Keyword Competition Metrics

Let us assume that you have already done your research and you have chosen search terms that best reach your target audience.  The next step is to determine just how much competition there is out there for your audience’s attention when they type in those keywords to a search engine.  There are many ways to look at this problem.  How you view the competition should have a big impact on your strategy and tactics used to make a successful search engine marketing campaign.

There are three types of competition data that should be of most interest to you when you are exploring this.  First, you need to know how many sites and or pages are competing with you.  You then need to know how well linked the top rated sites are.  Lastly, you need to know how much the owners of these competitive sites and pages are paying for pay per click traffic.

The standard way of measuring the amount of competitive pages is to perform a simple search for the keyword or key phrases you are interested in and see just how many results are returned to you.  The problem with doing this is that you have no way of gauging more common words, which will return as relevant even when they are not.

You need to be able to identify which of these results is really a competitor.   The first step is to see if the keyword is included in the title tag of the web page.  You can use Google’s Advanced search operators to determine how many pages have the search term in their title page by typing the following-  intitle:search intitle:phrase which will tell us exactly how many pages have the words in the title.

Next you want to see if the term is included in the text of links either internally or externally.  You can use Google’s inachor: search operator for this.  Type intitle:search inachor:search intitle: phrase inanchor:phrase to see how many pages have the search term both in the page title and in the links that point to the page.  This should give you a realistic number as to the competition.

Link popularity can be discovered by going to  They offer a paid XML data feed that allows you to automate the process.  If you find that all of the sites listed in the top 10 search results have significantly more incoming links than your site currently has you will need to put forth some effort to truly compete.

Lastly, you can also look at the pay per click metric.  This will show you how serious the competition is. The higher the dollar amount put on a search term is generally related to just how competitive that search term is going to be.  Targeting a search term with pay per click takes just a few seconds to complete.  Add it to your current campaign and set a bid to see for yourself.

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