The expression Keyword competition refers to the competition that exists between several sites because of their ambition to position themselves on the same keyword.
Because it is the keywords that allow search engines to display your content in the SERPs, it often happens that several sites seek to position themselves on the same keyword
This happens especially when webmasters see that the keyword generates good results. It creates some competition making it difficult to position on the keyword concerned.
Therefore, webmasters, to be successful and appear in the search results, are obliged to control the competition
To do this, they develop several strategies to collect and analyze search results that allow them to understand the competition or the competition that exists around the words they want to use to rise high in the SERPs.
In this article, I outline what is:
- Keyword competition;
- Its importance for a website
- The methods to identify it;
- As well as some tips to exploit it well.
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Chapter 1: The competition of keywords
In this first chapter, you will discover what keyword competition really means as well as the importance that its determination has for your website.
1.1. what does keyword competition mean ?
To better understand the meaning of keyword competition, it is useful to recall the definition of the word competition
According to the dictionary, the term competition is defined as the simultaneous search by two or more people for the same result. It is synonymous with rivalry or competition
Applied to the case in point, keyword competition can be defined as the simultaneous search by two or more sites for the same result which is the positioning for the same keyword.
Indeed, as you already know, keywords are decisive in the sense that they allow search engines to display the results that best meet the needs of Internet users
Therefore, when they are used a lot by them, they are new opportunities for traffic, earnings, conversions that webmasters hope to seize to develop their website. There is then a certain competition or a form of competition around these keywords.
This competition is especially noticeable because of :
- The difficulty that new sites have to rank in the search results
- But also the difficulty that the already positioned sites have to maintain their place in the search results.
It is precisely to prepare for such an eventuality, that it is often advised to webmasters to determine the difficulty of the keywords they choose before trying to reference their content on these words
In other words, before optimizing the content of his web page on a keyword, the webmaster must first assess the level of competition or competition that surrounds it
There are various ways to determine the difficulty of a keyword, however, before discussing them, it is appropriate to give an overview of the importance of a competitive analysis of keywords.
1.how important is keyword competition analysis?
Evaluating the competition or the competition of a keyword before committing to it is not a useless work for the webmaster
Among the benefits that this action provides him, I can cite
1.2.1. The knowledge of its competitors
By proceeding to theanalysis of the competition of your keywords, you are able to identify those who are your direct competitors. That is to say, the sites that rank for the same keyword and that target the same audience as you
The knowledge of competitors allows you to know the environment of the keyword on which you want to position yourself and to obtain various useful information to refine your SEO strategy.
The competitive analysis of keywords will allow you to:
- Know who your competitors are
- Discover their strategy
- Know their weaknesses;
- To have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
It is therefore an opportunity to re-examine your own strategy and to put in place a strategy that capitalizes on all this information that you will discover.
1.2.2. Identifying new opportunities to seize
Besides the knowledge of the competitors, the analysis of the competition of the keywords allows you to find the weaknesses and the strengths of the strategy of your competitors. This way, you can detect opportunities that they have not seen fit to seize.
For example, you can use the competitor analysis to find other high potential keyword ideas that they are not positioned on.
Also, when you do your competitive analysis, you have the opportunity to take a look at all the tactics your competitors are implementing to better position themselves
This would be a way to learn new strategies and discover tricks or methods that could make your site even more competitive
1.2.3. The determination of the opportunity that this keyword represents
The competitive analysis of keywords allows you to know, first of all, the level of difficulty you will encounter to obtain good results with a given keyword
It also allows you to know if you can claim to surpass the web pages that are already ranked in order to find yourself in the first position of search results.
It gives you the opportunity to see if it is really worthwhile to spend your resources and time to get ranked around a keyword
Note also that the analysis of the competition of a word can be useful to you in the sense that it will allow you to understand the market and everything that is happening in it.
You have in effect, a knowledge of the changes, needs and requirements of the market. This allows you to adapt and offer content, services or products that are perfectly in line with the expectations of Internet users
Now that you have an idea of what keyword competition is and what the study of this competition brings you, I propose to learn how it can be done.
Chapter 2: How to analyze keyword competition?
In this chapter, I explain how to carry out a keyword competition analysis
As you might expect, the analysis of the competition of a keyword is not done in isolation, but rather on the basis of certain criteria and from different techniques
But all these methods can be grouped into two main categories
- The determination from the analysis of results displayed in SERPs
- Determination based on certain SEO tools.
2.1. The determination of the difficulty of keywords from SERPs
The analysis of the difficulty of the keywords from the search results is a classic method. It generally consists in carrying out research on the keyword at the search engine level
Once these results are collected, you just have to analyze them by answering some questions
These questions are related to :
- The nature of the sites that appear in first position
- Their importance
- The way they are optimized
- The quality and number of backlinks they receive
- And so on.
