This post is the 4rd post in a series of 5 about developing a Keyword Strategy.
There is not much use optimising for keywords you will never, in a million years, have a chance on. This is why you need to evaluate your online competition.
Checking keyword competition
Now that you have a list of your most important keywords including their estimated search volumes, you can start checking if you have a chance on being visible in search engines. Here’s what you need to look at:
The Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is the position a certain website or page has in the search engine based on a certain keyword. So: type your keyword into the Google search box and meet your competition!
How are your competitors optimised? You need to check if they are using your targeted keywords in the most important SEO Tags. You can do this manually by looking in the source code of any individual website (The 7 easy step on how to do that are here).
Backlinks, or incoming links, are the most important factor which determines how a web page ranks in search engines. I usually check both, the number of backlinks to the web page as well as to the entire domain. For how to check for backlinks, please read my blog post here. To easily check backlinks et al of your online competition: install these browser plugins.
PageRank says something about the quality of backlinks the site is receiving. A link from a high authority website is worth more than a link from a website with low authority. More on PageRank here. To find out PageRank of any website, use the Google Chrome SEO extension. Download it here.
Consolidating your data
You know where your competitors results rank, you know which of your competitors are optimised for which keywords, and who has great links.
Once you have checked these three things, you should be able to identify clear opportunities for your keywords.
You are aiming for the first page of your local Google search engine. You have 3 to 5 major key phrases to check. You have 10 competitors per keyword (the 10 spots in Google’s page 1). Per competitor you need to check backlinks as well as a couple of SEO tags.
I always use an Excel template to fill in my data. You can download my template here. Feel free to use it!
If anything isn’t clear, let me know! Enjoy!