Google’s search engine actually gives you a good idea of keyword competition. If you search for the keyword or keyword phrase you want to research there are many different ways you can determine the competition of these keyword
Number of Ads
If there are no Google Ads showing on the search result this shows you that no one is paying for Ads to show up for this keyword. This can be a good thing as it shows there isn’t too much demand to show up on this page. But it can also indicate that there aren’t enough customers being converted for these keywords.
Number of search results
When you search on Google you will see a number of results the search engine has found e.g. “About 2,020,000 results (0.31 seconds)” The higher this number the more competition there is. See screenshot for example of this.
Also if you place your keywords within quotation marks when searching on Google, you will get a smaller number of results from websites that include these exact keywords in their title and meta description. Normally Google will only return results with related keywords.
For example, if you search for “keyword competition tools” on Google.co.uk with quotation marks as displayed in the screenshot, you will be presented with 545 results. If you search for the same phrase without any quotation marks around the keywords you will end up with 1,400,000 results. This is because the search engine is finding other phrases related to the keywords rather than just this exact phrase.
Search results have keywords in them
If a lot of the websites showing up have the keywords in their title and URL, this is a good indicator of how much the competition knows about SEO. So it’s better if you notice the competition doesn’t use the keywords in their title. This can be one way you would be able to have an advantage over them in ranking higher on Google for the chosen keywords by placing them in your website’s titles and web page URLs.
For example, the keyword below “Keyword competition tools” looks quite competitive because the keyword I searched for has been used constantly by the competition on all of the web pages in this search result. This shows they have some SEO knowledge.
The Google Keyword Planner aka “The Google keyword tool” is a great place to start when researching keyword competition.
There are two main columns to keep an eye on when doing research i.e. the “Competition” column and the “Suggested bid” column.
On the Google keyword planner it tells you whether the competition for a keyword or keyword phrase is low, medium or high. This is based on a calculation of the number of advertisers showing for each keyword relative to all keywords across Google. This information is mainly for advertisers, but we can use it also to determine the popularity of particular keywords and how difficult it is going to be to rank organically for them. Keep in mind if Google does not have enough data you’ll see a dash, which means there aren’t a lot of advertisers and it’s not competitive.
One way to work out how hard the competition is going to be is by looking at the cost people are paying for Ads in the “Suggested bid”. This is the cost-per-click (CPC) advertisers are paying for a potential customer clicking on their advert on Google. The higher this cost the higher the competition is likely to be.
Another way to find out how hard your competition is going to be is by figuring out the average PageRank of each website that shows up on the search results for your chosen keywords.
What is a PageRank (PR)?
According to Google:
“PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites”
PageRank gives some indication of the authority of a website. The higher the PageRank the more authority the business has to rank for their chosen keywords on Google. Website rankings are decided on the basis of a number of different factors including the number of quality links to a web page, the age of a domain name, popularity, social shares, quality and amount of content etc.
Here are some examples of the PageRanks of popular websites we use everyday
Facebook = PR of 9 out of 10
Amazon = PR 8 out of 10
How to find out your the PageRank of your website
To check the PageRank of my own website I use: prchecker.info. You can do this too by typing your domain name into the PR Checker’s search box. It should then return the PageRank of your own website.
Knowing your own PageRank is important when doing competition research. You can use this tool to search and find out the PageRank of all your competitors and compare against yours.
How to do competition research with PageRank Checkers
- Search for your chosen keywords
- Go through the first 10 results on the Google search results and copy and paste their domain name into prchecker.info Then work out an average PageRank.
- Insert this data into the keyword research spreadsheet attached.
If you have any questions or have tips on competition research, please leave in the comments section below.