Introduction To SEO Competition

Video Transcript

The number one trap that people fall into when they start an Internet business is that they do not take the time to investigate the strength of the competition in the niche they are targeting.

The truth is, even if you find a keyword that is relevant to your market, has a good level of traffic and a high commercial value, if the competition is too strong you will simply never obtain a front page ranking in Google.

Without a front page ranking, you will struggle to obtain traffic and without traffic you will struggle to make sales and of course without sales your business simply won’t survive.

In this video I’d like to give you a tour of the Market Samurai SEO Competition module which gives you an easy but incredibly powerful way to assess the level of competition in any particular niche.



But before we get to Market Samurai, I’d like to take a moment to give you some background information on how Google decides which websites should appear on the front page of its results for each search phrase.


The Googlebot

A good way to visualize the process of page ranking is to imagine that Google sends out an automated robot called a Googlebot to review your website.

On Page Factors

When the Googlebot visits your site, it reviews two main things to decide how relevant your website will be to Google’s users.

The first thing the Googlebot looks at is the actual content of your pages. By reviewing the titles, descriptions, headings and many other factors on your pages, the Googlebot can accurately determine what your site is about. These factors are called the ‘On Page Factors’ and can play a big part in determining the rank of your website.

Off Page Factors

But the Googlebot doesn’t stop there. In addition to assessing the on-page factors, the Googlebot also examines the number and type of other websites that link to your webpage. The idea behind this is that if a lot of high quality websites are linking to yours then you must be delivering valuable content.

Factors such as the number of incoming links to your page and the age of your domain are known as ‘Off Page Factors’.


So, in summary, the Googlebot uses a combination of ‘on page factors’ and ‘off page factors’ to determine the value of your website which in turn determines where it will appear in the Google rankings for various keyword phrases.

Create New Project

OK, lets now go and check out the SEO competition module in Market Samurai to see what this means for you and your online business.

For this example I’m going to take a look at the ‘dog training’ niche. So to begin I’ll create a new project...

Enter Seed Keyword

...and then enter my seed keyword ‘dog training’.


Access SEO Competition Module

To access the SEO competition module, I just come down here and click on the ‘SEO Competition’ button.

What this module allows you to do is to conduct a real time SEO analysis of the top websites that are currently competing for the keyword that you’re interested in.

The great thing about this is that you can assess the quality of your competition BEFORE you try and build a website.

SEO Factors

At the top of the screen you’ll see a list of the ‘Off Page’ and the ‘On Page’ factors that Market Samurai allows you to investigate.

Generate Results

To begin my SEO competition analysis for the ‘dog training’ keyword, all I have to do is click the ‘Generate Results’ button.

Market Samurai then goes out and researches my keyword and conducts a real time SEO analysis in order to populate this SEO Matrix.

This kind of analysis would literally take you hours or days to do manually but thankfully Market Samurai can now do if for you in less than a minute!

The SEO Matrix

Generally speaking, Market Samurai uses a color code to illustrate how well optimized each of these factors are for the top websites. Green cells indicate that you have a good opportunity to compete in this niche, orange cells indicate that it might be challenging, and red cells indicate a high level of competition.

So if your SEO competition matrix is very green then you’ve probably found an accessible micro niche, whereas if most of the cells in your SEO matrix are red, then you’re probably looking at a very competitive niche.  

The Lion and the Two Internet Marketers

If you recall the story of the Lion and the two Internet Marketers from the 3rd Golden Rule video, you’ll remember that the key to improving your Google rank is to try and be just that little bit better than your competition.

The SEO matrix allows to see exactly what your competitors are doing which in turn helps you to determine what you need to do in order to improve your Google rank.

Don’t be too concerned if this all looks a little complicated at first, we’ll go through each of the columns one at a time.


The first column, the URL column, contains links to the top ten ranked websites for my search term ‘dog training’. If I want to visit any of these sites, all I have to do is click on the link and Market Samurai opens the website in a new window.

Domain Age

The next column is DA which stands for Domain Age. Google tends to give some ranking preference to websites that have been online for a number of years. If new or young websites are ranking in the top ten of Google it can be an indication that the niche is more accessible.

Page Rank

The PR column contains Page Rank values. Page Rank is Google’s estimate of the authority of a domain. The higher the Page Rank, the more authority the site has.

So if you see lots of red cells in the PR column, it means that you’ll be competing against a large number of high authority websites. Alternatively if sites with low or zero page rank are ranking in the top ten, it means that the niche may be more accessible.

Index Count

The next column is the IC column which stands for Index Count. This provides an indication of the number of pages on this domain which the Googlebot has indexed.

This is a great way to gain an insight into the depth of a particular site. The depth of a site relates to how many actual pages of content exist.

So for example, with this number one ranked website, there appears to be 135 pages of content.

If the site is subject specific, this can also give you an indication of how many pages of topic specific content you will need to develop in order to compete for this keyword phrase.  

