How To Check For Competition In Google For A Keyword Phrase

Here is how to check for competition in Google for a keyword phrase. This is something I know many people get really stuck on. When I first started to build sites. I too struggled to work out if a particular keyword or phrase was worth competing for. But I now have a great system in place for checking every one of my keywords and phrases that I go for. The best part is its dead simple and you can learn it very quickly.

I have tried using tools before, some people still use them to determine competition. I don’t think they are a very good idea. They can sometimes give you too much data. This will just end up confusing the hell out of you. They are never very accurate. The most accurate way to check for competition is to go to google yourself in real time. See what google is ranking on the first page-simple! No fancy tools, no paid subscriptions to keyword tools and no money to pay out.

This is the only way that I check for competition now.

SEO Quake Free Software

Before we go any further you will need to download this must have marketers tool called “seo quake”. Its a firefox plug in and you will need this in order to check for competition in google. Download it then go to step 1 below.

Step 1 – Make sure SEO quake is installed. You may want to configure the settings. The only things that I have visible in Google when I do a search is Alexa Rank, Google Index, Google Links, Bing Index and Yahoo Index.

Step 2 – Go to Google and type in your keyword making sure you are in, if you are not already in the US. Also make sure SEO quake icon has been enabled, so you get the SEO data to come up in Google when you do a search.

You now have the first page of Google in front of you and at a glance you can now see how strong your competition is. Don’t use any quotes just enter the keyword in as if you were a real person searching for something

The reason why your only concerned about the first page is because nothing else matters. I don’t care how good or bad the results are on page 2 or 100 all I care about is page 1. Because that’s where the traffic and the money is! If you can beat the sites on page 1 then you will rank high. The sites that are on page 1 are the sites that Google has deemed the most relevant. There for if you want to rank high you have to beat them. If they are not very well optimized then it will be easy.

Here is what the terms mean:

a – Alexa Rank this shows how high a site is ranked in Alexa.

G – Google index and how how many pages are indexed for the site with Google. This is shows you how much content a site has at a glance.

Y – Yahoo index and how how many pages are indexed for the site with Yahoo. This is shows you how much content a site has at a glance.

b – Bing index and how how many pages are indexed for the site with Bing. This is shows you how much content a site has at a glance.

L – SEOMush backlinks – means how many backlinks are indexed.

How To Check For Competition In Google For A Keyword Phrase!

I first look at the Alexa Rank to see what sort of numbers are on the first page, obviously the higher the better. However if you have shopping sites like ebay, and target etc that have a good Alexa Rank still don’t worry to much. As long as its an internal page of there site which is ranked (and 99.9% of the time it usually is then it still won’t always be hard to outrank).

You need to look at the SEOMush backlinks as well. If the links are low and the Alexa Rank is fairly low then it won’t be that hard to outrank. Because the site has no links and its purely being ranked because of the authority of the main site. Of course if the Alexa Rank is high and the links are non existent then it will be very easy to out rank them.

Pay attention to the title tags. If your main keyword is in the title tags then its usually a bit more difficult to rank above them. Usually a lot of shopping sites don’t always have your exact keyword in there title tag

If I see shopping review sites or shops, then that’s usually a good sign. However, I do still of course check there pages because every so often you could find a page which has hundreds if not thousands of links. If that’s the case then it will be fairly hard to outrank. Remember your looking at an over all top ten results not just one site. If quite a few of the sites in top 10 have low Alexa Rank and they have lots of links to the pages. Plus they have your keyword somewhere in there title tag and in the description then it could be a hard keyword to rank high for.

Be sure to look at all 10 results!

You need to look at all 10 results and see how many of them are well optimized for your keyword. If say 5 or 6 are well optimized then it only leaves a few sites that are not well optimized. You have less room to appear in the top 10 results. I’m not saying you can’t rank. Just remember you don’t want to have to spend years just trying to get to the top 10. Unless your building an authority site.

So you now know that shopping sites are generally not that hard to outrank. Some other good sites that are usually outranked fairly easily are web 2.0 sites like hubpages etc, ezine articles, forum posts. But of course you always still need to check there links, Alexa Rank and title tags because some web 2.0 sites can be well optimized. Most usually are not.

So a good indication if a particular keyword or phrase is competitive or not is to look at how many main URLs/sites are ranked in the top 10 in Google. If there are a few then I would bet you that it will be much harder to rank your keyword or phrase.

Other sites to be aware of in the top 10 that can be tricky to outrank are, wikipedia, sites with keyword rich domains with a fair amount of back links, any .gov, edu sites. Google deems these types of sites of high trust. So you could have a problem outranking them.

So in summary:

  • Shopping sites, ebay, target, ,review sites, ezines, forum posts and other article directories, web 2.0 sites, sites with incorrect title tags or non relevant title tags, social bookmarking sites and sites that have an inner page ranked. As long as the inner page doesn’t have too many back links and the Alexa Rank is not really low then it won’t be that hard to beat. These are all a good sign of weak competition but still always check.
  • Authority sites with low Alexa Rank with lots of back links,, wikipedia, keyword rich domain name sites with plenty of back links, edu, gov sites, and mostly any main URLs or sites ranked, these can always be a bit tricky most of the time. Again always check to make sure.

This is a very important concept to understand.

Knowing how to do this will keep you from trying to rank keywords and phrases that have too much competition. Those competitive keywords will end up taking you many months if not years to rank.

This is in my opinion the best way to to do keyword research. You don’t need to worry about all the other nonsense. Like quotes or all in URL or checking back links etc. Remember keep things simple. Once you master this technique believe me you will have an understanding of what it will take to rank any keyword that you wish to compete for. Saving you a ton of time and effort.

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Hope this has helped you,


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