Introduction To SEO Competition
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Head column indicates whether the keyword appears within H1, H2 or H3 tags within the webpage.
And finally the CA column indicates the number of days since the Googlebot reindexed the website.
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 www.NobleSamurai.com 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.