Starting an SEO campaign should almost always begin with finding out what the competition are up to. If they’re doing well then you can be certain they’ve already done some of the groundwork and being the sneaky little Internet entrepreneur that you are, you can just get in there and find out how they did it. And beat them.
But how much competition is there anyway? Well that’s a tough question, but it’s one I’m going to have a bash at answering.
The Internet is huge. It’s mind bogglingly huge. So huge, you’ll never see most of it, even if you sat goggle-eyed every hour of every day looking at it, you’d go quite mad before you even scratched the surface and this means you are bound to have competition. Even if your business is weaving yak fur into jumpsuits, you can bet there’s someone else doing it.
However, there’s competition and there’s competition. Some people may be doing the same as you, but they’re most likely not doing any SEO as such and are therefore going to be easy to beat. So I’m going to look at two ways of assessing your competition – the number of people found in Google for whatever you do and how well those people are using SEO to get ranked.
Finding how many yak fur weavers there are
Yes. I kid you not, there are over two million pages being returned for ‘Yak fur weaving’ in Google. Sheesh, the Internet is weird.
But that’s not a true picture because what’s happening here is a search using ‘broad match’, that is, Google is showing the number of pages that it thinks are indexed for any of the keywords you just typed in the box. So included in there are “weaving” and “fur” which are all non-bonkers keywords.
So we need to do something else and we simply put quotes (“) around the words, thus:
See? Much more sensible and you’ll see that there’s only one result.
So we can tell that Yak fur weaving hasn’t got much competition – that’d be a fantastic industry to get into. Probably. Maybe not.
All you need to do then is to do a search for your product, pop the quotes around it and that will give you a number for the amount of competition you’ve got, but even that isn’t really accurate because you only have to deal with the first twenty or so sites found in Google, that’s where the money is.
How good are the other guys?
Let’s do a proper search now and look for “Worcester Dentists”. The results tell us that there are 977 results (you try it, the results might be slightly different) and so we can now look at the top ten. In this example we get a lot of directory listings such as “Accessplace” and “Yell.com” and this gives me an indication that it’s quite an easy keyword to rank. However, we find a couple of dentists who are doing a bit of work:
Only three bothering in the top twenty – but how much work are they doing? Well the big indicator (but not the only indicator!) is the number of links to the site and this is discovered by heading over to www.majesticseo.com
Pop one of the site addresses into the search box and hit ‘Explore’:
This gives us a page full of stuff, but scroll down a bit and you’ll see this:
The interesting bit we want is ‘External Backlinks’ and that’s telling us they’ve got 742. Quite a lot.
Now do the same for the others and we find “Hereforedentists” has 981 and “levensonsmile” has 177.
What does this tell us?
This gives us an indication of how many links you need to build in order to beat them. Now, it’s not all about links – but it’s a big indicator.
If you find when you do your search that the competition has thousands of links then you’ll know immediately that you have a tough time ahead – so get building links pretty quickly!