You’ll notice that the domains listed here include wikipedia and youtube which have millions of pages in the Google index. It is likely that these pages are ranking highly for the keyword ‘dog training’ due to the authority of their domains and the strength of their associated link networks.

If you want to explore the actual indexed pages for a particular site, all you have to do is click this arrow next to the IC count.

Market Samurai then opens a new window containing links to all the pages from the site that are currently in the Google index.

Back Links to Page

The BLP column shows the number of back links to the specific page listed in the Google rankings. If there are no or only a few back links to pages that are ranking well, it again means that you have a good chance to compete in this niche

Back Links to Domain

The next column is the BLD column or the Back links to Domain values. This shows the total number of links pointing not just to a specific page but to the entire domain.

If the BLP is low but the BLD is high, then the page is probably ranking because of the authority of the overall domain rather than any specific page.

Education and Government Back Links

The BLEG column indicates the number of backlinks that are coming from .edu or .gov domains because Google has suggested that links from educational or government websites have a higher authority than links coming from normal domains.

DMOZ Directory

The next column indicates whether or not each site is listed in the Dmoz directory which is one of the largest human reviewed directories of the Internet.

Yahoo Directory

And the YAH column indicates wether or not each site is listed in the Yahoo directory which is now a paid directory which currently costs about $300 a year.

Off Page Factors

So these first 8 columns refer to ‘Off Page’ factors and together they give you a good indication of the strength of the link network that exists for each of the websites currently competing in your niche.

They also give you a good idea of the kind of link network you’re going to have to develop in order to achieve a front page Google listing.

Keyword in Title

Now the last five columns of the SEO matrix relate to the ‘On Page’ SEO factors.

The first column ‘title’ indicates whether or not the keyword you’re investigating appears in the Title tag of the ranking page.

Keyword in URL

Similarly, the URL column indicates whether the keyword appears in the URL of the listed webpage.

Keyword in Description

The next column DESC stands for description and it shows wether or not the keyword is present in the description tag of the webpage.

Headline Tags

The Head column indicates whether the keyword appears within H1, H2 or H3 tags within the webpage.

Cache Age

And finally the CA column indicates the number of days since the Googlebot reindexed the website.

Simplified View

If you are brand new to Search Engine Optimization and this all seems a little intimidating then a good way to simplify things is to hide all the columns and then just focus in on the Page Rank, Back Links to Page, Yahoo, Title and URL columns.

This makes things a little less intimidating while still highlighting some of the most important SEO factors.

Compare Your Website to your Competition

When you’re exploring the competition for a particular keyword, one of the most common things you’ll want to do is to compare your website directly to your competition.

In order to do this, all you have to do is come down here and click the ‘Add custom URLs’ button.


Add Custom URL

You can then type in the URL of your website or any other websites that you would like to compare to your competition.

So I’ll just type in our site URL into the box and click the AddURLs button.

View Site Details

And as you can see, the details of our website now appear at the top of this list which allows me to quickly and easily compare them to the competition.

Remove Custom URL

To remove my custom URL from the table all I have to do is come across here and click on the ‘Close’ icon.


So just to recap, if there is one real ‘Secret’ to success online, it is to take the time to assess the strength of the competition in a niche before you invest the effort required to build a business.

The SEO Competition module in Market Samurai helps you to assess the strength of your competition quickly and easily and in doing so can help you to avoid months or even years of hard work and frustration.

22 Responses to "Introduction To SEO Competition"

  1. Kim Says:
    February 26th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks so much for your well explanation , easy to understand and follow through .
    I really do appreciate your kindly support !

  2. Stephan Bevan Says:
    March 9th, 2010 at 4:20 am

    I love all the work you guys have put into this.
    One feature that would make make Market Samurai a lot more flexible is to be able to choose the Google engine: .com/.ca/ etc.
    A .ca would have very different competition on than on

    Stephan Bevan
    Search Engine Optimization Strategist

  3. William mazengarb Says:
    June 1st, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    The only question I have is how to do I add a second keyword to one project so I can view different SEO Competition for different keywords within the one project?

  4. Don Says:
    June 15th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Brilliant!! Your training videos are the BEST I've come across for Newbies like my wife and I.
    Many thanks.

    Wenda & Don K

  5. Samison Says:
    June 16th, 2010 at 12:51 am

    I agree with Stephan Bevan. Great tools but would be even better if I could isolate results from

  6. livereceptions Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 9:18 am

    it is good, l like it. also I baught the software. in order to do seo job

  7. Jeremy Says:
    June 5th, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    This is by far my favorite module, I bought the software a few years ago & still use it every day!

    Seo is changing so rapidly & I still consider myself a bit of a newb but at least with this software I feel that I have a chance at making money online. The Seo competition module helps me to monitor what's happening in my target markets rather than firing into the wind, thanks for the excellent tutorial video's!

