An often overlooked “secret” to SEO is to select keywords that tap into your target market where the organic competition is weak and your site is strong. Use the right keywords on-page, combined with an effective content marketing strategy targeting the same keywords and you will win the race.
The table below shows an example keyword report that we provide before recommending which keywords to target. For small campaigns we will start by providing a report of 100 potential keywords, for large campaigns it will be as many keywords as are required. The columns are:
- Keyword – The keyword itself, which must be relevant to your site.
- Monthly Searches – The number of monthly searches from Google for your target country.
- Position – Your website’s existing position with Google if it’s in the top 100 results.
- SEO Competition (generic) – How competitive the keyword is in general. This percentage is based on the average domain strength of the top 20 websites that appear for this keyword, giving it a good degree of accuracy.
- SEO Challenge (your site) – How competitive the keyword is for you specifically (this takes into account your existing position for the keyword as well as the SEO competition).
- Web Address – The page of your site that shows in the search results if applicable.
- Results in Google – How many pages are indexed in Google for this keyword.
- Adwords CPC – Google’s recommended cost per click if you have an Adwords campaign.
Keyword Competition Analysis
If you're analysing the SEO keyword competition, it's important not to use the PPC (Pay Per Click) competition shown in Google's AdWords reports as there is often little correlation between this and organic competition.
Take "jokes" as an example, Google's keyword tool shows this as having "Low" competition, as few people would pay for joke related keywords, however when we calculate the organic SEO competition by comparing it to the top 20 sites in the search results for "jokes" we'd give it an 84% difficulty rating for the UK, or 87% difficulty rating for the US, as there are thousands of joke websites and the top ones are well optimized and have lots of quality links going to them.
"London lawyer" is another example. It has a "High" PPC competition with a recommended bid of £4 or €5, however it has a modest SEO competition of 62%.
By analysing the real SEO competition it means that you can identify relevant keywords for each landing page on your site and target keywords that you're likely to be able to appear high in Google for.
For established websites, it's also essential to take into account your existing position for the keyword. A good SEO strategy for established websites is to target keywords that you already appear reasonably high for, but that your site could be better optimized for, as you will win a lot more traffic by moving from say position 5 to position 1, than from moving from position 50 to position 10, as the majority of people click the top few results on the first page.
When we provide keyword reports, we therefore look at the monthly search volume, generic competition and the competition for your specific website, based on your current position in the search results.