web services that rock

How to Start Your Search Engine Keyword & Competition Research

When people search for information, services, products, entertainment, or whatever else they wish to find on the Internet, certain phrases go through their minds that relate most to what they seek. These are keywords.

Matching the language online entrepreneurs use, with the phrases web surfers use, poses one of the biggest business challenges on the Web. Once you become savvy in finding your best keywords, Google will start to work in your favor. They drive tons of targeted traffic to your webpages. Your audience base and your profits go up. If you fail to implement this process, your work will become lost in cyberspace!

Fortunately, many of the tools to help you find these magical keywords can be accessed online for free. With a little work and research, you will be able to optimize your pages in no time!

Relevancy Matters Most

Sometimes the language and terminology you use in your field and industry does not match with the language everyday people use. This dilemma crosses over to the Internet as well. Once you decide to create and publish content, you want to make sure the phrases in your title and sprinkled throughout your copy target the most relevant keywords.

❝ Great tips I will try to remember. Heck no remembering – I’m bookmarking this page. Thanks for sharing this info.

HubPages Author

Relevancy matters for two reasons…

1. Search engines will match search queries with keywords on your pages and in your title.

If you want someone who types in marketing for book writers to find your webpage, then you need to make sure that the entire phrase, marketing for book writers appears in your title and several times in your page copy. As far as the Google algorithms go and those of other search engines, if your page does not use the phrase people look for, why post it first in search results?

2. People will not click through to pages that do not relate to what they seek.

Even if you do manage to rank well for certain phrases, if those phrases do not match with what the search engine user looks for, they will skip your listing. If you did end up ranking for marketing for book writers but your title reads Publishing for Fiction Writers, then most of the people will not visit your page.

People need information fast and will not waste their time on irrelevant websites.

Researched Fact: About 42% of people will rephrase their search if they do not see a relevant link on the first page of search results. 88% will do so if they do not find one on the first three pages.

You Must Evaluate Your Competition

All things being equal, if everyone aimed for the most relevant keywords, the search engines still need to come up with some formula to sort the best pages from the lesser ones. Google, Yahoo!, and Bing all use many factors to determine this. No one knows the real algorithms used (do not trust any SEO adviser who claims they do!). You can however, examine your competition. For any given keyword (phrase), you want to see if you can compete with the other pages already ranked. You want to see if you can outrank them.

Your goal? To get on the first page search listing for your targeted keywords. Know that based on research studies, around 91% of people click on a link within the first page of search results and about 42% click on the first link. If you do not get listed near the top of the page, or at least on the first page, you could lose over half of all potential visitors. Only 50% even look at results past the 3rd listing.

❝ This was a great article – put everything across very clearly. I’ve just sent it to a client of mine who didn’t really understand the need to firstly do keyword analysis, and secondly to embark on some serious link building.

I’ll be reading more of your stuff for sure.

Allan Kent

Three ways to know if you can knock down the competition…

1. More inbound links pointing to your webpage.

The more other pages link to your page, the higher your chance of listing on the first page of results in a search engine, especially for Google and Yahoo!

If you know…

  1. you optimized your webpages for keywords
  2. and more pages on the web link to yours than to the webpages on the current search listing for your targeted keywords

….then your page might be able to list in those results as well.

You can type in both your webpage URL and the URLs of your competitors into Neil Patel’s Free Backlink Checker. Choose Exact URL from the dropdown before hitting Search.

I am talking about webpages because Google evaluates individual pages for each search query (keywords). People get confused with websites and webpages. Start to think in micro terms. Strategize on how to optimize each individual page, treating it as its own target destination.

2. Higher code to text ratio.

Many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts claim that text to code ratio matters in rankings – that pages with more content and less HTML will do better. I began an independent study on different SEO factors proposed by such experts on the web. During my preliminary study, I found that text to code ratio usually decreased with the decrease in search engine ranking. The pages lower on the list contained way more code than content.

After factoring in inbound links, if the pages ranked for your targeted keywords contain way more code than text compared to your page, you might be able to bump them in the ranking.

3. Older websites.

Like code to text, you might hear much about domain age as a key element. I would emphasize that finding the right keywords and inbound links will always matter most, but if you still need some narrowing down power, you can look into the site’s age as well. Older sites tend to fare better than newer sites.

That’s the Overview, But Now What?

Considering all the elements mentioned, how do you actually optimize your pages? I like to gather my information from the source – Google. With almost 92% of all searches, what happens on Google seems to be a fair sample of search attitudes in general. Using Google’s Keyword Planner from their Google Ads program and taking advantage of a few features built into their own search engine, you can gather almost all the data you need.

❝ Thanks for great info, clear to do SEO. I bookmarked this.


Ready to dive into the keyword research?

Warren Samu
Last edited on
May 31st, 2020