5 Simple Steps to Analyzing Your Keyword Competition

The next challenge that you’ll have as you begin to optimize your keywords for Google Adsense is making sure that you’re choosing the right ones that’ll get you ranked and subsequently paid.

See, the problem is that most bloggers are highly uncreative and highly unoriginal – what I mean by that is that most people (the vast, vast majority of bloggers) use the most common keywords available to them instead of coming up with more exact or creative ways to rank.

Competition is not low in demand for these keywords and as a result the existing competition make it near-impossible to rank well in SERPs unless you have the time, resources, money, and wherewithal to execute on them well.

The answer to the keyword ranking problem? It’s quite simple: Do what only you can do and do it well.

What does this mean? It means that you can simply take a look at your existing competition, the strength of your brand and blog, and get a firm grasp on how strong you can compete in the existing ecosystem and environment.

A natural question that most will ask is this: “If it’s that simple then why don’t most bloggers knock it out of the park?” The answer is simple: Most people don’t have the time or patience to do the research and for those that are interested they short-change themselves by using automated systems without knowing really what they’re doing.

So what must you do? A little bit of manual labor is all!

Scoping Out Your Competition

One of the most simple strategies that I employ throughout my properties is discovering what my competition is. For many people this sounds pretty obvious but it never ceases to amaze me how many bloggers don’t even think about doing a little competitive research and general business analysis when it comes to their blog.

And that’s not anyone’s fault! Trust me, I get it! Most bloggers start writing because they simply want to create; they simply want to write their thoughts down – they aren’t interested in being competitive and they aren’t even interested (necessarily) in making any money.

First thing is first: Take a look at the first 10 spots in Google SERPs for the keywords that you’re trying to rank for and see how strong they are compared to your site. Here’s one particular process that really works well:

  1. Use Google to see what the top 10 (or 20) sites are for a specific keyword.
  2. Jot those down.
  3. Discover what they PageRank value of each one is. Jot that down. Remember that you can beat pages that have lower PageRank, equal PageRank, and even pages that have +1 PR than you! You’ll just need to optimize more heavily for the latter pages.
  4. If the competition is “weak” then you should have relatively no problem ranking well within this particular keyword. If it’s “stiff” then you’ll have to optimize your site via SEO and have a long-term plan for competing well.
  5. Look into each site and analyze their SEO as well – if they are generally weak in their optimization techniques make note of them as sites that you can “knock out” while others may be heavily optimized and will be more difficult to manage.

And that’s that! Again, this is just one simple strategy that works well to give you an initial idea of how the competitive landscape looks. If it’s way too deep and way too high then try for another keyword and start the process again.

Not too bad, right?

[This is part of the Blogger's Guide to Earning More with Google Adsense.]

  • http://www.blogtrickstream.com BT Stream

    Sounds like a my work :D … I hope it helps me well.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing!

  • http://www.tillhecomes.org Jeremy Myers


    Due to this series, I discovered an awesome set of keywords that has high CPC ($15-$20) and high monthly searches (6 million) and almost no competition. I was able to snag several domain names with these keywords. Now I just gotta design the site and get writing.

    I’m still a bit new at this Adwords thing, but I think I followed your steps properly. I guess we’ll see in a few months…

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      awesome! i knew you would… i thought of you doing this!

  • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com Charles Specht

    Great information. I’m always amazed at how many things can be done that I’ve never even thought about…not to mention “heard” about.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ;) enjoy! you can do it!

  • http://www.coolmarketingstuff.com Charles Sipe

    Page Rank is an OK metric to look at but it can be problematic as an SEO metric because it is just one ranking factor of over 200 factors that Google considers. The toolbar Page Rank that Google shows is only a surface level indication of the actual Page Rank that a page has. Also, the toolbar Page Rank is updated irregularly. Google has taken up to 10 months to update toolbar Page Rank. One good alternative is MozRank, which is a metric created by SEOMoz to mimic Page Rank, and it is updated about once per month.

  • Amy

    Thank you for this article! I’ve been working on my seo and this is the clearest, least scary tip list I’ve found yet!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      awesome! thx for commenting amy!