It is precisely for this reason that most of the information collected takes into account several specific criteria.
For example, these are:
- The authority of the page despite the fact that the ranking of the pages of a website depend on several factors, keep in mind that the authority of the page has a definite influence on its ability to rank or not in the search results. You must therefore be interested in;
- The authority of the domain besides the authority of the page which concerns the influence of a single page of your site, you also have the authority of the domain which concerns your entire website and its content;
- The referring domains the referring domains are all the sites that build links to the pages and contents of your site. An analysis of the referent domains of the best sites positioned on a keyword can therefore inform you about its competitive value;
- The profile of links because links are important in all SEO strategies, you must identify the origin of your competitors’ links, see how they were able to obtain good links and to what extent you can proceed like them
- The quality and the way the contents are optimized another element of analysis of the competitiveness of keywords is the one that will lead you to evaluate how your competitors optimize their content. This is in order to position yourself with good results. The objective of this action is to collect information on the strategies that your competitors use and the results they obtain;
- The cost per click the cost per click is an important indicator that can inform you about the competitiveness or not of a keyword. Indeed, the cost per click designates what advertisers are ready to pay to search engines so that the user can click on a link. Thus understood, the cost per click can help you identify the difficulty of a keyword in that its value will be determined by the importance of the keyword,
The collection of information related to these criteria can be done through the Mozbar toolbars and the SEOquake extension.
The extension SEOquake extension is a free tool that allows you to obtain various information related to the SEO of websites
Once downloaded and installed at your browser, you can collect information on various metrics related to sites that are displayed directly at the results page
What’s interesting about the SEOquake extension is that you can get a detailed report on each content displayed in the search results.
Mozbar when installed, allows you to know the page authority (PA) or domain authority (DA) of the sites displayed in the SERPs
However, you must keep in mind that the criteria I just presented are not always unanimous
Because when a webmaster analyzes himself the difficulty of keywords he wants to use, he makes his analysis according to his needs and what seems important
For more advanced results, well informed and easy to use, you can use specific tools designed for the determination of the difficulty of keywords
2.2. perform keyword competition analysis using SEO tools
Among the tools that allow you to determine the difficulty of your keywords, you have
2.2.1. Keyword Finder
Keyword Finder is a comprehensive keyword research tool that offers a variety of features
With this tool, you have the possibility to:
- Search for keyword ideas
- Determine your site’s ranking for certain keywords
- Analyze your organic search results
- Or set up and track your SEO metrics
Like many other keyword research tools, keywords finder’s keyword research tool displays the difficulty score for each word you analyze.
As you will notice from this tool, keyword difficulty is a measure that ranges from 0 to 100.
Two criteria are used to determine the competition around the keywords.
- Link profile;
- The analysis of the sites that are displayed in 1st position.
Ubersuggest is also a keyword research tool that you can use to identify the difficulty of your keywords. You don’t even need to log in before finding the difficulty of your keyword.
Just go to the site and :
- Type in the search bar the word you want to analyze,
- Then select the country from which you want the search to be performed,
- And finally click on “Search”
Once the search is done, you will see a new page on your screen where you have several information on the keyword you have just analyzed.
In the first line of information you will find an indication of the difficulty score of the keyword.
Then, the tool informs you about the average capacities of the sites that rank for this keyword.
A little further down, you will find more detailed information about the search volume of the word as well as some ideas for keywords and content related to your search term.
Apart from the keyword information, the Ubersuggest tool allows you to perform several other SEO analyses.
With the Ahrefs tool, you can also identify the difficulty of your keywords. This is a paid tool
But in case you don’t have a subscription, the tool still allows you to have access to its keyword difficulty checker.
Even if it doesn’t display all the information, it must be acknowledged that for each search, you have :
- The difficulty score ;
- As well as a presentation of how the results are displayed at the search engine level.
Ahrefs indicates that it determines the difficulty of the keywords from a criterion namely: The number of referring domains from the top 10 ranking pages. This criterion is based on two elements that are
- The links
- And the relevance of the contents.
