How do I judge competition in the SERPs?

13 replies
  • SEO
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When I do a google search to see what my competition looks like for my keyword, I am having some trouble trying to determine the strength of those webpages.

Am I only looking at their optimization for that specific keyword?

I'm not sure if they are ranked because there are not any better choices for that keyword or is it because that page is all about the targeted keyword.

If they have targeted that keyword how do I know if I can outrank them?
#competition #judge #serps
  • Profile picture of the author outdoorguy
    Well you can always right click and select "view source", then you can see what keywords they have optimised for, so you can make you mind up from there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    Yes, if they have optimized for that keyword it will be harder to beat them. If they haven't optimized it could just be their authority that is ranking them, or the amount of backlinks they have to the page as well as the power of those backlinks. Have you taken a look at those stats for the top 10? You can use tools like Traffic Travis, Market Samarai, and SERP Attacks to take a look at those stats. They all have free versions or trials.

    And to answer your question, you will never know 100% until you try
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  • Profile picture of the author joshmstanton
    And to answer your question, you will never know 100% until you try
    That's the best point right there Bill_Z. It's always best to run a quick analysis on your competitors. That way you can see firstly the number of links they have to the page, as well as(what I think is most important), the type of links they've managed to build.

    Take a small sample of their backlinks and see if you could theoretically build the same type of ones on your own.

    If you're going up again large authority sites that have been around for a while, it's not impossible, but a lot harder to compete with.

    Don't make rash decisions, but if you feel like you can at least match the quality of their backlinks, then it's worth a shot in my opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Franck Silvestre
    You need to know the PR, the age of the website, how many home pages are on page one, the number of backlinks to this page, and a few other factors.

    I suggest you get the Seo quake plugins for firefox, this will help you to know your competition's strength.

    Franck
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  • Profile picture of the author bkat52
    i like to to go alexa and see what backlinks they have. i know there are holes in this method and ways to fool alexa but this is one method not mentioned yet that I use.
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  • Profile picture of the author razorico
    I can suggest you to check competition for different keywords which your competitors are using with semrush service.
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  • Profile picture of the author BenJackson
    I don't want to be too self-promotional here, but I recently did a guest post on this exact subject you can check out here: Can I Rank? An SEO Keyword Research Guide

    It should give you a good start on your competitive analysis.
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  • Profile picture of the author imdomination
    I use Market Samurai to check the competition of keywords. It'll give you all of the competition metrics you need to know for the top 10 keywords, which are the ones you want to worry about.
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  • Profile picture of the author DanVsWorld
    Thanks to all of you...I've picked up some good information here and will need to get a little organized and then go at it again. I've been trying to see what I could do without purchasing software to help...but I may need to break down and get something to help me.

    Thanks again, everyone!
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  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    Just keep in mind that the free version of Traffic Travis will do a reasonable job if you don't want to spend any money.
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  • Profile picture of the author FraserC
    I'll be the contrarian here. I really think it's pointless to waste your time analyzing the competition. I know you want to avoid difficult competition, and find easy competition, but I don't think that's the best way to approach this.

    Choose a niche based on your passion - the topics you're interested in and want to still be working on for the next decade. The competition will ebb and flow over that period, so it doesn't really matter.

    Want to know which keywords to target? Target them all!
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    • Profile picture of the author BenJackson
      Originally Posted by FraserC View Post

      I'll be the contrarian here. I really think it's pointless to waste your time analyzing the competition. I know you want to avoid difficult competition, and find easy competition, but I don't think that's the best way to approach this.

      Choose a niche based on your passion - the topics you're interested in and want to still be working on for the next decade. The competition will ebb and flow over that period, so it doesn't really matter.

      Want to know which keywords to target? Target them all!
      Contrarian, I like it

      I do agree with the idea of targeting many keywords, I know I go after tons, often with little analysis, but I think that is a luxury of sorts. It's simply not practical for most businesses and online scenarios.

      I think the big picture is Return on Investment. Gauging your competition allows you to better estimate how you will perform and the level of difficulty you'll have ranking in the SERPs before getting that return.

      Competitive analysis comes in many shades as well. Whenever I target a new keyword with a blog post, besides looking at just the SEO stuff, I look at exactly what content is currently ranking. This way I can take advantage of current weaknesses in the SERPs and copy strengths.

      Random example: if someone searches for link building strategies and the first two results are black hat, the searcher may not want black hat SEO techniques so I make sure I include both white and black hat techniques. Now because of the competitive analysis I have produced a piece of content that is more relevant, searcher friendly, and just plain better than the current results.
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