Over the last few weeks, I have noticed a lot of Warriors and product owners talking about the Google Keyword Tool. One thing specifically stands out that is a misunderstanding within the tool, the Competition Column.
While many would like to believe that the Competition column is a good representation of how difficult a keyword would be to rank, this is not the case. If this was the case, it would extremely easy to sort out Low competition keywords using the filters provided.
So what does "Low", "Medium", and "High" stand for?
|Competition: This column shows the number of advertisers worldwide bidding on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google. The shaded bar represents a general low-to-high quantitative guide to help you determine how competitive ad placement is for a particular keyword.|
While the "Shaded Bar" is now shown as Low, Medium, or High, the information behind them is the same. The level of competition is a mark of how competitive the keyword is in respects to Adwords Advertising.
So how can you determine the level of competition for ranking the keyword?
While this may add a few steps to your keyword research, it is worth taking these extra steps in order to have the best chances for generating traffic if you are focused on Keywords.
First, get a list of Keywords and their traffic statistics in the keyword tool.
Second, click on a keyword that you are interested in using to drive traffic to your website. The word should appear as a Blue Link, and when clicked it will bring you to a Google search of that keyword.
Third, enclose the keyword in quotation marks and click search. Beneath the search bar, you should see. . .
"About xxxxx results (x.xx seconds)"
This is the number of pages that Google has indexed that has your exact keyword within the Title, meta description, or on the page being shown.
At this point you have a few options. Some people suggest staying away from any keyword with more than XXX amount of competing pages (Generally 200-500 thousand pages). The problem with this theory is that there may be 10 million pages using the exact keyword you are targeting, but none of them may be specifically targeting that keyword in their marketing campaign.
Downloading the Firefox plugin SEOQuake can show you Page Rank, AlexaRank, and the number of inbound links the page has. This can be a good way to determine how many links you would need to create to outrank the page for that keyword.
Next, look closely at the Titles and Descriptions of each of the pages listed on the first page of results for the quoted keyword. If the keyword is not in the Title AND Description for the pages on the front page, it could be a fairly easy word to rank for. Not having the keyword in the Title and Meta Description shows that it's not a primary keyword for the page.
So a quick recap of what to look for.
* Keyword in Title
* Keyword in Description
* Competing Pages - Quoted Keyword
* Inbound Links - SEOQuake
Looking at multiple competition factors can give you a real edge when determining which keywords to rank for. A keyword with 15,000 competing pages may be difficult to rank for simply because the few marketers in the niche may know a lot about SEO. While a keyword with 15 million competing pages may be easy to rank for if the competing pages aren't directly targeting that keyword in their SEO.
I hope this helps someone. I would love to hear questions, comments, and suggestions for Keyword Research and Competition Analysis.