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All it is, is understanding whether or not you have and are willing to do what it takes to outrank that page.
- Can I optimize my web site ON PAGE better than they did?
- Can I build enough backlinks to compete with theirs without spending an arm and a leg?
- How much content do they really have about this subject?
- How much authority **pagerank** do these websites have over mine?
- What about authority in this particular subject? There have been times when I've outranked wiki's, ehow and such with pretty simple websites. They may have a high PR, but is their authority in this particular subject?
There's of coarse much more that goes into this, but understanding what it takes to make that spot takes time. Trial and error.
Try to pinpoint why your competitors are ranking above you. And also try and pinpoint why you ranked higher than the sites below you.
Competition research truly is something that requires experience no matter how well it's explained. Something that works for me, may not work for someone else. It depends on your skill set, your experience.
If you can't effectively evaluate your competition, front page google rankings will be from sheer luck. We can compete with sites who "got lucky"
If you can evaluate your competition according to your website building skills effectively, you're on a path to a 6 figures a year income.
Why? Because once you understand competition research, the sky is the limit and this becomes an infinitely scalable process.
So many people these days are putting so much emphasis on the number of competing pages on google.
Type your keyword into google in quotes "your keyword", if you have less than 50000, or 10000 competitors it's a good sign right? WRONG!
The number of competing pages is simply a tiny little nudge saying, "hey, there's not as many competing pages as some other popular terms".
The truth is, that even if there's only 7,000 competing websites, page one may still be EXTREMELY competitive. However a term with 100,000 competing pages can be pie to rank for.
It's not about the NUMBER of competitors, it's about the STRENGTH of the competitors.
Type your keyword WITHOUT quotes to search for your competition, because it's without quotes that you want to rank, you don't want people typing the keyword phrase in "" to find your website.
So taking the competing number of pages out of the equation, here's how I decide whether or not to fight for a great spot on page 1 SERPS.
Again these are some of the things that I look for, what seems to work for me. In the end it's all about what you're up against, what your skillset is, and how much work you're willing to put in.
This is my criteria for a semi small niche site. 5 or 6 pages, 5-10 posts size website.
- Competitors on page 1 have page ranks between 0-4, a good mix is best.
- Competitors on page 1 have less than 100 backlinks to the particular page which is ranking in the SERPS, not total number of backlinks to the site.
- Competitors on page 1 have the keyword phrase missing in at least 3 of these 4 places, title tag - description tag - keyword tag - alt tag
- Competitors on page 1 have domain ages of less than 4 years--I try not to put too much emphasis on this one.
- Some competitors on page 1 are articles and/or web 2.0 sites
- No competitor on page 1 has an exact domain match for your keyword.
- ***The competitors' descriptions in the search results aren't relevant or look unintentional"**** This in particular along with some of the above, and excluding super authorities such as wikipedia and similar is a great indicator TO ME in most cases that there's slim competition for this term. To be quite honest, sometimes I dig around through keywords until I find one with a bunch of crappy descriptions in the search results.
These are the things I look for in my competition research, and it has proven to work well for me. Good on page SEO, and a handful of backlinks, you can most likely rank for terms meeting the above criteria.
The number of competitors is way overrated. It's not about how many of them there are, the only thing that matters is what's on page one.
You may very well find keywords that can be ranked for EASY with 100,000 results, and you may find keywords with 5,000 competitors extremely difficult and time consuming to rank for. It goes both ways so try not to put too much emphasis on this little number.
Hope this helps some of you struggling with competition research.