric.

The back link analysis provides a comprehensive summary of both link authority and anchor text. Here’s a sample:

So, you can FINALLY get an SEO Blueprint of the link-network of your competitors, based on DAILY UPDATED authority data!

Extra Awesomeness #2 – Link Authority Visualization Graphs

In addition to providing Citation Flow and Trust Flow as numbers, Majestic SEO also provide a great visualization graph that plots a sites ENTIRE link profile on a graph with Citation Flow vs Trust Flow and color density for link frequency.

Here’s three examples, for popular car manufacturers.

Hyundai

Audi

Toyota

These are great to see, at a glance, how weak or strong a competitor’s link-network is.

You can access these visualization graphs simply by clicking on the Citation Flow or Trust Flow numbers in the SEO Competition module.

Now it’s your turn: Check out how YOUR sites perform…

If you’ve been struggling to gain rankings (because you suspect that you’ve picked a keyword that’s too tough)… and are finding it hard to see WHY…

…or you’d like to know really how far behind or in front you are of your competitors in building authority and trust, then open up the Market Samurai SEO Competition Module and take a look now.

(Remember: You’ll need to update to the latest version first to see this new data.)

From all the Noble Samurai team, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and safe Holiday season!

Cheers,

Ben

P.S. – If you like the update, share the love by clicking the “Like” button above!

P.P.S. – Stay tuned in 2013 – two game changers are coming :-)