How to Assess the Strength of Competition

Video Transcript

In this lesson I’d like to look at an example of how to use the SEO matrix to make decisions about whether or not a niche is too competitive.

Imagine for a moment that you’re a very keen golfer and you’d like to create an internet business in the golf market.

If you research the market level keyword ‘golf’ using Market Samurai, the SEO competition matrix looks like the picture above:

The first thing you’ll notice about this SEO matrix is that the first 4 columns are entirely red.

Domain Age

If we look in more detail, you can see that all of the top ten websites for the search term ‘golf’ have a domain age of greater than 10 years.

Page Rank

They have very high page ranks of 5 up to 7.


They also have an enormous number of backlinks to the ranking pages and also to the overall domains.

High Authority Backlinks

Many of the sites also have a high number of links from .edu or .gov domains.

Directory Backlinks

Most of them are listed in the DMOZ and Yahoo directories...

On Page Factors

...and quite a few of them have also optimized their on page factors.

Which means the ranking pages have the word golf in their title, their URL, their description, and their header tags.

Overall Assessment

This is an example of an EXTREMELY competitive niche. Quite frankly it would be almost pointless to try and compete for the term ‘golf’ given the strength of the websites you’d be competing against.

However, this does not mean that you have to give up on your plan to create a golf related online business. Instead you just need to drill down into the market to find a more accessible niche.

SEO Matrix for 'Golf Putter'

For example, instead of trying to target the keyword ‘golf’ let’s take a look at the SEO matrix for the keyword phrase ‘golf putter’.

You’ll immediately notice that this SEO matrix is a lot less red than the previous matrix. If we look at the values in the columns, you’ll see why.

Page Rank

While the top ranking pages are still well established with most having been online for over 5 years, the page ranks vary between 2 and 5 which suggests that this term is not as competitive as the term ‘golf’.


Looking at the backlinks, we can see that there is quite a wide range in the number of page backlinks from 3 to over 10000. The domain backlinks also cover quite a wide range.

High Authority and Directory Backlinks

Only one of the sites has links from .edu or .gov domains and some of them are listed in the DMOZ and Yahoo directories.

On Page Factors

When we look at the on page factors we can see that only a few of the ranking pages have been properly optimized for the term ‘golf putter’.

Overall Assessment

Overall this SEO matrix shows that the term ‘golf putter’ is definitely less competitive than the term ‘golf’ however with the mid level page ranks values and the number of page and domain backlinks, it would still take quite a lot of effort to reach the front page of Google if we were focusing on the term ‘golf putter’.

SEO Matrix for 'Ladies Driver'

So, now lets take a look at the SEO matrix for the term ‘Ladies Driver’.

Domain Age, Page Rank and Page Backlinks

Once again, the websites that are ranking are all very well established sites, but this time there are several pages ranking in the top ten Google listings that have a page rank of 0 and also have 0 page backlinks.

Low BLP and High BLD

The fact that most of these sites have very few page backlinks but a high number of domain backlinks suggests that these sites are ranking because of the overall authority of the domain rather than the authority of the specific pages.

High Authority and Directory Backlinks

None of the sites have backlinks from .edu or .gov websites but many of them are listed in the dmoz and yahoo directories.

On Page Factors

When we look at the on page factors we can see that several of the ranking pages are actually optimized for the term ladies driver.

Overall Assessment

Of the three terms we’ve looked at, the term ‘ladies driver’ appears to be the most accessible mainly because the ranking webpages do not have very strong link networks.

Comparing SEO Matrices

In comparing these SEO matrices - the term golf is clearly too competitive and would be one to avoid.

The sites ranking for the phrase ‘golf putter’ appear to have fairly strong link networks as indicated by their backlink values so this niche still appears to be quite competitive.

In contrast, the sites ranking for the term ‘ladies driver’ do not appear to have very strong link networks or a high level of page rank authority which suggests that ‘Ladies Driver’ would be the most accessible of these three terms.

As this example shows, the strength of competition in a market is determined by a wide range of factors. The SEO Competition module in Market Samurai allows you to get a real time snap shot of these factors so that you can compare niches and eventually identify a niche which has an acceptable level of competition.

17 Responses to "How to Assess the Strength of Competition"

  1. John E. Says:
    January 3rd, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Wow! This was very clear in its presentation of how to assess the strength of competitors in the market or even of yourself in relation to them. I got a clear road map for mapping this out and using it as a factor in my own business development. Thanks Dr. Anthony Fernando!

  2. Gerard L Says:
    January 16th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Well done, Dr. Anthony! You hear a lot of talk about niche research, but it\'s nice to actually have a step by step blue print to follow. Keep up the great work guys!

  3. Jeff in Oregon Says:
    February 3rd, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Well knock me outa my chair and call me "dumbfounded"!

    FINALLY - Someone who teaches a complex topic like they ACTUALLY WANT people to have a complete understanding of it. What a refreshing treat!

