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Quick & Easy Methods to Determine Keyword Competition

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    Determining the keyword competition is a crucial part of SEO. Especially when users in this day and age are searching more and using a larger variety of search terms, we need to be able to find out which keywords to focus on quickly and easily.

    This article is targeted at anyone who is looking for a simple and effective technique to measure the competition for a keyword. For those who are in the industry, it may be an alternative method of analysis if you do not have the luxury to perform a conventional and comprehensive competitor research.

    Method 1: Pulling Keyword Competition Using the Tipping Point

    This is a really easy method as it requires no software other than an internet browser.

    This technique uses an optimised title tag as the proxy for keyword competition. Title tags are still highly relevant and a key component of the ranking signals that influence the visibility of your keywords. Title tags in the search results are the blue text, examples shown below:

    Following on from this premise, we expect that an optimised website would have the primary keyword in the title tag. Because search engines will show sites that are most relevant we also expect the results to deteriorate as we go through Page 1, Page 2 and so on.

    Our objective is to determine at which page optimised results starts to drop off. That is what I effectively call the Tipping Point.

    The Tipping Point occurs when you reach two consecutive SERPs pages where they are less than 5 search results out of the 10 on the one page does not contain the primary keyword phrase.

    If the Tipping Point occurs on Page 4, then you can conclude that the keyword competition is 5 pages deep or 50 results deep.

    Please follow the steps below:

    • The first step is to input the selected keyword into the relevant search engine. In this case we will be using Google.com.au as the search engine, with the primary keyword as ‘accountants Perth’.
    • Start counting on the first page all the search results that have the phrase ‘accountants Perth.
    • If the search query contains a local search qualified we recommend to including in your count the variation of the keyword e.g. ‘Perth accountants’ as results end to be similar.
    • Remember to ignore any stop words such as ‘it, the, at, in’ as they are not counted for search engines. For example the word ‘Accountants in Perth’ should still be included in your count
    • Do the same for Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 and as many pages as you need until you determine the Tipping Point
    • Repeat this process for other keywords to compare keyword competition for multiple primary keywords.

    As an example please see below the Page 1 results for the primary keyword ‘accountants Perth’ on Google.com.au. There in total 7 pages that appear to be optimised for the keyword.

    I’ve tabulated my findings to show you how it looks across multiple SERPs.

    Image31 1

    From my findings on the above search term I would conclude that the Tipping Point occurs on Page 4 and that the keyword competition is 4 pages (40 results) deep.

    Method 2: Pulling Keyword Competition Using Bulk in Title Keyword Checker

    I love this method because is quick, accurate and automated.

    This technique of determining keyword competition involves pulling keyword competition data using a Google Spread Sheet and the advanced search query operator ‘intitle’.

    Usually, a normal search in Google for ‘accountants Perth’ would yield 2.37 million search results. This number has been quoted as a number for competition but it isn’t an accurate number as it includes any web page that mentions the word ‘accountants’ and ‘Perth’ on the web page.

    A more suitable measure would be to just look for the number of pages that include the primary keyword in the title tag. To do that, you can input the search query using the ‘intitle’ search query operator, as shown below.

    This sounds simple and quick but what happens if you had 50 keywords to analyse at the one time?

    This is where the automated Bulk in Title Keyword Checker comes into play.

    Before I go into details I would like to give a shout out to the original creators of this sheet, the peeps from SEOThing.

    Essentially the Google Spread Sheet is used as a calling function to request specific search query data, in this case data around ‘intitle’ search results.

    Please follow the steps below on how to start using the Bulk In Title Keyword Checker:

    1. Go to File and Make a Copy Save it to your own Google Drive. You will now be able to edit the document.
      1. What you will see is the following spread sheet:
    1. The only two areas you need to edit is the Column A: Keyword column, where you input your primary keywords.
    2. This spread sheet only works for Google. If you wish to query another search engine besides Google.com.au, you will need to edit Column D: Number of results.
    3. Start entering your keywords into the column.
      1. Bear in mind that every keyword entered is a search query that is being sent to Google. Therefore, the more queries you do, the more you are likely to get blocked so use the spread sheet sparingly.
      2. You should be able to start seeing the results populate.

    Using the same primary keyword as Method 1, here are the results for ‘accountants Perth’.

    As you may have noticed, it has come up with 1,200 search results, exactly the same as the method shown previously (and below).

    Concluding Thoughts

    The two methods outlined in this blog post are simple techniques that can be employed to determine keyword competition quickly and easily.

    The techniques are not meant to be replacements for a full competitor analysis/research. Rather they should be used as a handy tool when you need to get a quick glimpse at the competition landscape in a short amount of time.

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