    My Market Samurai Review Video

  8. Bri Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Great intro to SEO, especially for me who is a newby. The video is a little dated as there are two new columns, RDD & RDP, how do they fit in with the rest of the information displayed?

  9. Dr. Anthony Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Hello Bri - thanks, and yes we're working on updating our training videos!

    You can find out more about the RDD and RDP values in our blog post which announced them, at

  10. Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 4:26 am

    very good

  11. pier@prodjs Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I am using Market Samurai for my website ( with great results.Unfortunately to use it with full power for SEO competition I need to use other tools or subscribe to external services.

  12. Kami Says:
    November 30th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    People telling me that SEO doesn't work or business is dying, do you think Google is trying to eliminate SEO?
    I will definitely be coming back, 'tis a great blog!

  13. Dr. Anthony Says:
    December 3rd, 2012 at 10:54 am

    @Kami - Google's trying to give the best search results they can, so they are on the lookout for people who are trying to cheat the system to get good rankings with poor content. People with poor SEO practices are being penalized, and sometimes they blame Google!
    Our tools are intended to help you to work within the system and get the best results from your time and effort. You still need to have good content and put in the work to build a great site - nothing will substitute for that in the long run!

  14. Max Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 6:53 am

    In the BLP section the top page has more than 3000 links but is green-colored, the second top-page only has 1700 links yet is red-colored.
    Since sites with more links are supposed to be harder to compete with, I don't understand why a site with less links is red colored.

    In advance, thanks for your explanation!

  15. Dr. Anthony Says:
    December 20th, 2012 at 10:21 am

    @Max - drop an email to - they will be able to help you

  16. Mike Says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    This is ridiculously rad. Thank you so much!

  17. Michael Says:
    February 25th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Using the SEO Competition report:

    One the domains in the list is not numbered, it is indented and it has a little green and red icon next to it. The list numbering is complete, but between position 2 and 3 there is this extra non-numbered domain.

    What does this mean?

  18. Dr. Anthony Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Hi Michael,

    What this means is that one of the results returned is not a normal result, but rather one of Google's special results. These results can take a number of forms, such as news results, video results and map results.

    It sounds like the one you are seeing is a map result!

    All the best,


  19. Ann Says:
    March 7th, 2013 at 10:59 pm


    I noticed that in the IC column the tiny arrow that takes me to all the indexed pages by Google is gone now.

    Also noticed that the tiny arrows int he BLP and BLD columns are practically meaningless now that you are using MajesticSEO.

    How do I go about findout where the backlinks are coming from to my competitors site?

  20. Dr. Anthony Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 8:04 am

    @Ann - there's no longer a way to link to a web page confirming the IC number because we get it from the API now.
    And we have always used Majestic for backlink data, so I'm not quite sure what you mean there; Market Samurai offers more data than you can get from a free Majestic account anyway, but if you sign up for a free account they'll give you at least basic information.
    Is it possible you're overlooking the tool panel which is accessed using the little blue triangle - see
    If this doesn't help, please contact the support team for the best advice.

  21. Mark Givley Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 2:26 am

    In response to Kami and Dr. Anthony's response #12/13 I have a thought on this: First Dr. A pointed out that Google is trying to penalize the cheaters and I think that is absolutely correct. On the flip side of that, I think that Google understands that there are people and companies trying to be on the up and up and these folks are just trying to understand what should be, "the obvious". I look at it kind of like an analogy on car racing: The racing organizers, every year make specification limits and additions. It's up to the racing teams (us) to figure out how to make our cars faster using those limitations and additions. Google knows this I believe and they just want you to be as honest and accurate at portraying your content as possible because it is blind.

    Now, that said, there is one metric that has me very concerned. On thing I try to put on when thinking about SEO and Google is my common sense cap. Google doesn't want you to cheat; it wants clear information. In that regard I want to ask you about the "Keyword in URL" metric. My common sense hat tells me that this can be looked at as spam and that if you put your keyword (or phrase) in your URL that it is a good thing. My common sense hat tells me that this could perhaps be a killer some day in that Google might want your company name instead and look at the keyword phrase as being spammy.

    I have already heard from a community on Google called "Dumb SEO Questions" that having more than 2 or 3 would be considered spam but it makes me wonder if at some point, anything but a company name would be considered spam. Since Market Samurai has this metric in the Competition matrix, it poises some concern. What works today may not work tomorrow but I think if we put on our common sense caps and see if this is in fact a good thing...well I think you get the picture.

    I look forward to your wisdom on this.

  22. Dr. Anthony Says:
    April 9th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Mark - having your keyword in your domain used to be an extremely powerful boost to your ranking all by itself. Google's EMD update last August targeted those who were using that trick without bothering to create good content to back up the site's relevance. It's still a helpful thing to have, and I don't think it's any kind of risk, but it's not a magic bullet any more and you shouldn't focus on it to the exclusion of other factors.

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