    THANK YOU x100 to Dr. Anthony for simplifying without loss of needed details, and THANK YOU Brent and Eugene for MS and Dr. Anthony! This is shear brilliance unleashed and perhaps the best example of "over delivering" that I've yet seen in the IM space.

    Once the profits that you are leading me to have accumulated sufficiently......I'm fly'n over there and buy'n all of ya'll a 5 star dinner - WITH WINE.. and desert.

    For now all I can do is say THANK YOU ALL x 100 for some of the finest training anywhere on the Internet!

    Most Sincerely,

    Jeff in Oregon

    PS.... all that over excited jibberish just means.... you guys TOTALLY rock!

  4. Nigel in Essen Says:
    March 4th, 2010 at 3:43 am

    I have noticed that huge sites like facebook or wikipedia have millions of links pointing back for particular keywords yet I am able to outrank them with a little effort.How can I use Market Samuri to find out the actual number of links pointing to that page and not the total number of links pointing to facebook.


    This would be of great value to me.

    For example say a client wants to rank for "kids red shoes" and it sends back some giant stores total pages doesn't really help me if I can't have the actual number of links to that specific page.

    How can I access this info. please?

  5. Julie Wolf Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 12:22 am

    I\'m getting it... thanks Anthony!

    some feedback on this one for you...

    My Video Take aways:

    The \"STRENGTH\" of your keyword competition
    is more important then amount of competition .... or JUST as imporant.

    What I struggled with was which of the factors are used to determine weak link networks ( was it BLP, BLEG?) and also weak levels of page rank authority (is this just the PR?).

    Thanks , are doing excellent tutorials Anthony!

  6. RKS Says:
    October 15th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Dr. is there a golden rule to analyze SEO competition like in Keyword research. While in the challenge workshop, you suggested that we can ignore some factors during SEO competition analysis. However, I have found that it is extremely difficult to rank for some keywords using parameters you mentioned during challenge. What would be an ideal scenario In SEO competition to work on a keyword? How many rows of "greens" should be ideal, 1,2?


  7. moises Says:
    December 28th, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Dr. Anthony,

    I highly apreciate the free training you are providing, is the best that I have founded in internet marketing. Eventhoug mine mother toung is not english I could follow very well are your lessons till now. I have started to building my blog before I saw your tutorials and I now realize that I have to do a lot in order to rank well in google.
    Thank you again
    Moises from Bolivia

  8. Tjäna pengar Says:
    December 31st, 2010 at 6:48 am

    This was very good to see. Im going to buy your product today.
    Thnx for this!


  9. David Says:
    January 25th, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Hi Dr. Anthony,

    First of all thanks for the excellent tutorials and your great product.

    I was playing around with it for the first time and noticed at one particular keyword that the SEO competition yielded many red fields, except for the number 2 website! This website is inferior to the number 3-10 in every aspect. Hence my question: why is it number two?

    You can email me for the exact keyword.



  10. c-dog Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 7:07 am

    What do the various colors on the matrix represent?

  11. FRxWendy Says:
    August 11th, 2011 at 4:15 am

    All of your tutorials are excellent and I have been very happy with my Market Samurai purchase since day 1. But I do have one question: what does it mean when there is a " - " in a cell?


  12. Dr. Anthony Says:
    August 18th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    @David RE: Site position

    Sorry! We got quite behind on moderation of comments.

    If you haven't already send though an email to and we'll take a look for you.

  13. Dr. Anthony Says:
    August 18th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    @C-Dog RE: Colours

    The colours are relative indicators of the impact of that figure on how strong the site is in terms of SEO Competition.

    Red is very strong competition, yellow is moderately strong competition and green is weak competition.

  14. Dr. Anthony Says:
    August 18th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @FRxWendy RE dashes in cells.

    When there are dashes this indicates that the data was unavailable from the source when Market Samurai went to check it.

  15. Paul D Says:
    December 30th, 2011 at 10:34 am

    This color-coded schematic is way too arbitrary. It needs a green and red light based GO or Don't bother type indicator light field like Micro Niche Finder has. I am a registered owner of MS by the way. MNF is easier in this respect and it's about time MS improved this confusing display. As I said it is VERY arbitrary. :(

  16. Kendall Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Can you quantify what is "too much" competition when it comes to the pink coding on market samurai?

    What I want to know is how much competition is too much competition and what are the most important factors to consider...(DA, BLP, BLD, onpage factors, etc...)


  17. Dr. Anthony Says:
    March 15th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    @Kendall - unfortunately there's no single answer; every market is different, and each of the numbers may be more or less important depending on both competitive factors and on your strategy.

    We feel it's a mistake to overly simplify something this complex, as the best informed people will out-compete those who have only a thumbs-up/thumbs-down to go on.

Leave a Comment

Spam protection: Sum of 3 + 7

More SEO Competition Lessons