SEMrush is a comprehensive tool that is not limited to keyword research. It offers various possibilities of analysis and study of websites
Although it informs you about the difficulty score of the word preview you submit for analysis, it offers you to conduct the competitive analysis of your keywords in four steps:
- Identification of the competitors the SEMrush tool prepares for you a report on your competitors in the organic search. The information contained in this report is collected from two elements. Firstly, the number of words for which the competitor is ranked and secondly, the percentage of the number of keywords for which you are ranked for this keyword list;
- Identifying their strengths identifying their strengths: Based on the data collected on your competitors, SEMrush analyzes this information and produces a position change report for you. As you will see, this report will tell you about the major changes that have taken place in these keywords;
- Analysis of the gap between your keywords and those of your competitors once the previous steps have been completed, the next step of the keyword difficulty analysis in SEMrush is to find the differences or similarities between your site and that of your competitors. All the information dedicated to this analysis is then stored in the Keyword Gap report. The exploitation of this report allows you to identify the keywords on which your competitors rank better than you and thus to set up a strategy to surpass them.
It will be up to you after this process to find opportunities for keywords on which to position yourself while implementing the right strategy.
Here are some tools that will now allow you to easily determine the difficulty of positioning on a keyword
This list is not exhaustive, because there are several other sites and online tools capable of helping you to identify as easily the difficulty of your various keywords.
Anyway, keep in mind that the difficulty of keywords is a measure that is calculated from a number of information collected in the search results
This information is not unanimous as to its importance in determining the competition around the keywords. However, the remarks made at the level of certain tools, suggest that it is essentially :
- The number and quality of backlinks;
- The relevance of the contents
Nevertheless, it is useful to remember that it is not enough to determine the difficulty of keywords and stop at any score to decide to position or not on this word
In fact, in addition to the knowledge of the difficulty score of the keywords, it is necessary to understand the implications of this score and some good practices.
Chapter 3 : Some good practices to follow to benefit from your analysis of the difficulty of keywords
Before explaining these good practices, here is how to understand the results of the keyword difficulty research.
3.1) How to interpret your keyword difficulty score?
The results of the keyword difficulty analysis are presented at the tool level as a score out of 100. This means that its value varies from 0 to 100 with :
- 0 as the lowest level of difficulty,
- And 100 as the highest level of difficulty
The site SEMrush has tried to give more precision to the meaning of the results obtained from the difficulty score
The result is that when you get:
- A result below 40, it means that you are in the presence of a keyword with a specific search intent, for which you can easily rank and which has a low search volume;
- Between 40 and 59, you are likely to rank;
- Between 60 and 79, you are in the presence of keywords with a medium difficulty of ranking, nevertheless by deploying a constant effort and by obtaining contents of quality backlinks, you can manage to integrate the top 20;
- Finally, when your score is 80 or more, you are in the presence of a keyword for which it will be extremely difficult to position yourself. The difficulty is even higher if it is a new site, as the competition is so tough. However, with time and money you can hope to reach the top 20.
As you will see, this interpretation is not so different from that of the Keyword Finder tool.
On the other hand, it should always be remembered that the difficulty score alone should not be used to determine your decision to rank or not for a given keyword.
Rather, it should be used as a tool to help you build an effective SEO strategy that meets the requirements of the market you want to position yourself in.
You can use my tool Competition Calculator
Here are some tips that go along with that
3.2. Some good practices to follow when doing the keyword competitive analysis
When doing a keyword competitive analysis, I recommend that you :
3.2.1. Favour keywords with low competition
When you are new on the Internet, it is often useful to focus your SEO strategy on keywords with low competition rather than trying to position yourself on those with a high level of competition
Indeed, it will be very difficult to position yourself on these keywords, so I recommend you to focus on relevant keywords, but with a lower level of competition
These are mainly long tail keywords, and questions, whose difficulty of competition, or volume indicates that it will be easy to rank.
3.2.2. Consider the search intent of the potential users of your services before choosing your keywords
Another essential factor you should consider in your competitive analysis is search intent. As you know, it is the one that determines the words that the Internet user will use to access your content
So, as part of a competitive analysis, use the search intent that Internet users might have to identify competing keywords
For more details on how to use customer search intent to find and analyze keywords, you can read my ebook on keyword research
3.2.3. Getting the most out of your keyword difficulty analyses
Once you’re done with the process of analyzing your competitors’ keywords, you should be able to use all of the information collected to improve your SEO strategy
For example, this will involve using all the results to compare your site with that of the competitors. This will certainly allow you to see where you are now and if possible to evaluate your growth
Likewise, the data collected through the competitive analysis can be used to find the weaknesses of your website
You can also use the data from the analysis to determine the behavior of Internet users. From there, you will know what they are really looking for and you will be able to offer them content or services adapted to their needs.
The competition of a keyword is an essential element that must be determined before positioning yourself on a keyword
It allows you to gather several useful information that will help you better understand the challenges that await you
In this article, you will understand what the concept of keyword competition really means, but also, the steps and criteria involved in a keyword competition analysis as well as some tips.
Now is the time to use them to improve your site’s performance in search results